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06:38 AM on 06/06/2009
Kennedy used to support single-payer Medicare for All, but no longer. He's sold out and is no better than Max Baucus.
06:09 AM on 06/06/2009
We need to revamp health care but Senator Kennedy is moving in the wrong direction. Health care should not be tied to employment; the current trend towards smaller employers or putting together two or three part time jobs leaves too many people outside of the system and puts too much of a burden on small and foundering companies. I also have issues with a single payer as it may prescribe the type of coverage that get and limit our choice. I think the correct solution is a plan to require all Americans to purchase a minimum amount of heath care on the private market. Eliminating the tie to employers would bring prices down for individual and family policies. There should not be a penalty for preexisting conditions. If a person can not afford health care based on their income, a subsidy would be provided. Families will be given a choice as to a basic plan or pay more for more coverage. I know this would be a burden for some lower income people who get good coverage because they work for a large company but in the long run it would help because employers could pay more and those employees would have greater job flexibility which could lead increased incomes....food for thought Sen. Kennedy.
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10:08 AM on 06/06/2009
My guess is that Republicans will object to forcing health insurance on employers. That will get them working on other compromises instead of just complaining at the idea of Health Reform.

This is all part of the negotiating process.

I believe that what Dems - and Sen Kennedy - want is what they have been talking about all along. Offering the same insurance they have to all Americans as an option to Corporate Health Insurance.

The insurance companies hate that idea because they can't reap the huge profits if Americans have the choice of a better, cheaper option. If the government offers a plan that is more attractive than the private plans, single payer will become the reality as the corporate insurers get out of the business.

Working Americans will pay what they've been paying for health care but instead of it lining the pockets of the insurance execs, it will go to provide health care to those who don't make enough money to afford the luxury of health care. Then, because they won't be going to the ER for healthcare and they will be getting preventitive care, the cost of health care in this country will go down.
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05:53 AM on 06/06/2009
Are you kidding? If you have 100 part time employees you will be expected to provide them insurance when they make less than the cost of the premium???

Why are employers expected to pay for insurance, retirement, wages, vacation, sick time, maternity leave........... it is almost like they are expected to adopt a person when they are hired?

Pay them the wages and let the individual have the personal responsibility to buy their own. Younger people can get much better rates than a group policy with a majority of older members anyway!
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marijam
Independent
04:52 AM on 06/06/2009
Well, if we can't get single payer, this is a better option than giving taxpayer money to the insurance companies to cover all Americans and taxing those who already have employer paid insurance. PIck any doctor you choose? Does that mean this bill would eliminate those irritating, annoying PPO and HMO doctor lists for "in network providers"?
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HUFFPOST COMMUNITY MODERATOR
LemonMeringue
Happy Birthday, Steve Jobs - Feb. 24th
02:47 AM on 06/06/2009
There are a few things government is supposed to do.

Education is one
Health care is another

There are a lot of things the government should stop doing, too.
03:20 AM on 06/06/2009
Where does it say in the constitution that the government is suppose to give you health care and education. The federal government is suppose to be for defense, interstate commerce, foreign policy, and treaties with other countries. The states are suppose to do all else not the federal government. But if the bill gets passed like the articles is saying it would be good, it is pre-existing condition clause that raises the price of insurance or even the denial of a claim. When you buy auto insurance they do not ask about your mother, grandmother etc, but they ask about your record it should be the same for health insurance.
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HUFFPOST SUPER USER
Disclaimer
03:53 AM on 06/06/2009
OK Mr. Constitutional fundamentalist, health care and education should fall under interstate commerce. Health care because it truly is an interstate industry, and eduction because it should be. The quality of our nation's educational level bears on the nation's long term economic well being.
06:23 AM on 06/06/2009
Actually, the founding fathers suggested that the constitution should be reviewed every 20 years and changed to keep up with the times. In the spirit of the authors' wishes, Health care is an excellent example of our otherwise successful industrial nation falling behind other; it is in the spirit of the founding fathers and the authors of the constitution that real change is mandatory.
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HUFFPOST COMMUNITY MODERATOR
LemonMeringue
Happy Birthday, Steve Jobs - Feb. 24th
02:45 AM on 06/06/2009
Senator Kennedy:

Be a hero. Introduce a bill for single payer, universal health care.

More health insurance is not the answer.
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03:04 AM on 06/06/2009
Single payer, please.
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03:22 AM on 06/06/2009
Second that!
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BlackYowe
I am a classical- liberal woman and a Jeweler.
02:33 AM on 06/06/2009
Once more I see a plan that would do me no good what so ever. I have struggled my whole adult life because when you are self employed you can't get unemployment insurance and health insurance is super expensive. I had health insurance through my chamber of commerce for awhile then they doubled the premiums. It sounds like this bill will be useless to me. So much of my income goes to health care it cripples me. The part that really stinks is I have had not major health problems but still I can't afford most plans. Sometimes what coverage I could afford basically was just coverage with such a big deductable all it would do is keep me from loosing my home if I was really sick. The deductibles made it so I was paying for all check ups and basic stuff on top of the deadly premiums I was paying to the farking insurance companies.
03:25 AM on 06/06/2009
Go to cineregy I think that is how it is spelled it is 6 dollars a day for singles and 10 dollars a day for families and it is real insurance not a discount program, plus you get free dental and vision.
01:51 AM on 06/06/2009
Health INSURANCE and health CARE are not the same thing !!!!

Stop using the two terms interchangeably you lying hounds!
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HUFFPOST COMMUNITY MODERATOR
LemonMeringue
Happy Birthday, Steve Jobs - Feb. 24th
02:48 AM on 06/06/2009
Truth.
01:50 AM on 06/06/2009
THE LATEST FIGURES:

The health insurance companies continue to play a major role in our current healthcare crisis.

Despite the trials and tribulations of the past year, the health insurance executives are still raking in MILLIONS of dollars at the end of the day. This is a look at some of the top total compensation packages from 2008 based on information gathered from the U.S. Security and Exchange Commission.

1. Ron Williams, Aetna - $24.3 million

2. H. Edward Hanway, CIGNA - $12.2 million

3. Angela Braly, WellPoint - $9.8 million

4. Dale Wolf, Coventry Health Care - $9 million

5. Michael Neidorff, Centene - $8.8 million

6. James Carlson, AMERIGROUP - $5.3 million

7. Michael McCallister, Humana - $4.8 million

8. Jay Gellert, Health Net - $4.4 million

9. Richard Barasch, Universal American - $3.5 million

10. Stephen Hemsley, UnitedHealth Group - $3.2 million

– adapted from a Special Report by Dan Bowman
http://www.fiercehealthcare.com/special-reports/total-package-health-plan-ceo-compensations-2008

Only a single-payer approach to healthcare reform will END THE INHUMANITY OF OUR FAILED HEALTHCARE INSURANCE SYSTEM, WHERE PROFITS ARE MORE IMPORTANT THAN PATIENTS’ HEALTH, and where people die because of it.

SINGLE PAYER is the only solution.
02:00 AM on 06/06/2009
Life, health insurers invest big in tobacco

http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20090604/wl_canada_afp/ushealthcancertob accocanadabritain_20090604131549
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HUFFPOST COMMUNITY MODERATOR
frappe
Corporations aren't people and $ isn't free speech
02:04 AM on 06/06/2009
I agree with you completely. Anything less is a testament to the corruptible influence and power of the insurance industry. It's criminal. Completely unethical. Tantamount to buying votes.The only real solution is to effectively sever the ties between K St. and Congress and disallow any congressmen and their staff from securing positions at the various lobbying firms when they leave congress. Slam shut the revolving door!. Also, of course, public financing of political campaigns would be required as well.

Get the money out of politics! It's too damned corrupting.
01:46 AM on 06/06/2009
I see no problem with this IF, IF, IF it's affordable. My spouse and I own a small business, just the two of us, our health care is 1,400 a month and every year we see a 15-18% increase. It's killing us, no way on earth would could pay health care for another employee which we so desperately need.
02:47 AM on 06/06/2009
NO EMPLOYER SHOULD BE FORCED TO PROVIDE HEALTH CARE TO WORKERS...That they pay them a fair wage in good conditions is enough. Single payer program is the only plan we should have and the rich should qualify for that and be able to buy supplemental if they so desire....
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HUFFPOST COMMUNITY MODERATOR
frappe
Corporations aren't people and $ isn't free speech
05:43 AM on 06/06/2009
You've hit the nail on the proverbial head. Businesses should only be required to provide fair wages in return for their employees' efforts.

It's precisely because our business community is saddled with the cost of paying exorbitant health care insurance premiums for their employees that we, as a nation, are not as competitive as we can be. Why is the United States as a whole contorting itself -- bending over backwards -- to save a private insurance scheme for health care that simply DOES NOT WORK?

It's time for those who work in the health care insurance business to find something else to do with their time. They are costing us, as a nation, far too much time, effort, and dollars to subsidize their business while everyone else suffers miserably.

Single payer is really the only solution. Anything else, in the end, will not work.
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Artemis34
"Women 4 the GOP" is like "Chickens 4 the KFC"
02:47 AM on 06/06/2009
I'm a resident of Canada now and I pay a $96 CAD premium each month to cover me and my spouse.

If I were to lose my job, I'd still have coverage and would not have to pay.

When I changed jobs in the US last year, I got letter saying I'd have to pay $900 USD for COBRA coverage. So, more than 10 times what it costs me in Canada and I get less care than in Canada.

If the public program is done correctly, it is quite efficient. First of all, take the 30% margin out, next cut the multi-million dollar executive salaries and perks (into the billions in some cases) and cut duplications (two companies sitting right next to each other in the US often will have duplicate equipment like MRI just because they can't share with a competitor).

If the public option become the insurer of last resort (only gets the sick the insurance companies reject), it will be inefficient and costly. That is why we need everyone into the pool (risk sharing) and single payer public systems.
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HUFFPOST COMMUNITY MODERATOR
frappe
Corporations aren't people and $ isn't free speech
05:47 AM on 06/06/2009
Exactly! Single Payer is really the only solution that will work in the end. Let's stop pretending that private insurers can come up with a workable plan. They are only interested in making a profit, not in providing health care for anyone who might need it. There is a fundamental conflict of interest when profits need to be considered before the health and wellbeing of those the company is supposed to serve. Single Payer is the answer.
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HUFFPOST SUPER USER
educatedfoolz
won't get fooled again
01:42 AM on 06/06/2009
Having health care tied to your employment is the problem! Why should my employer have to provide health insurance? They are giving me a job. Should they provide me transportation? Food? Pay my electric bill?
Health care/insurance needs to be separated from employment, period. So, if you lose your job, like I did, then they say you can go on COBRA. Only problem is, I can't afford COBRA, so I'm uninsured.
What if we approached other issues like this one?
Single-payer for all is the best answer.
So what if it's "socialism"? We decided in this country long ago to "socialize" certain basic quality of life things like fire departments, police, education, etc. Why we remain stuck in this paranoid idea about health care for all is beyond me.
"You don't want some beaureaucrat making decisions about your health care and what doctor you can see or what treatment you can have" is the argument frequently brought up against single-payer.
Gee, isn't that what we have now with HMO's and insurance companies? Isn't that a huge part of the problem?
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02:32 AM on 06/06/2009
Your employer should provide health care so that you can stay healthy and continue to work for him. I'm sure you do a great job.
02:48 AM on 06/06/2009
I disagree......they provide a job....no company should be forced to provide health insurance....
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Artemis34
"Women 4 the GOP" is like "Chickens 4 the KFC"
02:55 AM on 06/06/2009
If private care were actually care I'd agree with you.

More often than not, private insurance means care denied.

So it does not serve the interests of the employer either.
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Artemis34
"Women 4 the GOP" is like "Chickens 4 the KFC"
02:51 AM on 06/06/2009
It is anti-competitive too.

US companies can't compete with companies that have people in public plans.
01:32 AM on 06/06/2009
Today was one of those days where I once again reminded how much this country has changed. Today it was announced Elizabeth Warren found in her research 70% of personal bankruptcies are caused by medical costs. Critics slammed the report by claiming it was ONLY 50%. Can you believe that, only 50%. Then I see a commercial on TV for a topical prescription to make your eyelids grow longer. If anyone with $1 of debt who does not have missing eyelids due to cancer or some other problem pays for this medicine they are a fool. What kind of a country have we become where Viagra and eyelash growing medicine somehow have pools of money behind them to advertise in prime time, yet 50%-70% of bankruptcies are due to medical costs and yet our government finds trillions to bail out the Wall Street system whose credos and pushing of corporations to pursue anti-worker pro-leverage policies led to all of this. It's disgusting to me.
02:51 AM on 06/06/2009
well, the same government that is fighting to get people to quit smoking yet provides subsidies to tobacco growers and tax breaks for tobacco manufactures...knowing that tobacco causes many deaths, only after prolonged and expensive illnesses....that is disgusting...
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Artemis34
"Women 4 the GOP" is like "Chickens 4 the KFC"
02:58 AM on 06/06/2009
Great comments Mike.

70% of personal bankruptcies are caused by medical costs

20,000+ people die each year due to lack of coverage and exhausted resources
01:18 AM on 06/06/2009
Why does every other country have universal health care and we don't?? Hell, even Cuba has UHC!!
When is this country going to do something for the people, instead of constantly propping up insurance and pharmaceutical companies??

Why does every other country care about there citizens and this country doesn't??
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rosiebond007
01:10 AM on 06/06/2009
Employers should contribute to single payer plan.

TEDDY - WE WANT SINGLE PAYER PLEEEEZE.
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Artemis34
"Women 4 the GOP" is like "Chickens 4 the KFC"
03:05 AM on 06/06/2009
Yes!

Single payer!

NO TRIGGERS!
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12:56 AM on 06/06/2009
This counter-intuitive juxtaposition is not the answer.... Do these people not understand that we don't want ANYTHING health-related to go through our employers??? Single payer, baby....
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HUFFPOST COMMUNITY MODERATOR
Waltfl
Μακάριοι οἱ εἰρηνοποιοί
01:05 AM on 06/06/2009
Employer based universal health care can be single payer. Medicare is 50% employer based. Employers contribute a part, withhold the money, and forward it to the SS-Admin.
01:53 AM on 06/06/2009
No one is proposing universal health CARE.
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StevenevetS
03:06 AM on 06/06/2009
One of the things I enjoy about these blogs is that you keep learning more about the subject as you read people's posts. (excluding the occasional troll or "shock attack".

But now that you explain it, it sounds like a sensible approach. I hadn't thought much about how it would be implemented. My biggest concerns are "Will everyone be covered?" and "Will the same level of attention be available to everyone?

But after that, my next biggest concern, and this is VERY big for me, "Will the health insurance industry's huge profits, that fuel K Street, continue to drain our pockets and control our government?".

My answer to this last question is a "NO" that is almost as resounding as the "NO" for the first two questions.

IF single-payer can be employer-based AND truly universal AND cut out the parasitic industry in the middle, I'd like to know more. I need to be better educated on the successful models and what their structure looks like. I am looking forward to watching the Frontline presentation that BeachChick linked to.