Friday, October 2, 2009

Die Quickly!

Okay, so Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fl) is one of my new heroes. I have some other new heroines after watching Oprah yesterday (Oct 1, 2009); but more about them in another post.

Recently, the minority leader in the House of Congress, Rep John Boehner claimed not to have taked to a regular person who supported the public option. I think he's lying, but I called his DC office, hoping to talk to him, anyway. He wasn't available. Probably somewhere lying some more. So I talked to the staff person who answered the phone. Boehner's objects to the public option are standard 'Publican dribble. But, as you know, there are somethings in their argument I just can't figure out.

So first off, a public option could eventually take over the private industry, according to Boehner. I'm left to wonder how exactly that would work, as though people would "opt" into it against their will. So of course, I point out that the option would have to operate like a regular private company, collecting revenue and premiums and all. Then the guy said something about Medicare running up the national debt. And I was confused on a number of levels.

Sorry, but genius though I be, if you say something stupid enough, you can leave my speechless.

I responded that I didn't think the guy was being completely accurate, but as the point was to record my support for the public option, I went ahead and ended the call. But, still bothered by the issue of the of Medicare adding to the national debt. "Huh?" The first thing that came to mind was that Social Security was running low, but I knew that was because previous administrations had been raiding the Social Security trust fund in order to afford tax cuts. But that wasn't the case with Medicare. Also, if Medicare is rising to the national debt, and it's not because we're just printing money to fund it (If that were the case, I'm certain we'd have heard it by now.), then isn't the problem the rising cost of healthcare altogether? What does that have to do with Medicare? Doesn't that mean that everybody's being hit?

So I do some quick research. I discovered that healthcare costs are being driven up by over-treatment. "Huh?"

From the AARP:
Of our total $2.3 trillion health care bill last year, a whopping $500 billion to $700 billion was spent on treatments, tests, and hospitalizations that did nothing to improve our health. Even worse, new evidence suggests that too much health care may actually be killing us. According to estimates by Elliott Fisher, M.D., a noted Dartmouth researcher, unnecessary care leads to the deaths of as many as 30,000 Medicare recipients annually.
To his credit, the guy did mention that the public option wouldn't contain rising healthcare costs, and would end up in the red like Medicare, which is how Medicare got brought up. But as I recall, the public option isn't supposed to contain costs; there're other parts of the president's plan that would do that like adjusting provider compensation. And that's something the president wants to do (via his Minnesota townhall transcript):

Now, think about that if car -- auto repair shops operated the same way. You take your car in and you get it fixed, and a week later the thing is broken again. You go in. The guy says, well, let me charge you all over again, and I'll do just the same thing. That doesn't make sense. So what we've said is, let's give hospitals an incentive. Let's say to the hospitals, we're going to charge you for overall treatment of whatever the problem is. And if you get it right the first time, you get to keep a little extra money. But if you keep on having the person coming back again and again, then there's a disincentive.
But he doesn't meant to use the public option to do so.

Some other reasons we've been spending more on healthcare than on food is probably how much we spend on food! We're just not doing enough to take care of ourselves and prevent illnesses like diabetes.

Two other sites where you can find some answers to any questions talking to a conservative might raise are Kaiser Family Foundation and the National Coalition on Healthcare.

But, if I made any news, it's that Republicans don't like Medicare as much as they've been recently saying.

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But Don't Jack My Genuis