A relative of mine recently  forwarded the following email to me:

Here are some specifics  on the proposed “health care bill.”  If anyone is “okay” with any of this crap, they are insane.  It’s time to call our congressman’s.  offices and tell them we do not want them to support this health bill. No matter what party you belong to, this is bul-#@@ of the highest order.

Here is a very clear view about the problems our congress is having with the so called “healthcare reform” bill!


Subject:    Judge  David Kithil on the healthcare reform bill:

The article is in the Marble Falls, Texas newspaper.  It  was written by a former county judge, David Kithil.  He  voiced his opposition to HB 3200, and gave EXACT SPECIFICS, to  include page and paragraph in the bill on why this Health Bill  is BAD.

Here are excerpts from the article, giving EXACT pages  and paragraphs in the bill and why it is so bad.  You can  forward this to all of your addressees.  I think he hits  everything  right on the head and the opposition you may  encounter cannot argue over these points:

JUDGE  KITHIL:  “I have reviewed selected sections of the bill  and find it unbelievable that our Congress, led by Speaker  Nancy  Pelosi, could come up with a bill loaded with so  many wrong-headed elements.  We do need to reform the  health insurance system in America in  order  to make coverage affordable and available to everyone.   But, how many of us believe our federal government can  manage a new program any  better than the bankrupt  Medicare program or the  underfunded Social Security  program?
Both Republicans and Democrats are equally  responsible for the financial mess of those two programs.
I  am opposed to HB 3200 for a number of reasons.
To start  with, it is estimated that a federal bureaucracy of  more  than 150,000 new employees will be required to administer HB3200.  That  is an unacceptable expansion of a  government that is already too intrusive in our lives.
If we are going to hire 150,000 new employees, let’s put  them to work protecting our borders, fighting the massive drug problem and putting more law enforcement/firefighters out  there.”

NOW,  here comes the good stuff:  “Other problems I have with  this bill include:

Page  50/section  152:  The bill will provide insurance to  all non-U.S. residents, even if they are here illegally.

Page  58 and 59: The government will have real-time access to an  individual’s bank account and will have the authority to make  electronic fund transfers from those accounts.

Page  65/section 164:  The plan will be subsidized (by the  government) for all union members, union retirees and for   community organizations (such as  the Association  of Community Organizations for Reform Now – ACORN).

Page  203/line 14-15:  The tax imposed under this section will  not be treated as a tax.  (How could anybody in their  right mind come up with that?)

Page  241 and  253:  Doctors will all be paid the same  regardless of specialty, and the government will set all  doctors’ fees.

Page  272. section 1145: Cancer hospital will ration care according  to the patient’s age.

Page  317 and 321: The government will impose a prohibition on  hospital expansion; however, communities may petition for an  exception.

Page  425, line 4-12: The government mandates advance-care planning  consultations.  Those on Social Security will be required  to attend an “end-of-life planning” seminar every five years.

Page  429,  line 13-25:  The government will specify which  doctors can write an end-of-life order.”

HAD  ENOUGH????  Judge Kithil then goes on:  ” Finally,  it  is specifically stated this bill will not apply  to members of  Congress. Members of Congress are  already  exempt from the Social Security system and have a well-funded  private plan that covers their retirement needs.  If they  were on our Social Security plan, I believe they would find a  very quick “fix” to make the plan financially sound for the  future.”

Honorable David Kithil, Marble Falls, Texas.

I decided to seek out an online copy of the bill to get an idea of how accurate Mr. Kithil’s claims might be, as his claims sounded like a load of hogwash to me. A quick google search turned up a copy of the bill over at OpenCongress.org which I’ve used to make my comparison of the bill to Mr. Kithil’s claims.

  1. “EXACT SPECIFICS, to include page and paragraph in the bill on why this Health Bill is BAD”.
    • Page/paragraph numbers are useless for comparison without having an identical print copy. If Mr. Kithil had legitimate complaints with specific parts of the bill, why didn’t he reference them all by their Sections/Sub-section headings or perhaps even by including quotes from the bill so other people could see exactly what part of the bill he was talking about?
    • I also find it interesting that Mr Kithil apparently wrote such an amazing article against H.B. 3200 that people are feel the need to forward it to everybody they know, and yet they don’t forward the entire article that he wrote.
      • I attempted to do some digging into whether any such article was written by a David Kithil of Marble Falls, TX but have not been able to find anything except references to this email chain-letter.
  2. “it is estimated that a federal bureaucracy of  more  than 150,000 new employees will be required to administer HB3200”
    • If the Far Right was interested in backing this bill; this comment would instead be about how the bill will help out our struggling economy by creating jobs. But since they don’t like the bill, it’s about waste. Also, where is Mr. Kithil getting this estimate from? By failing to quote a source, it makes one wonder if he didn’t just pull a high out of thin air to try and make people panic over the bill.
  3. “Page  50/section  152:  The bill will provide insurance to  all non-U.S. residents, even if they are here illegally.”
  4. Page  58 and 59: The government will have real-time access to an  individual’s bank account and will have the authority to make  electronic fund transfers from those accounts.”
  5. “Page  65/section 164:  The plan will be subsidized (by the  government) for all union members, union retirees and for  community organizations (such as  the Association  of Community Organizations for Reform Now – ACORN).”
    • I will note that section 164 is SEC. 164. ADMINISTRATIVE SIMPLIFICATION and everything I see under it appears to be talking about how the plan is to be run. But there is nothing I can find in the bill which seems to support Mr. Kithil’s claim that the plan will be subsidized for union members, union retirees and for community organizations. If Mr. Kithil or another opponent of this bill can find me the relevant portion of the bill which makes up the basis of this claim, I’ll be happy to revisit it.
  6. “Page  203/line 14-15:  The tax imposed under this section will  not be treated as a tax.  (How could anybody in their  right mind come up with that?)”
  7. “Page  241 and  253:  Doctors will all be paid the same  regardless of specialty, and the government will set all  doctors’ fees.”
    • Again the lack of proper documentation of Mr. Kithil’s argument, but my best guess is he’s referring to some language in the bill that the Secretary must negotiate rates for health-care items/services such that the government will not pay less than the rates already set in the Social Security Act and not more than the average of other QHBP. Again, this is fear-mongering on the part of the Far Right and if they were supporting the bill; they’d point out this bit as being fiscally responsible on their part.
  8. “Page  272. section 1145: Cancer hospital will ration care according  to the patient’s age.”
    • (18) AUTHORIZATION OF ADJUSTMENT FOR CANCER HOSPITALS–  What this portion of the bill really does is give the Secretary the ability to study the costs of payments to cancer hospitals and if it is determined that these specialty hospitals are charging more for the same services as general hospitals, then the Secretary has the authority to adjust payments to these cancer hospitals to reflect those costs.  Which sounds more like this bill would have the government picking up more of the expense for patients going to a cancer hospital, and that sounds good to me.
  9. “Page  317 and 321: The government will impose a prohibition on  hospital expansion; however, communities may petition for an  exception.”
      • I’m shocked as for the first time since I started reviewing Mr. Kithil’s claims, this one appears to be entirely accurate. It appears he is making a reference to (C) PROHIBITION ON EXPANSION OF FACILITY CAPACITY. But where he sees a problem, I see a necessary step towards reform. When you’re trying to restructure something as complicated as the US health-care system, you’re much better off minimizing the number of variables you have to deal with. Hence, the prohibition on expanding health-care facilites. However since having those facilities can mean life or death to patients; the creators of this bill have included provisions for health-care providers to ask for an exemption. Why exactly Mr Kithil finds this to be a problem is not made clear in the email, and I would be happy to discuss his complaints on this point if he cares to make them.
      • An alternate theory as to the reasonin behind this section of the bill, was proposed by James in a comment:
  10. the pro­hi­bi­tion on expan­sion of facil­i­ties is only on physi­cian owned hos­pi­tals. I think the idea being one thing that dri­ves up costs is some less eth­i­cal doc­tors refer­ring patients for unneeded tests and diag­nos­tics at facil­i­ties they owned to get more insur­ance money.
  11. “Page  425, line 4-12: The government mandates advance-care planning  consultations.  Those on Social Security will be required  to attend an “end-of-life planning” seminar every five years.”
    • While there is language in this bill for advance-care planning which includes mention of end-of-life planning; the way it’s written, it’s clear the intention is to make the patient aware of what palliative, hospice and other care services the health-care provider offers which would naturally be of importance for a person reaching the end of their lifetime. Are those consultations going to be filled with happiness & joy? Probably not. Is it a good idea to put information in the hands of people who will need? Definitely.
    • It’s also good to point out that under SEC. 138. INFORMATION ON END-OF-LIFE PLANNING, (b)“Nothing in this section shall be construed-”
      • “to require an individual to complete an advanced directive or a physician’s order for life sustaining treatment or other end-of-life planning document;”
      • “to require an individual to consent to restrictions on the amount, duration, or scope of medical benefits otherwise covered under a qualified health benefits plan; or”
      • “to encourage the hastening of death or the promotion of assisted suicide.”
  12. “Page  429,  line 13-25:  The government will specify which  doctors can write an end-of-life order.”
    • The phrase “end-of-life order” never appears in this bill and after searching through the bill, I cannot find any similar phrase to indicate the government can have doctors write such a thing.
    • On the other hand, there is language throughout the bill specifically detailing how assisted suicide it completely forbidden.

So hopefully now that you have links to not only the bill itself, but all the relevant portions of the bill, you will take the time to actually read the bill and see if it something you should support or not (rather than blindly forwarding on something without researching it).

Update 2011-01-06: For those of you finding this old post of mine while searching for info about this GOP’s upcoming attempt to repeal this bill [ref]H.R. 2 – Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act[/ref]; I suggest you take a look at President Obama Threatens Veto Of GOP Health Care Repeal, pay particular attention to this quote from the Congressional Budget Office:

In a preliminary analysis of H.R. 2, the Congressional Budget Office found that repealing the law would increase the deficit by $230 billion in the first decade and roughly one-half of one percent of GDP, or over a trillion dollars, in the second decade; increase the number of uninsured Americans by 32 million; impose higher premiums on large firms; and cause consumers who buy coverage in the individual market to pay more out of pocket for fewer benefits.  Medicare’s insolvency would be accelerated by repeal – the Medicare actuaries previously stated that the Affordable Care Act extended solvency by 12 years.  Repealing the Affordable Care Act would not only increase deficits in the coming decade, but would also significantly worsen the long-term fiscal burdens on American businesses and families.

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90 thoughts on “H.B. 3200

    1. Maybe I should have, but I didn’t. Partly because I didn’t want to make waves with the relative who is rather important to me. And partly because I wasn’t sure how the other people who also got forwarded this bit of garbage would react.

      Besides It’s one thing for me to spout off my opinions to an individual to those people who have some interest in what I have to say (e.g. anybody who visits this site) but quite another thing to hi-jack somebody else’s email thread.

      1. Your analysis parallels my own so I would declare it spot on. I also read the bill in response to receiving this forwarded email. Kithil’s interpretation of the cancer hospital bit was particularly laughable – except that too many gullible people are swallowing it hook, line and sinker…. BTW, I did hit “reply all” when debunking the points. People seem to be drawn to the “judge” title, IMHO. However, they forget that some judges are elected, which is no true indicator of judicial ability. Additionally, some magistrates call themselves “judge” and, depending on governing state law, may not be required to have a law degree, which casts doubt on their particular ability to interpret legal documents.

        Bottom line, John Q Public needs to stop reading this bunk and learn to read for themselves.

        And finally, has anyone stopped to consider that this is simply the House bill and that what’s likely to come out of conference is likely to have significant modifications.

        1. Why is this bill not available to view? I googled it, I went to democrats congressmen/women’s web sites and they do not have it. I would truly like to read this bill because you all lie to glibly for me to trust what you say. So could I please have a site address to go to to view this Health Reform (I use this term loosely) bill HB3200
          Thank you

          1. I sug­gest you try read­ing full posts and com­ments before you make start claim­ing peo­ple are lying. For exam­ple, if you’d bother to read through my entire post on HB3200; you would have found I linked to the ver­sion of the bill I used in my analy­sis of the let­ter pur­ported to have been writ­ten by a for­mer county judge from Texas. Since you missed the link, here it is again for your ben­e­fit: http://www.opencongress.org/bill/111-h3200/text

          2. Amen, sister! Wouldn’t you just like to have someone you could really trust??????? It’s time to clean out all of them and start over.

        2. yes it will be different however, every time they redo it it becomes worse for the people. I think if the congress is going to reform health care they should join the rest of us. If we are subjected to it so should they.

          1. All that I’ve heard about how they’re chang­ing does actu­ally make it sound like it will be worse. Worse in that the Amer­i­can peo­ple will get less pro­tec­tions and less cov­er­age under the newer ver­sions while the insur­ance com­pa­nies will get to make more & more prof­its (like the 56% increase in prof­its they squeezed out of the Amer­i­can peo­ple last year). Health care should never be about profit/loss but should be about qual­ity of life.

    2. I just borrowed liberally from your outstanding analysis to respond to a relative. It is so hard to combat fear mongering…my first suggestion was to go to opencongress.org and read the Bill, as there is no better way to know what is truly included.

      You know, the first attempt at healthcare reform was thwarted by the notion that, if passed, the Russians would take over our country. That it was all a communist plot…

      Thanks for staying the course, I am still in disbelief as to why people think that the same group of people that drove our country to the brink of collapse with some ill advised wars, tax cuts, and monetary policy can be trusted with healthcare. They had 8+ years to do something and what did they accomplish?

  1. Good work.I wish you had been a little quicker. It would have saved me two hours of quick research yesterday which I did in order to respond to a family member. My conclusions were the same as yours.The real question is how anyone could choose to believe that this former county judge would discover such astonishing provisions that responsible conservative think tanks had failed to find.Or,if any of it were true wouldn’t the Wall Street Journal,rather than the local Texas paper,break the news? The sad answer is that Kithil’s sort of misinformation is not created for those in the market for facts;it caters to those who need a dogma “fix” J Morris,Esq.

    1. With advisors who state “you are not a viable human until you reach the age of 14” or “rationing medical care to the aged is acceptable” in their papers, speeches make one tend to believe they are truly monsters.

      1. Funny but the only place I’ve seen anything even close to what you just mentioned are in press releases from right-wring propaganda machines. If you have a reliable source for this information, feel free to post links to it. Otherwise, I’d rather you didn’t try to move these comments into an emotional fire fight from the reasonable conversation they have been.

  2. Thanks for posting this. My Mom sent me this and is convinced it’s true. I am amazed that people will continue to believe this tripe from unknown and dubious sources. This is exactly what I need to reply to her as I assured her it was bunk and would let her know what I could find out.

    1. I would suggest you read the bill yourself rather than “believe” either side. Your mom believes one side and you the other neither of you have read the bill but simply believed what is your personal choice to believe.

      1. I agree that furiousd should definitely read the bill and form his own opinion. However it sounds like when furiousd fully intended to go out and read the bill, so he could share his opinions on it with his mother. Perhaps by this time (over a month after furiousd commented) he has read the bill and made an informed opinion.

  3. I will simply add that I wish everyone would reply this to all, as this is whole “Judge Kilith” letter has spread like wildfire throughout the internets, and most people who want to believe it, will.

  4. I did a (very) little research yesterday and found that David Kithil DOES exist. However, I checked with the newspaper (providing a copy of Kithil’s purported letter) this morning and had this reply:


    Sorry, we can find no such letter in our files.

    Phil Schoch, Executive Editor/General Manager
    Highland Lakes Newspapers
    830-693-4367, ext. 226

  5. I checked out the newspaper first, and discovered that while Kithil does exist, as the managing editor states, the only story regarding him involves a disputed federal land claim many months ago. There is absolutely NO reference to this phony letter.

    To make things even more interesting, the copy of the letter that was sent to me stated that the letter was printed in, I believe, the August 17th edition (I no longer have that copy of the letter, so can’t confirm the exact date now). When I checked out the newspaper, I discovered that it only comes out Tuesdays through Thursdays, and that the Aug. 17 date was a Monday.

    As someone above stated, people who WANT to believe this, will, seemingly regardless of proof, evidence that it’s a lie, and so on. It makes me sad and angry at the same time.

  6. I was suspicious, too, as soon as I read ” Cancer hospital will ration care according to the patient’s age” – that should have been “hospitals”.

    You’re definitely right about not using section numbers. Page numbers are useless. And they come out with a new version – both House and Senate – every few weeks.

    There is a judge named David Kithil – Burnet County, TX.

    There’s more than enough wrong with this monstrosity of a bill without having to come up with fake items.

  7. Barbara, the health reform bill has ALWAYS stated that if you like the plan you have now, you can keep it. It has NEVER involved forcing people to choose a specific plan…not even members of Congress.

    If they like their plan , they can keep it. If you like yours, you can keep it. If you don’t, you can change plans.

    This bill goes nowhere near far enough, IMO, toward genuine reform or cost savings. But it is a start. My idea of real reform involves a single-payer plan–and we could start by expanding Medicare. But that would be entirely too simple, I guess.

  8. Mark, thanks for the effort in debunking this. I am the CEO of a very large practice (28-physicians) and garbage like that found in this email is really affecting the arguments for valid healthcare reform. I have spent many hours doing the exact same thing you have done for my relatives just to explain the points of the bill. It is really sad to think that the Republicans, the original proponents of many elements of this bill over the past 15 years, are now totally twisting the facts to defeat the progress being undertaken. Keep up the good work!

  9. Unfortunately – our “elected” officials (Democrat and Republicans) don’t care about OUR best interest anymore. Maybe when they are first elected…..but it doesn’t take long for that to change. I feel that the government is already in our lives TOO much. Yes, we do need health care fixed, but remember these are the people who fixed it where it is now. We are being taxed to dealth already and they haven’t managed to use our taxes for the good of the people (all of us not a selected few). I am over 65 and shudder to think what will happen to my great grandchildren and generations after that.

  10. Why doesn’t anyone mention that the insurance companies charge more premiums because the cost of health care (hospitals, doctors, etc) is higher because of lawsuits which insurance companies have to pay, etc, etc. It’s like a dog chasing it’s tail and of course the consumers have to pay the cost. If they can’t tax income higher they will just tax other things…….gas, clothing, utilities ( have you ever looked at your taxes on your gas or electric bill) and eventually they will get around to taxing all of our food.

    1. Judy, Your comment about the lawyers causing higher insurance premiums is spot on. What you may not know is that the Democrats, from the Whitehouse on down, have continuously refused to include ‘tort reform’ in the new health plan. Tons of articles have been written about the numbers of 90% to 97% of all lawyer donations to candidates, goes to Democrats. Follow the money. The insurance companies don’t care, they simply add more to the premiums so they always win. When the number grows, their % mark-up means more dollars in their pocket, from our pocket.

    2. Really, you’re going to bring up tort reform/malpractice insurance as an argument against health care reform? Seriously? Don’t you realize that sort of reform will save at most 2.3%?

      @ E mo: That’s inaccurate. Obama has said on 17 Sept 2009 of last year that he’s willing to work on tort reform.

      1. Mark, I appreciate your enthusiasm, but perhaps, in the magazine article you hot-linked, you over looked a couple of paragraph’s below where your 2.3% stat was mentioed that the Dr’s. disagreed, saying 5% for direct cost of insurance and 5% for for their over medicating, just to be safe. I wasn’t trying to flame the Democrats, it’s just that their stand on tort reform, in the past, has been abominable. I’m simply pointing out that if the Dem’s want to get a reform bill passed, why not throw in this sacred cow. They’re acting the same as the Republican’s did 5-7 years ago. Meanwhile, we the common man continue to suffer. The healing needs to start with the politician’s, and the voters need to demand it.

  11. I see that you “debunked” everything except the part where this new healthcare reform applies to everybody except Congress. Care to elaborate?

    1. You’re quite right; I forgot to talk about that bit of the original email. Sorry about that.

      I just went back through the bill, and I see nothing in it which specifically states that this bill applies to everybody except Congress. The closest I can see to anything even remotely like that would be Protecting the choice to keep current coverage. And that section of the bill was put in there to allow anyone who wants to keep their existing coverage to do so; which makes that section a protection of the bill for people who like their existing coverage.

      Do I think Congress is going to dump their existing health coverage for whatever watered down version the Republicans will let pass? No.
      Do I think the bill would give more rights/power/protection to the average person if Congress was forced to take the same coverage? Yes!
      Do I think any language in the bill forcing Congress to take the same coverage as the rest of us would actually make it through to a final version of the bill? No.

  12. Nice job on the debunking it makes sending rebuttal emails to the rest of my family much easier. Extra props for all the links to the bill itself. One bit of extra info though , if I am reading it correctly the prohibition on expansion of facilities is only on physician owned hospitals. I think the idea being one thing that drives up costs is some less ethical doctors referring patients for unneeded tests and diagnostics at facilities they owned to get more insurance money.

    1. Thanks for the kind words and the information on the expan­sion of facil­i­ties. I hadn’t caught that previously, but I’ve now updated my post to include your interpretation.

      1. I think the key here is “interpretation”. It’s seems to me that is all we are getting from ALL parties – sure makes our lives unsettled. Thanks for giving me a place to “vent”.

    2. James, Mark:

      Many states’ health department must approve new construction or expansion of hospitals and the purchase of exotic diagnostic equipment. In the new environment (if we ever get there) doctors will no longer use the equipment they have on site. I talked to my GP a couple of months ago and the only problem he had with the bill was the amount he can charge for an office visit. His belief if that different doctors will be allowed to charge different prices that will lead to “doctor shopping,” the basis for the charges against Rush Limbaugh

    3. Just a quick comment on physician owned hospitals…..these types of hospitals are designed to preform the services that actually make the most money. Traditional hospitals lose money on the dreadfully ill that occupy space for several days, and require extended treatments. The cash cow has been the outpatient surgery which has been moved to physician owned hospitals. The care is provided in a day and the patient sent home. No overnight stays requiring specialized staff. No meals requiring dietary assistance. Any complications are transferred to traditional hospitals while the bulk of the charges orginate from the physician owned surgery center.

  13. I recieved the e-mail from my nephew today and also spent the time to read all the sections.
    I wrote him an at length rebuttal to all the points they are trying to make. It would seem that you and I are exactly on the same page when it comes to interpreting the bill. The Judge, if he actually wrote that, should be smarter than that. It would seem that he is taking Hannity, Limbaugh and Beck as his research guides.
    My nephew and brother seem to enjoy forwarding these things to me knowing it will push my buttons. It always works but I refute them with the facts.
    I also agree that the bill seems to be getting worse the longer it takes to pass. i am still a staunch believer in single payer as the most reasonable and fair way to lower costs but that is another debate that unfortunately is not on the table at this time.
    Keep up the good work. This is my first time here but I shall return.

  14. Thank you! I have forwarded your link & thoughtful com­par­i­son of the bill to my friend who sent that same letter to me.. Thank you also for the link to the actual bill.

    kind regards

  15. I am a conservative and totally against the healthcare bill. I did the same research and did notice some of Kithil’s (or whomever’s) assertions were definitely “a stretch”. So, perhaps, the intents of the different sections of the bill aren’t exactly what Kithil and other opponents say it is. HOWEVER, what advocates of “We don’t know what to do – let big government take care of it” don’t seem to understand is that when such legislation is enacted, it becomes its own lifeform. It opens the door for an endless succession of amendments, additions and rulings and it soon becomes out of control. The political danger of such law is that it gives the government even more control over the private aspects of Americans’ lives. It takes control, decision and preference away from people and hands it to a constantly morphing body of law, the very lifeblood of a government, which few would deny control more and more of our lives. HB3200 is a “superbill” which gives government, both the political left and the right, “super control” over us all. We have countless lessons on what happens with similar government programs. Social Security is the best example, a program initially designed to provide the absolute minimum subsistence to Americans made destitute by the deperession. Look what it’s become and realize what it’s done to the attitudes of Americans toward government, to our work ethic and to our economy.

    I am a conservative and I am totally in favor of real healthcare reform. I just believe we should attack the issue in a totally different way. Here’s my version of House Bill 3200:

    House Bill 3200 “B”

    1. Independent Validation of All Healthcare Bills
    Require independent review of all healthcare bills to validate line-item and total charges. We all know there are many “incorrect” charges being claimed by hospitals or charges that are massively inflated. If government has a place in healthcare, let’s use that power for what it was designed: to protect against fraud and abuse by creating an agency for this purpose. Be careful, this validation process is NOT passing judgement on what services should or should not be provided, only that billed services were actually provided, nothing more.

    2. Patient Accountability
    Require patients to actually sign all healthcare bills they receive, swearing the treatment they requested was necessary and the charges they incurred were accurate. When is the last time anyone you know actually saw or at least reviewed their detailed hospital bill? This is no different than signing one’s federal or state income tax forms. People need healthcare, of course, but they also need to be accountable for their treatment and bills. For what possible reason has our system almost completely eliminated any patient accountability? Could it be there are so many “middle men” or silent entities hiding between the patient and their healthcare and that are skimming off more and more of the money changing hands, that they have created a system no one understands and which gives them freedom to take whatever they want?

    3. Patient Participation & Responsibility
    Require 5% to 20% patient co-payment on all healthcare bills (perhaps up to a maximum for catastrophic illnesses). This will return accountability to the healthcare system, heaven forbid, and result in better healthcare decisions (i.e., allow doctors and patients to do everything that needs to be done but nothing that doesn’t need to be done) and will reduce or eliminate the massive fraud and abuse now causing costs to spiral. Such added costs to the indivdiual can be offset through utilization of the existing income tax deduction for out-of-pocket healthcare costs. Note: One must understand that the basic human nature and business nature trait we know as GREED will and does, without any doubt, allow fraud and abuse unless checks and balances are in place to stop it. No one is above this temptation so mechanisms must exist to control it. Creating a government insurance system that insulates patients and providers from the services they require is the perfect ground for fraud and abuse. Lord John Acton’s 1887 quote, “Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely.” has been proven time and time again and is the ultimate result of massive government legislation such as HB3200.

    4. Remove Illegal Aliens
    Require every individual that requests free healthcare services to first prove their legal citizenship. If they cannot provide such proof, first provide them with the requested service then provide their name and address to the Immigration & Naturalization Service which will immediately deport that individual and their immediate family. Their are 15 million illegal aliens that drain our healthcare resources and greatly increasing costs for the rest of us, massively stressing our system. This policy might also be described as enforcing the most basic and crucial laws of any nation – controlling its borders and ensuring only legal citizens obtain the benefits of the money and laws supplied by those citizens. If this policy provides a disincentive for illegal aliens to seek healthcare, then it is widely known that Mexico (from where the vast majority of illegal aliens originate) provides free healthcare to all citizens – citizens who are actually in their home country to receive it. Our Congress uses legislation in many forms to provide incentive or disincentive to Americans, from rebates to help the car industry to taxes on luxury items. What’s wrong with providing illegal aliens incentives to obey our laws and go home to the nation in which they belong?

    Overall, it’s not really about whether the proponents of the bill are just trying to take over our lives or whether they genuinely want to help people or for some other reason. It’s about whether we really believe the government can actually achieve a better healthcare system which:
    * provides as good or better services than we receive now
    * provides services at the same or less cost
    * greatly increase the number of people that can participate in the system
    * can maintain or improve the current level of scientific research and development which has, so far, achieved the world’s greatest healthcare system and technology and to which all nations come to learn and acquire

    I cannot imagine anyone truly believes national healthcare can supply the above attributes. Our current healthcare system is out of control but only the costs. It’s the cost that keeps so many of the uninsured from becoming insured. Anything out of control will lose efficiency and fairness and cause costs to soar. Our current healthcare system may be out of control, but, let’s not give up and turn over our lives to Washington D.C. There ARE other answers. I have identified the issues I think are the real reasons our current system is broken. Let’s work on those issues instead of turning our lives over to become slaves of the government.

    1. Michael, thanks for the thoughtful comment. However I have some questions/concerns with your version of healthcare reform.
      1. Inde­pen­dent Val­i­da­tion of All Health­care Bills: How’s that going to work and who’s going to pay to have all this validation done? This sounds more likely to raise the cost of healthcare.
      2. Patient Account­abil­ity: Require patients to actu­ally sign all health­care bills they receive, swear­ing the treat­ment they requested was nec­es­sary and the charges they incurred were accu­rate. Are you going to start giving every US citizen advanced medical training so they will have the ability to determine if a given treatment was necessary then? If not, how exactly are people supposed to know if a treatment was necessary or not?
      3. Patient Par­tic­i­pa­tion & Respon­si­bil­ity: Require 5% to 20% patient co-payment on all health­care bills…. will return account­abil­ity to the health­care sys­tem How does this return accountability to the system? All I see this doing is forcing people already in a bad situation to find the money to pay for treatment.

      And actually many people believe a national healthcare system could sup­ply the above attrib­utes you describe. Every hospital/doctor’s office I go to seems to have a billing department almost as big as their treatment facilities. If we had a single-payer health care for all citizens (like we have Medicare for our senior citizens).

    2. Michael, I’m with Mark regarding many of your remarks. I can’t imagine how I could actually (and honestly) justify every medical treatment I have received…other than stating that the doctor made a good case for doing it. I have no medical training and don’t plan on getting any.

      I already pay a copay for every doctor visit, prescription, and hospital visit. Most insured persons pay at least something. Oh, and by the way, I don’t think GREED enters into it when you’re getting a colonoscopy or having your broken leg set. How many folks would actually WANT to have either of these procedures more than the minimum number required by good medical care? I can certainly see how greedy folks could overuse cosmetic surgery, for example, but that’s not covered by any insurance plan I know of.

      As for illegal immigrants, they mostly utilize the emergency rooms, which are not allowed to demand proof of coverage or of citizenship before treatment. and even if they did this, would you honestly expect a doctor to call the police to deport a child with acute appendicitis, or a man suffering from a possibly fatal gunshot? Somehow I don’t think this would work out too well. Yes, we have a problem with illegal immigrants, but it would much cheaper to treat them as part of one huge pool (aka single-payer) than, say, to provide blood pressure medication from a emergency room for $200 instead of from a local pharmacy for $20.

      Finally, I do believe that a single-payer program would accomplish all of your attributes. Medicare is doing a pretty good job of it. And other countries seem to be managing pretty well…with better outcomes than the U.S. on many tests for good health and good care.

  16. pages 50-51, section SEC. 152. PROHIBITING DISCRIMINATION IN HEALTH CARE. reads as follows:
    “without regard to personal characteristics extraneous to the provision of high quality health care or related services.”
    This is left open for COMPLETE AND TOTAL INTERPRETATION and therefore one can assume that “personal characteristics” does apply to any and every person, including illegal aliens. There is no scope defined here (what’s included & what is not).

  17. I didn’t see all of the posts here, but just in case you missed it, the original email is considered an internet hoax and is listed on Snopes.com.

    I think this is just more tea party terrorism: it starts with shouting down discussions at town hall meetings and ends with planes in buildings. The hate HAS to stop.

  18. It’s about the money, honey. It doesn’t matter what this bill says, once passed, they have the infrastructure to do whatever they want and there isn’t a thing you can do about it. They’ve been trying to screw up health care since 1974 so they could do what they’re doing now. It started with HMO’s and will not end until they have full control of 1/6 of the US economy. DON’T buy into it. THIS is freedom and liberty on the line. Look at the bigger picture.

    1. It’s always about the money; however sometimes what we get for our money is worth it. If you have an argument to make against the bill, I’d be happy to hear it. Just claiming it started with HMO’s and will not end until they have full con­trol of 1/6 of the US econ­omy is not making an argument; it’s spouting rhetoric. Give us the facts on which you’re basing your rhetoric and let us draw our own conclusions.

    1. Yup, we’re all oba­macare fans here and definitely working overtime to kill dissenting opinions by leaving the comments on this post open since November 2009. *rolls eyes*

      On a less sarcastic note, thanks for linking to a more current version of the bill.

      1. Judge Kithil sounds like a front man for the Texas TeaParty and he is doing the Texas Two-Step and the buffalo shuffle with the facts on the Healthcare bill.

  19. Just a quick update on this. Donny Shaw (over at OpenCongress) has posted what looks to be a good summary of where we’re at with this historic legislation. Below I’ve quoted the section of that post which links to the latest version of the bill for your reading pleasure.

    Here’s everything you need to keep up with health care reform as it approaches the finish line:

    • The Senate Health Care Bill (the foundation of health care reform) — H.R.3590, Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
    • Budget Reconciliation Bill (package of fixes to Senate bill) — H.R.4872, Reconciliation Act of 2010
    • Full Text of Reconciliation Bill — read the full bill text, uniquely available here on OpenCongress as a page on the open Web (we had to manually rip the text from a .pdf document, and it’s still a bit messy, but readable).
    • Summary of Reconciliation Bill — How the bill would amend the Senate health care bill and how it would affect current law, in plain English.
    • The CBO Score — How the budget numbers of the final bill stack up against previous iterations.

    NOTE: It’s late and I’m tired. I have not analysed Shaw’s post. And I have not looked over these final versions of the bill to see how they compare to the original, bogus email I was refuting. Depending on how tomorrow goes for me, I may (or may not) have time to do so. In any event, I would encourage those who care about this legislation to read the final version coming up for a vote on their own, to best for their opinion.

  20. If I had known that you weren’t going to publish my vitriolic hate mail, I wouldn’t have spent so much time writing it. Mark, you disappoint me once again.

    On a more serious note, any Composition 2 teacher would be proud of the logic that you’re using in this thread in response to the responses.


  21. Finally got the time to look it up. This is what I found. Unfortunately, this text is a box so I cannot insert my comments.

    Illegals (p.50):
    Quite vague in the bill, could be interpreted as non-discriminatory on health issues, but I understand he could interpret it this way. Should definitely be more precise.

    Electronic funds control (p.58,59):
    Also too vague and I would agree with him that it sounds like payment control.

    Subsidized for union retirees: p.65
    Conflict of interest for me here. Sounds good to me.

    Tax: p.203
    Not sure why this is a big deal or if I even understand it but it looks like it is a way to calculate eligibility.

    Physician fees: p.241/253
    He seems wrong here. It pretty clearly states that a “conversion factor” will be used to determine each specialty rate.

    Cancer hospital: p.272
    That’s a big, clear lie. It (for once) very clearly states that the cost of treatment of a cancer patient will be will be compared to the same cost at other hospitals to prevent certain hospitals from overcharging.

    Hospital Expansion: p.425
    He is not saying everything. This restriction is in ONLY for hospitals owned by a physician. They do not want a single physician/businessman to build a hegemonic care center based purely on profit.

    End of Life planning: p.p.429
    Here again a complete re-interpretation of the bill. The bill states that would a patient not have seen a doctor in the last 5 years, the doctor needs to clearly state to the patient all their rights and options. Very different than the nerve-poking terms “end-of-life seminar”.

    Government choose end-of life doctor:p.429
    I absolutely do not see this in this paragraph.

    …It took me an hour to go through this, and it is all in very dry legal lingo. Nothing most of us will go through the pain of doing regularly. This judge knows that and that’s why he very loosely bases his facts on the bill and rephrases sentences to strike an emotional cord. Very dangerous. There is a huge amount of propaganda and facts twisting on both sides. I think it is good to be informed but these days I absolutely do not trust politicians and even less Republicans. But since we can’t go through all the bills, we do indeed have to listen to both sides and at the end choose a voice we can agree with. I quickly get the big picture of someone’s agenda these days. When this judge opens her letter with some bonehead recommendations, he clearly shows that he has an agenda and that he does not prioritizes enlightening us with facts.

    His input?
    Put money to fight drugs instead:
    The Bush administration has spent billions already for 8 years. Results? Jails overcrowded with small time offenders (corporate handout), and Mexico almost under martial law because the drugs lords are so powerful. Want to fight drugs? Make pot legal and tax it like tobacco, that’ll be enough to fund a health care reform. Kids can already find pot anywhere anyway so that’s really not the issue.
    Hire more firemen and cops:
    ??? How will that help provide health care? Sounds like an argument from a 4 year old.
    Protecting borders:
    Sure you can waist a massive amount of money to do that, it might work. You can call Israel too, they’ll have good tips on walling in a country… or you could simply have a sustainable income wage enforced by raising minimum wage or taxing the hell out of companies who go take jobs abroad. How about parity? Charge companies the difference in wages when they go to China and put it in a fund to pay for unemployment? The only reason why there are illegal immigrants here is because people are willing to hire them for pennies. And yes, people do need to feed their family, nothing wrong with that. Just because we have the good fortune to have been born here does not give us the right to lecture others.

    1. Sub­si­dized for union retirees: p.65: The folks over at FactCheck.org talk about this and their analysis states Page 65 is the start of a section (SEC. 164. REINSURANCE PROGRAM FOR RETIREES) that would set up a new federal reinsurance plan to benefit retirees and spouses covered by any employer plan, not just those run by labor unions or nonprofit groups

  22. Thank you, Mark, for this thorough debunking. I’ve already published a link on my facebook in answer to all the panicking Tea Partiers who won’t shut up about the whole thing. Great job!! I don’t know where the heck you found the time, but great job!

  23. If you look at snopes.com they have researched this letter which has apparently been circulating since mid 2009. There is research to indicate it was written by a doctor in Indiana almost a year ago. The reference numbers while not really laid out well seem to refer to one of the many bills that were being considered last summer. It appears that maybe this Judge Kithil got this letter on his email put his name on it and began forwarding.

  24. It’s March 27th, the bill is now Public Law No: 111-148 and yet I was forwarded this old can of spam just this morning.

    I believe it was sent to me because I replied to a post where someone said they hadn’t read the bill and didn’t think anyone who voted for it did. My response was to provide a link to the Library of Congress’ website that has a summary version of the bill (Reader’s Digest version if you will). And two days later I get to read the “Judge’s” complaints that were even more bitter than the black cup of coffee I was drinking. I replied that I couldn’t date or track down the actual letter and provided a link to your well researched comments. Thank you for saving me the trouble! Oh, by the way, I gave her a link to the Library of Congress one more time for good measure. http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d111:H.R.3590:

    I wish there was a way to use legal blackline to compare all the old version of the Healthcare Bill H.R. 3590 with the bill as passed. Sure would save us a lot of trouble pointing out the misconstrued, misquoted and out of date references.

    1. Glad I could help and you’re right, a tool that compares propose bills with the final versions that passed would be interesting to see.

  25. What makes you an authority on congression bill deciphering??? As you said… everyone has their opinion, and I for one think yours is wrong. This bill has been crammed down our throat without anyone listening to the general public. If the people could vote on this bill, it would’ve failed. The polls dont lie! It only goes to show how much control the government has on us and how little of a voice we have in Washington.

    1. I do not claim to be “an authority on con­gres­sion bill deci­pher­ing”. And you’re quite free to believe that my opinion is wrong. However I do ask that if you wish to comment here saying so, that you take the time to explain (and provide evidence) for how and where my opinion is wrong.

      1. An opinion is what it is… a personal belief that can neither be proved or disproved. However, I think you are incorrect simply because you aren’t interrupting the verbiage of the bill correctly. Take the ‘electronic funds transfer’… and I will quote it directly from the bill on page 59:

        ‘‘(C) enable electronic funds transfers, in order to allow automated reconciliation with the related health care payment and remittance advice;

        The wording is quite clear… the government will be able to get access into a persons banking account. In other words, if you owe the government money for healthcare or for a fine for not paying, the IRS has the authority to transfer those funds directly out of your bank account.

        1. True, an opin­ion is a per­sonal belief that can nei­ther be proved or dis­proved; however in this post, I wasn’t merely stating my opinions. I was comparing the claims of the original (and multiple disproved) email to the most current copy of the bill available at the time.

          Whereas you showed up and attempted to “disprove” my counter-claims by trying to use ad hominem and ad populum attacks.

          Then after I asked you to explain why you think I’m wrong and provide some evidence to back up your claims, you come back to simply reiterate one of the talking points of the original email? Oh and about that, there is no mention of any new government authority over your bank account and nothing that says electronic payments from consumers is required. All that section of the bill does is allow the secretary of Health and Human Services to set standards on electronic payments, so the consumer can pay for their health care electronically (like paying for your utility bill online or like using your debit card to buy anything/anywhere).

          Lastly your claim that this bill was crammed down our throat with­out any­one lis­ten­ing to the gen­eral pub­lic. If the peo­ple could vote on this bill, it would’ve failed. The polls dont lie! Well, according to a USA Today/Gallup poll, 49% of those polled said the final version of this bill was a “good thing” while only 40% did not. So it seems to me the bill would not have failed, especially as you say The polls dont lie!.

  26. Firstly, I didn’t attempt to ‘disprove’ your opinion. I asked what made you an expert in such matters, and I also simply stated that I didn’t agree with your opinion. I believe I was telling you that you aren’t taking the verbaige of the bill for what it is. If you call that disproving, then so be it.

    You believe what a media source is telling you??? You’ve been sucked in then!!! No wonder you created this blog. You need to talk to everyday people around you such as one you work with, or neighbors. Where I live, I can only find one single person that agrees with the bill, and I’ve spoken to a LOT of people.

    You said there is “no men­tion of any new gov­ern­ment author­ity” in the bill. Then PLEASE tell me what in the world you think the government needs with 16,000 extra employees?!? Wake up man!

    1. Derek- I agree with this bill so that makes at least two of us.

      I also have taken the time to read the summary of the bill as well as the full text of certain parts as it was written and amended. Go to Library of Congress’ website http://thomas.loc.gov/ it is available (“spin” free) to everyone. You can even use the Control+F key function to search for a specific word or phrase that concerns you.

      I am not saying that your opinion isn’t valid and you are completely entitled to it but, I find the following quote very appropriate to a lot of the interchanges going on today (take from it what you will).

      “Whoever undertakes to set himself up as judge in the field of truth and knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the Gods.” Albert Einstein

    2. You believe what a media source is telling you??? Are you actually trying to say that you don’t believe the media? After you went to all the trouble to point out to me The polls dont lie!? Are you changing your mind about that or are you simply upset that I did exactly what I asked you to do (backed up my statements with evidence1)?

      As for your talking to your friends and neighbours and only finding one person who agrees with the bill, I’d imagine you live in a deeply conservative area. Or you live in an area where people are simply disappointed that this bill did not go far enough in its efforts at healthcare reform. In my area, those people I’ve spoken to about the bill have been in favor of it.

      Lastly, if you are going to quote my own sentences back at me; at least have the courtesy to keep the quote in context. When I said there is no men­tion of any new gov­ern­ment author­ity; I was specifically referring to no new government authority over your bank account (in response to your claims regarding the portion of the bill dealing with elec­tronic funds trans­fers.

      1. Why dont you choose a poll that doesn’t lean one way or the other if thats the way you’re going to play the game. EVERYONE knows that USA Today leans heavily to the left!

        You can believe or translate what you want concerning “no new government control”. That part of the bill is very open ended and vauge on purpose. Don’t tell me you believe that politicians always means EXACTLY what they say?!?

        1. If you think the USA Today/Gallup poll is so flawed, why don’t you find one that doesn’t lean one way or the other?

          And again, you’re attempting to take my statements out of context. There’s nothing the bill that says “no new gov­ern­ment con­trol”. That’s something I said based on my reading of that portion of the bill which you and I have been arguing over.

  27. My experience is that approval or disapproval falls almost perfectly along party lines…just as it did during the Senate vote. My Democratic or progressive/liberal friends approved (or at the least thought it was an imperfect but acceptable start). My conservative friends absolutely hate it with an intensity that I haven’t seen since they went ballistic over Clinton’s sexual pecadillos.

    1. You are very correct. This country was founded with certain principals which have all been thrown out the window by our government in our lifetime.

      I wish more people would read speachs that Thomas Jefferson wrote. He was so in tune as to what the people of this country should never allow the government to do or control.

      Here is just one of many quotes that reflects what he said…

      “A wise and frugal government, which shall leave men free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned – this is the sum of good government. ‘

      If what he says is a ‘good’ government, then our current government is VERY BAD!

      1. Bringing up Thomas Jefferson to support your argument (or opinion or belief or whatever you want to call it) in this manner; it a classic case of using the appeal to authority logical fallacy. But since you seem to like quoting him, here’s a different statement he made that you might be interested in, “I do not find in orthodox Christianity one redeeming feature.”

        1. Just because Thomas Jefferson was not a Christian, doesn’t mean he was very knowledgeable on how a government should be properly conducted… after all, he was the key author of the Declaration! Whats your point?!?

          I have ZERO respect for anyone running our country today, so YES I will appeal to a greater authority such as our founding fathers even though they have passed on. The administrations in our lifetime have done nothing but twist and misconstrue the Declaration to their benefit and in turn causing the People to suffer for it.

          1. My point by bringing up a random quote was that it didn’t prove anything. Much like your quote didn’t prove anything.

            The admin­is­tra­tions in our life­time have done noth­ing but twist and mis­con­strue the Dec­la­ra­tion to their ben­e­fit and in turn caus­ing the Peo­ple to suf­fer for it. Actually, I would say some of the administrations in my lifetime have twisted and misconstrued the Constitution of the United States (as the legal document on which our government is based vs the document where we told the British empire to piss off).

    1. According to Snopes.com, this letter was originally attributed to a doctor out of Indiana and then later got attributed to the Honorable Judge David Kithil. So at this point, I’d say it’s safe to say the letter was written by neither of them but rather written by somebody else with an agenda to push.

  28. Your debunking seems ok, however some sections are very vague and some people like me are not going to want this government intrusion based on our political persuasions, regardless of what someone like you perceives as benefits.

    My complaint with your analysis is that after your intended debunking, you put out an equal tomfoolery. You quote the twisted CBO numbers. These numbers are only correct if you raise taxes by $770 billion. This bill is another tax bill and massive intrusion into peoples lives. The supposed benefits (what are they again?) go to a group of people who at this time don’t have insurance, not the poor, because they are under Medicaid. This bill also requires those who do not wish to participate to pay penalties. My question, how are they going to track down every person in the country and enforce this bill? Many do not have jobs that are under government perview.

    This bill is frightening just on the big brother aspects, and the bill clearly is designed to identify and regulate people. This type of government action is very dangerous. Regimented living for all.

    1. You seem to be writing under a bit of a misunderstanding. The bill referenced by the email I examined as H.B.3200 (actually called H.R.3200) under went some revision but was eventually passed as H.R.3962. Regardless of whether or not you like this particular bill, it is already the part of US law.

      My updating of this rather dated blog post to include the numbers from the CBO was not to further debunk the original email, but rather to include additional information for people who came lately to the topic (likely showing up due to H.R.2).

      Do you have a source you can name for your claim “These num­bers are only cor­rect if you raise taxes by $770 bil­lion”?

      This bill is another … mas­sive intru­sion into peo­ples lives

      Would you care to elaborate on what parts of H.R.3962 make up that “mas­sive intru­sion”?

      Since you asked, some of the benefits of H.R.3962 include: 1) a ban on denying coverage because of a pre-existing condition, 2)prohibit annual and lifetime caps on benefits and 3) provideing affordability credits to helping low & medium-income people buy insurance.

      Everytime a government passes legislation to give additional services to its citizens, taxes go up. There’s no way around that. The question is whether or not the citizens feel the services are worth the cost. In this case, while H.R.3962 was not exactly what I would have liked to see; I believe it was a step in the right direction.

      The sup­posed ben­e­fits … go to a group of peo­ple who at this time don’t have insur­ance

      Yes, one of the goals of H.R.3962 is to make health care more affordable, so more people have health coverage. What’s your point here?

      My ques­tion, how are they going to track down every per­son in the coun­try and enforce this bill?

      From this statement, it sounds like you’re picturing police officiers showing up at people’s homes to fine them for non-compliance and to me that seems highly unlikely.

      Reg­i­mented liv­ing for all

      Welcome to reality, we already live with this, only right now it’s for-profit insurance corporations that are doing the regimenting. Personally, I’d rather not have somebody who’s really only interested in making a buck being the final arbitrator of whether or not I or my family can have the health coverage we need.

      1. Mark: Clearly we have different paradigms for what constitutes a good life. And what constitutes a reasonable government and what is a good economic system for self-actualization and happiness. There is no point getting into arguing with you about the details of the bill. I’ll continue to have my opinions from my own reading of it. And I intend to do everything I can to see that this one changes. The few attributes you point out can be accompished without a massive mandate applied to everyone without regard to their individual needs. As for the bill being part of law, well, laws change.

  29. A question about the CBO. Please show me the information the said that PASSING the actual bill passed would SAVE 230 Billion in the first decade.

    1. On 21 March 2010, the director of the CBO wrote a post on their site title Cost Estimate for Pending Health Care Legislation, which appears to be an executive summary of their formal, cost estimate. That post states (emphasis added):

      CBO and the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) estimate that enacting both pieces of legislation—H.R. 3590 and the reconciliation proposal—would produce a net reduction in federal deficits of $143 billion over the 2010–2019 period as result of changes in direct spending and revenues.

      CBO estimates that the combined effect of enacting H.R. 3590 and the reconciliation proposal would be to reduce federal budget deficits during the 2020s relative to those projected under current law—with a total effect during that decade in a broad range around one-half percent of gross domestic product (GDP).

      I also noticed the director made the following remark in the post titled: CBO’s Preliminary Analysis of H.R. 2, the Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act:

      under H.R. 2 than under current law, many people would end up paying more for health insurance

  30. I forgot to mention that those last two comments on Jan. 25 (Mark and Silky Wiley) point to the real issue here. Both comments made by reasonable, articulate people who disagree on principle.

  31. For those of you still following this old post and who are interested in why people would support a comprehensive health care system in the U.S., here are a few reasons:
    * Frontline compared health care in the U.S. to Japan, Switzerland, Germany, and the U.K. The report found the U.S. spends more of its GDP on health care, yet we have the lowest life expectancy and the highest infant mortality rate.
    * More than sixty percent of U.S. bankruptcies are due to medical expenses. The article notes that roughly 3/4 of those being bankrupted actually had health insurance, “but many of them were bankrupted anyway because there were gaps in their coverage like co-payments and deductibles and uncovered services.” Others lost their jobs and benefits as a result of health-related issues.
    * Health insurance companies rake in billions in profits while an estimated 68 adults under age 65 die every day because they don’t have coverage.

    Hat tip to Jim for posting these links (amoung others).

  32. I get little ticklers on my e-mail when you post. So here goes, you are comparing a massive diverse populace (USA) to much some small countries with hemogenous (sp) (sleepy this morning) populations. We also have a vast incursion from third world countries with poor health and hygiene conditions. Despite all the good intentions in the world, we will not be able to resolve the health problems of this huge country with a massive increase in government into the health care delivery and finance. It will collapse of its own cost and weight. It will limit the ability of the middle class to select and pay for their own health care. The purpose of this bill is suspect. I see it as a massive power grab, an insidious invasion into freedom.

    “There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters.” Noah Webster

    Additionally, people go bankrupt for all kinds of reasons, business failure, drug addiction, divorce, profligate living, and yes expensive medical treatments. THERE IS LIFE AFTER BANKRUPTCY. Life is dangerous and ultimately ends, what will this bill do about that?

  33. So the USA is bigger and more diverse, how does that impact the fact that we spend more on health care and get less? In the USA, we spend twice as much and yet we’re ranked dead last in quality of health care.

    Do you have any articles or reports that you can link to back up your claims that we have “a vast incursion from third world countries with poor health and hygiene conditions”? I’d be curious to see them if you have them, especially any that can show a link between this “incursion” and any affect our health care system.

    I’m curious as to how you’re defining middle class and health care when you say: “It will limit the abil­ity of the mid­dle class to select and pay for their own health care”. I don’t know anybody who gets to selects their health insurance. Instead they take whatever plan their employer offers (which is nearly guaranteed to cost more and cover less every year) and then they go to whatever doctor their insurance says they are allowed to go to. Not that they go in with any regularity, as even with insurance it just costs too much.

    I think you meant Daniel Webster, not Noah. And in reply to your quote: “This country will not be a good place for any of us to live in unless we make it a good place for all of us to live in.” – Theodore Roosevelt.

    Lastly while there are other reasons that people go bankrupt, when more than 60% of bankruptcies are attributable to health care issues then your health care system is broken and something must be done.

  34. Mark, old boy, you are an ideologue and an advocate. There is no point in engaging with you, but here is one last go and then I need to figure out how to get off this site permanently.

    You and others in your advocacy group will be in favor of this government takeover, when you are not getting any healthcare and the country is in slavery to debt and people actually are sick in the streets. This issue is just a foil for your real advocacy of a socialist fascist world. If you get your way, the USA will be begging the Islamists to liberate us.

    The best health insurance in the world is lifestyle. No drinking, no smoking, no aberrant sex, no overeating, no drugs. I don’t feel like paying for the all profligate people out there. My most patriotic act is to take care of myself and my own family. And I had a menu of insurance to select at my employer. I selected Health Savings Account with a big deductible. You can also go to the market and get private health insurance. There are many many exchanges for different groups besides your employer.

    When you have a desire for something (say big health isurance) why don’t you just make more money to get what you want? Always worked for me. Thinking that government of someone else should provide it is looking at the problem from the wrong end. If a lot of doctor visits and a bunch of drugs is your idea of healthcare, I consider you to be wasting your time and taking poison. This country is overmedicated.

    And by the way all the niggling nitpicking is just a way of diverting from the subject. Tiresome, tiresome.

  35. I’m not sure where you got the idea that I’m part of some advocacy group. I’m just an American who didn’t like the look of some propaganda and decided to analyse it. Since then I’ve tried to engage with people on the other side of the aisle. Trying to see if they had some reasonable basis for their hatred of what I see as necessary health care reform. Most of what I’ve received seems has been like your latest comment: vague fears & personal attacks.

    Multiple times you’ve come by, said there’s no point in engaging in a conversation on this topic with me, made vague claims and continually failed to ever provide a single shred of evidence to back up your claims. Usually you’ve ignored my request for you to back your claims up but now you appear to view those requests as “niggling nitpicking”. Now you’re adding straw man and red herrings arguments and this is what you call attempting to “engage”?

    As much as I might be tempted, I’m trying to avoid doing the same sort of thing to you and will only respond to the few bits of your comment that look even vaguely reasonable.
    * “No drinking, no smoking, no aberrant sex, no overeating, no drugs.” I don’t do any of those and never have.
    * “I had a menu of insurance to select at my employer” Good for you, I didn’t and many people I know didn’t either. Not every employer gives everybody the same options.
    * “You can also go to the market and get private health insurance” If you have enough money you can do that. Getting health insurance outside of an employer is extremely expensive, as you don’t have the collective bargaining power of your company’s employer behind you.
    * “Thinking that government of someone else should provide it” As a US citizen, it’s my government too. While having the government provide health care services might not be an ideal solution; given the evidence, it looks like a better solution than what we’ve got.

    BTW, you get emails about new comments on this thread because you subscribed to it. I don’t recall if those emails include a link to unsubscribe or not; so if I don’t hear anything further from you by the end of today, I’ll unsubscribe you manually.

  36. Mark,
    I just got the original chain email that started this discussion on your blog from my mother-in-law. Thinking that this was probably propaganda, I went looking and sure enough, there are lovely sites like yours that lay out the case that this email is at best, misleading, and at worst, malicious service to somebody’s agenda.

    Thanks for doing such a good job of breaking down the inconsistencies in the email. And thanks also for engaging with people who have different ideological views, even if a rational debate with documented sources seems to be something that most of your commentators avoid at all costs.

    I share your frustration that there seem to be a lot of folks out their that are upset with our government, which is an opinion they are certainly entitled to, but lack the initiative and/or ability to support their opinions with actual facts.

    I’m not trying to be trite, but thank you for being a great citizen and patriot of the US.

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