My Response When Lambasted for My Views on Medicare & Medicaid on Another Site: Enjoy!

kdr55: Nope, your wrong on that one.(kdr55 accused me of being a 30 something selfish brat). I am a 65 year old lower middle class female who is now on Medicare. Why am I on Medicare? Because in 1965 the government got into the medical service business and at that point medical services, supply and insurances went up in costs astronomically yearly; double digit inflation! No other commodity or service costs inflated at this rate (except educatioon--another topic, another day). Not until the government again got into the educational loan business and then education costs began to spiral out of sight.

And I remember well how things were before 1965 when Congress saw fit to enact Medicare and Medicaid. My father was a factory worker, my grandfather a coal miner. And I was a beginning school teacher. My father had complete family insurance coverage thru his employer with no co-pay, my grandparents had affordable insurance coverage provided by their children and I had my own coverage which was I was told by other insurance people an outstanding policy which cost me all of $20 a month. For the very poor there were Free Clinics in most large cities and some smaller cities. In small towns, yes you are right poor had to depend on charities. NOW PLEASE TAKE A GOOD LOOK AT PARAGRAPHS 5 AND 7. I am not naive nor am I stupid. I have been an activist for the poor and needy for all of my adult life so I am quite familiar with the plight of the poor and needy. I have also seen more and more people become "poor and needy" over the past 40 years as medical and educational inflation has robbed their saving and income of value. You Sir, need to do some research. Fortunately with computers and Google it is very easy. Just type in a word or phase, hit search and it takes you to all kinds of good information.

kdr55: LET'S TRY TO STAY ON ONE TOPIC!
IS IT MEDICARE UNIVERSAL HEALTHCARE FOR ALL?
OR THINGS I DON’T WANT TO PAY FOR?

It's just the opposite Sir, I want to pay for my own health care and did until the double digit inflation made it impossible for me and others in my financial bracket to do so. If you bothered to read Para: 5 & 7 you will see that I also wish to pay for the coverage and medical needs of the poor and needy who can not pay for their own.

kdr55: THE TERM UNIVERSAL COVERAGE REFFERES TO THE 45% OF UNINSURED AMERICANS WHO CAN NOT AFFORD THE AVERAGE COST OF PRIVATE INSURANCE CURRNETLY AT $230 PER PERSON OF $900 PER FAIMLY WHEN THEY HAVE ZERO DISCSPOCABLE INCOME.

I believe I have answered this question above. The skyrocketing inflation of medical service, supply and insurance in the past 40 years took my family which was independent of government largess and pushed us right into the ranks of the working poor who were unable to afford their own insurance. We can afford our own homes because the government isn't in home mortgages on a wholesale business so the inflationary increases in home values have not gone beyond the middle class worker. We can afford our own food and car and auto insurance (you being in the insurance business) and eve a vacation or two each year. But I and my two professional college educated children CAN NOT afford our own medical coverage. Now tell me in your own words just what factor would you suggest caused all this if it is not the governments involvement which allowed the greed of the medical establishment to get out of hand. It is the free market competition for customers which keeps costs in hand, without that competition there is no reason to not indulge in what ever a company/person can get for their product or service.

kdr55: THE TERM UNIVERSAL COVERAGE REFFERES TO THE 45% OF UNINSURED AMERICANS WHO CAN NOT AFFORD THE AVERAGE COST OF PRIVATE INSURANCE CURRNETLY AT $230 PER PERSON OF $900 PER FAIMLY WHEN THEY HAVE ZERO DISCSPOCABLE INCOME.

Please Google Federal Budget 2007. And I don't buy into that back bone of the country stuff. my parents and grandparents were just people living in their times just as I and even you are people living in our times. No generation deserves more credit than any other. As far as 401K's please again do some research; people had saved far more of their income in the 1940's, '50's and '60's than have saved since. And these people also have very low debt ratios. Today the savings rate is the lowest it has ever been and the debt rate is astronomical.

kdr55: Medicaid on the other hand was the program that should have adequately covered the health care needs of the All of the poor children, elderly and disabled needy. And instead of directly paying medical bills for these people and therefore getting into the insurance business, the government should have merely provided the funds for them to purchase health care insurance.

I was speaking here of the working poor who would need help. The unemployed and unemployable would be cared for differently. In fact, I suggest a Medicare type plan for them where all of their needs are taken care of. As I stated above due to the government encouragement of medical coverage inflation that happened with the enactment of Medicare in 1965 me and my family have been thrown against our will into this group of working poor who can not afford our own insurance. This although we are all better educated and with much better jobs than my parents or grandparents had. I should make that father and grandfather because you see back then my mother and grandmother WERE NOT REQUIRED TO WORK TO MAKE ENDS MEET!

kdr55: You have much anger yourself. Most of it as far as I can see is the situation that you find yourself in just as the one my children are in: working hand and just barely making it. You can not however see what caused the problem. It was uneven inflation in the medical and educational areas of our economy. Please do some research? Please? Now you want the government to take on the whole nation and cover all their needs. Do you not understand that the government MAKES NO MONEY OF IT"S OWN. The government GETS THE MONEY TO DO WHAT IT DOES FROM YOU TAXES. You are the government! Or is it that you want to soak the rich? Hells Bells, I just want the elderly rich to pay for their own health care! and let me pay for my own and we will both pay for those who are in need.

You are welcome to my blog where I have many more articles and references to back up my claims. Http://triadblogs.com/BrendaFayBowers

Comments

Our Opinions Differ

I don't believe it was the government but the insurance industry that caused the costs to rise.

Sorry - but that's how I see it.
Two different things that happened at the same time and both contributed to the problem.

My parents didn't have insurance at all - and we still could afford to go to the doctor.

Malpractice insurance, the high cost of a medical education, the wages that must be paid to staff, the cost of constructing facilities, the obscene cost of equipment - all those things contributed.

And even if your premise is correct - that Medicare did cause the problem - the horse is out of the barn now; there is no way to put it back in.

I do not believe developing a two tier system will fix the problem. Plessy v. Ferguson didn't fix a two tier system; it took Brown v. the Board of Education to do that and we're still working on it.

Cobbling together a system that continues to discriminate won't win support from the people who need help the most.

Unique, It was the

Unique, It was the government creating Medicare and Medicare with NO REGULATIONS on the insurance companies that started it all. Then of course since the insurance companies had no regs then they could pay anything the medical establishements greed caused. I do not resent Medicaid for the poor. I do resent making me become part of the poor with the double digit inflation!

As for not being able to "fix" it now that the horse is out of the barn there is a way, but it will take the government being a whole lot tougher than it is. We can not put half a billion people on Universal care, or Medicare really, because we are starting off with too high medical costs now. It takes 25% of the 2007 federal budget for Medicare and Medicaid, with the lions share going to Medicare. Please google Federal Budget 2007 and you will see I am not talking out of my butt here. With these kinds of costs already for a small segment of the population then how in the world can the tax payers add more? Don't you think I cry too? Don't you think I resent that I and mine can no longer be independent of government welfare? And welfare is what Medicare is. I remember being able to pay for my own! I remember my parents and grandparents being independent from anyone else's tax dollars. It shames me that I have to take this money from you and yours. But I had to give up my medical insurance in 1973 because inflation in the double digits for medical insurance and medical care made it impossible for me to keep. And then as a widow whose husband left her well able to support herself and the children we thought, I had to go to work to get an employers medical coverage. I could not provide for my family then, and now my children who are professionals making good money can not provide insurance for their family either. Why could I and my parents and grandparents do so. What was the one missing factor before 1965?

This is why I am daring to come to this site where I sure as Hell do not belong. I am just trying to get some logical reasoning dialog going based on the facts as they stand and not on what we would have in a perfect world. Then when we all understand what we are dealing with then maybe we can come together with a solution. (sigh) Boy, this has been a hard post for me. But then I knew it would be. BB

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We Don't Have to Agree

The ghost in the machine ate my first post so I'll make it short this time.

I do not mind 25% of the budget spent on health care.

What I mind is this.

59% of the discretionary budget going to defense when our troops have no armor, their vehicles are not shielded, the VA is underfunded, troops having to pay back enlistment bonuses because they are wounded too badly to go back in the field, and a stupid OLF.

The health care problem is so immense I do not believe it can be fixed until being rich or poor is neither an asset nor a liability. Until how much money you have has no bearing whatsoever on the treatment you receive. Then and only then will it be well and truly fixed.

I suspect the final answer is somewhere between your opinion and mine.

I've already resigned myself to the fact that if I become ill with some major disease - I am going to die. I won't go into debt for quadzillions on the off chance I might make it - and then be yoked to that debt for the rest of my natural life. It just. ain't. happening.

Unique, If you have been

Unique, If you have been following my blog at all you know I am a proud military wife, mother, mother-in-law and soon to be a military grandmother. I am so angry over the needs of our soldiers. This is especially true when tens of billions were stolen over there because of no oversight. I imagine the bulk of it by American companies.

I believe you said you had Tricare. My husband and I found Tricare to be very good. I wish I were back on it! Lew had to have a pace maker and not one cent did it cost us. I had my gall bladder removed, again not one cent. I Needed a wheeled chair and they got me the best on the market (Jazzy XL 70+) which cost me $150. That is a $6000 piece of motorized moving machine. Drugs thru Express Script a 90 day supply cost either $3, $9, $11, or $22. Our drugs are the same but now Tricare for Life is our secondary and having two insurances to deal with is a pain. Medicare certainly doesn't treat you as nice as Tricare when you have to contact them either.

Just for information and check the site for a chart.

The President's budget for 2007 totals $2.8 trillion. This budget request is broken down by the following expenditures:
$586.1 billion (+7.0%) - Social Security
$466.0 billion (+4.0%) - Defense
$394.5 billion (+12.4%) - Medicare
$367.0 billion (+2.0%) - Unemployment and welfare
$276.4 billion (+2.9%) - Medicaid and other health related
$243.7 billion (+13.4%) - Interest on debt
$89.9 billion (+1.3%) - Education and training
$76.9 billion (+8.1%) - Transportation
$72.6 billion (+5.8%) - Veterans' benefits
$43.5 billion (+9.2%) - Administration of justice
$33.1 billion (+5.7%) - Natural resources and environment
$32.5 billion (-15.4%) - Foreign affairs
$27.0 billion (+3.7%) - Agriculture
$26.8 billion (+28.7%) - Community and regional development
$25.0 billion (+4.0%) - Science and technology
$20.1 billion (+11.4%) - General government
$1.1 billion (-47.6%) - Energy

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Fbs_us_fy2007.png Click on chart to enlarge it.

I agree if there is a solution it is somewhere in between. I think and expansion of Medicaid and takiong the well off off of Medicare and also Social Security should be means ested. Did you kknow that a person gets back the entire amount he put into Social Security with in two years. After that the monthly checks are via our great grandchildren. Social; Security is the largest chunk of the budget. BB

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How do you address

the rise of oligopolies and monopolies? Specifically in relation to price control. The belief in the free market being the only way to control prices rests upon a belief in competition. But an entirely free, unregulated market will devolve into a limited amount of companies that can charge whatever they want.

The more universal the product and the more expensive the more likely this is to occur. The fact is that pure competition, with free movement into and out of the market that would create the lowest possible price is IMPOSSIBLE for things like health care.

Once you realize that you realize that single payer, universal coverage is the only reasonable response.

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"Keep the Faith"

Yes left alone companies

Yes left alone companies will devolve into Monopolies. That is why we have anti-trust laws. The only way a company could avoid our anti-trust laws would be to go out of the country. Since as you well know a good part of the free world has stringent regulations on health care it isn't likely these companies will jump out of the pan into the fire.

I simply do not agree with you that health care and all related services (insurances, equipment, drugs) are not commodities like any other commodity. The argument is that we all need health care and that is why it is not open to competition. We need food every day to stay alive and yet the food industry is only regulated as to health and safety issues and not costs. Competition between food suppliers keep the costs down. And these suppliers keep the production costs down so as not to cut into their profit.

If you will research it you will find there were many more small drug producing companies that we have today. Why? Because the larger companies got so wealthy as medical costs went up that they became more and more powerful. Without competition and price controls they were able then to squeeze out or buy out the smaller ones. So they are indeed able to "set prices". They keep just under the radar of the Anti trust laws because they don't get into marketing to the public. The larger companies have infact been encouraged by our government to consolidate so as to make it easier to regulate the safety of the drugs thru the Food and Drug Adminstration.

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drug companies dont market?

i call bullshit.

the only way to avoid anti trust laws is to pay the bush administration. its worked pretty well so far.

there are huge differences between food and health care. for a relatively small amount of money i can either make my own food, creating a huge potential for competition. can you build your own hospital as easily? hell no.

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"Keep the Faith"

Blue South, Really this is

Blue South, Really this is going a bit far to blame not enforcing anti trust laws on the Bush Administration which has only been in power a little over six years. It's on the par of blaming Bush for Hurricane Katrina!

Drug companies do not market drugs directly to the public. They advertise to the public both prescription and over the counter drugs on tv and else where, but ALWAYS include the words in the advertisement to “ask your doctor….“ or “see your local pharmacy”. They themselves only “market” or sell to wholesalers or directly to corporations like Wal-Mart or Walgreen’s who then market (sell to) the public.

Hospitals are NOT regulated. Most are not-for-profit corporations which are privately owned and do to their legal status get all kinds of tax breaks. There are still a few municipal hospitals around but they are becoming more and more things of the past as corporations seeing a good thing buy them up. There is big money to be made in the hospital business regardless of the "red ink" they are supposedly shedding which is merely smoke and mirrors. If hospitals were truly losing money you can bet there would be fewer of them and fewer applications to build new ones that are also privately owned.

And the reason these hospitals are making so much profit is due to the one and ONLY REGULATION governing them: they need approval from the state board to build in a certain area so as not to have too many hospitals in any one area. Which is a regulation that only benefits the monopoly any one hospital has over prices in in that area. It is then the lack of competition that makes hospital rooms cost up to $400 a day in Greensboro. Lack of competition that allows Moses-Cone to charge $5 for an aspirin or even a cup of ice!

Health care is indeed a commodity like any other. If it is BS then I invite you to explain in just what way it is not a commodity. The definition of commodity : 1. Something useful that can be turned to commercial or other advantage: "Left-handed, power-hitting third basemen are a rare commodity in the big leagues" (Steve Guiremand). , 2. An article of trade or commerce, especially an agricultural or mining product that can be processed and resold. , 3. Advantage; benefit. (American Heritage Dictionary on line)

The argument you used that you can grow your own food but you can not build your own hospital. Apples and oranges here. Yes you can grow your own food but you would have peaches only in season. You need the huge food industry (comparable to hospitals) to have the food that is typically consumed by Americans today. As for hospitals, let us back up just 100 years ago when hospitals were only in the larger cities and doctors made house calls to families in need. And, if no doctors were available the families did the best they could for themselves. The fact is there are still many, many places in the world where there are no hospitals and people do for themselves.

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Oh my God your delusional.

If you really believe this even for an instant...

Drug companies do not market drugs directly to the public. They advertise to the public both prescription and over the counter drugs on tv and else where, but ALWAYS include the words in the advertisement to “ask your doctor….“ or “see your local pharmacy”.

then I think you should RUN, not walk, to the nearest ER and have your gullible gland checked. I think it is over-secreting.

Where are the candidates?

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

Robert P. I find you

Robert P. I find you unbelievable 99.9 of the time, but I certainly have NEVER put you down or made snide remarks to you about your views. Whereas you show your bad manners every time you come on my site. If you cannot refrain from snarky remarks then do us both a favor and stay away. You are totally in control of your mouse and keyboard and your mental apparatus, I hope.
Sincerely, BB

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I stopped reading at

It's on the par of blaming Bush for Hurricane Katrina!

Just remember folks, if it is good it is because of a Republican, and if it is bad it is because of a Democrat.

Draft Brad Miller -- NC Sen ActBlue :::Petition

"Keep the Faith"

/Blue South, I am surprised

/Blue South, I am surprised to read that statement from you! Gee Whiz and all this time I believed you were TRUE BLUE Democrat. Wow! Just shows how people can get the wrong impression about other people doesn’t it?

PS: Refer to my comment to Robert P. and if the shoe fits, well I’m sure you can figure out what to do. BB

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This Book Is Hard to Find

The Seven Sisters by Anthony Sampson.

I read it waaay back in 1978 - when I was way too young to even know how to fight back. But it explained how oligopolies were just an end around the laws against monopolies. Sad but true - they still exist today.

It's sort of like how ethics reforms spurred the explosion in the numbers of lobbyists and PACs. If there's money to be made - someone, somewhere will figure out how to get their hands on it. One way or another.

I will try to find that

I will try to find that book. Thank you. I seem never to knopw too much that another bit of information isn't welcome.

My Mom always said my first word was "Why?" Then she follows up with declaring that when I get to Heaven I am going to make St. Pete explain why before I walk thru the pearly gates. I always answer that He won't have to because I'm going the other way with all my friends! BB

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Post hoc ergo propter hoc?

Medical costs rose after Medicare and Medicaid were instituted, therefore the rise must be because of Medicare and Medicaid? Funny thing, I notice whenever my neighbor takes his umbrella to work, it rains. He must be causing the rain by carrying his umbrella.

Actually, I think there were a lot of causes for the inflation in the costs of medical care and medical insurance. Blaming it all on making health care available and affordable won't wash.

Are you suggesting health care was available to all before Medicare and Medicaid were enacted? Congress just took it upon themselves to enact these programs, even though there was no need for them? Most senior citizens, myself included, think Medicare works pretty well. In fact, a lot of supporters of universal health care think Medicare should be, not just a model, but the program to provide health care to everyone. Yes, there are problems with the program, the main problem I see being that it doesn’t pay health providers as much as many private plans do, and therefore some health providers refuse to take Medicare patients. I fail to understand how that causes the price of health care to increase.

I'm having trouble following your points. You admit 45 million people have no health insurance, but I don't see what your proposed solution is to the problem. You seem to be implying that there should be more government regulation in this area, isn't that opposite of your views about government regulation in just about every other area?

Did you say we can afford home mortgages because the government is not involved home mortgages?

We can afford our own homes because the government isn't in home mortgages on a wholesale business so the inflationary increases in home values have not gone beyond the middle class worker.

What about FHA, FmHA, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac? If not for government guaranteed home mortgages, many “middle class workers” would not be able to buy their own homes.

Finally, I really do not understand this comment:

Robert P. I find you unbelievable 99.9 of the time, but I certainly have NEVER put you down or made snide remarks to you about your views. Whereas you show your bad manners every time you come on my site. If you cannot refrain from snarky remarks then do us both a favor and stay away. You are totally in control of your mouse and keyboard and your mental apparatus, I hope.
Sincerely, BB

I didn’t know this was your site, I thought we were on BlueNC.