FWD: The big Lie

About 45 million Americans lack health care insurance. Or do they?
A pro-"universal health care" television host recently cited this widely accepted "fact." The number is bogus.
Here's the skinny.
Start with the math. We have 300 million Americans. Subtract the 45 million -- 15 percent of us -- with no health insurance. That leaves 255 million Americans, or 85 percent, with it.
And the insurance is lousy, right? Not according to a 2006 ABC News/Kaiser Family Foundation/USA Today survey. It found that 89 percent of Americans were satisfied with the quality of their own health care.
Nearly half of the 45 million fall in the category of my 26-year-old nephew. He smokes cigarettes, dates, eats out, goes to movies and, like all young people, lives through his cell phone. With a slight change in priorities, he could afford health insurance, the cost of which at his age and health starts at about $100 a month. Take a look at a Reason Foundation video of interviews with a bunch of non-health-insured 20-somethings.
These Gen Xers copped to dropping money on clothes, booze, nightlife, the latest tech gizmos and other things of interest to them. With a change in priorities, these young folks -- far more representative of those without insurance than the forlorn husband and wife sitting on a porch swing -- could both afford and qualify for health insurance. They simply consider it a low priority.
Millions more can access health care -- through SCHIP (State Children's Health Insurance Program), Medicaid or other government programs. But for whatever reason, 11 million people simply refuse to take advantage of them.
Several million other Americans who want insurance do, indeed, go without it -- for a time. Many are, however, between jobs, and most -- at some point -- will find employment that either offers health insurance or pays enough so that they can buy it. Millions more work at companies that offer health insurance, and for a few dollars out of every paycheck, they could add family members. They choose not to.
What about criminals without insurance? More than 2 million Americans -- with access to health care, by the way -- use jail, prison or penitentiary mailing addresses. And for every one behind bars, how many live among us who survive by theft, drug dealing, prostitution or some similar career path? Taxpayer health insurance for them, too?
So now we're down to the Americans without health insurance on a persistent, long-term basis. This is approximately 10-15 million, a big number to be sure. But does this warrant a government takeover of the entire health care system?
Lacking health care insurance is not the same as lacking health care . By law, most emergency rooms must provide health care -- to both legals and illegals. Yes, they stand in line, but no health insurance does not equal no health care.
Government (aka taxpayers) already pays half of our health care dollar, with programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, SCHIP and other federal and state plans. The stated goals are accessibility and affordability. Congress passed Medicare in 1965. In the 20 years before the program's inception, the cost of a day in a hospital increased threefold. In the 20 years following Medicare, a day in a hospital increased eightfold -- substantially higher than inflation over that period. Because of cost controls on government plans, providers increased the cost on everybody else.
So here's the question.
Do we allow a complete government takeover of the section of health care it doesn't already run, for 10-15 million or so without health insurance on a persistent basis? Again, 255 million Americans already have it. Many millions more could get it if they wanted to. And 89 percent of Americans are satisfied with the care they now receive.
What to do? Unleash the free market. Allow greater competition among health care providers. Decrease costly regulations that increase the price tag. Enable consumers to purchase insurance plans across state lines. Allow non-government-licensed paraprofessionals and others -- currently prevented by law from offering any medical services -- to provide low-cost care.
What about poor care and negligence? We have laws against force and fraud, as well as a common-law duty of care. That's why God created lawyers. (Just give us "loser pays.")
What about those who cannot afford it? What about those with pre-existing illnesses whose insurance applications carriers turned down? What's wrong with charity -- people helping people? America remains the most generous nation on the face of the earth. We donate more of our time and money than countries like England, Germany and Japan. During the Great Depression, before the New Deal, charitable giving skyrocketed. After the New Deal, charitable giving continued, but not at nearly the same rate. People expected government to address the problem, and taxpayers felt they gave at the office.
We can provide such "universal" coverage at a "low cost" -- through rationing. That means long lines, lower quality and less innovation for services that Americans currently take for granted.
Economists call it T.A.N.S.T.A.A.F.L. There ain't no such thing as a free lunch.


Anonymous said...

As soon as you see a conservative forward entitled "The Big Lie" followed by a giant amount of word salad, you can rest assured that you are being fed a very, very "Big Lie," indeed: by the conservatives creating and forwarding the LIE.

This one purports to provide "facts" about how many in the US do and do not have health insurance. I don't have time to research this, but I don't think the numbers are accurate.

Then we get the typical grumpy old fart, "get offa my lawn" whining about the youngsters "wasting" their money on "stuff" rather than on paying the ever so "inexpensive" health care that is just so incredibly "affordable."

Well, it's mixing two different themes. I don't want to be bothered questioning how people choose to spend their money, but the assertion that health care is ever so affordable to one and all is quite clearly: BUNK and a big ole LIE. No, it's not.

It *may* be true that *some* younger folks *maybe* can buy some health insurance that won't break the bank, but these days, it's less and less likely to provide them w/adequate coverage, esp in cases of emergency and critical care needs (which can happen to anyone at any age... duh).

I have what is considered "good" health coverage offered by my employer (a rarity these days), and I've watched my premiums go up annually, along w/ my deductible grow and grow and grow. Lately, I am "forced" to pay for darn near everything bc my deductible is high. I am lucky bc I am very healthy, so my medical needs are low, but what IF? What if I get really sick or I'm in an accident? I could be out quite a lot of bucks, and it would add up very quickly.

I could go on, but I'll leave it up to others to tear this apart.

I do have to quote something from towards the end:

"What about those who cannot afford it? What about those with pre-existing illnesses whose insurance applications carriers turned down? What's wrong with charity -- people helping people? America remains the most generous nation on the face of the earth. We donate more of our time and money than [other] countries..."

Uh, WHA??? Hey, look, I'm pretty generous, and it's HIGHLY LIKELY that I give more to charity annually than most rich Repugs that I know (bc their country club fees are so high - literally). And I'd LOVE to be able to pay for some poor person's surgery or whatever, but I mean: SERIOUSLY???

You are TRULY suggesting that "kind people" just PAY for other people's health care??!!??? How does that make any sense?

GAH: Lush Rimjob must be working overtime to get these brainwashed morans to buy something as completely RIDICULOUS as this.

Insane, immoral, illogical, stupid and as usual: a whole lotta lying going on here.

Anonymous said...

Many are, however, between jobs, and most [...] will find employment that [...] offers health insurance
Got fired through no fault of your own during the economic meltdown? You don't deserve health care. Can't afford COBRA or your own health care once you turn 21? Must be because you're lazy and drink too much!

...a 2006 ABC News/Kaiser Family Foundation/USA Today survey ... found that 89 percent of Americans were satisfied with the quality of their own health care.
Polls, eh?
Oct. 2003: In an extensive ABCNEWS/Washington Post poll, Americans by a 2-1 margin, 62-32 percent, prefer a universal health insurance program over the current employer-based system. Indeed, 54% of Americans are now dissatisfied with the overall quality of health care in the United States.
Mar. 2007: Most Support U.S. Guarantee of Health Care
Feb. 2009: In fact, half of the 2,491 adults urveyed in the nationwide poll said they either "strongly" or "somewhat" supported the president's plan to overhaul health care.
June 18, 2009: In the survey, nearly one in four people said they fear losing coverage in the next year.
June 20, 2009: ...the Times CBS poll found 85 percent of respondents wanted major healthcare reforms and most would be willing to pay higher taxes to ensure everyone had health coverage.

By law, most emergency rooms must provide health care -- to both legals and illegals. [...] What's wrong with charity -- people helping people?
Holy irresponsible economics, Batman!

Nobody is proposing a "complete government takeover" of health care, and as the process drags on, the hope of any meaningful reform of private insurers is starting to evaporate as Democrats buy into these ridiculous conservative talking points. I'm amazed the "do you want to wait at the DMV?!" line didn't make it in (and, frankly, the local DMV is far more efficient than my local hospitals and insurer).

If we can't even set up a non-single-payer government competitor to the current broken, inadequate health care system, then maybe it IS time for some Tea Parties.

Anonymous said...

Wow. Does this guy know that an estimated 43 million of those 255 million have health insurance solely because of Medicare, which is essentially a single payer health care system (oops, I mean an evil, rationing, socialist system)? So its good enough for them but not good enough for those currently uninsured?

Does he realize another 40 million or so are covered because of Medicaid, and that an estimated 60 percent of poor Americans are still not covered by Medicaid? I don't mean people like these "slacker 26 year old gen Xers" (a generation which is actually now it its 40s). I mean poor Americans, who bust their humps working, sometimes two or three jobs, in order to make ends meet?

So between Medicare, Medicaid and SCHIP, roughly 90-100 million of those 255 he claims are covered by our perfect free market health care system owe their coverage to government programs. But god forbid we go the extra step and cover everyone and reform the system. That's not necessary, not in a country where an estimated 55-60% of bankruptcies are the result of medical bills.

And the ending is just freaking rich. Oh no worries about people who are turned down or dropped from insurance by the holy free market. Well just have a bake sale! That will totally solve the problem!

Anonymous said...

I do enjoy how this conservative points to Medicare & SCHIP as "solving" the problems of some percentage of the population and encouraging those eligible to go get it. But as one post says: gawd forbid that we should offer a single payer program to everyone else.

There must be some Maginot line that defines what's (gasp, shudder) socialalizm v. what is not.

My GOP family members, who are eligible, have happily indulged themselves in SCHIP and Medicare, and are mostly satisfied w/it.

Like Social Security, these gov't programs are actually run fairly well.

It's clearly the CEOs of Insurance Companies, Big Pharma & the rest of the health care industry who don't want single payer bc it means that their obscene salaries might drop down to being merely grossly overpaid.

And the GOP loves to buy this junk.

Anonymous said...

The GOP is the party of greed and selfishness. This hasn't changed since the Gilded Age.

Svlad Jelly said...

That ABC/KFF/USA Today study is actually kinda interesting...if you look at all the stuff the writer of this RWF left out.


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