Health Care Industry Spending $1.4 Million Per Day Lobbying Against Reform

jpeyton

Moderator in SFF, Notebooks, Pre-Built/Barebones
Moderator
Aug 23, 2003
25,375
142
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Text

The nation's largest insurers, hospitals and medical groups have hired more than 350 former government staff members and retired members of Congress in hopes of influencing their old bosses and colleagues, according to an analysis of lobbying disclosures and other records.

The tactic is so widespread that three of every four major health-care firms have at least one former insider on their lobbying payrolls, according to The Washington Post's analysis.

Nearly half of the insiders previously worked for the key committees and lawmakers, including Sens. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), debating whether to adopt a public insurance option opposed by major industry groups. At least 10 others have been members of Congress, such as former House majority leaders Richard K. Armey (R-Tex.) and Richard A. Gephardt (D-Mo.), both of whom represent a New Jersey pharmaceutical firm.

The hirings are part of a record-breaking influence campaign by the health-care industry, which is spending more than $1.4 million a day on lobbying in the current fight, according to disclosure records. And even in a city where lobbying is a part of life, the scale of the effort has drawn attention. For example, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) doubled its spending to nearly $7 million in the first quarter of 2009, followed by Pfizer, with more than $6 million.

The push has reunited many who worked together in government on health-care reform, but are now employed as advocates for pharmaceutical and insurance companies.

A June 10 meeting between aides to Baucus, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, and health-care lobbyists included two former Baucus chiefs of staff: David Castagnetti, whose clients include PhRMA and America's Health Insurance Plans, and Jeffrey A. Forbes, who represents PhRMA, Amgen, Genentech, Merck and others. Castagnetti did not return a telephone call; Forbes declined to comment.

Also inside the closed committee hearing room that day was Richard Tarplin, a veteran of both the Department of Health and Human Services and the Senate, where he worked for Christopher J. Dodd (D-Conn.), one of the leaders in fashioning reform legislation this year. Tarplin now represents the American Medical Association as head of his own lobbying firm, Tarplin Strategies.

"For people like me who are on the outside and used to be on the inside, this is great, because there is a level of trust in these relationships, and I know the policy rationale that is required," Tarplin said in explaining the benefits of having government experience.

But public interest groups and reform advocates complain that the concentration of former government aides on K Street has distorted the health-care debate, and that it further illustrates the problem posed by the "revolving door" between government and private firms.

"The revolving door offers a short cut to a member of Congress to the highest bidder," said Sheila Krumholz, executive director of the Center for Responsive Politics, which compiled some of the data used in The Post's analysis. "It's a small cost of doing business relative to the profits they can garner."

Aides to Baucus and other lawmakers bristle at any suggestion of special treatment for former staff members. Baucus spokesman Scott Mulhauser said the senator "remains committed to working with a variety of stakeholders" as the Finance Committee attempts to come up with a bill this summer.

"The senator and his staff meet daily with individuals, nonprofits and interests from across the health-care spectrum, and are proud that all interests are treated equally and that no one receives special treatment of any kind," Mulhauser said. "As a result, the Finance Committee has been praised by members of Congress and the media for its uniquely inclusive and transparent health-care reform process."

The Post examined federally required disclosure reports submitted by health-care firms that spent more than $100,000 lobbying in the first quarter of this year. It used current and past filings to identify former lawmakers, congressional staff members and executive branch officials.

The analysis identified more than 350 former government aides, each representing an average of four firms or trade groups. That tally does not include lobbyists who did not report their earlier government experience, such as PhRMA President W.J. "Billy" Tauzin, a former Republican congressman from Louisiana. Federal law does not require providing such detail.

Overall, health-care companies and their representatives spent more than $126 million on lobbying in the first quarter, leading all other industries, according to CRP and Senate data. PhRMA led the pack in spending and employs 49 former government staff members among its 136 lobbyists, according to The Post's analysis. Dozens of other former insiders are employed as lobbyists by Pfizer, Eli Lilly, the AMA and the American Hospital Association, each of which spent at least $3.5 million on lobbying from January through March.

The aim of the lobbying blitz is simple: to minimize the damage to insurers, hospitals and other major sectors while maximizing the potential of up to 46 million uninsured Americans as new customers. Although many firms have vowed to help cut costs, major players such as PhRMA, America's Health Insurance Plans and others remain opposed to the public-insurance option, a key proposal that President Obama has endorsed.

Several major Democratic bills include such a plan, but Baucus's committee -- which is acting as the central broker in the debate -- has not committed to the idea. Instead, the Finance Committee has focused recently on private-insurance cooperatives and other proposals seen as more palatable to the insurance industry and centrist Democrats. More than 50 former employees of the committee or its members lobby on behalf of the health-care industry, records show.

Deploying former government officials is a key strategy for pressing such positions on Capitol Hill, according to industry lobbyists, many of whom discussed the issue on the condition of anonymity. They say that legislative or administration experience helps ensure that policies considered by Congress do not imperil health-care interests, which account for about one-sixth of the U.S. economy.

At the same time, these lobbyists say, a personal connection to lawmakers and their staffs does not guarantee success.

"If anyone thinks hiring a former staffer for Baucus or [Charles] Schumer or Blanche Lincoln is going to get them what they want, they are crazy," said one health-care lobbyist who used to work on the Finance Committee, referring to several key Democratic senators. "If we were being judged on that, a lot of us should be fired."

William K. "Billy" Wynne, a former Baucus health counsel who now works for the Health Policy Source lobbying firm, said that "there's nothing insidious" about medical companies and groups hiring former legislative staff members. He also notes that he is subject to a two-year limit on contacts with Baucus's office.

"The technical processes of the House and Senate are not intuitive or widely known," Wynne said. "Like with any service, people who have experience are going to be valuable to people who don't."

Some trade groups and companies appear to emphasize hiring lobbyists with legislative or executive experience. Wellpoint, one of the world's largest insurance conglomerates, employs 11 lobbyists with government experience and three with none. One of its veterans is Stephen Northrup, who worked for several years for Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), including a year as his health policy director on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

"I think the experience on Capitol Hill gives you a better appreciation of the challenges that members and staff face," said Northrup, who began his Washington career as a lobbyist before entering government. "Every institution has its own rhythm. You need to understand when people need information."

The personal and professional ties between lawmakers, their staffs and lobbyists are often complex. Consider the case of Tarplin and his wife, Republican lobbyist Linda Tarplin. The two worked on opposite sides of the Family Medical Leave Act debate in the 1990s, and each has held high-ranking HHS positions -- he for Bill Clinton and she for George H.W. Bush.

Now they run their own health-care lobbying firms, drawing on their connections. Last year, Richard Tarplin's firm reported $650,000 in lobbying income and his wife's firm -- Tarplin, Downs and Young -- reported $3.5 million.

"We have been in situations that are much more combative than this," Linda Tarplin said of the health-care fight. "Both Democrats and Republicans want health-care reform. The rub has always been they tend to get there in different ways."

At least eight former HHS appointees have also crossed over into health-care lobbying, representing more than 25 companies with a stake in the reform legislation. Most were presidential appointees with high-ranking positions, such as the Tarplins.

A few have also cycled back into government. Jack Charles Ebeler, a former Clinton HHS official, left his job as president and chief executive of the Alliance of Community Health Plans a few months ago to become senior adviser for health policy on the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Financial disclosure statements show that Ebeler received consulting fees over the past two years from UnitedHealth Group, Academy Health, the Medicare Rights Center, the Center for Health Care Strategies and the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans. Ebeler declined interview requests by The Post.

One of the most prominent examples of Washington's revolving door is Tauzin, who took the $2.5 million-a-year job as head of PhRMA in 2005 after shepherding a Medicare prescription drug plan through Congress.

Uproar over the appointment led Congress in 2007 to pass a bill barring former members from bringing clients onto the House and Senate floors and from lobbying their friends in members-only gyms. The legislation also forbade direct lobbying contacts with former colleagues for a year in the House and two years in the Senate; efforts to enact a wider ban went nowhere.

Tauzin and other lobbyists rebuff critics, arguing that it is unsurprising that those with experience on Capitol Hill should then draw on that background.

"Is it a distortion of baseball to hire coaches who have played baseball? Is it a distortion of universities to hire from academia?" Tauzin asked rhetorically. "The bottom line is that people work in the fields in which they have experience. Somehow there are people who think that's unusual for politics, but I think it's pretty normal."
Is anyone surprised? As health care costs skyrocket, everyone from the insurance giants to the pharmaceutical companies see Obama's health care reform as a threat to their quarterly profit statements.

Even by modern lobbying standards, $1.4 million per day is a staggering figure. Polls show that an overwhelming number of Americans want reform, so they're taking the fight behind closed doors, hoping their coffers of cash can buy votes.

Let us hope that Obama and the Dems can defeat this lobbying effort and pass their health care reform measures on schedule.
 

Double Trouble

Elite Member
Oct 9, 1999
9,272
103
106
I don't care how much they spend or don't spend. Their profits are irrelevant in this equation. Ultimately, the best health care system is the one that delivers the best results for the most people at the best price. Nothing in the history of governments has given me any slightest indication that a government could do anything in a cost efficient or effective way without a massive amount of waste. Obamacare is IMO a bad thing for the country, and if companies spending millions to help prevent it from happening, then great. Spend $5 million a day if need be.
 

Fingolfin269

Lifer
Feb 28, 2003
17,948
31
91
Originally posted by: jpeyton
Text

The nation's largest insurers, hospitals and medical groups have hired more than 350 former government staff members and retired members of Congress in hopes of influencing their old bosses and colleagues, according to an analysis of lobbying disclosures and other records.

The tactic is so widespread that three of every four major health-care firms have at least one former insider on their lobbying payrolls, according to The Washington Post's analysis.

Nearly half of the insiders previously worked for the key committees and lawmakers, including Sens. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), debating whether to adopt a public insurance option opposed by major industry groups. At least 10 others have been members of Congress, such as former House majority leaders Richard K. Armey (R-Tex.) and Richard A. Gephardt (D-Mo.), both of whom represent a New Jersey pharmaceutical firm.

The hirings are part of a record-breaking influence campaign by the health-care industry, which is spending more than $1.4 million a day on lobbying in the current fight, according to disclosure records. And even in a city where lobbying is a part of life, the scale of the effort has drawn attention. For example, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) doubled its spending to nearly $7 million in the first quarter of 2009, followed by Pfizer, with more than $6 million.

The push has reunited many who worked together in government on health-care reform, but are now employed as advocates for pharmaceutical and insurance companies.

A June 10 meeting between aides to Baucus, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, and health-care lobbyists included two former Baucus chiefs of staff: David Castagnetti, whose clients include PhRMA and America's Health Insurance Plans, and Jeffrey A. Forbes, who represents PhRMA, Amgen, Genentech, Merck and others. Castagnetti did not return a telephone call; Forbes declined to comment.

Also inside the closed committee hearing room that day was Richard Tarplin, a veteran of both the Department of Health and Human Services and the Senate, where he worked for Christopher J. Dodd (D-Conn.), one of the leaders in fashioning reform legislation this year. Tarplin now represents the American Medical Association as head of his own lobbying firm, Tarplin Strategies.

"For people like me who are on the outside and used to be on the inside, this is great, because there is a level of trust in these relationships, and I know the policy rationale that is required," Tarplin said in explaining the benefits of having government experience.

But public interest groups and reform advocates complain that the concentration of former government aides on K Street has distorted the health-care debate, and that it further illustrates the problem posed by the "revolving door" between government and private firms.

"The revolving door offers a short cut to a member of Congress to the highest bidder," said Sheila Krumholz, executive director of the Center for Responsive Politics, which compiled some of the data used in The Post's analysis. "It's a small cost of doing business relative to the profits they can garner."

Aides to Baucus and other lawmakers bristle at any suggestion of special treatment for former staff members. Baucus spokesman Scott Mulhauser said the senator "remains committed to working with a variety of stakeholders" as the Finance Committee attempts to come up with a bill this summer.

"The senator and his staff meet daily with individuals, nonprofits and interests from across the health-care spectrum, and are proud that all interests are treated equally and that no one receives special treatment of any kind," Mulhauser said. "As a result, the Finance Committee has been praised by members of Congress and the media for its uniquely inclusive and transparent health-care reform process."

The Post examined federally required disclosure reports submitted by health-care firms that spent more than $100,000 lobbying in the first quarter of this year. It used current and past filings to identify former lawmakers, congressional staff members and executive branch officials.

The analysis identified more than 350 former government aides, each representing an average of four firms or trade groups. That tally does not include lobbyists who did not report their earlier government experience, such as PhRMA President W.J. "Billy" Tauzin, a former Republican congressman from Louisiana. Federal law does not require providing such detail.

Overall, health-care companies and their representatives spent more than $126 million on lobbying in the first quarter, leading all other industries, according to CRP and Senate data. PhRMA led the pack in spending and employs 49 former government staff members among its 136 lobbyists, according to The Post's analysis. Dozens of other former insiders are employed as lobbyists by Pfizer, Eli Lilly, the AMA and the American Hospital Association, each of which spent at least $3.5 million on lobbying from January through March.

The aim of the lobbying blitz is simple: to minimize the damage to insurers, hospitals and other major sectors while maximizing the potential of up to 46 million uninsured Americans as new customers. Although many firms have vowed to help cut costs, major players such as PhRMA, America's Health Insurance Plans and others remain opposed to the public-insurance option, a key proposal that President Obama has endorsed.

Several major Democratic bills include such a plan, but Baucus's committee -- which is acting as the central broker in the debate -- has not committed to the idea. Instead, the Finance Committee has focused recently on private-insurance cooperatives and other proposals seen as more palatable to the insurance industry and centrist Democrats. More than 50 former employees of the committee or its members lobby on behalf of the health-care industry, records show.

Deploying former government officials is a key strategy for pressing such positions on Capitol Hill, according to industry lobbyists, many of whom discussed the issue on the condition of anonymity. They say that legislative or administration experience helps ensure that policies considered by Congress do not imperil health-care interests, which account for about one-sixth of the U.S. economy.

At the same time, these lobbyists say, a personal connection to lawmakers and their staffs does not guarantee success.

"If anyone thinks hiring a former staffer for Baucus or [Charles] Schumer or Blanche Lincoln is going to get them what they want, they are crazy," said one health-care lobbyist who used to work on the Finance Committee, referring to several key Democratic senators. "If we were being judged on that, a lot of us should be fired."

William K. "Billy" Wynne, a former Baucus health counsel who now works for the Health Policy Source lobbying firm, said that "there's nothing insidious" about medical companies and groups hiring former legislative staff members. He also notes that he is subject to a two-year limit on contacts with Baucus's office.

"The technical processes of the House and Senate are not intuitive or widely known," Wynne said. "Like with any service, people who have experience are going to be valuable to people who don't."

Some trade groups and companies appear to emphasize hiring lobbyists with legislative or executive experience. Wellpoint, one of the world's largest insurance conglomerates, employs 11 lobbyists with government experience and three with none. One of its veterans is Stephen Northrup, who worked for several years for Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), including a year as his health policy director on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

"I think the experience on Capitol Hill gives you a better appreciation of the challenges that members and staff face," said Northrup, who began his Washington career as a lobbyist before entering government. "Every institution has its own rhythm. You need to understand when people need information."

The personal and professional ties between lawmakers, their staffs and lobbyists are often complex. Consider the case of Tarplin and his wife, Republican lobbyist Linda Tarplin. The two worked on opposite sides of the Family Medical Leave Act debate in the 1990s, and each has held high-ranking HHS positions -- he for Bill Clinton and she for George H.W. Bush.

Now they run their own health-care lobbying firms, drawing on their connections. Last year, Richard Tarplin's firm reported $650,000 in lobbying income and his wife's firm -- Tarplin, Downs and Young -- reported $3.5 million.

"We have been in situations that are much more combative than this," Linda Tarplin said of the health-care fight. "Both Democrats and Republicans want health-care reform. The rub has always been they tend to get there in different ways."

At least eight former HHS appointees have also crossed over into health-care lobbying, representing more than 25 companies with a stake in the reform legislation. Most were presidential appointees with high-ranking positions, such as the Tarplins.

A few have also cycled back into government. Jack Charles Ebeler, a former Clinton HHS official, left his job as president and chief executive of the Alliance of Community Health Plans a few months ago to become senior adviser for health policy on the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Financial disclosure statements show that Ebeler received consulting fees over the past two years from UnitedHealth Group, Academy Health, the Medicare Rights Center, the Center for Health Care Strategies and the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans. Ebeler declined interview requests by The Post.

One of the most prominent examples of Washington's revolving door is Tauzin, who took the $2.5 million-a-year job as head of PhRMA in 2005 after shepherding a Medicare prescription drug plan through Congress.

Uproar over the appointment led Congress in 2007 to pass a bill barring former members from bringing clients onto the House and Senate floors and from lobbying their friends in members-only gyms. The legislation also forbade direct lobbying contacts with former colleagues for a year in the House and two years in the Senate; efforts to enact a wider ban went nowhere.

Tauzin and other lobbyists rebuff critics, arguing that it is unsurprising that those with experience on Capitol Hill should then draw on that background.

"Is it a distortion of baseball to hire coaches who have played baseball? Is it a distortion of universities to hire from academia?" Tauzin asked rhetorically. "The bottom line is that people work in the fields in which they have experience. Somehow there are people who think that's unusual for politics, but I think it's pretty normal."
Is anyone surprised? As health care costs skyrocket, everyone from the insurance giants to the pharmaceutical companies see Obama's health care reform as a threat to their quarterly profit statements.

Even by modern lobbying standards, $1.4 million per day is a staggering figure. Polls show that an overwhelming number of Americans want reform, so they're taking the fight behind closed doors, hoping their coffers of cash can buy votes.

Let us hope that Obama and the Dems can defeat this lobbying effort and pass their health care reform measures on schedule.

Wouldn't they basically be defeating themselves? They have such a large number of votes if anything fails to happen it really is there own fault.
 

alchemize

Lifer
Mar 24, 2000
11,489
0
0
Originally posted by: Double Trouble
I don't care how much they spend or don't spend. Their profits are irrelevant in this equation. Ultimately, the best health care system is the one that delivers the best results for the most people at the best price. Nothing in the history of governments has given me any slightest indication that a government could do anything in a cost efficient or effective way without a massive amount of waste. Obamacare is IMO a bad thing for the country, and if companies spending millions to help prevent it from happening, then great. Spend $5 million a day if need be.

Pretty good investment to save a couple trillion I think...
 

jpeyton

Moderator in SFF, Notebooks, Pre-Built/Barebones
Moderator
Aug 23, 2003
25,375
142
116
Originally posted by: alchemize
Originally posted by: Double Trouble
I don't care how much they spend or don't spend. Their profits are irrelevant in this equation. Ultimately, the best health care system is the one that delivers the best results for the most people at the best price. Nothing in the history of governments has given me any slightest indication that a government could do anything in a cost efficient or effective way without a massive amount of waste. Obamacare is IMO a bad thing for the country, and if companies spending millions to help prevent it from happening, then great. Spend $5 million a day if need be.

Pretty good investment to save a couple trillion I think...
We're not saving a couple trillion. Remember that your insurance premiums cover the "leakage" from losses by uninsured patients.

You'll pay for it one way or another :laugh:
 

alchemize

Lifer
Mar 24, 2000
11,489
0
0
Originally posted by: jpeyton
Originally posted by: alchemize
Originally posted by: Double Trouble
I don't care how much they spend or don't spend. Their profits are irrelevant in this equation. Ultimately, the best health care system is the one that delivers the best results for the most people at the best price. Nothing in the history of governments has given me any slightest indication that a government could do anything in a cost efficient or effective way without a massive amount of waste. Obamacare is IMO a bad thing for the country, and if companies spending millions to help prevent it from happening, then great. Spend $5 million a day if need be.

Pretty good investment to save a couple trillion I think...
We're not saving a couple trillion. Remember that your insurance premiums cover the "leakage" from losses by uninsured patients.

You'll pay for it one way or another :laugh:
That might be true if obamacare was going to offer preventative/catastrophic. But of course the uninsured need everything that the old folks get. Scooters and hip replacements at 85 years old and all that good stuff.

But you are correct on one thing, I (not you) will be paying for it.
 

senseamp

Lifer
Feb 5, 2006
35,787
6,195
126
If I was sucking down 20% of the country's GDP and was threatened with having that figure cut significantly to get inline with other developed countries spending, I'd be sparing no expense fighting reform either.
 

fskimospy

Elite Member
Mar 10, 2006
83,892
47,736
136
Originally posted by: alchemize
Originally posted by: jpeyton
Originally posted by: alchemize
Originally posted by: Double Trouble
I don't care how much they spend or don't spend. Their profits are irrelevant in this equation. Ultimately, the best health care system is the one that delivers the best results for the most people at the best price. Nothing in the history of governments has given me any slightest indication that a government could do anything in a cost efficient or effective way without a massive amount of waste. Obamacare is IMO a bad thing for the country, and if companies spending millions to help prevent it from happening, then great. Spend $5 million a day if need be.

Pretty good investment to save a couple trillion I think...
We're not saving a couple trillion. Remember that your insurance premiums cover the "leakage" from losses by uninsured patients.

You'll pay for it one way or another :laugh:
That might be true if obamacare was going to offer preventative/catastrophic. But of course the uninsured need everything that the old folks get. Scooters and hip replacements at 85 years old and all that good stuff.

But you are correct on one thing, I (not you) will be paying for it.

Uhmmmm, 85 year olds are already covered under Medicare. I sincerely doubt many hip replacements will be done to people covered under this new plan.

On a side note I do like that the right has pulled back out the "hillarycare" thing, but for Obama. I'm not really sure I understand it though. Way back in the 90's, they called it Hillarycare because Hillary wasn't terribly popular and so they could tie a program to an unpopular person. Obama is wildly popular, so I would think if anything calling it "Obamacare" would make it MORE popular. Is this what you intend?
 

charrison

Lifer
Oct 13, 1999
17,033
1
81
Originally posted by: jpeyton
Originally posted by: alchemize
Originally posted by: Double Trouble
I don't care how much they spend or don't spend. Their profits are irrelevant in this equation. Ultimately, the best health care system is the one that delivers the best results for the most people at the best price. Nothing in the history of governments has given me any slightest indication that a government could do anything in a cost efficient or effective way without a massive amount of waste. Obamacare is IMO a bad thing for the country, and if companies spending millions to help prevent it from happening, then great. Spend $5 million a day if need be.

Pretty good investment to save a couple trillion I think...
We're not saving a couple trillion. Remember that your insurance premiums cover the "leakage" from losses by uninsured patients.

You'll pay for it one way or another :laugh:

Of course much of leakage can be fixed without nationalizing health care. Separating employment from insurance removes about 50% of the problem.
 

lupi

Lifer
Apr 8, 2001
32,539
260
126
And how much is the other side spending? Because I know I've only seen media ads from one side in this matter.



Wait, I have only seen ads from one side and they kept saying something about my right to health care.....
 

senseamp

Lifer
Feb 5, 2006
35,787
6,195
126
Originally posted by: charrison
Originally posted by: jpeyton
Originally posted by: alchemize
Originally posted by: Double Trouble
I don't care how much they spend or don't spend. Their profits are irrelevant in this equation. Ultimately, the best health care system is the one that delivers the best results for the most people at the best price. Nothing in the history of governments has given me any slightest indication that a government could do anything in a cost efficient or effective way without a massive amount of waste. Obamacare is IMO a bad thing for the country, and if companies spending millions to help prevent it from happening, then great. Spend $5 million a day if need be.

Pretty good investment to save a couple trillion I think...
We're not saving a couple trillion. Remember that your insurance premiums cover the "leakage" from losses by uninsured patients.

You'll pay for it one way or another :laugh:

Of course much of leakage can be fixed without nationalizing health care. Separating employment from insurance removes about 50% of the problem.

OK, so why didn't opposition to nationalizing healthcare fix it? They had 15 years since killing Hillary-care.
 

alchemize

Lifer
Mar 24, 2000
11,489
0
0
Originally posted by: eskimospy
Originally posted by: alchemize
Originally posted by: jpeyton
Originally posted by: alchemize
Originally posted by: Double Trouble
I don't care how much they spend or don't spend. Their profits are irrelevant in this equation. Ultimately, the best health care system is the one that delivers the best results for the most people at the best price. Nothing in the history of governments has given me any slightest indication that a government could do anything in a cost efficient or effective way without a massive amount of waste. Obamacare is IMO a bad thing for the country, and if companies spending millions to help prevent it from happening, then great. Spend $5 million a day if need be.

Pretty good investment to save a couple trillion I think...
We're not saving a couple trillion. Remember that your insurance premiums cover the "leakage" from losses by uninsured patients.

You'll pay for it one way or another :laugh:
That might be true if obamacare was going to offer preventative/catastrophic. But of course the uninsured need everything that the old folks get. Scooters and hip replacements at 85 years old and all that good stuff.

But you are correct on one thing, I (not you) will be paying for it.

Uhmmmm, 85 year olds are already covered under Medicare. I sincerely doubt many hip replacements will be done to people covered under this new plan.

On a side note I do like that the right has pulled back out the "hillarycare" thing, but for Obama. I'm not really sure I understand it though. Way back in the 90's, they called it Hillarycare because Hillary wasn't terribly popular and so they could tie a program to an unpopular person. Obama is wildly popular, so I would think if anything calling it "Obamacare" would make it MORE popular. Is this what you intend?

Those were examples of how the government overspends in insurance. There will be countless examples of this for UHC of course also...


While I've turned the corner on believing we should have some form of national insurance, it should in no way resemble what medicare and private insurance are. It's a "safety net", not a silken safety hammock. I think every american should have access to some level of healthcare, but when you're on the taxpayers dime, you should get preventative and catastrophic, nothing more. Then we could afford it.
 

Phokus

Lifer
Nov 20, 1999
22,995
776
126
Originally posted by: Double Trouble
I don't care how much they spend or don't spend. Their profits are irrelevant in this equation. Ultimately, the best health care system is the one that delivers the best results for the most people at the best price. Nothing in the history of governments has given me any slightest indication that a government could do anything in a cost efficient or effective way without a massive amount of waste. Obamacare is IMO a bad thing for the country, and if companies spending millions to help prevent it from happening, then great. Spend $5 million a day if need be.

Massive amounts of waste? 1 percent overhead in medicare vs. double digit overhead in private health insurance. gee, i wonder which has massive amounts of waste.

Republicans.txt
 

alchemize

Lifer
Mar 24, 2000
11,489
0
0
Originally posted by: Phokus
Originally posted by: Double Trouble
I don't care how much they spend or don't spend. Their profits are irrelevant in this equation. Ultimately, the best health care system is the one that delivers the best results for the most people at the best price. Nothing in the history of governments has given me any slightest indication that a government could do anything in a cost efficient or effective way without a massive amount of waste. Obamacare is IMO a bad thing for the country, and if companies spending millions to help prevent it from happening, then great. Spend $5 million a day if need be.

Massive amounts of waste? 1 percent overhead in medicare vs. double digit overhead in private health insurance. gee, i wonder which has massive amounts of waste.

Republicans.txt
Debunked about 100 times. Don't let facts get in your way.

It's a few years old, but a good read nonetheless:
Text

 

StageLeft

No Lifer
Sep 29, 2000
70,150
5
0
Originally posted by: Phokus
Originally posted by: Double Trouble
I don't care how much they spend or don't spend. Their profits are irrelevant in this equation. Ultimately, the best health care system is the one that delivers the best results for the most people at the best price. Nothing in the history of governments has given me any slightest indication that a government could do anything in a cost efficient or effective way without a massive amount of waste. Obamacare is IMO a bad thing for the country, and if companies spending millions to help prevent it from happening, then great. Spend $5 million a day if need be.

Massive amounts of waste? 1 percent overhead in medicare vs. double digit overhead in private health insurance. gee, i wonder which has massive amounts of waste.

Republicans.txt
Apples and Oranges. That 1% overhead figure is meaningless.

 

Phokus

Lifer
Nov 20, 1999
22,995
776
126
Originally posted by: alchemize
Originally posted by: Phokus
Originally posted by: Double Trouble
I don't care how much they spend or don't spend. Their profits are irrelevant in this equation. Ultimately, the best health care system is the one that delivers the best results for the most people at the best price. Nothing in the history of governments has given me any slightest indication that a government could do anything in a cost efficient or effective way without a massive amount of waste. Obamacare is IMO a bad thing for the country, and if companies spending millions to help prevent it from happening, then great. Spend $5 million a day if need be.

Massive amounts of waste? 1 percent overhead in medicare vs. double digit overhead in private health insurance. gee, i wonder which has massive amounts of waste.

Republicans.txt
Debunked about 100 times. Don't let facts get in your way.

It's a few years old, but a good read nonetheless:
Text

Oh really, then what is the true overhead for medicare then? Is it higher or lower than private care's?

Lets look at Canada then, their healthcare covers EVERYONE

Results In 1999, health administration costs totaled at least $294.3 billion in the United States, or $1,059 per capita, as compared with $307 per capita in Canada. After exclusions, administration accounted for 31.0 percent of health care expenditures in the United States and 16.7 percent of health care expenditures in Canada. Canada's national health insurance program had overhead of 1.3 percent; the overhead among Canada's private insurers was higher than that in the United States (13.2 percent vs. 11.7 percent). Providers' administrative costs were far lower in Canada.

1.3 percent overhead vs. 13.2 percent via their private counterparts


http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/short/349/8/768

Don't let facts get in your way. Public systems will ALWAYS have lower overhead than their private counterparts.

Republicans.txt
 

spacejamz

Lifer
Mar 31, 2003
10,790
1,435
126
Originally posted by: tvarad
A fascinating article on Wal-mart style heart surgery in India. One surgery costs about 110000 Indian Rupees, that's about USD $2200! Heck, that's what it would take to put in a decent crown in the U.S. There must be a lesson in capitalism for the U.S. here somewhere.

The World's Largest Heart Factory

Analysis of it's success

Wonder how much malpractice insurance for these doctors costs...they probably don't have to worry as much about getting sued left and right like doctors in the states have to....

 

OutHouse

Lifer
Jun 5, 2000
36,413
616
126
bottom line is something needs to be done. people should not have to worry about going broke or losing their house to pay a medical bill. one visit to the hospital for a serious problem will rack up a bill that will wipe out most peoples savings even with insurance.

im sorry but that is just plain wrong.
 

dainthomas

Lifer
Dec 7, 2004
14,588
3,417
136
Originally posted by: tvarad
A fascinating article on Wal-mart style heart surgery in India. One surgery costs about 110000 Indian Rupees, that's about USD $2200! Heck, that's what it would take to put in a decent crown in the U.S. There must be a lesson in capitalism for the U.S. here somewhere.

The World's Largest Heart Factory

Analysis of it's success

Haha, absolutely no way I would go to India for heart surgery. I don't really mind if the guy who's cutting into my freakin' heart is obscenely well compensated.

There are some things where it doesn't matter if you cheap out. This is not one of them.
 

spidey07

No Lifer
Aug 4, 2000
65,469
5
76
Originally posted by: Citrix
bottom line is something needs to be done. people should not have to worry about going broke or losing their house to pay a medical bill. one visit to the hospital for a serious problem will rack up a bill that will wipe out most peoples savings even with insurance.

im sorry but that is just plain wrong.

Yes, you are just plain wrong. With insurance this will not happen, that's what insurance is for. If it does break you then you suck at picking insurance.

See how personal responsibility works?
 

eleison

Golden Member
Mar 29, 2006
1,319
0
0
Originally posted by: dainthomas
Originally posted by: tvarad
A fascinating article on Wal-mart style heart surgery in India. One surgery costs about 110000 Indian Rupees, that's about USD $2200! Heck, that's what it would take to put in a decent crown in the U.S. There must be a lesson in capitalism for the U.S. here somewhere.

The World's Largest Heart Factory

Analysis of it's success

Haha, absolutely no way I would go to India for heart surgery. I don't really mind if the guy who's cutting into my freakin' heart is obscenely well compensated.

There are some things where it doesn't matter if you cheap out. This is not one of them.



This why health care in the states is expensive... surprisingly, in some countries where doctors aren't obscenely well compensated. people still receive good health care, sometimes even better health care.

 

alchemize

Lifer
Mar 24, 2000
11,489
0
0
Originally posted by: Phokus
Originally posted by: alchemize
Originally posted by: Phokus
Originally posted by: Double Trouble
I don't care how much they spend or don't spend. Their profits are irrelevant in this equation. Ultimately, the best health care system is the one that delivers the best results for the most people at the best price. Nothing in the history of governments has given me any slightest indication that a government could do anything in a cost efficient or effective way without a massive amount of waste. Obamacare is IMO a bad thing for the country, and if companies spending millions to help prevent it from happening, then great. Spend $5 million a day if need be.

Massive amounts of waste? 1 percent overhead in medicare vs. double digit overhead in private health insurance. gee, i wonder which has massive amounts of waste.

Republicans.txt
Debunked about 100 times. Don't let facts get in your way.

It's a few years old, but a good read nonetheless:
Text

Oh really, then what is the true overhead for medicare then? Is it higher or lower than private care's?

Lets look at Canada then, their healthcare covers EVERYONE

Results In 1999, health administration costs totaled at least $294.3 billion in the United States, or $1,059 per capita, as compared with $307 per capita in Canada. After exclusions, administration accounted for 31.0 percent of health care expenditures in the United States and 16.7 percent of health care expenditures in Canada. Canada's national health insurance program had overhead of 1.3 percent; the overhead among Canada's private insurers was higher than that in the United States (13.2 percent vs. 11.7 percent). Providers' administrative costs were far lower in Canada.

1.3 percent overhead vs. 13.2 percent via their private counterparts


http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/short/349/8/768

Don't let facts get in your way. Public systems will ALWAYS have lower overhead than their private counterparts.

Republicans.txt
Why are you comparing a nationalized healthcare & insurance system's combined administrative costs to Medicare/private insurance. That's apples and oranges, heck that's apples and papayas. Didn't read my link, did you.


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