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View Diary: What you should know about health insurance industry lobbyists and their lies (276 comments)

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  •  Thanks (0+ / 0-)

    I really appreciate the extended discussion. I think we're pretty much in agreement. I completely agree with your goal:

    We need to be clear that what we want is open access to health care for everyone that is paid for through taxes.

    But I still don't see that you've addressed my question of why not focus on the health care that is available to everyone that is paid for by taxes instead of the insurance that is not. Your VA example is another good one that I hadn't thought of. That's exactly the kind of thing I'm talking about that doesn't get discussed in all of the focus on expanding insurance coverage.

    •  I have addressed your question regarding EMTALA (0+ / 0-)

      if this is what you're referring to when you discuss "health care that is available to everyone that is paid for by taxes."  Perhaps this quote from Wiki will summarize EMTALA in this regard more clearly and show that this is not "free" care that is paid for by federal taxes:

      The cost of emergency care required by EMTALA is not directly covered by the federal government. Because of this, the law has been criticized by some as an unfunded mandate.[4] Similarly, it has attracted controversy for its impacts on hospitals, and in particular, for its possible contributions to an emergency medical system that is "overburdened, underfunded and highly fragmented".[5] More than half of all emergency room care in the U.S. now goes uncompensated. Hospitals write off such care as charity or bad debt for tax purposes. Increasing financial pressures on hospitals in the period since EMTALA's passage have caused consolidations and closures, so the number of emergency rooms is decreasing despite increasing demand for emergency care.[6] There is also debate about the extent to which EMTALA has led to cost-shifting and higher rates for insured or paying hospital patients, thereby contributing to the high overall rate of medical inflation in the U.S.


      If you read that quote you see that what EMTALA really does is force hospitals to provide emergent care, charge the patient for that care, and then write off the debt if the patient cannot pay.  This has resulted in a net decrease in the availability of emergency care which was an unanticipated outcome of EMTALA.  

      EMTALA is not a model for national health care - it is a model for an unfunded mandate that has had serious detrimental effects on the health care system.

      If instead we focus on the VA as a source of care that is available to everyone that is paid for by taxes then we run into a couple of problems IMO:

      1. The VA system, fairly or not, has been badmouthed to the point where many people think of it as a bad thing rather than a good thing.
      1. The VA system itself is a "perk" given for military service that often puts individuals in harm's way and so, philosophically speaking, is not quite the same as providing free care to a larger class of individuals many of whom are not risking their life for their country.  In this sense, the VA can be seen as a reward for being willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for one's country and doesn't serve well as a model for providing care to our weakest, least able citizens.

      I think the best focus is similar to what ncyeve is doing in this diary.  This focus is on how private profit-driven insurance is decimating our health care system, leaving millions without coverage, costing the system enormous amounts of money for ever-increasing paperwork, and taking money paid into the system as profit while providing no care.

      This focus needs to be expanded to address how insurance plans themselves cause needless paperwork, headaches for patients, and extra cost.

      This would be a good start.  

      "The time for justice is always right now!" - Samantha Booke, Wiley College debate team, 1935

      by Edgewater on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 04:30:38 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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