Social Question

josie's avatar

Why are people so upset about changing Medicare? Doesn't this mean I might actually get a little bit of the program someday?

Asked by josie (27962points) May 26th, 2011

Me, and most of my friends, have for our whole lives assumed that it was probable that we would never see one penny of the money that we are putting into Medicare (and Social Security). We figured it was a forgone conclusion that the Boomers would bleed it out and we would get nothing but the bill.

As the national debt hit dollars in the trillions, and as our foreign lenders became visibly nervous about holding our paper at existing interest rates, that liklihood increased from probable to metaphysically certain.

Now, I hear a proposal in Washington that people under 55 might still get a shot at something like Medicare, if they accept a change the system.

Hey, I figure something is better than nothing. I was counting on nothing at all. I will be glad for something. Same with Social Security. I am sure it will cost more, but so will everything after our over-printed dollars become increasingly worthless.

What is wrong with that?

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43 Answers

WestRiverrat's avatar

http://lonelyconservative.com/2011/05/video-paul-ryan-receives-words-of-encouragement-from-bill-clinton/

Clinton seems to think the Ryan plan is better than the no plans his own party is coming up with.

JLeslie's avatar

I count on having both. Someone needs to get a handle and clean up medicare (and private insurance, and medical doctors, and diagnostic centers, and pharma). The medical industry is a fucking farce. Excuse my langauge. Medicare dictating ridiculously low coverage for certain procedures, and riduculously high amounts, thievery, for others. Doctors who ask elderly patients to return for results of routine blood tests, so the doctor can charge medicare for a visit. They would rob the patient the same way if they were paying themselves. I was charged $2700 because I have insurance for my hisband’s CT scan, if we had no insurance they charge $550. Robbery. They said if I lie and say I don’t have insurance, they will find out and charge me for what I am supposed to pay according to my insurance. Who ever said anything about lying? But, why can’t I opt to self pay outside of my insurance? Fuckheads. My fantasy is one day we will not need medicare, because all citizen will be covered, but that is a different matter.

We need to keep medicare and run it better.

marinelife's avatar

@josie Why settle for less? There is no reason to. The Ryan plan makes all kinds of nonsensical cuts. There are much better fixes available. Also, how old are you? Social Security is solvent now (without further intervention) until 2037.

josie's avatar

@marinelife
You don’t have to cite references, but what are the better fixes? Most of the ones I hear are based on the ancient resentments that the poor have against the rich.
If that is it, don’t bother. I am working to be, legally, rich someday. My friends too. We will oppose anybody who gets in the way.

marinelife's avatar

@josie I don’t care if you get rich, but if you get rich, you should pay for your own health care.

josie's avatar

@marinelife I totally agree. But given the fact that nobody is ever going to get elected by saying that everybody should take care of their own business, I would at least like to get a return on my “investment”.
So are you saying a should be forced, like a slave, to pay for somebody else’s medical bills, without getting any consideration in return?
No way!

ratboy's avatar

@josie, not “forced like a slave,” but willingly as a good citizen to pay to help your less fortunate fellow citizen.

marinelife's avatar

@josie What I am saying is that you should contribute, proportionally, to the society in which you live and from which you derive your riches, and you should not take government handouts from same if you can afford your own care.

josie's avatar

@marinelife @ratboy So if the idea truly has merit, why should I be forced, under the threat of federal imprisonement, to accept it? If it is truely a wonderful notion why don’t I embrace it, like I do my desire for food, water, etc?

WestRiverrat's avatar

@marinelife the Ryan budget made fewer cuts to Medicare over the next five years than the Obama budget did.

ETpro's avatar

No. To begin with, the underlying problem with Medicare isn’t that it is government run, but that the private sector costs providers have been increasing costs at 3 to 5 time inflation for the last 30 years. If we do not get control of costs, the continuing increase will result in rationing no matter how we kick the can down the roiad.

Second, Medicare’s administrative costs are about ⅓rd of that of private healthcare insurance providers., So giving you a voucher (or call it whatever euphemism you want for stupid PR putrposes) will not let you buy more care, it will let you buy less. And Medicare’s massive bargaining clout means they can negotiate for low prices., Good luck negotiating when you go out on your own with your voucher.

Third, most seniors have so many preexisting conditions they wouldn’t be able to buy a healthcare policy at age 65 no matter how much money you gave them in the voucher. Currently, private insurers turn down nearly 30% of all who apply when uninsured. I am healthy as a horse. I haven’t been in a hospital except to visit others in 50 years. My blood pressure is 55/110. I got quotes when I was 64, and Blue Cross/Blue Shield wanted $2,500 a month—which works out to $30,000 a year. By the time Ryan’s plan kicks in in 10 years, his proposal, factored for inflation , would give you a voucher for $6,000. Good luck buying a senior care plan on the open market with that.

It is truly a plan to end medical care for seniors unless they are wealthy enough to pay out of pocket.

JLeslie's avatar

@josie If Medicare was run well, and you felt confident it is not going to go bankrupt, then are you ok with having money taken from your paycheck? So you know in the future you will have “free” medical care?

I actually am against people being forced to buy private insurance, but I am fine being taxed for socialized medicine.

ETpro's avatar

@JLeslie It seems to me that forcing people to buy private insurance without a competing public option is a blueprint for runnaway cost. There is no reason to control costs. When you can’t boost sales because of a slow-growing population, just run costs up to increase profits. Consumers have no choice but to pay. Very wrong-headed idea, and that’s essentialy whay Ryan’s plan does. It eliminates the only single-payer plan we have that helps control costs. It turns everything over to executives at private, for-profit companies. They get to decide how big a bonus they need each year and jack up prices to get it.

JLeslie's avatar

@ETpro I have not read the Ryan plan, I know I should. I have been kind of out of listening to politics of late, except for a discussion or two on fluther, so I appreciate your synopsis on this point. I had not even gone down the path of no reason to control costs (which I feel is happening now) I was still at point A, how can someone be ordered by the government to buy private insurance just for existing. I guess we require it for cars for instance, at the state level, but if you don’t have a car you don’t have to buy it, and cars are different, because of the statistically high possibility in the event of a crash you harm someone else.

Jaxk's avatar

@JLeslie

We need to do something about the cost of our entitlement programs. The idea that we can just keep going as we are is simply not sustainable. If you look at the growth of these programs you will see that Medicare/Medicaid are exploding. And why would anyone think that government run, is the best way to control costs?

The truth is government has been trying to reduce costs by simply saying they will pay less. That has resulted in many health care providers simply backing away from Medicare. Keep in mind that the Mayo Clinic is a non-profit hospital so it’s not some CEO looking for a bigger bonus.

I feel a bit sorry for @ETpro but at 2500/mo that must be pretty damn good coverage. At 64, I was paying about $650/mo (Blue Cross) and I smoke and it’s for both me and my wife And it includes dental. Of course that is only catastrophic coverage, I still pay for office visits. But hey, I’m healthy (and cheap). If anything major goes wrong I’m covered, if I get a cold, I’m not.

The key is what do you need and what do you want. And how do we keep the country solvent.

ETpro's avatar

@Jaxk That was a good Blue Cross plan that would cover a doctor’s visit with co-pay, etc. I ended up going to a cheaper provider and doing what you did, buying catistrophic care coverage only. I’m 67 now and VERY happy with Medicare.

I totally agree that we have to get on top of runaway costs. We now devote 17.2% of our GDP to health care. The French have a single-payer system with private doctors and hospitals, and they have the #1 rated healthcare system in the world. THey pay a little over 10% of their GDP to cover everyone, while we pay far more and leave 50 million uncovered. Every other developed nation on earth manages to provide health care to all their citizens at FAR less than we pay per capita—and we are rated at the bottom of the developed world in healthcare outcomes. So the cost solution is out there. We just need to go look at how other people do it.

JLeslie's avatar

@Jaxk I care about fiscal responsibility, I do not want to have social systems that grow our deficit. I am back to my first answer way at the top. Someone needs to get a handle on the medical system in general in this country and get rid of the bullshit and thievery. I have very little confidence it will ever happen.

Johns Hopkins and Mayo has all of their doctors salaried by the way. They are not business owners.

JLeslie's avatar

@Jaxk Why do I think the government will run ot better? Because I miss military care and their doctors. I like that once the capital is spent on an utrasound machine, and the tech is paid a salary, that if their is an opening in the schedule I can get the ultrasound I want, just to simply reassure myself nothing has changed with my heart murmur and it does not cost anyone any more money, because the machine is on anyway and the tech is paid anyway. If I have to wait a few weeks, fine with me.

Military wives getting free breast augmentation, I saw a Q about that once. What does it cost? Supplies, electricity? Doctor is already being paid, the teaching hospitals need to practice, change of linens, meds, a few meals. Maybe $1k-$2k? But, on the outside you pay $5k-$10k.

Jaxk's avatar

@ETpro

I think we all know that Health Care needs some work in this country. We have a major disconnect on what should be done. I’ve gone through those world health rankings numerous times and there are simply too many holes for me to believe the rankings. And one of the criteria is the cost. So spending more on health care merely lowers the ranking. But that aside, there are a few other points I’d like to make.

We are the most litigious nation on earth. The cost of malpractice insurance is more than many doctors make in salary. That seems to be a problem to me. Europe in general doesn’t have the same attitude towards suing everyone that we do. So when comparing their costs to ours we need to make some allowances. I won’t get into the defensive medicine debate but there’s lot of literature on it.

The basic point here is that if we want to take a system from another society, we may not be able to keep all the all the things we want from ours. Not saying that’s good or bad but everything is a trade off. You get some things and lose others. You may not get that cat scan right away but when you get it it’s free. All well and good for the person that doesn’t have an immediate need but not so good for the person that does. It’s all very interesting when you look at people that come to the US for medical care and you look at people that go out of the US for medical care. Typically they come here if there’s a time issue and elsewhere if there’s a cost issue. That’s a very general statement but I believe it’s true. They’ll come here instead of waiting six months for a cat scan (or some other procedure) and go overseas to get a cheaper hip replacement. That sort of thing.

OK, OK, I’m droning on so I’ll wind up. I just wish we’d try to address cost first. If we go single payer, we’ll never address the cost.

Jaxk's avatar

@JLeslie

I can understand why you’d like the military setup. That isn’t really typical of any profit or non profit hospital. On the outside if you have doctors with free time, you have to cut back. Also the military doesn’t really have to account for their time or money. Things like facilities, payroll, and financial accounting are handled elsewhere. There is no malpractice insurance to worry about. Hell no insurance of any kind. It’s virtually impossible to tell how much they really spend on medical so it’s easy to slip in a few procedures that may or may not be necessary.

JLeslie's avatar

@Jaxk I like the atitude of the doctors generally better in the military. I am not saying they have loads of free time, of course if they did they would have to cut back. But a half hour opening to squeeze in a lesser important case here and there. That is where the wait time usually comes for the patient. It would be interesting to know the financials of military health during non-wartime, or excluding war injury. For instance how much does it cost to run Bethesday Naval compared to another aa hospital in the late 90’s? Not bottom line, but costs.

ETpro's avatar

@Jaxk Points well taken. To be sure, we need tort reform in medicine. We have to aproach it with care. It would be a terrible idea to strip patients of all rights to compensation in cases of clear medical malpractice or negligence that seriously harms or kills someone. But there is no question in my mind we are too far in the “nothing should even go wrong” direction and that’s driving costs. That’s one area where Democrats need to compromise on their love affair with trial lawyers and their donations in return for Republican compromise on letting Medicare negotiate drug pricing with big pharma, and limiting abuses of the healthcare insurance industry.

As to wait times, if we adopt the right approach, we should be able to reign in costs very substantially without impacting availability at all. In France’s single-payer system, all services are delivered by the private sector. The only service the government undertakes in insurer. With their bargaining power and system size, they have clout negotiating fees and extremely low administrative fees, plus no added expense for profits or taxes. The question is, how could we fairly transition to a single payer system with so many currently invested in the for-profit one?

Healthcare costs are expected to hit 25% of our GDP by 2025. The track we are on is unsustainble. I think both Democrats and Republicans can agree on that, and hopefully that will provide a starting point for meaningful cost control done in a way that still leaves us good care for all, and those who can afford it free to seek heroic efforts if they wish.

Jaxk's avatar

Your points are well taken. I must admit, I have a problem with expanding the federal government to that degree. I would feel more comfortable at the state level. Making it a federal bureaucracy just adds another level that isn’t necessary. It would be like having the EU take over Health Care as opposed to the individual countries. What may work in NY may not fit as well in Montana. And the transition in either case would be extremely painful.

But if we are to make any progress, we have to get past this partisan wrangling. What ever is proposed, the other side is completely against the entire thing. Instead we need to look at the pieces and see what might work and add changes to make it better.

JLeslie's avatar

@jaxk although I agree sometimes what works in NY may not work in Montana, I think sometimes that line is used simply as resistance to change. I was in a conversation yesterday where moms were talking about hitting their kids and when I said, even if people believe in hitting their kids, how can they eb ok witha teacher having the power to do it, and they said these poor teachers need to have the thread of corporal punishment to control the class. Bullshit! Over half the country does not use the threat and I double there are worse behavioral problems. Why don’t they just try it the yankee way? Try. Why don’t they want to let go of that idea? Or, explore a different possibility. I am not saying mandate something federally necessarily, but for the state to give it a try when it has worked somewhere else. That line is big right now among Republicans, and Romney is really utilizing it, and it plays to the bible belt really well. I think it goes to anything, healthcare, public schools, job creation, and on and on. I am sure there are things working in the bible belt that other parts of the country can learn from too, I am not trying to pick on only one region as being resistant.

Generally, on these big issues, I am more for a central government than state, or at least a lot of balance, not more power in the states, but I have to say I can see the logic in allowing states to have autonomy and be almost test pilots for new and innovative ideas, that then other states can learn from, but we must be willing to accept the learning, and not argue how we are so different from the other state, simply because we feel the other state is full of the enemy, and I think that kind of thinking happens too often.

Jaxk's avatar

@JLeslie

I know there’s a lot of that opinion around. I just don’t have that mindset. I believe that government is best when it is closest to the issue. You must be able to see that a school in the inner city of NY or LA might have different issues than one say, in Beverly Hills or Topeka. The performance of the students may be quite different as well. Not necessarily from different IQs as much as different environments. When you standardize tests to accommodate both environments, you tend to reduce the standard for both and increase the cost for both.

National standards tend to remove the judgement call from doctors. I kind of like the doctor to give me his best guess. Instead we have to go to a specialist that then tells us what the general practitioner already knew but had to get all the tests so he wouldn’t get sued for malpractice. I posted a link a few weeks back to an article about what the schools have to do to prove someone is handicapped. A battery of physical and psychological tests that cost the school system a fortune. That’s a national standard. I just think we’re out of control and national standards are at least one of the reasons.

ETpro's avatar

@Jaxk Vermont just instituted Single-Payer at the state level.. It will be interesting to compare its results to the odels in other states. The only argument I see for federal versus state is the vast difference in bargaining power. Small states might get milked as profit centers to support big states who do have some clout to bargain. And it wouldn’t add bureaucracy, it would greatly reduce it. The bureaucracy is currently replicated with each individual insurer.

Jaxk's avatar

@ETpro

You are right about the bargaining power. I’ve just never seen the federal government get involved with anything without creating a huge bureaucracy to handle it. I’ll need to think this through and I’m a little slow this morning. I didn’t get much sleep, I think it’s Restless leg syndrome. I sure hope medicare covers that. Of course it could be Carpool-tunnel-syndrome, I’m just not sure.

Jaxk's avatar

@ETpro

Just another thought as I think this through. Even Wyoming, the least populous state, has over ½ a million people. That’s still a lot of bargaining power. And there are only 7 states with less than a million. Now if we could get back to a system where people only went to the doctor when they needed a doctor, we may be able to save some real money. Instead we are told to go to the doctor for everything. Check with your doctor to see if your fit for sexual activity. Do we really need to do that? Is there really such a thing as ‘Restless leg’ syndrome? Check with you doctor to see if XX drug is right for you. If I need an anti-biotic, why can’t I just buy it and cure myself? If I’m depressed, why doesn’t some one just tell me to get off my ass and go do something, instead of going to the doctor for medication.

Sorry for the rant.

JLeslie's avatar

@Jaxk Sorry for the delayed response. I was not thinking in terms of test taking for education, but since you bring it up, I am in favor of minimal testing. We have to know somehow where our children stand academically, and I want to know if the kid in Wyoming is getting an equal education to the kid in Michigan. I don’t mean they learn all of the same things, but that they do learn all of the same core things. Elective classes would vary with each community. Anyway, back to testing, I would want at least 3rd, 5th, and 8th grade standardized testing nationwide. If the people in Alabama are only worried about what Alabama thinks is important to learn, they might be falling behind the rest of the country. The child born in Alabama, who does well through school, might get into Vanderbilt and struggle compared to his peers, because they were in a better school system. I want to level that playing field across the country to some extent.

You say issues are different in every city, and of course Beverly Hills is different than Topeka, but different how? You said you are not talking about IQ, so then why can’t Beverly Hills kids be at the same level in reading, math, and science as the Topeka children?

I actually do want doctors to feel a little freer, less threat of being sued, to use their judgement, and act as a partner with me regarding my health issues. I have a totally different experience than what you describe though. I have yet to find a GP wo has really done much for me since I was an adolescent. I find it more necessary to see specialists. I don’t think I am alone. There was a lot of outcry with the HMO’s mandating you must get a referral to see a specialist. If my vagina hurts I really rather see a GYN, and if my heart is beating funny, I need to go to the cardiologist (my GP said my heart was just fine heard nothing. I new I had a murmur, and then I started experiencing what I felt was my heart stopping for a moment. Finally after a few years I went to the cardiologist, and she could hear the murmur and did a 24 hour monitor on me, and in deed I miss a beat, my heart rate was going extremely low in the middle of the night). that GP did not refer me, he said I was fine.

I agree Americans should not run to the doctor. I have never, since the age of 12 probably, been to the doctor for a cold or flu. It’s just ridiculous. In other countries people go to the pharmacist first, if they cannot figureit out for themselves.

I guess the tests for handicapped might be there because maybe the fed helps the states with the expense of handicapped children? Just guessing.

Many of the countries doing well in regards to education have national systems. Of course many of those countries are much smaller than us, and less diverse, less geographically varied, I do think those things matter.

Honestly, I keep getting this feeling though that the south, and I have no idea where you live, that the south, or maybe I should say the bible belt, feels/believes/thinks Federal government is synonomous with Yankee liberal north.

Jaxk's avatar

@JLeslie

For example, my senior year of high school, I went to a little school in Michigan. There were 156 kids in the entire school. 32 in my senior class. There was no problem with the education but there was little available in the way of special programs. When the federal government gets involved, regulation becomes rampant. Class size, lunch programs, how to handle slow or handicapped students, all are federally mandated. We don’t need the federal government to tell the schools what to teach, they already know that. It’s all the other crap that comes with it that they feel compelled to regulate.

“Many of the countries doing well in regards to education have national systems. Of course many of those countries are much smaller than us, and less diverse, less geographically varied, I do think those things matter.”

That is the exact point I’ve been trying to make. Countries like Canada, don’t have a federal department of Education. And they do just fine.

As for the South, you’re probably right. I don’t live in the south but frankly, after the past two years, I also feel Washington is synonymous with Liberal. We’re all Yankees, that war is over.

The Health Care issue is very similar. We talk about other countries and how much better their system is and how much cheaper their system but we don’t want to operate the same way, we just want to nationalize it. Other countries are not nearly as litigious but we don’t want to change that. Other countries allow you to purchase more for self medication but we don’t want to change that. Other countries have a much more streamlined drug approval process but we don’t want to change that.

Anyway, I’ll just leave you with one last thought. I want the federal government out of my life.

ETpro's avatar

@Jaxk Even a million people is scant bargaining power when the health insurance industry is controlled by such big players. There are a handful of corporations selling health insurance to the vast majority of the insured population of the US. For thise size companies, 500,000 or even 1,000,000 customers have no great clout.

Also, regarding bureaucracy, the healthcare providers are not without staffs of secretarial workers, adjusters, actuarial, legal staff to dispute claims, accounting, etc. And each company must have its own bureaucracy,.It’s not something you are escaping by going to the private sector, it is something you are increasing. Medicare’s administrative costs run around 3.5%. Private, for-profit insurers run 7 to 12%.

I am 100% in sync with you about the push to go to the doctor for silly reasons. A great deal of that has to do with our lifting the FCC prohibition on drug advertising on TV. I gave up on their suggestions when they said if I get an erection lasting more than 4 hours, check with my doctor. Believe me, on the outside chance that ever happens, my doctor is the last person who will hear about it. :-)

Jaxk's avatar

@ETpro

“my doctor is the last person who will hear about it. :-)” I can’t help but chuckle.

I hear those numbers about administrative costs a lot. Unfortunately they don’t cover all the costs. Billing is handled through the IRS, employers, and employees. Any legal disputes are handled through the Department of Justice. These costs are not included in those figures. If there was a report that gave a more complete comparison I might believe them.

And I’ll go back to my original statement, that you are right about the bargaining power.

JLeslie's avatar

@Jaxk You come the frame of mind my school was just fine, don’t interfere. The question is do you care about the schools that suck? You can not care, I am not judging it. You fundamentally believe local does it better, but local sucks all too often.

How much does this federal interference in your small school negatively impact things, or is it just an annoyance? I still have to winder if the paperwork is to receive federal money for the student? Your local school could probably just take care of the student however they want and not get the money. Who is stopping them from doing that if that is the case? Our feral government only goves schools about 9% of their working budget. Sure, maybe it could be better how the fed requires certain things of public schools, but some of the really below par schools really need some sort of help, they don’t know how to fix it in my opinion, they don’t know better. MI also has some of the highest paid teachers, excellent university system, and more.

In Memphis, which is similar to the Detroit problem in terms of income level, ethnicity, education, etc, anyway in Memphis Memphians just voted to give up their school charter to the county, so the county will run their schools. The county doesn’t wants it (of course this is talking in general terms, some people in Memphis don’t want it, and some in county are ok with it, but the majority of people are how I described it in the first sentence. Part of the problem is, and here is where it sounds really bad, they vote in their scool board, and if we allow Memphians to vote, or have influence with their vote on the school board in the county, they could turn it into the same mess it is in Memphis. People voting who don’t know what to vote for, they are so uneducated themselves and worried about the wrong things, it isn’t helping. I give the Memphis citizens credit for wanting to give up their school charter, it is like admitting they aren’t doing it well. Now, the bad part is, the county wants nothing to do with them. Part of it sounds rather racist, people talking about busing, and those kids downtown will never do well no matter what, they can’t be helped, and a bad influence would come out to the county, and if all schools in the county, including Memphis, are county in statisics, Shelby county will look even worse in state and national reviews.

The federal government would care about all the children better in this particular situation, because the reality of the local situation, and knowing, and being intwined in the local situation is the county doesn’t give a shit about the children in the city, and worse they think they are hoodlums and unworthy.

Think Little Rock 9 during desegregation, state Governor sent in his people to prevent the 9 black students from entering the school, the fed had to send troops to escort the children in. The state level sucks all to often. Remnants of this shit is still in the communities and school systems in a not so obvious way.

That war is not over in the south. Confedrate flag down the street from me. A woman just complained to me several moths ago how everything is changing, too many northerners moving in. She said it to me with my quasi NY accent, LOL, I give her credit for her honesty. Damn Yankees. Lol.

ETpro's avatar

@Jaxk The best information I have seen says that Medicare’s total administrative costs are between 6 and 8%, while employer paid private plans run 15 to22% and individual plans are much higher than that. But the solution to that debate is simple. Leave the private sector alone, and establish a public option. If it saves money and provides acceptable care, it will win out in the marketplace, If for-profit insurance is a better deal, the marketplace will tell us that.

Jaxk's avatar

@JLeslie

I’ve been mulling over whether to respond to you post or not. It makes it difficult when your point seems to be that if I don’t agree with you, I have some sort of degenerative personality disorder. I must be a bigot, racist, or I’m just concerned about the plight of the poor or minorities. Frankly, I won’t get into a debate where you push me into defending my character. My character is just fine and if that’s what you want to argue, I see no point.

If however, you want to argue the merits of the education system, that’s another story. To be honest, my small school example was merely to show how dramatically different rural America is when compared with the big cities. The Department of Education (DoE) was created by Jimmy Carter in 1980. Prior to that, there was very little federal involvement and since I was long out of school by that time, it wasn’t able to affect my education.

Since the inception of the DoE, how has education improved? Has it gotten cheaper? Has it gotten better results? Fewer dropouts? Is our standing in the world improving or declining? Yes dear hearts, the DoE has done wonders in improving our education system. I don’t know why we aren’t moving to nationalize even more industries. But wait, we are. God help us.

Jaxk's avatar

@ETpro

It would be great if it were that simple. Unfortunately the government doesn’t compete well with private enterprise. You end up with all the problem patients on the government dole everyone else on private. Look at the schools for example. Private and charter tend to have better results at less cost. Yet they won’t allow direct competition.The mindset for most people comes down to, if my taxes are paying for it, I want my piece. Not altogether unreasonable.

If the government is so efficient why do they pay less for standard procedures that private. To the point that many doctors and hospitals have to limit access to medicare/medicaid. patients. It’s an iniquitous arrangement.

ETpro's avatar

@Jaxk If you think that, then you haven’t grasped what a public option would be. It would function exactly like a private insurance policy. You would pay for it monthly, or your employer would carry some share. It is in no way a dole.

If the Con-men are so utterly convinced that private enterprise would beat the government hands down, why are they so terrified of testing to see if you are right?

Jaxk's avatar

@ETpro

Ya got me there. I haven’t grasped what the Public Option would be, because we don’t have one on the table. As I recall, even the one proposed in the broader health care plan, gave this to the states. And since it was part and parcel with the broader goal of nationalizing the health care system it wasn’t s system you could objectively analyze separately.

The basic idea of a public option does not necessarily scare me. If done right it could even gain my support. Unfortunately ‘the devil is in the detail’. The government could not set this up for free. So how much bureaucracy do we need to find out. And if it doesn’t work, what are the odds that it would go away? Government doesn’t work like that. Energy can not be created nor destroyed, only converted from one form to another. Government bureaucracy is like that, except that it can be created just not destroyed, and usually expanded. Too bad energy isn’t more like that.

You’re asking for a leap of faith in an area where I have no faith. It’s like Bernie Madoff telling us that if we don’t like the return on our money we can just pull it out. What could go wrong?

JLeslie's avatar

@Jaxk God no. I do not think you are racist at all. I was talking about race relations where I live, and generalizing about parts of the south. I am glad you responded so I could straighten it out. I am saying do we, the big we, do we care to make it right as a country when local communities are behaving badly? Unfairly? I think so many people do not realize the issues in other parts of the country, and that is part of the reason your argument makes sense, each local community knows their needs best in some ways, but it is also the same reason that sometimes local communities cannot get out of their stuck patterns.

If the government has a minimum standard, and your town in MI easily meets and surpasses it, what is the big deal about the minimum standard being there?

Jaxk's avatar

@JLeslie

Minimum standards are not the issue. The DoE regulations are Title 34 of the code of federal regulations. Title 34 – EDUCATION is presently composed of three volumes (parts 1 to 299, parts 300 to 399, and part 400 to 1200). The contents of these volumes represent all regulations codified under this title of the CFR as of July 1, Annually. They cover everything from grants, sex education, disability programs, adult education, and all the forms and reporting requirements (a lot).

I think it’s safe to say, there is more there than minimum standards. Afterall, it is a government bureaucracy, that’s what they do. You can complain about the local community but they have very little say in education. Between the federal, state, and district they have regulation upon regulation. Some conflicting and all requiring administrative bureaucracy.

I don’t know if you read my previous link, but this is the part I find most striking:

“Their schedules jammed with course work in self-esteem, personal safety, AIDS education, family life, consumer training, driver’s ed, holistic health, and gym, the typical American high school student spends only 1,460 hours on subjects like math, science, and history during their four years in high schools. Meanwhile, their counterparts in Japan will spend 3,170 hours on basic subjects, students in France will spend 3,280 on academics, while students in Germany will spend 3,528 hours studying such subjects – nearly three times the hours devoted in American schools.”

We have teachers day just to keep up with all the rules and shortchange the students to cover it. The schools should not be used as a social incubator for all our perceived problems nor as a substitute for parenting. It is a school, it should be used for education. If we stick to education, I think you would find there is less disparity between the north and south, even your stereo-typed version of the south.

ETpro's avatar

@Jaxk Vermont has taken the state-wide public option plunge. I will be anxious to see how it works there.

JLeslie's avatar

@Jaxk Those stats on hours spent on core material are very interesting. I have been known to say that I want high school children to have a class on basic things for life, on term class. Writing a check, compound interest, renting an apartment, buying a house, how credit scores work, reading a nutrition label, sex ed (well I think sex ed should be part of basic biology) taxes, credit cards, what is on a job application, applying to college, even one week on communication and custoer service. Some sort of practical class mostly based on money and finances. But, what you are talking about is a tremendous amount of time it seems in mandatory elective type courses. I really need to think about that and look through your links.

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