Saturday, July 2, 2011

Health Care: Who Really Cares?

:"Talking Heads" by Anita Kunz for The Greatest Album Covers
That Never Were at the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame
Have you ever noticed the people recommending we cut medicare, social security and other social services are the ones who don't need them?
Conservative talking heads screaming the loudest about reducing the deficit aren't willing to go after the top 1% income earners.
" the lead op-ed piece in today’s Wall Street Journal, Cato Institute fellow Alan Reynolds claims a higher marginal tax on the super rich will bring in less revenue.Reynolds uses my tax proposal from last February as his red herring. “Memo to Robert Reich,” he declares, “The income tax brought in less revenue when the highest rate was 70 percent to 91 percent [between 1950 and 1980] than it did when the highest rate was 28 percent."  6/16/2011
Reich goes on to explain how Alan Reynolds plays with the facts of Reich's proposal, skewing the argument to support not taxing the super rich.

The Pew Research Center for People and Press conducted studies about the media coverage of health care and its ultimate effects. 
■The health care debate was tailor-made for ideological talk shows. No media sector devoted as much time to health care as the political and polarizing talk show hosts. Accounting for 31% of the airtime from June 2009 through March 2010, the subject was more than twice as big in the talk show sector as it was in the overall media (14%).
■Liberal talk show hosts devoted more airtime to health care than conservative hosts. Left-leaning talk hosts, who broadly supported health care legislation, spent 44% of their time talking about health care issues during the time studied. The right-tilting hosts, who vigorously opposed it, devoted 26% of their time to the subject.
■Opponents of health care legislation won the message war. A Nexis search of key terms in the health care debate finds that opponents' terms appeared almost twice as often (about 18,000 times) as supporters' top terms (about 11,000). In short, the opponents' attacks on government-run health care resonated more widely than the supporters' attacks on the insurance industry.
■The debate centered more on politics than the workings of the health care system. Fully 41% of health care coverage focused on the tactics and strategy of the debate while various reform proposals filled another 23%. But only 9% of the coverage focused on a core issue -- how our health care system currently functions, what works and what doesn't. How the Press Covered Health Care Reform  6/21/2010  Pew Research Ctr Publications
Congress hasn't stepped up to the plate either.  They don't have to.  They have a sweet deal through the federal government.
Lawmakers can choose among several plans and get special treatment at federal medical facilities. In 2008, taxpayers spent about $15 billion to insure 8.5 million federal workers and their dependents. . Among the advantages: a choice of 10 healthcare plans that provide access to a national network of doctors, as well as several HMOs that serve each member's home state. By contrast, 85% of private companies offering health coverage provide their employees one type of plan -- take it or leave it.
LA Times 8/2/2009
Health care reform is a political football for offensive and defensive plays by parties of both sides.  Glenn Kessler, The Fact Checker for the Washington Post wades through the rhetoric:
President Obama had promised that his health care plan would not increase the deficit, so the White House last year was on pins and needles waiting for the official CBO score. The final verdict: in the first ten years the health care bill would reduce the deficit by $143 billion. The CBO did not even try to offer a deficit-reduction number for the second decade, but gave a vague response that Democrats have translated into a hard figure of $1.2 trillion. . .In many ways, the focus on the numbers is silly. The CBO has a respectable track record, but CBO's numbers are based on models, and models can be flawed. No one really knows exactly what the impact of legislative changes will be ten years from now, let alone how population growth, economic growth or other factors ultimately will affect the bottom line. It would be more logical to offer a range, but CBO is expected to produce an actual number. Washington Post  1/13/2011
The only reform we'll get is the reform we demand.  As you can see from the above, whoever controls the message controls the conversation.  In order to do this effectively, we need to understand the facts about health care reform; what it costs, how it works, who is eligible.  Only then will we be able to make informed decisions and insist they be carried out by our elected officials.


Susan said...

Well, thank goodness the Ohio Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Health Care Act, which surprised the heck out of me, since we lost one of the few liberal justices last year when he passed away. The problem with the health care act is that it doesn't go far enough.

Um, Alan Reynolds is using some pretty interesting fuzzy math and mudding of facts there. God, do these people just crawl out of the woodwork, or what???

California Girl said...

Thanks for taking time to read this. I get long-wiinded when I'm passionate about something. What frustrates me is the persuasive rhetoric without substance. Sound bites get played and replayed and they scare people who don't bother to learn the facts.

DJan said...

I read it all, too, and I learned something. Most of it I already knew, but not everything. Certainly I didn't know the part about talk shows and wondered why the opponents won the debate. I'm very anxious about it, and the single payer system got my vote from the very first moment! The Dems lost the fight but at least they got a foot in the door...

California Girl said...

Djan, Thank you for also taking the time to read and respond. We need health care reform now and not in dribs and drabs. I originally thought, when the Obama measure passed with many changes,

"Oh well, it's better than nothing. It's a first step..."

But the longer it goes on, the longer the opponents have opportunities to scare the average person, the greater chance of it being revoked. That is my fear.

inj said...

If I can just manage to make it to Medicare before the GOP trashes it, I'll be happy. I think Obama has good intentions, but he's not a street fighter, which is what I believe we would have had in Hillary, and the GOP repeatedly just kicks sand in his face. It's kind of pathetic.

Anonymous said...

I suppose it isn't too far out of the realm of possibility that China will take over our health care system.

California Girl said...

jayne: Obama's "intentions" vs execution are what remain to be seen.

Abe: That would be funny if it didn't seem possible. Hope you're wrong!

Cozy in Texas said...

Thanks for posting this. I must admit I pretty much block out any talk on health care these days. Those on capital hill are sitting pretty and I wonder how many normal people would have had the care that Kathy Giffords got when she was injured. I'm unemployed and have to get private health care insurance. It was advertised at $281 a month but when I finally got the bill it was increased to over $400. There seems to be no help in sight.

Nancy said...

Well all I can see that was really changed was that now EVERYONE has to buy insurance. Not only did we not get rid of the middle man - we made sure no one was exempt from paying him.

The only solution is health care that is not based on profit, but on actually providing good quality care to everyone. And it would be affordable for everyone if we didn't have so many making so much off of the system.

Our country's health care system is only profitable if everyone is sick. Think about that when you look at genetically engineered food, chem trails, pharmaceutical companies, for-profit hospitals, diabetes, and the list goes on. There is big business in making sure we are sick.


by Cole Scott