Are the Democrats Listening?

The Healthcare Summit chaired by President Obama, quite frankly, was a farce.  From what I heard, President Obama spoke the most, followed by the Democrats, then by the Republicans.  By a couple of accounts, the President chided the Republicans for not seeing it his way.  In the end, the Democrats came out of the meeting with the thought that the only way to pass any legislation was by the process of reconciliation, and that the majority of Americans wanted the legislation.  As President Obama stated:

I’d like Republicans to do a little soul searching to find out if there are some things that you’d be willing to embrace that get to this core problem of 30 million people without health insurance*, and dealing seriously with the pre-existing conditions issue. I don’t know frankly whether we can close that gap.

And if we can’t close that gap, then I suspect Mitch McConnell, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and John Boehner are going to have a lot of arguments about procedures in Congress about moving forward.

However, CNN reported that a Gallup poll states “that a majority of Americans would oppose a move by Senate Democrats to use a parliamentary procedure called ‘reconciliation’ to avoid a Republican filibuster and pass their health care reform legislation by a simple majority vote.  A Gallup survey released Thursday morning indicates that 52 percent of the public opposes using reconciliation, with 39 percent favoring the move, and 9 percent unsure.”

What this is telling me that the Democrats aren’t listening to the American people.  We may want reform of the health care system, but not by this political process.

But the bigger question that no one really seems to want to address is why health care costs (and insurance premiums) are rising.  In my own humble opinion, I think I can point out a few.

1)  Costs are rising because the government reimburses doctors at below cost rates.  The doctors have to make up the difference between Medicare/Medicaid patients and those covered by private insurers.  The insurance companies will charge higher premiums to make up for the higher billing rates.

2)  Drug companies R & D takes up horrendous amounts of capital to develop new treatments for the endless supply of ailments.  I have heard that only 1 in 15 treatments are effective and will pass FDA guidelines, and that is after years of research and testing.

3)  Medical malpractice insurance coverage on doctors is tremendous.  Often, lawsuits are settled out of court because of the time and expense in defending what many times is a frivolous claim.  Those claims that actually make it to court result in clogging the court system and costing everyone millions of dollars.  (Note:  people who are really hurt or die because of inept doctors should be compensated with the doctors being punished both criminally and civilly.)  The cost of the premiums the doctors pay is passed on the the insurance companies which charge higher premiums which are paid by the consumer (you).

4)  Fraud is another cost that drives the cost up.  An example of this would be elective cosmetic surgery to correct a deviated septum, aka, rhinoplasty, aka a “nose job” covered by insurance as a necessary procedure.  We have also heard that many of the government programs have their own levels of fraud and abuse which cost millions of taxpayer dollars.  Perhaps it is this last that riles so many people – If the government cannot keep it’s own house free from fraud, then why would we want them to run it?

If you have noticed anything from the above, 3 out of 4 causes for costs to continue to rise have to do with politicians, lawyers, and government.  Those three have nothing to do with improving the quality or cost of healthcare for everyone, but with covering someone’s rear end.  Should the government take over healthcare, we’ll be paying the government our healthcare premiums instead of private industry, and we all know how well the government controls costs…

To really reform the healthcare industry in this country, the causes of the increases in costs must be addressed first, not the businesses that make it possible for people to even have coverage and treatment in the first place.  And for this reason, Mr. President, you need to ditch the 2,400-page monstrosity with all of its deals and special provisions, and start over from scratch.

* Do you remember that the number a couple of years ago was 47 Million?  Where did the other 17 Million go?

UPDATE: The American Spectator has an article that is very informative and realistic about the state of Healthcare.

About Tom Roland

EE for 25 Years, Two Patents - now a certified PMP. Married twice, burned once. One son with Asperger's Syndrome. Two cats. Conservative leaning to the Right. NRA Life Member.
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10 Responses to Are the Democrats Listening?

  1. Joe says:

    The real number is 25M. No, wait! It’s 56M. Ah, no, it’s 20m.

    Just pick a number out of the air. That’s what President BO does.

  2. The Griper says:

    my first question would always be if we are talking about the cost of health care then why are we talking about the cost of insurance?

    health care costs are what the medical profession charges for their services not the inflated costs of the insurance to pay for that health care.

    in our lifetime, we pay at least twice as much for insurance than we would if we paid cash for our health care.

    so, we can see we can lower the cost of health care ourselves by half with just a change of attitude and the acceptance of personal responsibility. show me any government program that can save you that much money on health care.
    and doing it this way a person has full health care coverage whereas by buying insurance you only have partial heath care coverage.

  3. Tom,
    Your points above are well taken.

    I would also add that high-tech scans add a great deal to the cost of health care here in the United States. One reason that doctors so often order these scans is hinted at in your Point 3 above — doctors fear a malpractice suit.

    In addition, (1) those with gold-plated coverage often demand such scans as “their due,” even when the scans are not needed; (2) scans are supposed to be used primarily to confirm diagnoses, but instead are often used to make the diagnosis in the first place; (3) the machinery used is very expensive, often $2 million per machine, so it is in the interest of the facility to see that as many scans as possible are done.

    Anyway, the above is my two cents.

  4. Ken Taylor says:

    Democrats listen???? HA HA HA HA If they listened they would be forced to actually abandon their agenda in favor of one the people could stand behind. Selective hearing allows them to decieve themselves and the people.

  5. Dolores says:

    I agree that there are cost saving to be had by reducing Medicare fraud. I didn’t realize how widespread Medicare fraud was until I read about it at
    And that is just Medicare. I imagine the same problems exist in other areas of healthcare. Can you imagine the savings if they triple the efforts to fight Medicare fraud?!

  6. Tom says:

    All – Sorry I haven’t been around – work has been insane!

    Joe – Just like 57 states…

    Griper – That’s only true if we don’t have some catastrophic illness like cancer or organ transplant. If it were only doctors’ appointments, I would agree, although the Lipitor/Zocor prescriptions are pricey if you need to pay list.

    AOW – Yes, I do agree that extra tests (the “due diligence”) that doctors sometimes order are not only to rule out potential problems, but to make sure that any possible malpractice suits are circumvented.

    Ken – It’s an agenda, nothing more.

    Delores – Medicare/Medicaid fraud is only part of the problem. Government inserting themselves in the mix is also part of the problem.

  7. The Imperious Barack has regally DECLARED that debate is simply OVER. Further, he will go nuclear in order to do so.

    What the electorate wants is completely immaterial because, after all — it’s ALL about The One, and NOT about the citizens.


  8. Tom says:

    BZ – It’s all about him fulfilling his agenda and securing his place in history as the President who brought government health care to the masses.

  9. dcat says:

    Maybe with the health care plan they can get themselves hearing aides!

  10. Tom says:

    Not a chance in …

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