Let’s talk Government Health Care with Squeaky

November 5, 2009

- See all 31 of my articles

Today, we welcome another new member to the staff.  Squeaky joins as a conservative voice for The Political Observers.  We are still looking for another liberal writer for The Political Observers segment.  Email Kosmo if you are interested.  Without further ado, I’ll turn the floor over to  Squeaky.

WOW! 2009 has been an exciting year for both Liberals and Conservatives. There has been so much political activity since November 2008 that my head sometimes spins trying to follow it all.

Please allow me to introduce myself. My name is Squeaky and I’m a married father of two living in Fort Collins, CO; home of the finest microbrews in the United States. You’re probably wondering where the name Squeaky came from. I am a former Law Enforcement Officer. After just a few months on the job, I was walking through one of the hallways following a long night on the streets. It was past shift change so it was pretty quiet when one of the more seasoned officers yelled, “Hey Squeaky!” I stopped and looked, but I was the only person in the hall so I knew he was referring to me. When I asked him what the name was for, he said it was because I was so new that my leather duty belt still squeaked. The next evening at lineup he made sure he announced to all of the other officers that my new name was Squeaky. That name stuck for years and a few of my friends still refer to me as Squeaky today. That’s enough about me though, let’s talk politics.

I hear the term moderate used frequently. The older I get, the more I think that it is one of the most widely overused terms in politics. Let’s clear up one thing now, I’m no moderate.

What are moderates? Moderates claim to not be “extreme” and they say that like it’s a good thing. Well, I have another thought. Why aren’t all of us extreme? Do you care about our country? Do you think that you know what is best for you and your family? Don’t you want to be part of our future? Do you want to ensure that our country remains the strongest in the world and leads the other countries? Do you just want to surrender and accept mediocrity? Then why do we have moderates?

As many negative feelings as the Barack Obama Administration stirs up for me, I can take an enormous positive away too. When I think about the excitement that followed his campaign and election, I know that citizens of the United States care. People came out in droves to support and vote for him. They followed him like a rock star and showed support for him the way I wish the Republican voters would have supported their candidates. Either way, it has taught Conservatives a priceless lesson.

There is another unexpected fire started by the Obama Administration. I am a member of the Northern Colorado TEA party. We have Obama, Pelosi and Reid to thank for the resurgence of the TEA parties. Most people that I visit with don’t have any idea what the TEA parties are about. They are not a group of racist Obama haters. They are not a group of radical or violent protestors. TEA party groups are people bound together by the common thought that we are Taxed Enough Already (TEA). We are people that want the Government to stop all the reckless spending and taxation.

I’m learning more about the new Health bill (HR 3962) every day. Earlier this week I found a document released by the CBO (Congressional Budget Office). The CBO does all the number crunching on costs and use of government programs. The one I ran across demonstrates what the costs for participants will be. Folks, I don’t know what your expectations are for this plan, but it’s far from free. In fact, it costs substantially more than what many corporate plans will cost. On top of that, these estimates are for the “average of the three lowest-cost “basic” plans”. If you would like a plan with a low deductible or wellness benefits, your premiums would be higher. You will likely be surprised to learn the costs of these “basic plans”. Here are two examples from the CBO document:

  1. A single tax payer making $44,200 will pay $7300 in premium and cost sharing.
  2. A family of four making $66,000 will pay $10,000 in premiums and cost sharing.
    ***Document can be accessed at this link: http://www.cbo.gov/doc.cfm?index=10691&type=1

Currently, my PPO family of four health insurance plan is loaded with benefits. It pays for my 100% of my children’s wellness visits/wellness treatments. It also pays $1000 per year for my wife’s and $1000 for my wellness benefits/wellness treatments. We pay $179 per month in premiums and have no medical based exclusions. (179 x 12 = $2148 annually)

I have pretty good health insurance coverage. If you’re a teacher, if you’re in the teamsters or work for a public entity, you probably have even better and less expensive insurance than I do. I can’t understand why anyone from these groups (that elected Obama) would want this health care option. Now that we have solid numbers supplied by the CBO, it should be obvious to everyone that government run health care is the not the answer.

The current Health Care Bill is 1,990 pages so I don’t expect everyone to read all of it. I would however hope that all voters are reading several different sources to find out the highlights of the bill. As a voter, you are responsible for knowing what our representatives are voting on and letting them know what your educated opinions are. Please, be a responsible and active voter. Learn all you can and help ensure that our country remains the free and powerful country that it is today.

5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Evan
    Nov 05, 2009 @ 09:29:48

    I wish we had an affordable plan like your PPO where I live. Is that the total cost, or just your cost (i.e. is your employer paying something too)? Fortunately, I pay something comparable for my PPO plan as well, but that’s only because it is offered by my employer, who pays most of it. The cost to my employer has reached the point of being nearly backbreaking, which has stifled growth.

    That’s why I’ve been leaning towards a public option (if it is truly that – an OPTION), as the big insurer in our area has no real competition, resulting in a profit margin that is through the roof, and reserves that have expanded to over a billion dollars. Unfortunately, when you’re dealing with a basic necessity like health care, competition is essential as people can’t just choose to do without.
    .-= Evan´s last blog ..5 Needed Improvements in Windows 7 =-.


  2. Squeaky
    Nov 05, 2009 @ 22:50:09

    Hi Evan, the amount of money quoted is my portion. My employer pays 66% and I pay 34%, probably something similar to what your employer pays.

    I completely understand your comments and I agree with the sentiment. However, I still can’t support the public option. I have sent communications to my representatives with my ideas to reach the same goal that you are. Offering different levels of health care plans (cafeteria type plans), regulation of costs from the health care providers, regulation of the actuarial methods used to figure insurance costs and finally an insurance pool for those not able to qualify for health insurance.

    After seeing my family members utilize the Social Security and Medicare systems, I just can’t support creating any new government plans. We have a great health care system and insurance system. I think we need to remember that health care costs have gone up because of advances in technology and increased law suits. My neighbor who is an Otolaryngologist, pays more for his malpractice insurance than I make in an entire year. By simply opting for a public option and not fixing what is truly broken, we’re not going to gain any ground. We’re just going to have lousy insurance at an equally high cost.

    You make a great point that competition is vital. We need to preserve that yet fix what is not working.

    It was great hearing your points Evan! Thank you!


  3. Evan
    Nov 06, 2009 @ 14:02:55

    One thing I have to disagree strongly on is the part about lawsuits. Whenever we hear talk about so-called lawsuit abuse, the talk oddly never turns to weeding about the bogus cases, but instead to putting caps on the recoveries of those most grievously injured, such as amputees and those who are paralyzed. I’m not sure if anything more recent was done, but the last time I saw a comprehensive study that directly looked at what happened in states where caps were implemented revealed that in 19 states that implemented caps between 1991 and 2002, docs suffered a 48.2 percent jump in median premiums. In states without caps, premiums rose by 35.9 percent. GE Medical Protective is the largest med mal insurer in the country, and despite pushing for caps on non-economic damages, has admitted under oath that capping non-economic damages will show loss savings of about 1%. The one possible exception to all this is Texas, but there were so many other changes there that it is hard to determine cause and effect.

    The same thing happens elsewhere, with the insurance industry playing both ends. Voters are told that outrageous lawsuits are the cause of all problems, while insurance companies justify rate hikes by telling state regulators that caps aren’t a justification for lowering premiums.

    I feel for the doctors, as they’re victims in all of this. We have an insurance problem, not a lawsuit problem. Unfortunately, the opposite has been drilled into our heads for years (by guess who?). Insurance companies historically operate at a loss with respect to premiums vs. payouts. This is intentional, though, as they use that premium money in investments. Unfortunately, when those investments tank, then the premiums are jacked up and screams of cost containment arise.

    I don’t believe in shifting the burden, anyway, of grievous medical negligence that cripples people to those who can least carry that burden (the injured, crippled, amputees, and paralyzed). I do believe in weeding out bogus cases. In PA, there is now a requirement that a medical expert certify a case as having merit before it is filed, and as a result med malpractice filings have dropped significantly.

    Unfortunately, all of the rhetoric that we hear targets the truly valid cases with all of this talk of caps, and doesn’t do a thing to attack the bogus ones.

    Anyway, all my talk really doesn’t even get at the main issue- even if caps were the “magic bullet” for malpractice premiums, it is a minuscule portion of total health care costs.


  4. Martin Kelly
    Feb 04, 2010 @ 13:06:30

    What is intersting is that the percentage of cost is just slightly more to pay for insurance and it was to just pay the doctor back in the 50s. So we are using up all the efficiency and medical advancements over the last 50 years to fund the insurance industry.


  5. kosmo
    Feb 04, 2010 @ 14:06:36

    “So we are using up all the efficiency and medical advancements over the last 50 years to fund the insurance industry.”

    And the malpractice attorneys 🙂

    There are a couple of other things that come into play:

    1) There is some insanely expensive equipment that is used for a lot of treatments today

    2) People in the 50s simply died from things that are treatable today. Treating a disease is more costly than saying “I’m afraid there’s nothing we can do for you.”


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