Editorial Cartoon: Do Nothing GOP

August 4, 2013

For its supporters, the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) is a major step towards reining in health care costs. The theory is that with more people insured, medical costs will actually drop, because insurance companies will be competing for a larger pool of customers, and the newly insured will obtain better care earlier on when illness hits, prior to the more expensive procedures might otherwise be needed.

At least that’s the theory. The Congressional Budget Office has one estimate that Obamacare will lower the deficits and provide more jobs throughout the country. At the same time, the costs for it will be more than originally estimated. And in many states that have already implemented the insurance pools, individual health insurance plans have lowered their rates.

Opponents have a different view. Some claim that Obamacare will be a federal takeover of 1/5 of the economy. That the program will result in worse care, particularly for the elderly. That costs will rise because newly-legalized illegal immigrants will be a part of Obamacare. That Obamacare is a budget buster.

House opponents have voted 40 times this term to “defund” Obamacare; others have argued that a government shutdown will at least temporarily stop the funding (though today, Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma noted that the funding already exists for this fiscal year, so shutting down the government won’t help).

My concern has always been this: While the expansion of coverage is noble and in theory somewhat economical, the focus of health care reform on expansion rather than cost containment was mistaken. Regardless of the potential cost cuts Obamacare might lead to, it’s nibbling around the edges.

We have great health care — for those who can afford it, that is. But while our medicine is fantastic, it’s also fantastically expensive in comparison to countries with similar quality. So the President — when he had the chance in his first term — should’ve looked at the explosive cost of health care in our country and focused on cost containment. There is no reason, for example, that a colonoscopy in one medical facility cost $1,200 and in a similar across town, the same procedure costs $2,000. Yet in case after case, those wildly divergent costs exist.

But the Obamacare horse is out of the barn. And with it coming online early next year, the next battle’s begun. And opponents are being led by folks who will only be preaching to the choir, mainly because these self-imposed leaders have little credibility and are given to bombastic -- and untrue -- claims.

Apparently the leader of the opposition -- the Heritage Foundation -- is funding a nine-city “Defund Obamacare” tour. Its prime speaker on the tour? Texas Ted Cruz, the first-term U.S. Senator who’s quickly gained a reputation for lies and exaggeration.

Here are the problems with the Loyal Opposition to Obamacare: Heritage Foundation, way back in 1988, actually proposed a similar plan. But times change, and so has Heritage, which now leads the battle. Its big claim is the long-term, Obamacare will add a whopping $6.2 trillion to the primary deficit. Well, not really.

That number’s based on a worst case situation as analyzed by the CBO, worst case being that the expanded coverage continues but all the cost-containment measures end. Heritage neglects to mention the rosier scenario the CBO also came up with, one that lowers that same deficit dramatically. Nor does Heritage mention that the CBO draws no conclusions as to which scenario is the more likely. No, Heritage took one estimate and made it into a fact.

Meanwhile, Texas Ted has made a career, albeit brief, of distortions, beginning with his insinuated lie about Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel taking money from Korea to his claim that the immigration bill will lead to 30 million new illegal immigrants (his spokesman later clarified that Cruz had no study to back that up, that it was only Cruz’s opinion), to his claim that illegal immigrants will either be eligible for health insurance or that because they’re not, small businessmen will want to hire them over American citizens. His record doesn’t lead to much confidence in almost anything he says.

While the supporters of Obamacare look at it through rose-colored glasses, its opponents see it as Another Sign of the Apocalypse. The reality is that we don’t know what will happen when it comes fully online. But instead of wasting time arguing about what was, why can’t our elected leaders on both sides of the aisle focus on effective and fair cost containment proposals?

I know, dumb question. For too many of our politicians, it’s easier to preen than to work.

Mike McClellan is a Gilbert resident and former English teacher at Dobson High School in Mesa.

(60) comments

mnjcpa

The numbers do in fact add up to $12 million – you have to piece it together. For some bizarre reason you want to zing! commenters on specific numbers when you IGNORE context, the most important part of debate.

Just admit it Mike – you're all for taxes supporting murder whether it’s one dollar or twelve million.

Enforcing border laws is irrelevant - how? Flooding the borders with 30 million people will result in only one thing - a faster path to a bankrupt, totalitarian US which is completely relevant. Flooding the borders with millions will be reason #99 that I don’t pay my fair share.

Sounds like charity in Gilbert is much like Obama and Biden's pitiful charitable contributions. One’s own actions towards charity demonstrate who someone is really about. I enjoy helping the helpless; the clueless I give no mercy.

Never said I liked Reagonomics. 'Free markets' and constitutional government is my preference and that you have no idea what free markets really mean.

I have no illusions about my political position. With 50 million people on food stamps, more than half of all able-bodied adults out of work, prices for essential goods progressively inflating, consumer spending collapsing, and the government taking on unprecedented levels of debt, the fact of the matter is that nothing has been resolved and only gotten worse. And it makes it catastrophically worse with Obama focusing on ‘victimhood’ – what got him elected and what has destroyed America. You fall for it hook, line, and sinker.

Sad for both you and your family that you won't take the time to reeducate yourself even in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. I’m prepared for economic collapse - bet you’re not.

Mike McClellan

1. Is irrelevant

2. We all can play the "I gave to charity" card, but the reality is, charity doesn't make up for the loss of funding for the working poor.

You Tea Pary buddies on the Gilbert Town Council have tried to replace the money the town gave to non-profits with a concerted effort to encourage private donations. Then they gave up . . . hardly any donations.

3. As to PP, YOU gave the source and link. I only reported what it said. Apparently with your excellent accounting skills, $760,000 plus$3.5 millions equals $12 million.

No wonder you like Reaganomics . .

mnjcpa

Missed this point. Those evil Arizona Republicans taking money away from the poor again?

Easy answer.
1. Actually enforce immigration laws and care about restrictions to take part in the American system rather than demonstrating that you have zero intention of doing so turning America in to a bankrupt, balkanized country.
2. Every year I open up my checkbook to donate to a variety of great charities that help the poor….Phoenix Food Mission, several groups to support women, children’s groups - all that perform valuable services to the poor. Last year Obama forced inclusion in the tax rules that eliminates my ability to deduct those contributions. In other words, the Democrats are all for charity and compassion, exactly like Detroit, as long as its someone else’s money.

All of which is completely beside the point of whether you support tax dollars funding murder. By not answering the question, obviously you do. I address that in my earlier post.

Bono, the champion of philanthropy says it best – ‘Aid is just a stop-gap. Commerce and entrepreneurial capitalism takes more people out of poverty than aid.” “In dealing with poverty here and around the world, welfare and foreign aid are a Band-Aid. Free enterprise is a cure. “Entrepreneurship is the most sure way of development.”

Bono is right but the American Dream has all but been destroyed with Liberals running the show.

mnjcpa

When you have a President that refuses to enforce border laws, America is quickly becoming a bankrupt, balkanized state, while at the same time you buy in to the argument that immigration 'fake reform' is going to create jobs .........there's nothing to say. You're a quintessential Liberal voter that forms opinions on low information that play to your emotions and you fall for it.

Liberals create places like Detroit - you support it, you get what comes with it.

For some bizarre reason you want to zing! commenters on specific numbers when you ignore the context.

I gave you substantive material to study so you can help your family but instead this is your response. It's people like you that get hurt the worst by horrible Liberal policies and unfortunately the one that's coming will make 2008 look like an appetizer to a 7 course meal. I'm prepared - are you?

mnjcpa

You might try visiting Big Government math again because those numbers do indeed add up to $12 million. I must ask why is nit-picking a number on this issue important when the context of the issue is sufficient. What difference does it make when $1 to support murder is too much? Precisely the kind of thinking that forced us to move our kids from public schools.

You still won’t answer my questions:
1. Do you support ‘murder’ because that’s exactly what you do?
2. Exactly what do you consider a credible new source? NBC ‘home of if Obama wants it, we’ll make it happen’, or ABC and CBS that have lead executives with family inside the Obama WH. This doesn’t make you at least a tiny bit skeptical?

Abortion is murder Mike – regardless of how your Liberal talking heads spin it. I don’t care what someone else does with their body but I do care about the enormous amount of tax I pay to fund things I adamantly oppose. That’s the trouble with Democrats. They’re all for using OTHER people’s money to fund their objectives, but not their own.


Mike McClellan

1. Planned Parenthood Votes is the Super Pac you linked us to. According to the FEC -- found on the second and finally accurate one you posted -- that PAC raised $6,446,014 in the 2012 election cycle.

Which is about half of the $12 million you claimed it gave to Obama.

Which is even more interesting. Because based on the link you gave us, Planned Parenthood PAC actually gave the Obama campaign $762,734 in the election cycle.

Which is about, what, 1/15 of what you claimed they gave.

To be fair -- and unlike your $12 million number, accurate -- the PAC also ran $3.51 million in ads against Romney.

So, total between its own attack ads and its contributions to Obama?

About $4.2 million. 1/3 of what you claimed.

Interesting accounting you do.

And since you insist on calling PP a killing machine, I assume you feel the same way about our Republican Governor and legislature. Who have cut to the bone any kind of subsidy for child care for poor parents, including the working poor.

Which means the Republicans are giving thousands of working Arizonans the choice between quitting work -- and going on welfare -- to take care of their kids.

Or finding some way to care for their kids, a way that often involves kids taking care of kids. Which means, if the Republicans continue to underfund the child care, we'll have a generation of kids coming up who are poorly prepared for school, undernourished and often neglected not because their parents choose that but because the Republicans choose not to restore funding to the childcare subsidy.

You folks -- not necessarily you, mn, since I don't know you -- that claim to be pro-life all too often are pro-life until the baby's born. Then it's every man for himself.

mnjcpa

Missed this one....

#2 - "Fox viewers are the least 'informed' on current events.'

A better description would be the viewership is actually getting a better version of what happened rather than the propaganda that the corrupt Obama administration wants you to believe.

mnjcpa

Even one dollar of taxes spent on PP is enough for me and since you won’t answer my questions I will assume you’re all in for supporting murder too. Still waiting for you to answer my questions - (1) Do you support taxes going to the PP murder machine or not and (2) what makes for credible information in your world?

1. Indeed the FEC (http://query.nictusa.com/cgi-bin/fecimg/?C90005471) (http://us-campaign-committees.findthedata.org/l/15076/Planned-Parenthood-Action-Fund-Inc-Pac) do track SuperPac contributions. If you actually took the time to add up the contributions in the link I gave you that I said you would have to do it totals close to $12 million which mirrors the internal IRS databases. So if the FEC that tracks this information isn’t sufficient for you, exactly what is?

3. If PP claims spending $10 million in the election cycle –ALL TO DEMOCRATS – that’s still not substantive for you. That says it all – murder is okay by you.

4. I have indeed read the background of the Obama after-birth murder bills and my opinion didn’t change. Heck he was the honorary keynote speaker to the brutal machine that produces people like Gosnell.

Approval ratings – you missed the point. Realclearpolitics and Reuters do daily rolling averages. CNN ran it 24/7 when Bush dropped below 50% - you don’t hear a peep about Obama’s ratings. This furthers my point that what exactly is a credible source for you when the MSM covers and lies for Obama?

5. It’s a BOLD FACED LIE that the government has to be shut down and I reject Obama's statements when it is patently false. Cruz wants ALL government spending to proceed, carving out Obamacare. Obama, in typical illegal tyranny fashion, carved out benefits for his Wall Street friends for a year and left you and I holding the bag on proceeding with this horrible piece of legislation destroying the US healthcare system. Of course you won’t hear that on the state propaganda stations.

Seems anyone that gives you a contrarian source never satisfies, you do this with Rich and others too. The point is made with PP with one dollar of funding - the FEC statements clearly show I'm right.

Just admit it Mike, you approve of taxes supporting murder.

Mike McClellan

1. The exact quote is not what you have quoted there. In fact, he was speaking of the 30 million who currently don't have health care. Check the quote

2. All wonderful stats, but the three broadcast network news shows tower over the cable leader, Fox. Whose viewership, by the way, is the least informed on current events.

3. The url you give to find the stats on PP contributions -- uery.nictusa.com/cgi-bin/fecimg/?C90005471 -- sends you not to a list of contributors but instead to a Century Link website. Try again.

3. PP spending $10 million in off year elections is not the same as your claim of $12 million to Obama in 2012. Nice change of the subject.

4. On Obama's abortion after birth votes -- if you'd get beyond the propaganda and see the entire story, he voted against the bills because he felt they were a not so subtle foot in the door to find a way around Roe.

In fact, he supported -- and supports -- a federal law that would protect those babies and preserve Roe. Good try.

Obama's approval rating? Hmm, I read about it in both the Washington Post and the L.A. Times in the last few days, the Post today.

5. Finally, maybe you don't see this on whatever it is you read, but Ted Cruz and other Senators, along with a group in the House, have called on shutting down the government unless Obama care is defunded.

Which is, as one North Carolina Republican Senator said, a "stupid idea." Especially in light of the fact that the initial funding already exists.

Still waiting for you to show the $12 million figure . . .

mnjcpa

Mike - What makes credible information for you Mike since you’ve got a rub with Fox? Is it those valiant truth seekers – NBC, ABC, CNN like at Obama’s Friday press conference when he said ‘Republicans don’t want you to have healthcare’ or ‘the Republicans want to shut down the government’, BOLD FACED LIES and not a peep from his stenographers.

Maybe that explains why CNN’s viewership is at a 21 year low and MSNBC dropped 16% last quarter. Many people, unlike you, know they’re being duped. When Bush’ approval ratings dropped below 50% it was all over 24/7 CNN’s news cycle. Obama is at 43% and you don’t even hear about it. http://www.ibtimes.com/cable-news-ratings-rachel-maddow-sinks-msnbc-cnn-rebounds-fox-news-still-untouchable-1333745

1. Here is the report on one of the PP SuperPacs – you have to total the entire election cycle. uery.nictusa.com/cgi-bin/fecimg/?C90005471
2. Here is PP management discussing intent to donate $10 million in the next election cycle.
http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2008/04/is_planned_parenthood_above_th.htmlshows the commitment of $10 million in the election cycle - NONE to Republicans.
3. WSJ had a great article here to discuss how Obama co-ops the PP murder machine. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204369404577206692451108960.html?mod=WSJ_Opinion_LEADTop

Do you agree your taxes should support the PP murder machine because that’s exactly what it is. Obama supported after birth (murder) abortions four times while senator so I would assume you’re all for that.

That money machine won’t stop with radical Liberals running the show and you won’t find information on headline NBC news because they’re too busy redoing the news to form the narrative to manipulate you.

You like the looks of Detroit? Hold on to your political philosophy because that's what you're going to get.

mnjcpa

Fair enough, but why is having a one-off article important when only an Obama State controlled messaging system will do for you? Even one dollar of taxes spent on abortions should be enough information. Your thinking never changes so what’s your point?

You’re certainly not going to find this information on the MSM because the rhetoric must be tightened to manipulate people in to believing that murder is actually women’s health. opensecrets.org tallies all of the SuperPac’s contributions and you can tally it from there by election cycle. I also have access to internal IRS databases that I'm not allowed to copy & paste, but again, if you dig you can find this information.

Sounds like the silly exchange I had with the last teacher in Big Government education before we yanked our kids out. Fortunately we saved them in time to reverse the thinking damage.

Mike McClellan

Yes, mn, the Times series is the one I "cherry picked" the stat. The same series that didn't have any figure close to what you cite.

Speaking of cherry picking, I notice that you routinely use dubious sources that provide dubious statistics.

If you're gonna cite some source, don't expect readers to simply go, "Well, it must be true since he cited a source."

It's not my fault that you cite those sources . . . I just read them and then noted that they "cherry pick" from each other. And you claim a number in the Times series that doesn't exist. And the sites you cite cite an AP story that might exist but isn't in the AP archives.

So if "PAC information is public information -- easy to find," you should have no trouble finding the $12 million Planned Parenthood donation to the Obama campaign you cited below.

mnjcpa

NYT ran an entire series last fall on the various SuperPacs including Planned Parenthood and all donations are public information anyway. So what's your point?
That it's okay by you that tax dollars support a murder machine? PAC information is public information - easy to find. So what's your point?

Someone that completely disregards substantive educational material because it doesn't fit his political philosophy yet uses cherry picked stats as some kind of bizarre need to capture a 'gotcha' moment as you routinely do is the one who gets hurt most by the politician's manipulation.

Mike McClellan

Actually, mn, I can't find a New York Times article that backs your claim. There are two about Planned Parenthood's donations, one about the $4.1 million given to the campaign from Jan. 2011 to Nov. 2012, and one about a $1.4 million ad buy.

As to the source you cite, I went there and found it's an anti-abortion website, which links the $12 million figure to another anti-abortion website. That site mentions an AP article citing that figure, but I can't find one nor does the second anti-abortion website link to it.

mnjcpa

Ahh Cerulean, typical Liberal can’t debate the issue squarely so you resort to the standard Obama tactic ......duck, smear, and lie. Wouldn't expect anything less given the wacky, ridiculous policies you support.

$12 million contributed to the Obama campaign is public information available to anyone willing to look for the information from their non-profit filings off the IRS website. Go to the IRS website and look up their non-profit filing - it's all there for public view. The NYTimes tracked this information. Here’s another. http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/planned-parenthood-spends-12-million-to-re-elect-obama/.

Obama repaid PP for their loyalty by bumping their budget another 700 million.

I don't care what someone else does with their body. But I do care about what happens to the enormous amount of taxes I pay. My hard earned tax dollars shouldn't be financing murder.

Cerulean

mnj. you are a willfully dishonest person.

Where did you get your information that PP donated 12 million? It simply is not true!

PP did donate to the Obama campaign, and for good reason. I believe in that reason and I am grateful that He won the day.

mnjcpa

informedvoter -

Right, knowledge is a good thing....as long as it's really knowledge and not what the corrupt Obama administration tells you. PP donated $12 million to get Obama reelected and Obama handed the PP murder machine another 700 million in funding.

mnjcpa

informedvoter -

Indeed I did NOT support the Iraq war or ANY intervention policy that the neo-cons so readily sign us up for or the Dept of Defense.

Gun control laws? I don't even own a gun but it's easy to see gun control fanatics are making this issue emotional, rather than what the facts portray. Gun control has NOTHING to do with preventing crime - it's about the State controlling us.

informedVoter

@mnjcpa
I assume you did not support the Iraq war, are for gun control laws and probably feel that too much is being spent on the department of defense?

Knowledge is a good thing.
http://www.plannedparenthood.org/files/PPFA/PP_by_the_Numbers.pdf

mnjcpa

The only thing needed to be done to Planned Parenthood is STOP my tax dollars funding a murder machine.

MinionofDependency - Love this 'It's time to TOSS it in the tank and start FRESH and have those open discussions on Cspan that Obama promised us 5 years ago before he rammed it down our throats....'

frank66 - spot on, but you've got to have leadership that's actually a leader and takes in both sides of the argument - not just his benevolent dictator wisdom.

Mike - need 'drive-by' news programs to educate you? That's largely the problem in America today is people taking one-off, cherry picked articles to support their ego rather than reading the materials I gave you, study them for 6 months, and why Obama and the Democrats are the LAST people to solve it.

Cerulean

"Use nurses to give most of the basic care we need, doctors are experts, so let the experts come in when an expert is needed." frank66

Very good suggestion. Now go tell the Arizona legislature that you disagree with their intrusion on women's health care. Tell them that Planned Parenthood clinics better serve society when women are not forced to see a Dr. when a nurse practitioner can provide more than adequate advice and care.

MinionOFDependancy

Hey Mike.... My insurance has almost doubled in the last 3 years. I work for a large company and have good insurance. But it's expensive and had taken a big bite out of my budget. THAT is where the rubber hit the road. We can speculate all we want. We can believe what the Government tells us to our own detriment. I see what is happening to ME and it's not what they said would happen. It's time to TOSS it in the tank and start FRESH and have those open discussions on Cspan that Obama promised us 5 years ago before he rammed it down our throats.... Maybe reading it and understanding it might be worth something in the long run. Being an English Teacher, you'd completely understand Reading and Understanding the material before we Swallow it......

frank66

http://healthpolicy.stanford.edu/news/wall_street_journal_oped_advocates_freemarket_solution_for_us_health_care_20040506/

has some good ideas

frank66

here are some free market alternatives: allow health insurance to be purchased across state lines, paying more out of pocket for routine care/have insurance be insurance: for unexpected disasters. You don't use car insurance to get your tires changed, your filters replaced, etc. allow doctors and patients to negotiate prices without a 3rd party that wants to maximize their money by having doctors run the maximum number of tests and procedures. Billing for insurance eats up approximately 11% of all healthcare costs, so if we can cut out the middle man who encourages unnecessary procedures, we can save alot. Medication and treatment decisions are made not on the basis of patient need, but on the basis of insurance coverage. Doctors are able to prescribe and treat based on patients desires and ability to pay, not on insurance companies' payment plans. It shouldn't be a surprise that suddenly doctors will offer lower cost or free services to those who can afford it, like they did before government and insurance companies started to collude.
Use nurses to give most of the basic care we need, doctors are experts, so let the experts come in when an expert is needed. eliminate all restrictions on the sales of drugs/ end the government created monopolies that cause the same drugs to be cheaper on the canadian and mexican markets. allow catostophic health insurance companies to pool indvididual risk based on individual choices that heavily influence health risks. elminate the healthcare subsidies that provide incentives towards neglecting one's health since individuals are no longer responsiblte for the costs of their life decisions.

Cerulean

Mike, I really enjoyed your 'Voter Suppression vs. Voter Fraud' article.
http://azcvoices.com/politics/2013/07/26/voter-suppression-vs-voter-fraud/

And I your cartoon is good. [smile]

Mike McClellan

mn, of course some media outlets won't cover alternatives . . .

but Fox News? Beck's Blaze? Newsmax?

The Congressmen's own websites?

Please. Where's the beef?

mnjcpa

Right Cerulean, but the cost effective and efficient US Government, with Wall Street's partnership is exactly who should be running healthcare - along with the pardons to anyone that's buddies of the WH.

That winning combination is why this horrible law should be repealed and start over.


Cerulean

And don't say, "If medicine could be returned to the small business it once was, it is probable that it would be affordable and a dead certainty that it would be more effective." Because this is not a solution.

This is private enterprise at work, Rich:
“In addition, device makers typically require doctors’ groups and hospitals to sign nondisclosure agreements about prices, which means institutions do not know what their competitors are paying. This secrecy erodes bargaining power and has allowed a small industry of profit-taking middlemen to flourish: joint implant purchasing consultants, implant billing companies, joint brokers.
There are as many as 13 layers of vendors between the physician and the patient for a hip replacement, according to Kate Willhite, a former executive director of the Manitowoc Surgery Center in Wisconsin.
Hospitals and orthopedic clinics typically pay $4,500 to $7,500 for an artificial hip, according to MD Buyline and Orthopedic Network News, which track device pricing. But those numbers balloon with the cost of installation equipment and all the intermediaries’ fees, including an often hefty hospital markup.
That is why the hip implant for Joe Catugno, a patient at the Hospital for Joint Diseases in New York, accounted for nearly $37,000 of his approximately $100,000 hospital bill; Cigna, his insurer, paid close to $70,000 of the charges.”
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/04/health/for-medical-tourists-simple-math.html?src=me&ref=general&_r=0

mnjcpa

MikeM –

You really believe anything the Tea Party or Libertarians would propose would be communicated fairly? The erroneous typecasting of the TP by the corrupt media and Obama administration only tells me what they're afraid of.

There doesn’t have to be an alternative at hand immediately before repealing a horrible law. The first thing that needs to be done is defund and repeal this monstrosity. Any alternative I would offer is free of Government, lobbyists, and Wall Street.

Why would you even want it to go through when you see the graft and problems with it beginning with the bold faced lie Obama told you about what it was going to cost.

Or with a stroke of the pen, illegally I might add, Obama stalls implementation of the ‘employer mandate’ until after 2014 elections because now the truth is becoming known about this horrible bill where people are losing full time jobs for part time jobs to avoid the cost. Nice payback to your Wall Street buddies too. Or Congress and staffers are immune to the costs and are getting 75% in subsidies while the rest of us eat cake. Both of these actions are illegal, but that doesn’t stop the corrupt Obama administration.

The government doesn’t have to shut down – pay everything but OC, repeal it, and go back to the drawing table where monied interests are out of the decision making.

'Free markets' - study the information I gave you as reference so you understand what dellett and I speak of with ‘free markets’.

Mike McClellan

So what are those free market alternatives that exist in the real world, mn?

None of the Tea Party types have said a word about that, no specifics at all.

So what are they? And while I'm all for tort reform concerning malpractice, that cost is a microscopically small portion of the total health care behemoth we live under currently.

So please don't hang cost containment only on tort reform.

Fire away -- what should we do?

mnjcpa

cerulean,

The government doesn't have to be shut down. Defund Obamacare and everything else stands. But of course, the corrupt Obama administration wouldn't possibly consider this position, particularly when their corporate buddies have been given a free pass until after the 2014 elections. Let the rest of us eat cake!

You agree with a one-off article "the die will be cast and America will be put on the path to becoming another Greece, living far beyond its means thanks to programs imposed upon the people by a massive and expanding government.'

Got news for you - we're already there. OC is one more nail in America's coffin to complete the fundamental transformation of America into a bankrupt totalitarian socialist state.

mnjcpa

MikeM,

Arguing again about those 'evil Republicans' is ridiculous.

Rich is spot on right when he says 'Nothing in Obamacare or the Republican's dogma solves the problems, and to argue one against the other is rather mindless stupidity.'

pd is also right - there are very good alternatives out there but you have to have an actual leader to get it accomplished, and Obama is a leader for what he wants - nothing else. The first step is to ignore the corrupt MSM and stop this train wreck.

pd

Obamacare is a bait-and-switch political maneuver -- It won't work; many people will be left with no insurance; then Big Brother (under the control of our benevolent progressive overseers) will come riding in with single-payer, full-blown government healthcare, and then let the rationing begin (except of course for the government mandated free birth control pills that apparently even the Catholics will be obliged to pass out at taxpayer expense)

Mike -- There ARE alternatives out there -- really good ones -- Since Obama never talks or listens to anyone except his ideological groupies, none are ever considered. The house votes may be fruitless for now, but they are symbolic. At least I know there are people in the house who hear me.

onerebel

If Obama care is such a great deal, why did Obama have to call together congressional Democrats the other day, and promise these people that make six figures, subsidies to help pay for it? Why are the unions that supported Obama trying to stop it? Why are so many companies that are friends of Democrats being able to opt out? Why is this administration pushing back the implementation time table until AFTER THE NEXT ELECTION? I think we all know the answer!!

Rich

No one is going to propose meaningful cost containment measures.
A) No one in either party is bright enough to come up with any.
B) The insurance industry contributes mega bucks to both parties and their profit is a percentage of the cost.
C) Medicine has gone from a personal service to an assembly line industry where medical error has become the third largest cause of death, and the liability of that needs to be escaped from.

Health insurance materially changed the character of medicine, and the new form, an assembly line that kills almost as often as cures is underfunded. If medicine could be returned to the small business it once was, it is probable that it would be affordable and a dead certainty that it would be more effective. But no one is even considering that. However as Europe developed it's socialized medicine, it was behind ours. When we used a socialized form in insurance, it surpassed us. We can be better than they are, without government involvement except to outlaw the insurance that destroyed the better system. However, when every federal elected official relies on donations from the insurance industry to get elected, what are the odds of that? Private businesses fighting competition for customers (patients) contains costs nicely. Sweetheart deals between hospitals and insurance companies escalate costs, as well as kills people. Nothing in Obamacare or the Republican's dogma solves the problems, and to argue one against the other is rather mindless stupidity.

Mike McClellan

What's interesting about House Republicans is that they have gone from "repeal and replace" to just "repeal."

They would have a lot more credibility if they would provide an alternative more specific than "market-based," the tired phrase they fall back on but never fill in.

They could gain some real traction if they could propose meaningful cost containment measures, but instead resort to their nihilistic No On Obamacare Symbolic votes.

Cerulean

"But instead of wasting time arguing about what was, why can’t our elected leaders on both sides of the aisle focus on effective and fair cost containment proposals?"

I read an article in the Christian Science Monitor that I think answers that question very well.
"What makes Washington watching so fascinating (if harrowing) at this moment, is that no one really knows which way this will go. [The article is talking about Cruz and his threat to shut down government, without support from Paul Ryan.] Tea party Republicans in the House brought the nation to the brink of a debt crisis in 2011 – and feel they have only the sequester to show for it. For legislators who wanted major entitlement reform, that is a disappointing return.

The House's 40 (failed) attempts to kill Obamacare underscore the stakes as Republicans see it. If, instead of entitlement reform, we simply get another entitlement, the die will be cast and America will be put on the path to becoming another Greece, living far beyond its means thanks to programs imposed upon the people by a massive and expanding government. Liberty will be dead. And the economy won't be far behind.

To ideologues, those are fighting words. "

To ideologues, those are fighting words, but have yet to understand how anyone thinks they are true, based in reality fighting words. Greece? Liberty? Well, ok, the Teas' can shut down government and the economy.

You can read the article here: http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/DC-Decoder/Decoder-Wire/2013/0804/Paul-Ryan-and-Obamacare-Can-he-stop-Ted-Cruz-s-government-shutdown/%28page%29/2

As for cost containment, I hear or read about stories that address strategies to reduce cost. I think it is very important and I will be expecting solutions in the not-to-distant future.

Ateam1

The one Perk I have left in my job has been excellent Health Insurance. Thanks to Obama Now That Will Be Gone. He First said" if you already have a health insurance plan you will be able to keep it" He Is A 2 Faced LIAR!!!!!!!!!!. He is going to destroy what I have and Tax ME on What He Thinks I should be paying for His Junk! PHOOOOEY![angry]

mnjcpa

Right on ozart and Rich.....stellar discussions. Obamacare isn't about better healthcare - it's about control.

All OC and immigration fake reform are is two more nails in the coffin of the US economy to complete the 'fundamental transformation' of America into a bankrupt totalitarian socialist state.

mnjcpa

pd - I'm stealing your quote regarding what's happening to the US economy which transcends BOTH political parties...

'We've elected a charismatic college professor who understands little about economic theory, operates on a failed Keynesian model, and is slowly suffocating our once resilient economy.'

pd

Why can't I shop for and buy my own health insurance just like I shop for and buy my own car insurance? As Jefferson believed, we need to keep government involved to the least extent possible. It's just not efficient. Mike, I would bet that if you dug a little deeper into your cheap Belgian knee replacement figure, you'd find that because of this artificially established low price, there is a huge shortage of people to perform such services, that care is rationed by committee, and that the waiting period is substantially longer than it is here . . . I might add that Belgium's economy, due to decades of control by liberals, is teetering on the edge of financial collapse like most other European entitlement-heavy countries. There is no big Santa Claus in the sky to give us all the wonderful, free benefits that liberal/progressives want to hand out to the people.

And I know you people who are star-struck by our cool pres can't stand the thought of criticizing him, he has been very deceptive with the American people concerning how Obamacare will go down. Re-read "The Emperor Has No Clothes" Mike.

ozart

hljmesa.......

At what point does the ACA eliminate the "middleman"? Do you really believe that adding that the addition of 50 to 60,000 government hacks, untrained in either medicine or insurance, is going to bring down costs, not to mention adding millions to the insured ranks (whether they want to or not).

No matter what obtuse mathematics are used to arrive at the various predictions, Occams razor theory dictates that the simplest solution is usually the best. Simple math applied: 2 + 2 +4, not 3. The simplest way would have been to implement tort reform (to bring down the cost of medical providers' insurance), remove barriers to interstate competition (broaden the pool of insurance buyers - the exact same concept that the ACA pushes - more on the plane, cost each comes down), and expand the system already in place (Medicaid) to help those who are presently uninsured.

Unfortunately for the majority of us, these simple solutions were beyond comprehension to this administration (most notably at the top) because they would not have total control.

A new push needs to begin - vote out any and all (regardless of party) members of Congress who do not agree to participate with the rest of us. Taxation without representation was the rallying cry prior to the Revolution...time to take this country back to one that is of, by and for the people...not the ruling class in DC.

LoydEskildson

America's health care system is the world's most expensive - 18% of GDP while failing to cover some 40 million Americans, vs. #2 Switzerland's near universal coverage at a much lower 12%, Japan and Taiwan at 8%, and Singapore at 4%. The reason - except for Medicare, we're the only nation that doesn't regulate provider prices, and some (eg. Taiwan) even limit total spending. Rapacious providers take advantage of the inelasticity of health care demand to charge more than double what their peers do in other nations, over-treat, refuse to reveal and hide prices to impede consumer choices, and create very large conglomerates to increase bargaining power, while the multiplicity of insurance companies with varying coverages and forms add as much as 20% to total costs.

Author McClellan is correct stating the ObamaCare should have focused on reducing costs. It is also far too complex. However, it does take a few steps towards limiting the cancer called health care that is eating away at our economy and the #1 cause of personal bankruptcies.

AZFusion

Rather than reading McClellan bloviate again, here are some facts:

Rates rise over 41% under Obamacare in Ohio.
http://www.cleveland.com/metro/index.ssf/2013/08
/ohio_insurance_department_clai.html

http://www.ctnewsjunkie.com/ctnj.php/archives/entry/preliminary_report_concludes_rates_will_rise_under_obamacare/

http://www.wtsp.com/news/topstories/article/327706/250/FL-insurance-officials-Rates-will-rise-under-Obamacare

http://freebeacon.com/georgia-insurance-rates-spike-under-obamacare/

http://www.nhregister.com/articles/2013/07/30/news/doc51f82cd5da3b3777578793.txt

http://www.forbes.com/sites/theapothecary/2013/05/30/rate-shock-in-california-obamacare-to-increase-individual-insurance-premiums-by-64-146/

http://newsbusters.org/blogs/noel-sheppard/2013/07/19/indiana-health-insurance-rates-rise-72-under-obamacare-will-media-rep

Blue Cross has said its premiums could go up 25% in Maryland http://money.cnn.com/2013/05/14/news/economy/obamacare-premiums/index.html

Ted Cruz is not a liar or does he exaggerate. He is more accomplished then the President of the United States.
Ted Cruz is articulate, brilliant (as stated below) and tough which scares the fringe left wingers. More accomplished than the President. Note this: Cruz then attended Harvard Law School, graduating magna cum laude in 1995.[27][28][1] While at Harvard Law, Cruz was a primary editor of the Harvard Law Review, and executive editor of the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, and a founding editor of the Harvard Latino Law Review.[22] Referring to Cruz's time as a student at Harvard Law, Professor Alan Dershowitz said, "Cruz was off-the-charts brilliant"

Cruz served as a law clerk to William Rehnquist, Chief Justice of the United States,[1] and J. Michael Luttig of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.[29][3] Cruz was the first Hispanic ever to clerk for a Chief Justice of the United States.[30]

Cruz served as an associate deputy attorney general in the U.S. Justice Department[1] and as the director of policy planning at the U.S. Federal Trade Commission under President George W. Bush.[17][1]

Appointed to the office of Solicitor General of Texas by Attorney General Greg Abbott,[3] Cruz served in that position from 2003 to 2008.[13]

Cruz has authored more than 80 United States Supreme Court briefs and presented 43 oral arguments, including nine before the United States Supreme Court.[3][17][15] In the landmark case of District of Columbia v. Heller, Cruz drafted the amicus brief signed by attorneys general of 31 states, which said that the D.C. handgun ban should be struck down as infringing upon the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.[15][31] Cruz also presented oral argument for the amici states in the companion case to Heller before the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.[15][32] Cruz did legal work during the Florida recount for the Bush campaign.[33]

In addition to his victory in Heller, Cruz has successfully defended the Ten Commandments monument on the Texas State Capitol grounds,[17][15] the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools[17] and the majority of the 2003 Texas redistricting plan.[34]

Cruz also successfully defended, in Medellin v. Texas, the State of Texas against an attempt by the International Court of Justice to re-open the criminal convictions of 51 murderers on death row throughout the United States.[3][17][15]

Cruz has been named by American Lawyer magazine as one of the 50 Best Litigators under 45 in America,[35][36] by The National Law Journal as one of the 50 Most Influential Minority Lawyers in America,[37][38] and by Texas Lawyer as one of the 25 Greatest Texas Lawyers of the Past Quarter Century.[39][40]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ted_Cruz

Really McClellan???
[thumbdown]

hljmesa

Amazing......No one mentioned Canadians, or Tommie Douglas or Wendell Potter. Just rants about commies and socialists. My, my. we have public schools, A socialistic conspiracy? NOT......Police and Fire departments...another socialist conspiracy...NOT......Folks, the move to Obama-care......found here.. https://www.healthcare.gov/how-does-the-health-care-law-protect-me/
is an attempt to move the middle man out ie, insurance companies. If you do not think that is so, then may I suggest an article by whistle-blower, Wendell Potter, found here... http://wendellpotter.com/2013/07/insurance-tricks-to-avoid-obamacares-consumer-protections/ Or better yet, read his book...... [beam]

tax payer

If you earn $80,000 ( self employed ) a year you will pay according to your wages, so someone that earns $24,000 a year will pay much less for the same coverage. Does that sounds fair to you or not? How about everyone getting the same discount, but that's not going to happen because the more you earn ( the more you pay ) including taxes in this country.

Linda MC

When you in Congress accept the same insurance, then maybe we will. You are not suppose to have anything different than the people you work for, meaning us. You are not exempt from the same laws that govern us. That is the law. Seems you in congress break all of our Constitutional Laws, so you should all step down, with an exception of very few. Time to stop The Affordable Care Act, thats a joke, (affordable)? "We the People", have spoken, we do not want it.

Rich

God Lord Mike, You're retired as well as most small businessmen can pray for, but only rarely receive. You don't do anything all day long and you can't properly research? TIME? Give me a break. That's about as deep as a puddle after a rainstorm in Arizona. I get a colonoscopy every third year and you're an idiot if you don't. A lot was cheaper before Obamacare, but last year after three years being forced on medicare because of my age, it was free, haven't quite figured it out, but $1166. is the most I ever paid. Obamacare really messed me up. My 'supplemental' insurance is 80% of what I paid with a private plan, and there are two doctors I have to 'tip' to still see me. Basically I pay the same, and the shaving of my medicare by Obamacare to pay for it. makes it more than I paid for private insurance. You see medical care is what the majority decides to invest in it. Insurance basically 'socialized' it. The fears surpassed the value and it escalated in cost. Obamacare escalated the fear again. We produce enough food, shelter and clothing for 2 1/2 X the people alive, so the politicos need 'healthcare' to scare you into believing they perform a useful function. Well fed, housed clothed people don't cause any problem that you need a government to solve. The real question is whether or not we will realize that, before some politician thinks he can win a war using nuclear weaponry.

DemocraticDad

To the conservatives who have already commented on this thread and who currently receive the "liberal programs" of Social Security and Medicare,...when do you plan on informing the federal government that you will no longer be a part of either program?

You see, just like Social Security & Medicare, after Obamacare's complete implementation there won't be anyone liberal or conservative who will be willing to give it up.

smegma

Not really much to discuss here except for the fact that liberals fugg up everything they touch.

Mike McClellan

Sam, I have had one, and it was about $1650, but my insurance covered it.

As to the variance in costs, two sources:

A long article in Time that showed those and other differences

Arizona now has a site that shows hospital costs for common procedures. Check it out.

Finally, did you see the article today on how much the average knee replacement costs in the U.S. vs. Europe? The average replacement here costs $36,000; in Belgium, it's $12,000 for the identical procedure.

samkat

Sorry Mike but your article is biased by your far left liberal views. For starters, the CBO is recognized for providing incomplete analysis. They are given specific directions to ensure the predicted outcome of the results. Did you ever take statistics as part of your educational endeavor? I was an auditor for years and I can take just about any set of data and produce an outcome to match the desired results I want. The CBO analyses are the same since they are developed under specific direction.

Now, if Obamacare was so great, why then did the democrats force it through without an adequate review and vetting? They would have been better served to have done it piecemeal so the end results could have been predicted.

By the way, your comments about the colonoscopy are interesting. Have you had one yet and how did you reach your conclusion that the costs vary so much? I was forced onto Medicare when I turned 65 and live under its managed healthcare. I would have preferred to have stayed under my old healthcare policy since the coverage was actually better. As is, I still have to pay for my secondary health insurance to take care of the gap between what Medicare pays and does not pay. Incidentally, I still have to pay for my Medicare premiums, my wife's, my secondary health insurance and our medication coverage plus the copays. There is a Medicare deducitble and a medication deductible. PS: the older you get, the more medications the body requires like it or not.

I do have a colonoscopy every 3 years and so does my wife. Regardless of who does it, Medicare uses a prescribed formula to pay and so do the insurance companies. I track all of our medical EOBs on a spreadsheet, and have done so for years. I can tell you for a fact that the medical community is taking it in the shorts on Medicare and Medicaid patients. I understand why so many doctors are dropping patients enrolled in both systems and it will only get worse with Obamacare since they are shaving funds from both systems to fund Obamacare. If you think Obamacare is going to pay more, you will be surprised when you have to pay more on your premiums. Be prepared when you reach 65 and be sure to keep your secondary insurance as Obamacare will in all probability require it. By the way, from what I am reading, if you are in good health, your premiums will go up to pay for the folks who need more medical attention.

Mike, you need to do a better job of research before going off the deep end on your articles.

As I have said in the past, I had been a registered democrat for over 55 years but that does not mean I agree with the democrats who have become splintered factions of minority groups bent on pushing their specific agendas as opposed to looking for solutions that benefit everyone.

onerebel

The Republican's are trying to stop Obama care for the MAJORITY of Americans that do not want it. The idea of doing what the majority wants appears to be a foreign idea to most Liberals!!

pd

. . . Sorry about my last poorly written last line of my previous post . . . I was being actively and loudly distracted by my 2-year-old granddaughter, who by the way is destined to inherit the Obama debt and navigate the Obamacare bureaucracy in order to receive her sub-par healthcare.

Leon Ceniceros

"ROCKINROLLER".....YOU AREN'T DESCRIBING ....."DEMOCRACY"......INSTEAD,

YOU ARE DESCRIBING........."SOCIALISM".

"INEQUALITIES"....SOUNDS LIKE ...."MARXISM" ...TO MOST AMERICANS.

OBAMACARE ....LIKE OTHER OBAMA DEMOCRAT PARTY PROGRAMS IS

NOTHING MORE THAN MORE DEMOCRAT/SOCIALIST...."WEALTH REDISTRIBUTION".

AFTER OBAMACARE WHAT'S NEXT ON THE DEMOCRAT PARTY "SOCIALIST" AGENDA................."A CULTURAL REVOLUTION".....LIKE ANOTHER DICTATOR (MAO TSE DONG)..........INITIATED IN COMMUNIST CHINA ?????

[sad][sad][sad]

rockinroller

Good article, Mike. The MAJORITY of dissenters over the ACA are those who are so indulged by their employer-provided healthcare insurance plans that they can't see straight (and that's ironic, since their respective coverages cover that, I am sure). Why do you think it took the "government" to intervene over the imbalances and inequalities of the previous healthcare insurance system in this country? Do you think any of you dissenters would have willingly given up SOME of your coverages (or paid a bit more) so that others would have--at least--minimal coverage? Sha-ree.

The only way this country is going to right itself and continue down the path of true democracy is if its people embrace a level of consciousness for others.

Leon Ceniceros

MIKE MCCLELLAN......STICK TO "ENGLISH COMPOSITION".

IT'S A SUBJECT THAT YOU KNOW SOMETHING ABOUT.

BASHING THE REPUBLICANS WHO HAVE BEEN "PROVEN RIGHT" BY THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION'S DECISION TO .."DELAY"....A MAJOR PROGRAM OF OBAMACARE REGARDING EMPLOYER MANDATES FOR A WHOLE YEAR.

LIKE EVERY OTHER ....DEMOCRAT "SOCIALIST MANDATE"....HARD-WORKING, MIDDLE INCOME (MOSTLY WHITE) TAX PAYING AMERICANS WILL ONCE AGAIN BE FORCED TO SHOULDER THE COSTS FOR PROVIDING FREE OR MINIMAL COST "TOP OF THE LINE" MEDICAL CARE FOR ...NON-WORKING, NEVER GONNA WORK, WHICH SHOULD THEY WORK...."MINORITIES".....WHO ARE ALREADY GETTING FREE CELL PHONES, FREE FOOD STAMPS....ALMOST FREE HOUSING AND UTILITIES, WELFARE CHECKS, FREE SCHOOL BREAKFASTS AND LUNCHES FOR THEIR CHILDREN (THE MORE THE MERRIER IN TERMS OF MONTHLY WELFARE CHECKS BY THE WAY).

pd

The Affordable Care Act was thrown together and rushed through Congress under the whip of the Progressive champion Nancy Polosi, whose oh-so-wise admonition to us "mean spirited, uncaring" detractors was that "we have to pass it so we can find out what's in it."

No one, even conservative Republicans (aka, "The Enemy" to Obama), denies that we need to reform our healthcare system, but Obama and his star-struck progressive supporters self-righteously believe that the only "true" solution is a European-style single payer system, and that's the trajectory we are on. Obamacare is a poorly organized, poorly conceived, poorly implemented bureaucratic mess. And Mike, I'm sorry, but you're being selective with your data. Health care costs generally are way way up. How can they not be with federal requirements to provide free contraception (even if you're morally opposed to birth control), a mandatory requirement for all companies to carry children on plans until they are 26, directives that plans must accept anyone with any pre-existing condition, and other "goodies" that the Dems threw in with which to buy votes. It seems pretty obvious which way costs will have to go.

Oh, and the requirement that businesses must provide insurance to any employee working 30 or more hours can only reduce the number of full-time jobs available: there are going to be a lot of 29-hour work weeks for employees.

We've elected a charismatic college professor who understands little about economic theory, operates on a failed Keynesian model, and is slowly suffocating our once resilient economy. I know though, it's though big bad Republicans fault.

chatmandu002

Mike,
You spent a lot of time in your article about how the republicans and conservatives are trying to defund Obamacare but skipped the part about the Obama administration giving our many exemptions and delaying the implementation of Obamacare. If Obamacare is so good why all the exemptions and delays? Why will 30 million still be without healthcare and the government still having to pay for emergency care? We all know that the ultimate goal of the liberal/progressives is to have a single payer healthcare system. This will only work if everyone pays and pays equally, like a retail tax. But then we will have to contend with government controlled healthcare and death panels.

Rich

If you take a bucket with a quart of water in it and add a pint of water is it heavier or lighter? When you take 1/5 of the economy and add a large government bureaucracy to it, does it cost more or less? A lot of claims are silly on their face, and the claim that the ACA will lower costs, except cosmetically is the equivalent of a trip down a rabbit hole or over the rainbow. It adds a massive bureaucratic cost to healthcare, which in turn adds massive costs for both insurance companies and practitioners in proving to this bureaucracy that they are in compliance. The problem with healthcare costs now is that the bureaucratic procedures of insurance companies have escalated the cost of doing business for every practitioner. What was once done by a receptionist between calls on a pegboard system is now three full-time and two part time employees. Double that when the government adds it's layer to the cake. You are adding water to a bucket, it's not going to get lighter.

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