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Another "Crap! It Passed!" Blog.



March 24, 2010 – Comments (18) | RELATED TICKERS: UNH , AET , CVH.DL2


Surprise! I am one of the Fools that are against the healthcare bill that just passed. I’ll give you a moment to collect yourself after that shocker. What I would like for you to understand is that I am not opposed to a healthcare overhaul. One is desperately needed. I have some core problems with how the bill was presented, passed and the people that wrote the thing.


I don’t like the fact that the bill was kept under a tarp (not the TARP) and we were not allowed full disclosure of what the bill was empowered to do. In order to perform DD one must have access to all available information and thus make an informed decision. When I am not allowed that information and yet am forced to purchase the product directly or be taxed for not wanting to play along that is wrong.


I don’t like how the bill was passed. Normally there are behind the scenes negotiations to get some votes that normally would have gone the other way. But from what I have read about the outright buying of votes with our tax dollars, and the bullying...In my eyes the tactics used were low, hyper-typical of Washington politics. This is not what was promised on the campaign trail by our current administration. Don’t make the mistake of thinking I was taken in by those promises. But many millions were romanced by “Hope” and “Change”. I can’t help but wonder how many, what percentage, are now jaded and looking for a way to lash out. A second issue I have with how the bill was passed has to do with the votes being cast along party lines. I don’t like the idea of any laws being passed that way. It says to me that dogma, not reason and negotiation, ruled the day.


Lastly I think the timing of this particular bill could not have been worse. At a time when the middle class (yours truly) is being squeezed by furlough days, pay reductions, pay freezes, lay offs and outright job eliminations due to business closings we do not need any additional taxes or increases in the cost of anything. But that is just what this bill is going to cause to happen. When hundreds of millions of us are doing our best to just hang on this could push ever more of our citizens towards foreclosure or bankruptcy.


There are some good things in the bill. *Scream of Horror!* Yes, I said “good things.” For instance, it will allow a dear friend of my wife to have health insurance for the first time since she was eight years old. She was diagnosed and successfully treated for cancer. She has been in remission for nineteen or twenty years. But since she had cancer she has been repeatedly denied coverage because of a “pre-existing condition.” This lady must pay for all expenses out of pocket. She is currently saving money to pay an estimated $20,000 in hospital bills to cover the costs of having her first child.


In closing I believe there are things that can be done to drive down the costs of medical coverage. Things like limiting malpractice suit payouts, going to a loser pays system for all law suits, eliminating some individual state laws that mandate coverage for X, Y & Z if the client does not want them, being able to select a plan based on the deductible and/or co pay, have some limits in place that prevent doctors from treating insurance companies like ATMs…you get the idea.


I don’t know about you, but that is all I can stand of me for a while. Have a great day and thank you for reading my ramblings.



18 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On March 24, 2010 at 9:52 AM, outoffocus (22.83) wrote:

I've been through all the 5 stages of grief.  I am now resting comfortably in acceptance, as I have no control of what is happening anyway.

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#2) On March 24, 2010 at 9:58 AM, catoismymotor (< 20) wrote:

Same here. At this time there is nothing we can do to change the law at this time. I think I will now devote my DD time to tax shelters and off shore accounts.

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#3) On March 24, 2010 at 10:09 AM, catoismymotor (< 20) wrote:

Cato, redundant much? LOL!

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#4) On March 24, 2010 at 10:10 AM, Bludgeoner (< 20) wrote:

I'm in the denial phase

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#5) On March 24, 2010 at 10:34 AM, Bamafan68 (97.20) wrote:

You said it perfectly, Cato.  Thanks.

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#6) On March 24, 2010 at 11:02 AM, TMFLomax (89.33) wrote:


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#7) On March 24, 2010 at 11:06 AM, lemoneater (57.06) wrote:

@ #1 I think I'm stuck on the step before acceptance. :(

It is not the end of the world, but I do believe it is the diminishing of the middle class. Whenever anything is paid for in government, the middle class seem to get the invoice.

I just wonder how those under the poverty level but not on public funds will be affected. I know poor people who won't take welfare because they would rather manage on their own. Will some of these individualists be humiliated and put in jail? That sounds farfetched, but possible.

I was hoping for more real reform in torts and in insurance (is it possible to simplify insurance), but probably the administration didn't want to jeopardize jobs by reducing bureaucracy?

Well, this is making my blood pressure rise, but no worries. I have naturally low blood pressure so I'm okay.

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#8) On March 24, 2010 at 11:16 AM, Viking70 (< 20) wrote:

Unfortunately, the bill that passed was not health care reform so much as it was health care welfare.

It is a mistake to expand coverage when the system is broken.  The correct path would have been to fix the ills of health care.  Then expand coverage.  As it is now, we are going to be saddled with the costs of inserting many more people into a system that is broken and not cost effective.  We put the cart before the horse, I think.

I also believe that this is a serious blow to individuality.  What made us great, in my opinion, was the desire to do better and the desire to succeed.  Now, we seem to be succumbing to the desire to have the government do it for us.

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#9) On March 24, 2010 at 11:23 AM, JakilaTheHun (99.92) wrote:

Great, reasoned post, Cato.  Rare to see that with political posts here on TMF.

I largely agree with you, as well.  To me, the most egregious aspect of the legislation is the mandatory insurance provision, which I don't see as "helping" anyone --- it simply exacerbates the poor financial condition of many people struggling to get by already.  The back-room deals have left a bitter taste in my mouth, as well.

I'm pretty open-minded on public policy.  I could've supported a more market-oriented approach.  I could've supported a bill targeted at reducing costs.  I could've possibly even supported a single-payer system; which I would see as a potential improvement over the current mess (a hybrid system that seems to take taxpayer money and grossly maldistribute it to certain private sector players).  

I can't support the monstrosity that passed in Congress, though.  I think it's going to make the system worse; not better.  There are, as you said, some good things --- mostly provisions that limit the insurers' ability to deny or wrongly drop people in order to save money --- but otherwise, I'm extremely unhappy with the bill.  It's almost like the worst of both worlds --- it has all the detriments of a government-run healthcare system, without too many of the benefits. 

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#10) On March 24, 2010 at 11:43 AM, chk999 (99.96) wrote:

Nice post Cato! The two things that would have actually helped reign in costs (standardizing medical paperwork and moving it to electronic filing and standardizing medical policies (with a menu of about 6 different levels of care) so that price competition could work) were conspicuously off the bill.

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#11) On March 24, 2010 at 11:50 AM, ETFsRule (< 20) wrote:

"But from what I have read about the outright buying of votes with our tax dollars, and the bullying"

Do you have any reputable sources for these accusations, or is this just pure speculation?

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#12) On March 24, 2010 at 12:32 PM, catoismymotor (< 20) wrote:

Wow! I appreciate the praise. Thank you, everyone.

chk999, a friend of mine is a office manager for a private practice. Her biggest gripe has to do with how her practice is paid by the insurance companies. For example: UNH sends her a check and a statement for each patient that is seen. Each statement and check is sent via USPS in its own envelope. She has roughly 150 of these to process each month. It drives her crazy. How much money is UNH wasting on handling things this way? Consequintly she spends hours working on processing all the checks and running them to the bank. She says Medicare (i.e. the government) sends her one large statement and automatically wires the payment into the account. It saves her time for more pressing matters. I must give kudos and props where they are earned.

That leads me to think of something else: The goverment loves to step in to save us from big bad industries via some form of regulation. They normally jump at the chance when an industry fails to effectively police itself. So I conclude that the insurance companies must not have done enough to impress ol' Uncle Sam that they were responding to the needs of the public.

Am I right in my conclusion? It sounds good to me when I read it really fast. But I have to admit I don't know. I just leaped to a conclusion based on past examples. Do any of our illustrious Fools have some insight into this? I'd like to hear from you.

Some of you know that I am a libertarian. I consider myself to be of the moderate variety. That is why I decided not to go the fire and brimstone "They're pooping on Jefferson!" approach with this blog. There has been so much of that talk already. I found it has become off putting to most other fools, eventually even to me. I've decided to do my best to save that kind of talk for the club house and try to approach issues on TMF in a more down to earth fashon, like I would in the company of dinner guests.


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#13) On March 24, 2010 at 1:01 PM, catoismymotor (< 20) wrote:


How about this:

And this:

And this:

And this:

And this:

There ya' go. You'll have to find the others for yourself.


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#14) On March 24, 2010 at 1:43 PM, ChrisGraley (28.45) wrote:

Great post Cato!


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#15) On March 24, 2010 at 3:31 PM, ETFsRule (< 20) wrote:

Fair enough. I'll try not to start a shouting match here... but as those links point out, Obama has pledged to remove those kickbacks during reconciliation. We should at least wait until the process is over, and give him a chance to live up to his word before we start criticizing him.

Just because a few congressmen are going for a money grab, that doesn't mean Obama isn't trying his best to live up to his campaign promises. Congress put those kickbacks into the bill, not him.

Anyway, all things considered, I think Obama actually is making a pretty good effort to live up to his campaign promises of "hope" and "change". Thousands, if not millions of lives will be saved by this bill, and your wife's friend could very well be one of them. Anyway, "cost savings" are not the only thing that matter in the world. Let's not lose sight of that.

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#16) On March 24, 2010 at 6:57 PM, coattails (< 20) wrote:

 I think it should be easy enough to fund healthcare.  Legalize marijuana.  Tax it and let all those in prison on petty charges out.  Simple enough eh?

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#17) On March 24, 2010 at 7:32 PM, sevenofseven (< 20) wrote:

Insurance companies are not blameless.  However, the media and democrats demonized and vilified them at every turn.


"Cost savings are not the only thing that matters" True, but a cost benefit analysis (an accurate one) is needed to make an informed and proper decision.  I don't think congress kmows what a cost-benefit analysis is.  They tend to make the numbers up to support their position.  And before anyone brings it up, the CBO is supposed to score what is put in front of them.  They are not allowed to deviate or change the assumptions made, ie growth rates, populations, etc.  So, if you give the CBO the "right" information, the "cost" will come in less than 1 trillion, and will reduce the deficit.

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#18) On March 25, 2010 at 5:44 PM, DJDynamicNC (41.96) wrote:

So let me get this straight. You don't like how the bill was passed without transparency - and you're upset about all the things that they did while passing the bill. Which you know about. How do you know about these things if you didn't glean them during the 17 month long, televised, posted on the internet process?

You approached this fairly, I feel, but I don't think that you can say the negotiations were anything short of transparent. This was MUCH more accessible than anything else we've seen, as has been true of the entire administration so far.


Out of curiousity, which specific tax that the bill proposes do you not like, and why? Is there any other part of the bill that you don't like? Because all you really cited above was a nontransparent process, buying of votes with tax dollars (which, when looked at from a local perspective, is "fighting for my district's share" and is how congress is designed to work), and raising taxes, which isn't very specific.

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