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The Second Act: A Public Plan
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VJ



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PostPosted: Mon Jul 06, 2009 11:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

djy wrote:

P.S. it is interesting that tort reform has been missing as a factor from this debate.


The last numbers I read showed .58% of all healthcare spending is a result of tort payout/lawsuits. Just FYI...I don't think this covers medical malpractice insurance premiums and may be a dubious figure at best...just throwing it out there.
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transponder



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PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2009 2:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

VJ if you mean 58% and not .58% then there's your motivation for government control right there! 58% savings on health care costs for the Nation if the government incurs 100% of the accusations in malpractice litigation? Oh yeah. I can see why the government is so anxious.

The lawyers are gonna get fucked on this whole deal.
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transponder



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PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2009 2:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

djy wrote:
If the government has trouble administering even something as relatively simple as delivering mail, why would they succeed at providing health care?


Just curious. What kind of problems are you having with your mail?

Personally, I love how the government is putting BLOCKBUSTER out of business.
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Jason G



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PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2009 10:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can absolutely believe the .58% figure. No way that malpractice claims account for a large percentage of our health care expenditures. Tort reform MAY bring down the cost of malpractice insurance, but that's still a drop in the bucket, percentage-wise, to the rest of the health care system.
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djy



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PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2009 1:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

transponder wrote:
djy wrote:
If the government has trouble administering even something as relatively simple as delivering mail, why would they succeed at providing health care?


Just curious. What kind of problems are you having with your mail?



GAO: Postal Service in financial disarray
By Jordy Yager
Posted: 08/06/09 03:42 PM [ET]
The United States Postal Service (USPS) is in financial disarray, with plummeting levels of mail being sent and heathcare costs for retirees increasing, according to a report released Thursday by an investigative arm of Congress.

The Government Accountability Office report comes on the heels of the GAO’s decision to place the Postal Service on its high-risk list because the agency “has not been able to cut costs fast enough to offset the accelerated decline in mail volume and revenue.”

The USPS is experiencing its largest percentage decline in mail sent since the severe drop it took during the Great Depression. Largely affected by the rise in e-mail, the agency has had a nearly 14 percent decrease in mail in fiscal year 2009 — decreasing from about 203 billion pieces to 175 billion.

The decline is expected to result in a net loss of $7 billion, with total outstanding debt levels reaching $10.2 billion, and an expected $13.2 billion in debt by the close of fiscal year 2010. On Wednesday, the USPS posted a loss of $2.4 billion for the most recent quarter, which ended June 30.


The GAO called for the USPS to restructure its priorities by developing and implementing a concrete set of time-frames to address both the short-term and long-term challenges it faces.

In the near future the USPS needs to trim its costs to offset its loss of revenue beyond the unprecedented $6 billion in cost cuts that it ordered earlier this fiscal year, the GAO report stated. Since 2001, the cost cuts have ranged between $900 million and $2 billion.

Earlier this week Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) made similar calls on the USPS to restructure its business model.

“The Postal Service needs a business model in keeping with 21st century technology,” she said in a statement. “The post office as we have known it has been gone for some time, but the Postal Service is mandated by the U.S. Constitution and must survive.”

The rising popularity of paying bills electronically has also contributed to the Postal Service’s dismal financial condition. Since 2000, the number of people paying bills by postal mail has decreased by 23 percent, while electronic payment has increased 27 percent.

The USPS has proposed changing the funding requirements for retiree health benefits and reducing mail delivery, from six to five days a week, to try and offset the fiscal losses it has endured. Both actions would require congressional approval.

The GAO report said the Postal Service needs to renegotiate with the largest postal employee unions to reduce its compensation and benefit packages, which make up about 80 percent of its costs — compared to about 72 percent of costs at other federal agencies.

The GAO report also suggested consolidating “retail and processing networks and field structure.”

There are approximately 38,000 postal facilities throughout the country and the USPS employs more than 625,000 career employees, who assist in the delivery of mail to nearly 150 million addresses.
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jbrady



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PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2009 1:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

transponder wrote:
djy wrote:
If the government has trouble administering even something as relatively simple as delivering mail, why would they succeed at providing health care?


Just curious. What kind of problems are you having with your mail?



E-commerce and less volume. I'm sure the bureaucracy of government has minimized efficiency but the USPS have been closing offices all over the country in response to the lack of volume. Did the government bring on this lack of volume? How often do you write someone a letter these days?
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djy



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PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2009 1:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jbrady wrote:
transponder wrote:
djy wrote:
If the government has trouble administering even something as relatively simple as delivering mail, why would they succeed at providing health care?


Just curious. What kind of problems are you having with your mail?



E-commerce and less volume. I'm sure the bureaucracy of government has minimized efficiency but the USPS have been closing offices all over the country in response to the lack of volume. Did the government bring on this lack of volume? How often do you write someone a letter these days?


I'm sure the recession isn't helping either.

But, both UPS and Fedex had profitable quarters.

Plus the USPS has been in trouble for a while. Losing money is not a new phenomenon there.

If you had a really critical item that you had to ship, who would you rather trust? USPS or one of the private companies?
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jbrady



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PostPosted: Thu Aug 13, 2009 7:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This whistle-blower is probably just a democrat so take this with a grain of salt.


Whistle-blower: Health care industry engaging in PR tactics
From Ed Hornick and Elaine Quijano
CNN

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Wendell Potter knows a little something about the health care industry's practices and is not afraid of to speak out as the health care reform debate heats up around the country.

The former vice president of corporate communications at insurance giant Cigna, who left his post, says the industry is playing "dirty tricks" in an effort to manipulate public opinion.

"Words matter, and the insurance industry is a master at linguistics and using the hot words, buzzwords, buzz expressions that they know will get people upset," he told CNN Wednesday.

Now a senior fellow on health care for the watchdog group Center for Media and Democracy, Potter writes a blog on health care reform. He is focusing on efforts to defeat legislation supporting a government health care plan -- something he supports.

In early July, Potter testified before the Senate Commerce Committee, telling senators that "I know from personal experience that members of Congress and the public have good reason to question the honesty and trustworthiness of the insurance industry."

Potter described how underwriters at his former company would drive small businesses with expensive insurance claims to dump their Cigna policies. Industry executives refer to the practice as "purging," Potter said.

"When that business comes up for renewal, the underwriters jack the rates up so much, the employer has no choice but to drop insurance," Potter had said.

In an e-mail to CNN, Cigna spokesman Chris Curran denied the company engages in purging.

"We do not practice that. We will offer rates that are reflective of the competitive group health insurance market. We always encourage our clients to compare our proposed rates to those available from other carriers," Curran wrote.

But now, Potter is back in Washington at the invitation from Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-New York. He is questioning insurance companies' public relations tactics -- and says some of the questions from town hall meetings are familiar. Watch more on the health care reform debate »

"People talk about the government takeover of the system ... that's a buzz term that comes straight out of the insurance industry," he said.

A Cigna spokesman would not comment directly on Potter's accusations. Instead, the company released a written statement saying officials agree that health care reform is needed. But the statement went on to say that officials don't see how a government-sponsored plan can accomplish that.

But Potter's concerns fall right in line with the Democrats' strategy of hitting insurance companies hard this summer. Republicans argue that insurance companies aren't solely to blame for the health care crisis, noting that many of their constituents are perfectly happy with the current system.

The Democratic Party is also dealing with a group of fiscally conservative members known as "Blue Dogs" who are worried over the high costs of the health care plans being bandied about.

Slaughter says that the concerns over a government option may be set up to "try and protect one industry" -- referring to the health insurance industry.

Potter insists he has no agenda -- just a deep passion for the issue.

"This is hard to do. It's scary to do something like this. I don't think I'm any more courageous than anybody but I feel I had to do this."

Potter also has said he decided to resign in 2007 after Cigna's controversial handling of an insurance claim made by the family of a California teenager, Nataline Sarkysian.

The Sarkysian family made repeated appeals at news conferences for Cigna to approve a liver transplant for the 17-year-old, who had leukemia. Cigna initially declined to cover the operation, then reversed its decision.

Sarkysian died hours after the company's reversal.
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jbrady



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PostPosted: Thu Aug 13, 2009 7:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

djy wrote:


If you had a really critical item that you had to ship, who would you rather trust? USPS or one of the private companies?


UPS but only 'cause my father worked there his entire life. My biased opinion. But, I don't break a sweat if I have to drop a bill/letter in the mail. Its pretty amazing how fast USPS can deliver something across the state of Georgia.
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kso



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PostPosted: Thu Aug 13, 2009 10:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

djy wrote:
If the government has trouble administering even something as relatively simple as delivering mail, why would they succeed at providing health care?


Yet, we all forget GOVT is the sole provider of our defense.

So, the question is exactly the opposite. How can we fully entrust our govt to operate such a wieldy and complex entity and think that healthcare is such an unfathomable task?
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kso



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PostPosted: Thu Aug 13, 2009 11:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

On the mail issue, I trust UPS 50 fold over USPS unfortunately.

USPS have been dealing with the e-commerce issue for a while. those effects were realized a few years ago.

The "green" initiative and going paperless efforts by companies nationwide is probably THE biggest factor in loss of volume.

You go paperless on bank statements, insurance docs, which includes health, life, car, etc., 401k statements and whatever other 2-3 you can immediately think of and imagine that being shaved straight off the top of every piece of mail to the state of GA that was inbound last week and has been opted out of this week. Now picture that as a Natl average.
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djy



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PostPosted: Thu Aug 13, 2009 12:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kso wrote:
djy wrote:
If the government has trouble administering even something as relatively simple as delivering mail, why would they succeed at providing health care?


Yet, we all forget GOVT is the sole provider of our defense.

So, the question is exactly the opposite. How can we fully entrust our govt to operate such a wieldy and complex entity and think that healthcare is such an unfathomable task?


The military is not comparable to any other civilian organization.

The command structure, the conditions, the accountability - what civilian/bureaucratic structure has that?

More comparable would be social security, Medicare and the USPS.

Honestly, I don't feel safe entrusting the government with my health. What really scares me, that if it were up to Obama, this plan would have passed two weeks ago, without anyone really knowing what it contained.
How can he be so reckless with our health care?
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djy



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PostPosted: Thu Aug 13, 2009 12:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jbrady wrote:
This whistle-blower is probably just a democrat so take this with a grain of salt.


Whistle-blower: Health care industry engaging in PR tactics
From Ed Hornick and Elaine Quijano
CNN

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Wendell Potter knows a little something about the health care industry's practices and is not afraid of to speak out as the health care reform debate heats up around the country.

The former vice president of corporate communications at insurance giant Cigna, who left his post, says the industry is playing "dirty tricks" in an effort to manipulate public opinion.

"Words matter, and the insurance industry is a master at linguistics and using the hot words, buzzwords, buzz expressions that they know will get people upset," he told CNN Wednesday.

Now a senior fellow on health care for the watchdog group Center for Media and Democracy, Potter writes a blog on health care reform. He is focusing on efforts to defeat legislation supporting a government health care plan -- something he supports.

In early July, Potter testified before the Senate Commerce Committee, telling senators that "I know from personal experience that members of Congress and the public have good reason to question the honesty and trustworthiness of the insurance industry."

Potter described how underwriters at his former company would drive small businesses with expensive insurance claims to dump their Cigna policies. Industry executives refer to the practice as "purging," Potter said.

"When that business comes up for renewal, the underwriters jack the rates up so much, the employer has no choice but to drop insurance," Potter had said.

In an e-mail to CNN, Cigna spokesman Chris Curran denied the company engages in purging.

"We do not practice that. We will offer rates that are reflective of the competitive group health insurance market. We always encourage our clients to compare our proposed rates to those available from other carriers," Curran wrote.

But now, Potter is back in Washington at the invitation from Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-New York. He is questioning insurance companies' public relations tactics -- and says some of the questions from town hall meetings are familiar. Watch more on the health care reform debate »

"People talk about the government takeover of the system ... that's a buzz term that comes straight out of the insurance industry," he said.

A Cigna spokesman would not comment directly on Potter's accusations. Instead, the company released a written statement saying officials agree that health care reform is needed. But the statement went on to say that officials don't see how a government-sponsored plan can accomplish that.

But Potter's concerns fall right in line with the Democrats' strategy of hitting insurance companies hard this summer. Republicans argue that insurance companies aren't solely to blame for the health care crisis, noting that many of their constituents are perfectly happy with the current system.

The Democratic Party is also dealing with a group of fiscally conservative members known as "Blue Dogs" who are worried over the high costs of the health care plans being bandied about.

Slaughter says that the concerns over a government option may be set up to "try and protect one industry" -- referring to the health insurance industry.

Potter insists he has no agenda -- just a deep passion for the issue.

"This is hard to do. It's scary to do something like this. I don't think I'm any more courageous than anybody but I feel I had to do this."

Potter also has said he decided to resign in 2007 after Cigna's controversial handling of an insurance claim made by the family of a California teenager, Nataline Sarkysian.

The Sarkysian family made repeated appeals at news conferences for Cigna to approve a liver transplant for the 17-year-old, who had leukemia. Cigna initially declined to cover the operation, then reversed its decision.

Sarkysian died hours after the company's reversal.


Yeah, I know this dude. He is entitled to his opinion.

It would have been nice if CNN had stated that he is working for an organization that supports the public option.
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jbrady



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PostPosted: Thu Aug 13, 2009 1:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You know this Wendall Potter guy? Thats kinda cool. So, he's full of shit?
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djy



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PostPosted: Thu Aug 13, 2009 3:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jbrady wrote:
You know this Wendall Potter guy? Thats kinda cool. So, he's full of shit?
Laughing

yeah, but not as much as me.... Wink
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