Thursday, August 16, 2007
Walberg Wrong on Health Care
At a town hall event in Adrian Township last night, Congressman Tim Walberg received this coverage from the Daily Telegram on his views on health care.
Health care was foremost on the mind of several people at the meeting. Lenawee County Commissioner Ralph Tillotson told of the differences in the cost of his medical procedure and the same procedure with another man.I'll say that since I wasn't there, I can't vouch for the accuracy of the quotes. Still, I think it'd be worth it to look closely at this.
First, Ralph Tillotson came to Walberg to speak about the price discrepancy between those with insurance and those without. Walberg's response? From the looks of it, he avoids the question, because he doesn't have an answer. His only thought is that we need to embrace the free market.
No surprise, really. Remember this exchange from the debate last fall?
Do Americans have a right to universal health care?
Congressman Walberg seems to be a strong believer in the "on-your-own society," so of course he won't support universal health care coverage. That isn't the story today.
No, far more interesting is this part of the Telegram article:
Walberg said the U.S. is faced with two choices for medical care. One is socialized medicine and the other is free market concept.Anyone else see the flaw in that?
Walberg sees the issue as a choice between two opposites-- socialism or capitalism. And that would be accurate, if it weren't for Medicare, Medicaid, SCHIP, veterans' care, military care, and government employees. Those that benefit from any of the programs I just listed are already recipients of that socialized medicine that Walberg criticizes. In fact, 44.6 percent of health care costs are already paid by the United States government (versus 69.9 percent in Canada or 85.7 percent in the UK).
Does that mean the US has gone socialist without anyone noticing? No, though Tim Walberg might say so. It means that the proper solution might just be a blend of public and private health coverage. That's the competition built into our system, which Walberg ought to embrace.
Unlike Congressman Walberg, however, I can answer Ralph Tillotson's concerns.
“It is a very big problem,” Tillotson said. “I have Blue Cross and they negotiated the cost of my surgery down to $40,000. But Keith Brown, who has no coverage and had the same surgery, is charged $80,000. He’s going to be paying for the rest of his life. There doesn’t seem to be any negotiations. The privately insured have no bargaining power.”Tillotson was absolutely right about not having bargaining power, though I think he meant if you don't have insurance, not the privately insured. The difference between the United States and other industrialized countries is that we don't have price controls, a phrase which probably gives Tim Walberg nightmares. Other nations have recognized that government involvement is sometimes necessary to prevent undue cost inflation.
Price controls are a tough pill to swallow, I admit. But for those with coverage, and for those with government-supported coverage, it would certainly be reasonable to negotiate lower prices, right?
Not according to Tim Walberg. He voted No on allowing Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices.
Mr. Tillotson, you took your concerns to the wrong person. Congressman Walberg has made it clear that he's not interested in lowering medical costs. Instead, he'd rather live in a fictitious world where socialists are plotting to give you free medicine, and cast himself as a defender of free markets.
Walberg is also hoping you don't notice that he's a recipient of that socialized medicine. His government health insurance and pension will keep him healthy for decades to come, all at the expense of the taxpayer.
HEAR YE, HEAR YE - Tim Walberg has once again demonstrated why we need to wake up to the ignorance of elected officials. Walberg's position on health care is mind blowing.
Do Americans have a right to universal health care?
- "Absolutely not. It's not a right, it's an opportunity we have."
- Get rid of third-party pay system [Note: get rid of insurance companies?], encourage personal responsibility.
- Tort reform-- fewer lawsuits
- America has the greatest health care known to the world
Say Timmy, define universal health care? What is a third party pay system? How does personal responsibility relate to health care? Tort Reform, WTF? If America is the greatest health care known to the world, why is health care a relevant policy question in today's society?
Nevermind, forget I asked Tim, you couldn't answer these questions if I gave your staff 2 months to formulate a response.
Looking forward to doing my civic duty and seeing you voted out of office. Here is to elction day 2008 Rep. Walberg!
socialized medicine programs throughout the world are a terrible failure
if this debate becomes about health care, walberg will win in a landslide
Great post, Fitzy.
As an aside to anonymous, back up your claim with some hard cold statistics. The news recently reported that Americans rank 42nd in terms of longevity, and the study indicated our inferior health care was part of the problem. Google "American longevity" and read the recent articles.
Although healthcare ranks only 6th in priorities in the 2006-2007 Gallup poll (of course, Iraq and terrorism are 1 and 2) the following Quinnipac poll in February intimates that universal healthcare will definitely be a very important issue in the upcoming election. But of course, the 'pubbies aren't for it.
February 22, 2007 - U.S. Should Provide Health Care/Insurance For All, American Voters Tell Quinnipiac University Poll; Most Would Pay Higher Taxes For Health Care
By a 64 - 31 percent margin, American voters say, "It's the government's responsibility to make sure everyone in the United States has adequate health care," according to a Quinnipiac University national poll released today.
Democrats support this position 81 - 15 percent, as do independent voters, 67 - 28 percent, but Republicans oppose it 55 - 41 percent, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN- uh-pe-ack) University poll finds.
American voters also say, 53 - 42 percent, that they would be willing to pay more in federal taxes to provide health care to all Americans. Democrats back higher taxes 70 - 26 percent, along with independent voters, 56 - 39 percent. Republicans oppose paying higher taxes for health care 63 - 32 percent.
"Two-to-one, Americans say that adequate health care - for everyone - is Washington's responsibility," said Maurice Carroll, Director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.
"Paying for it? That's always the rub and it's true on the health-care issue, where support drops from 2 - 1 to a slim majority."
Health care in the U.S. is "excellent" or "good," 44 percent of American voters say, while 55 percent say it is "not so good" or "poor."
But 64 percent of voters say health care in their community is "excellent" or "good," while 34 percent say "not so good" or "poor."
In an open-ended question, where voters can give any answer, 36 percent of American voters list the war in Iraq as the most important problem facing the nation, followed by 9 percent who list the economy and 7 percent each for health care and foreign policy in general.
By a 54 - 40 percent margin, American voters say it's the government's responsibility to make sure everyone in the U.S. has health insurance.
"socialized medicine programs throughout the world are a terrible failure
if this debate becomes about health care, walberg will win in a landslide"
Punctuation and caplitalization would help get your point across, but then again, I don't think you had a point. I hate the idea of socialized medicine. I think our current forms of socialized medicine (especially Medicaid) leave something to be desired. But, there are elements of the military system (Tricare) which seem to be working well. There are elements of the Massachusetts state system (socialized medicine for sure) which seem to be working and solve a real problem.
Saying socialized medicine sucks is easy. Saying a totally free-market system is perfect is easy. Neither is correct.
It must be a mixture. Our current mixed free-market system is failing and those of us with private health insurance are already subsidizing health care for people on government programs and the uninsured. We are already paying for it, but the service if you don't have private insurance sucks, so we are essentially paying for a broken system. If we are going to pay for it, it might as well be quality care.
And anyone who thinks Tim Walberg wins a debate on health care needs their grey matter checked. His position is clear, you already said it. Walberg thinks the simple, sound-bite, silver-bullet solution is a total free market. He might win over all the anarchists with that position, but they don't vote.
Walberg is devoid of thought on this topic other than simply parroting the talking points of Club for Growth that health care is a privaledge to be had only by those who are rich enough to afford it. Or, politicians who served 16 years in the state house and get it free for the rest of their lives...
um, you fail. Democrats cannot win the debate on health care. Sure, this gushy crap about how so and so could not get money for an important operation and died makes our healthcare system sound horrible(you will hear this from all 3 liberal presidential hopefulls). But it is completely misrepresentative of what the dems are proposing. The dems are not proposing health care that everyone has access too, they are proposing "first come first served" health care. Where many more people die than just their hypothetical person because of the egregious waiting list. This is the health care system where 50% of the people hear from their doctor "you need bypass surgery tomorrow, but the wait list is 6 months long so try to live without it, although I figure youl be dead tomorrow". The fact of the matter is, our healthcare system is the best in the world because it is driven by capitalist ideals, and this is the only way it can be.Post a Comment
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