A surprising figure to admire

I am very, very pleased that the House has finally passed the health care reform bill. I will concede that it is far from perfect (I would really have liked to see a public option), but it is also far better than nothing. I am cautiously optimistic about the CBO's numbers, and I am hopeful that this will correct many of the worst excesses of the insurance industry. And I remain highly skeptical that this heralds an inevitable slide into communism. (If I end up being shipped to a reeducation camp in Alaska in the coming decades, I will revisit this question.)

The airwaves and Internet tubes are full of analyses this morning that talk about what a huge victory this is for President Obama. And it is. I admire his tenacity and his dedication to his cardinal campaign promise. But there's someone else I find myself admiring more.

I have never been a big Harry Reid fan. He's always struck me as a pusillanimous and ineffectual Senate Majority Leader. And damned if he didn't hold his caucus together to get this bill passed. [Editorial note: this assumes the Senate passes the House reconciliation bill as expected.] Moreover, he's probably going to lose his seat because of his support for health care reform. He did something unpopular because he believed it was right, and for that he has my sincere admiration.

I also don't think the Democrats are going to get spanked as badly as everyone predicts in November. They have eight months to sell this bill to the public and to tout its benefits, and they will be doing so from a position of victory. The GOP, on the other hand, has proven itself to be rankly obstructionist, prone to premature gloating, and all too willing to tolerate (and encourage) the very worst excesses of its supporters.


  1. Why do you consider a 2% profit margin "one of the many of the worst excesses of the insurance industry?" Do you perhaps enjoy the products/services of Google, or Apple, or Nike or essentially anything that makes more than a 2% PM? Do you also consider those companies as evil enterprises for making money? The only good/service you likely use with a 2% PM or less is a grocery store (or maybe if you own a domestic car)...Also, are you proud that this bill includes 16000 new IRS agents (how does that help me if my kid gets cancer)? Are you proud that this bill laid off hundreds of thousands of employees at college loan servicers (what does that have to do with health care)? There is nothing to be proud of in this bill, it does nothing to improve the health care system nor does it fix our issues with insurance companies. Please feel free to educate me, but this is a disgraceful bill.


  2. You are cautiously optimistic about the CBO numbers? You cannot be serious. I refuse to believe someone with your intelligence can possibly swallow the fraud of the Lying Dems.

    And the taxes start up, along with the higher insurance rates due to the guaranteed issue and minimimum coverage provisions. If my insurance costs rise by $1, I will cancel my family policy, pay cash for the service we do use, and if, the Random Forces of Nature forbid, we have a large expense, then I'll just take out one of these new guaranteed issue policies. If I need to pay a few hundred in penalties, well, that's way cheaper than buying coverage, and perfectly legal to boot!

  3. oy vey. Dart has to be joking. Yes, lets guarantee banks a steady stream of income by the US guaranteeing student loans and allow the banks to rake in the profits because, well, they hire people to make the loans. Of course, the fact that the same amount of people working for the Government can do the same thing is unthinkable. That is a banking scam, one long overdue to be gotten rid of. Hey Dart, what is to prevent Banks from issuing student loans on their own and assuming all of the risk along with it?

    Nothing, except banks won't. Students will go to the Student Financial Aid Office at their Universities and apply there for Government direct loans (which already exists but was capped so that banks can get their share of lucre)

    As to the bill itself, right now all uninsured care gets charged off in hospitals to the insurance companies, which charge it off to premium holders. The US pays 16% of its economy on Health care with worse results than most other OECD countries that pay significantly less. This is due to inefficiencies and waste. Now this bill doesn't eliminate all of it, but by enrolling 32 millions into situations where they are policy holders paying into the system (with many one day leaving subsidies behind) they can access preventative care, thereby mitigating geniune ER expenses
    (and no gj, not everyone who goes to the ER costs a ton of money, but many cases that are preventable do). Now as to other benefits, guaranteed issue, portability, no rescission, community rating, insurance pools, etc. more than make up for...well, doing nothing.

    And I love how the first thought out of gj's mind is how to scam the system. Hey, guess what you putrid little punk, you can do without insurance now and simply go to ER's, give a fake name and not pay anything. Wow, I am sure you are kicking yourself for not being a parasite earlier you twisted little cretin.
    Please, be a scumbag and cancel your policy, be proud of how you put your childrens lives at risk all because of an insurance rise of $1
    Only an evil person would try to game the system the way you describe. Thank God the vast majority of people are not evil little trolls and realize insurance exists as a society wide protection and that the lucky ones never need avail themselves of it at all.

    I have said it before and I will say it again, you really are a complete and utter shithead, and now I can add evil to boot. And the scariest thing, you really have no idea how much a scumbag you are.


  4. by the way Dr. Dan sorry for my language but that mindset that many Republicans have, that the world is out to cheat them, that no one can be trusted, that everything is a scam is becoming more and more prevalent. Whereas normal human beings willingly pay insurance because it is the right thing to do, and people like myself who have been blessed to have never had cause to need my health insurance don't go around cursing my good health and the wasted money spent on premiums. I am happy my premium payments have gone on to help my co-workers (and friends) in their time of need. Knowing my arc of life I would have still made those payments (just as I would have paid my car insurance though I haven't had an accident or even a ticket in 19 years), but yes, I suppose I could have paid a fine and taken a few points on my license if I did get caught and saved tens of thousands in car insurance premiums.

    What a sad, dark little world gj must inhabit, I can only imagine the self loathing he feels whenever he looks into a mirror from how he projects that loathing on to everyone else.

    I mean, wow, this guy thought it was some kind of clever rebuttal. Really, really scary.


  5. charo, I'm not scamming the system. I'm doing perfectly legal things. Thanks to the loving wisdom of our All-Seeing, Benevolent Leaders, all I need to do to be in compliance with their new law is pay a small fine. Remember, our elected leaders know more than you do about policy. You must trust they have only your best interests at heart. They know what is best for you, in all cases, at all times.

    Oh, charo, it won't be long until Dear Pelosi and Saint Harry require that everyone be able to obtain car insurance at any time, even covering pre-existing accidents! It just makes sense, doesn't it?

  6. Dart, let's see the numbers on that 2% profit margin, which I frankly do not believe. And if you want to defend rescission, feel free to do so.

    And I'll leave the ongoing saga of GJ and charo to proceed without me.

  7. yes, gj, and tell me how this will work. little junior is playing and falls down the stairs, the wife yells: call 911.

    But no, first the insurance company must be called so gj calls one, then does comparison shopping before finally choosing a plan, then he calls 911 happy in the knowledge that he really showed them.

    The EMT's arrive but alas little junior has died. Oh no, gj cries, I had better cancel my premium payment.

    Is this seriously what you are arguing is going to happen?

    Let us say more people are as coldblooded as you think. Simple solution. Tax and credit. Everyone is taxed for healthcare with an end of year credit (or paycheck to paycheck) for all policy holders. The excess money accumulated will fund the uninsured. There will be no free riders. Right now there is a tax credit for companies, this bill extends it to individuals. Hmmm...but why bother to know what is in the bill, better to make up demented scenerios.

    And it is sickening that you would equate, say, a child with Spina Bifida with reckless driving. When cars are built with defects (like the Prius) we sue the manufacturer, now gj is proposing we sue the parents for producing a genetically defective child. (oh, wait, not sue, deny coverage). If a car is not road worthy we junk it. Gj's solution, lets junk people too.

    "a car with pre-existing accidents" really? really? wow, it is staggering in its stupidity and lack of logic. Again, no one will sell car insurance for a car that has not passed inspection. Gj's solution, inspect every new baby and throw away the ones he doesn't approve of.

    honestly, do you drink demon blood for breakfast?


  8. Dan -
    Here are three examples, looks like around 2% to me! Or, you could go to Bloomberg and actually look for yourself or get a calculator and do the calculation yourself from the annual reports. Wait - you would have to understand what a profit margin IS first, so don't bother.

    Tenet Healthcare (THC) - PM of 2.08%
    AETNA (AET) - 3.67%
    Cardinal (CAH) - 0.77%

    Charo -
    I don't know where to start. First, you did not answer my question (what do these things have to do with health care and making it better - in other words, why are you at all proud of this bill). Also, I rather enjoyed the dichotomy “Republicans” and “Normal People?” Guess what, Republicans are gay and straight, rich and poor, some would like to help the environment some could not care less, some think it's okay to have a DOD budget of trillions of dollars, some do not. Hey, the same could be said for Democrats. Some Democrats call black people the n-word and hate gay people, some do not. Some Democrats are fine paying 39% of their income to the government, some do not.

    Both Charo and Dan -
    This blog tends to place a huge division between Ds and Rs. Guess what - the division is NOT present. If you look at the popluar vote over the past 60 years, it's 52-48, 48-52, 49-51, 51-49 - each and EVERY election. Stop painting the world like this, it's fiction.

  9. Oops - that 12:09 post was from me "Dart" - so you can yell at me...

  10. Howdy, Dart. First of all, you can take your snotty attitude and cram it sideways. I know what a profit margin is, thanks. I also know that every source I have seen has placed the health insurance industry's profit margins at somewhere around 4%, which is neither at the top of the industrial list nor 2%.

    I also do not begrudge the industry its profits, so long as it does not earn them by cutting people from its rolls when they have the temerity to become ill, or prevent them from enrolling because they have had the misfortunate of once becoming ill in the past.

  11. short message to charo.

    charo, leave my children out of your dark fantasies. If you can't bring your shriveled, nasty soul to extend that small courtesy, then go to hell. And stop trying to put words in my mouth. Spina bifida indeed. Sod off, creep.

    Now, here's how the New Order works. If I have an accident, I go to the ER and pay out of my pocket. If I start having symptoms requiring a doctor's attention, I schedule a visit and pay out of my own pocket. Should a more serious condition be present, requiring expensive treatment and followups, *then* I purchase 'insurance.'

  12. Dart, the simple answer is this is how our government works, Obama promised that his bill would come in under 1 trillion over ten years and would be fully paid for by not increasing the deficit, so to do that he had to find the money somewhere, getting rid of a banking boondoggle is one of the ways he did it. It is like if you buy a new car but to afford it you give up HBO (while getting the exact same movies on Cinemax). You can say what does HBO have to do with buying a car, but the answer is probably obvious. It is a question of budget.

    Oh, and I never said all Republicans, I vote for Republicans often and supported Chris Christie in NJ. I just think the face of the national Republican party has turned far too ugly.

    By the way, these profits are occurring after expenses, which include vastly inflated salaries. You give me 36 million a year, a corporate jet, company paid housing, executive retreats and I can keep my profit margin all the way down to 2%

    Are you aware when GM was going bankrupt GM Chief Rick Waggoner rented a 747 for himself and the few staff that accompanied him to fly to Shanghai to inspect SGM's factory? (no first class for the likes of them, he needs a whole plane) He stayed at the 4 Seasons renting an entire floor, a Chinese hotel staffer literally held a separate elevator for his exclusive use so he would not have to wait for an elevator. He was given Police escort everywhere he went (at GM's expense).
    And these were operating expenses for a company on the verge of Bankruptcy (don't get me wrong, Shanghai GM is incredibly profitable and I have no problem with an inspection but it was an insane waste of money the way they went about it)

    So please, spare me the whole "profits" bit. Talk to me about salary structure and executive compensation first.

    By the way, I used to work for a small printing company with plants around the country. The company had a small company jet, as the company went down they cut employee health benefits and froze salaries but kept the jet (which was only used 5 or 6 times a year officially, unofficially the Son of the owner used it to fly to his vacation home in the Caribbean). All this right up to the time the company went bankrupt. (it was way too small to bailout)


  13. "If MY insurance costs rise by $1, I will cancel my family policy, pay cash for the service we do use, and if, the Random Forces of Nature forbid, WE have a large expense, then I'll just take out one of these new guaranteed issue policies. If I need to pay a few hundred in penalties, well, that's way cheaper than buying coverage, and perfectly legal to boot"

    So you can say I, I, I, and threaten to cancel your family insurance, but I can't point out the utter insanity of it. No, if you have said SOMEONE can, then I never would have brought your name into it. You can't have it both ways.
    Don't say I if you don't mean I. What do you suppose random forces of nature means? I made it concrete what that random force means, if it bothers you then f-ing good. And to be honest, I didn't like bringing your kid into it, but you already had, so next time f-ing don't.

    Again, if you do what you are suggesting you will forgo any tax break you can get by buying insurance on the open market, now since you are terminally stupid not taking a tax break is the same as having a tax increase. So go ahead, pay $5,000 extra in taxes, and pay the penalty, (in addition, you are also liable for two years of unpaid premiums costs so people can't game the system) all to save $6,000 in premiums (meanwhile also paying out of pocket expenses that would have been covered under a normal policy). Boy, you really showed the Democrats, didn't you.


  14. charo, yell at me all you want, just leave my children out of it. Point out whatever you think is wrong with my comments. Just don't put words in my mouth as you have done in this thread. An apology would be nice. Unexpected, but nice nonetheless.

  15. Ok gj, It is you who owe an apology, not to me but to your own family. If you don't write "I will cancel coverage for MY family (kids included)" I will not need to point out how irresponsible the action is and what the consequences are. Obviously, I don't like pointing out those consequences, but I also hope you know my pointing them out do not make them anymore likely to happen and it certainly doesn't mean I wish it were to happen. If you say "screw seat belt laws, now I am not going to buckle up my two year old" would you really be surprised if someone points out how your kid can be a human missile in the event of an accident?

    Simply put, I didn't put any words in your mouth, I only restated them. If you can tell me what is acceptable term uses for "random forces of nature" I will spare your delicate sensitivities by using non threatening euphemisms, provided you are aware of how deadly the actual reality is.

    I would not have been anywhere near disgusted if you had simply said "what is to prevent some lunatic from..."
    That argument I would have entertained, but you threatened to cancel coverage for your own children over a $1 rate increase (which will come no matter what, inflation alone) and you expect an apology from someone pointing out how monstrous that is? Dude, you owe your wife and children an apology for even pretending you would consider it. Tell me why you personalized it yourself. If you apologize for an unfortunate use of the letter I, then I promise never to bring it up again. Believe it or not, for your own childrens sake I pray you do not cancel your health insurance policies out of spite or whatever it is.

    You know I am right, stop digging this hole. Restate it to theoretical possibilities of what someone can do and I will rip that theoretical idiot apart.


  16. Friends, I think it's time to call it a day with this thread.

  17. Dan, one last point. The main problem is that gj thinks pre-existing condition means insurance companies have to pay for pre-existing bills. They don't. If you buy insurance there is nothing in this bill allowing you to pre-date the policy to make it retroactive, therefore in the event of a serious accident an uninsured person is completely on the hook for the potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars of unpaid bills, most likely necessitating bankruptcy, all for what? In his theoretical world people will have advance warning (such as a diagnoses of a serious condition) but the real world has heart attacks, accidents, etc. making going without insurance grossly irresponsible and incredibly risky, not to mention traumatic (as though a person needs to worry about financial ruination on top of an accident)
    So this is it, this logic is irrefutable and so nothing more needs to be said.


  18. And to think I have been busy and have not had the time to read comments..... WOW was I mistaken.