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View Diary: Social Security by the Numbers (73 comments)

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  •  I Know (1+ / 0-)
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    It's no surprise to me. He was primarily funded by Wall Street before he became nationally popular. He clearly doesn't understand economics, and he seems to think we win by compromising with the clueless and the vile.

    I say this as someone who voted for him twice and think he has flashes of brilliance. He's done a lot to help us and help the world. His administration negotiated strategic arms reduction. He's moved now to get Israel to be a bit more rational about its relationship with the Palestinians, and maybe that will ultimately result in peace. He ratcheted down our belligerent stance with the rest of the world.

    But in terms of economics and Constitutional law, he is completely tone-deaf. PPACA, for all its benefits, is an economic disaster. You can't push 30 million people in to for-profit health insurance without ballooning the healthcare sector. He's continued the Bush dictatorship (drones, spying, indefinite detention--the works), and enhanced it. These are not signs he knows what he's doing.

    He isn't going to be up for re-election, so I think we should ignore him and work on Congress. We need to make it clear to our people there that we will not tolerate cuts to Social Security. If they want to continue to be our representatives they need to represent us. Otherwise, there are plenty of good, qualified people around.

    •  You are so wrong on PPACA (1+ / 0-)
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      Liberal Thinking

      It isn't for profit health INSURANCE that is the problem. It's the for profit health SECTOR of providers. From doctors, hospitals and Pharma to the lowest level pieces of equipment; everyone's out to make a profit and too many don't care about how they make it. They self justify excess treatments but if any attempt is made to limit or eliminate the ones that either give no benefit or even cause great harm people scream "rationing!"

      If the problem was just the insurers then why is Medicare such a high cost disaster? It, and Medicaid are what are the real budget busters.

      The PPACA has a lot of provisions to reduce the costs of the actual health care. And more that improve QUALITY which are sorely needed.

      Maybe you could work on Congress and while you are at it get them to remove the restrictions on moving the Guantanamo prisoners out and get them tried. Also I prefer drone strikes to dropping 500 pound bombs to get one holed up bad guy — specially when so many were misses. You are off base about some other things which is surprising because you make a lot of sense about social security (except that changing COLA which is not the end of the world. It can always be changed back or SS can be increased some other way).

      I'm asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about real change in Washington ... *I'm asking you to believe in yours.* Barack Obama

      by samddobermann on Sun Mar 31, 2013 at 04:11:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Let Met Put It to You This Way (0+ / 0-)

        I agree with your main point. Yes, for-profit healthcare in general tends to push up costs. I'm just not as hot under the collar about that because I think people with medical skills deserve to be well compensated, whereas I don't think the for-profit health insurance sector should even exist. They make their profits from the death and suffering of the insured. That's just a little different from a doctor being well-paid for doing work that saves lives.

        As for PPACA, there are a lot of good points to it. But, fundamentally, the cost structure for for-profit health insurance is too high. Even with the best medical loss ratio, we are still going to see 15% go to unnecessary expenses. In a public system, this overhead is between 3 and 4%. That's an 11 point difference, at a minimum.

        Healthcare became an issue when the healthcare sector took more than 15% of GDP. It's over 17% now and still climbing. A few years ago, during the big debate, I did a calculation on what it would take to move everyone into the healthcare system and still get costs down to 15%. That would take cuts of about $650 billion a year.

        There isn't any way to get universal, affordable healthcare and maintain the for-profit health insurance sector. You need to move everyone into one universal public system. PPACA, in that sense, was a step backward.

        The average cost of adding a person to for-profit health insurance is between $8,000 and $10,000 per person. That means that adding 30 million people in this way would expand the healthcare sector by about $300 billion, which is around 2% of GDP. This does not contribute to cutting total costs.

        So, I stand by my statement, "PPACA is an economic disaster."

        Moving to a universal, publicly funded system would help rein in costs by eliminating hundreds of billions in profits, excessive executive pay, and administrative costs. So, just to get started I think that's where we need to go. Once you have that, I think you can wring some of the other unnecessary costs out of the system at the provider level.

        As for Medicare having such high costs, I just don't have any real information on that. I suspect it comes from the overall soaring costs of healthcare, and moving to a universal system would help there because we could, essentially, say that the country will set a limit of 15% of GDP and then the question is what tradeoffs you make within that to provide care. It would also help, of course, if we followed the lead of the smart countries and negotiated drug prices as a block instead of letting each poor schmo go out and do it on their own.

        Now, as for moving the prisoners out of Guantanamo and getting them tried, I refer you to Prosecuting Officials for Crimes. This is very much on my agenda. In fact, I'm intent on rolling back the Bush dictatorship and restoring democracy. I'd appreciate your help!

        As for drones, I don't think we should stop using them, I just think Congress needs to put a border on it. There are lawless areas of the world where we can't count on a sovereign government to apprehend people we accuse of plotting against us and extraditing them or imprisoning them. Taking military action there is different from giving the President carte blanche to kill people with drones wherever he feels like it. And, it should be done by the military, not the CIA. (I nominate the Marines to take over this capability, for reasons I've stated elsewhere.)

        I don't expect to get agreement on everything. I have my views and I argue for them. I noticed that everyone else does that, too. And, BTW, my facts and analysis are different because I'm researching those facts directly from original sources, where I can, and I don't just depend on anyone else's say-so for opinions. If I get it wrong, then I'm solely responsible for that, but I'm also not just repeating wrong ideas that someone else came up with. I think we need to trust that the system will ultimately make the right decisions, but it will only do that if we have free discussions and EVERYONE participates. I'm holding up my end.

        Rather a long response, but I thought you deserved a full explanation.

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