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Comment Archives: stories: News & Opinion: Downing

Re: “Downing

Yes Renee its the big bad medical-industrial complex. Never mind that those "overpaid doctors" have not had a real raise in medicare rates since....Bill Clinton was president. What was your salary in 1999 and how about now? Doctors are now seeing more and more patients, that makes sense...not. Never mind that you said it yourself, "Since I'm insured and don't have to pay these ridiculous bills, why should I care about the costs?" You have no skin in the game Renee, if you and all patients did those "outrageous" costs would be less likely. Very likely the free market (I know that is a dirty word here) would come to play and decrease costs. Speaking of the "outrageous" costs, was this the amount billed or the amount the insurance company actually paid. In my experience the amount paid by the insurance company is actually 10-50% of the amount billed.

People this is the crux of the issue. American health care cannot do everything for all the people all the time....period. You want a European-type system that covers all for a reasonable price (defined by the government) then very simply we as Americans will have to accept rationing....period. There is nothing wrong with that. The European system does ration but by and large in a "rationale" way. We certainly don't. The Europeans do not pay for outrageously expensive drugs in cancer treatments. The Europoeans by and large do not allow people over 65-70 not getting dialysis or CABG's (this is country specific). In my opinion Americans have never been accepting of this trade-off. I certainly have not seen a politician bring up this important conversation. it needs to happen but it won't because Americans by and large a too selfish to look at what is best fro society as opposed as for themselves. Case in point Europeans are MUCH MUCH better at recruiting for cancer research studies than Americans are. Americans are infamous for not accepting anything but the most aggressive care...no matter what. Honestly Renee speaking of research do you know that recent research shows that outside of acute MI's that medical management for coronary syndromes has the same results as stents/angioplasty. The problem is most docs know this research but also know if they counsel for less aggressive care (ie medical management) and things go south, a lawyer will be serving them. Renee, America is the land of unrealistic medical expectations. Are you really surprised at the cost? But do shoot the messenger.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by elmo on 05/29/2011 at 3:07 PM

Re: “Downing

Ronni, I offer my concern for your precarious situation you share with more and more underinsured or uninsured Americans. I saw a television program on world-wide national health care or socialized medicine as some call it. Seems all modern developed countries have successful national health care. I was particularly impressed with how low costs are. For example, in Japan an MRI costs the equivalent of $60US.
USA is the only Western country without national health care I read. We only have it for seniors and disabled through Medicare and now we are told Republicans want to destroy Medicare.

No country in the world pays anywhere near the outrageous, greed driven medical costs we do. And in no other countries do medical corporations make such obscene profits and their CEOs make multimillion dollar salaries, doctors live in multimillion dollar houses and hospital administrators make million dollar salaries/perks such as free stock from chemo and drug companies, radiation machine manufacturers and medical device makers to assure their products are used.There is no regulation of medical costs in USA. That is a big problem.
Organized medicine will not allow regulation of medical costs.
Their lobbists show up with loads of money for politicians to see that there is no restriction of medical costs. And insurance companies show up with loads of money in hopes of forcing us into private insurance policies with no cap on premiums but limits on coverage. We are owned by the corporatocracy. And some say, ripe for revolution, to taking to the streets to demand we have our government back from the corrupt corporations.That is the only way I can think of that it could happen. There will be no honest politician to step up and save us, we will have to save ourselves.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by TXJesse on 05/28/2011 at 9:20 PM

Re: “Downing

"I'm afraid at least SOME of the outrageous bills is going to cover people who they have to treat, and who have no insurance or savings/income"...

It's easy for some of us to claim this as the big problem, but as an under-paid, under-insured, working-class mother who was forced to combine my daughter's and my own insurance, for the ridiculous deductible of $5000, I can tell you that something more insidious is afoot here.

Who regulates these costs, does anyone really know? I don't mean just the insurance premiums, but hospital costs, procedural costs, basic medicines? Is it really necessary to charge $200 for a "saline solution infus?" I believe it is the fault of a system out of balance: there are seemingly no checks and balances for our healthcare system, as it stands now.

It is a system in transition, and along with transition and change comes a whole lotta scrambling for another way to make a buck. What about physician/hospital malpractice insurance? That has to be pretty costly. You don't suppose this has ANY effect on soaring medical care costs? And yes, there are those pesky illegals, darned poor people, and other ne'er-do-wells...surely they are to blame for jacking up these costs. Ummm....wait a minute, isn't it the sworn duty of the physician to "do no harm" and actually save lives? Why should race, creed, or social standing make one damn difference?

If the hospitals, the insurance companies, urgent care clinics, pharmacies, etc., etc. continue to allow these costs to soar out of control, during times like these, they are simply going to see more "no insurance/income" types pouring out of the wood-work, because the system has thus far been unable to control itself. And if you think it's bad now, just wait.

I have had to change jobs this year, take a cut in pay, and now I will probably (likely) have to drop my own medical insurance, in favor of being able to continue to pay my daughter's premiums. Meanwhile, with Health Care Reform, the insurance companies are mobilizing to find ways to make coverage even more difficult to navigate and utilize, just to save their own skins. Why the hell are we all putting up with this? Socialize medicine, for cryin' out loud! It may be the only way out from under this mess.

Posted by Ronni Noyce on 05/28/2011 at 8:25 PM

Re: “Downing

I'm afraid at least SOME of the outrageous bills is going to cover people who they have to treat, and who have no insurance or savings/income. So, I suppose we should be happy only PART is going to greed.

Posted by W Corvi on 05/27/2011 at 10:39 AM

Re: “Downing

Let us take the cost out of Health and return to CARE.

Posted by Grandma Suzy on 05/26/2011 at 10:53 AM

Re: “Downing

What a sad, and shamefully true example of the plight of everyone except the ultra-rich in our state. However (I hate to add more insult to injury) but Medicaid will not accept her either, if our conscienceless governor Brewer and the Az. state legislature have their way!!!

Posted by simplee on 05/26/2011 at 8:31 AM

Re: “Downing

I too have heard the sucking sound of the medical squid vampire.
Just my 30 radiation treatments at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston were $190,000. The machine was 40 years old and paid for decades ago. Medicare demands a discount and this is why I was not offered a newer improved radiation machine I believe.
This is why Republican politicians are trying to destroy Medicare and force us all into expensive insurance we can't afford....or die. Medicine is already rationed, there are two tiers, one for the rich and one for the old and/or poor.
If Democrats and citizens don't stand up to the Republicans, only the rich will have medical treatment. Don't be like Joyce and her husband vapidly watching Fox News and cheering for the rich against their own best interest. Don't be sheep led to slaughter.
If banks and military manufacturers such as Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, KBR can financially rape us, why wouldn't the medical industry not want to get in on it too?
With all the greed in this country, the rich feeding on the rest of us, our unregulated corporatocracy,you can see why the economy is in such bad shape. There aren't enough of us middle class left for the rich to feed on.

Posted by TXJesse on 05/26/2011 at 6:57 AM

Re: “Downing

Excellent opinion! The best I've read about health care in the U.S.

Given the result of the election for the House of Representatives this week in New York, it is very apparent that our Medicare health care system is a program supported by a super majority of voters.

Why aren't our politicians improving the health care system to Medicare For All and raising taxes to pay for it? That's rhetorical. A corporate oligarchy purchased the Federal Government a long time ago and regularly prevents majority opinions from being applied.

Posted by Ricardo Small on 05/26/2011 at 6:05 AM

Re: “Downing

At 59, I can totally relate to the sweetness of walking the dog, my husband by my side, and just being grateful for the simple pleasures I am lucky enough to enjoy.

Posted by souls2feet on 04/28/2011 at 8:44 AM

Re: “Downing

So True, I loved the article. Thank you so much.

Posted by terri on 04/28/2011 at 7:18 AM

Re: “Downing

You have a secret for me? Wait, I only want to know if it's "shocking."

Posted by hockeyjedi64 on 04/06/2011 at 7:46 AM

Re: “Downing

The Cold snap here in Wisconsin is on the run. Birds here are booked for Florida, $197 RT. from Rockford, Il. As for the rest of us, a really Warm pattern of air will be forming over the Midwest this week. 30 to 45 mph Winds are predicted. There is a 5 foot drift of snow in my back yard waiting for the meltdown (48 Degrees by Friday).
Rabbits are living under the snow, birds of varying species inhabit the nearby Norwegian Pines and I have burned a lot of wood lately as well.
Solar power, passive or active, does sound inviting during those High Pressure Domes of -15.
If the Birds of the backyard are happy, we should take note and proceed accordingly.
jay in Cheeseland.

Posted by reefrunnerJ on 02/13/2011 at 7:06 AM

Re: “Downing

Renee: I earn a lot of money. I pay a lot of income tax. I paid over $900k income tax for 2009, and I didn't get Obama's $600 gift last year. I don't get any personal deductions, except charitable. Democrats like you don't even allow me exemptions for my kids.

I am in the 35% fed tax and 4.5% state brackets. I think my contribution to govt. is more than my share, because I don't think folks like you pay enough tax. What did you pay in 2009? $4-5k? I don't think people like you (I presume you earn low-moderate income) who suck up most of the govt entitlements pay your share.

I opposed the Tax cut extensions, because that would require everyone to pay for the Wall St-AIG-GM bail-outs, and Obama's stimulus. The 'rich' pay their share. People like you, with your hand-out for something for nothing, don't pay their share.

Posted by ix on 01/09/2011 at 7:26 PM

Re: “Downing

Bone lazy for sure... Didn't even check your facts. The top 1% has 22% of wealth in the US, not 18%. Why didn't you mention that the top 1% pays over 40% of the total taxes collected in the US, or that over 50% of people don't pay any tax. I am not rich, I would like to be, and I am trying to be... Unlike Miss Downing (who appears to want to get something for nothing) I am putting in 60 to 70 hour weeks in the business I own. A lot of rich people are rich because of hard work. Lazy leeches will remain poor because free money doesn't fix "lazy"or money problems.
According to the Tax Foundation, "the share of the tax burden borne by the top 1% now exceeds the share paid by the bottom 95% of taxpayers combined". Funny no one mentions these facts when they argue the people with the money should have to share it. My core question remains... Why shouldn't the rich get to keep their money, it is their money? Next time I am looking for a new sweater on a cold day I am going to ask Miss Downing for one... If she has two and I have zero, she better hand one over because that is fair.
Miss Downing is obviously too young and too inexperienced to write an opinion piece on this subject, in her defense I say shame on the editor.
Miss Downing, your piece did it's job and it made people think. It would have worked out better if you would have thought longer and harder before writing it.
I appreciate your efforts,
Tim

Posted by you know me, the Man on 01/07/2011 at 6:14 PM

Re: “Downing

Oregon tried that. The voters passed a proposition putting a larger tax liability on those making 250k or more in 2009.

Compare this:
http://www.oregonlive.com/politics/index.s…

To this:

http://www.oregonlive.com/news/index.ssf/2…

and this:

http://www.oregonlive.com/politics/index.s…

Oops.

Posted by Steve F. on 01/06/2011 at 9:20 PM

Re: “Downing

I do have to wonder why we have to tax the rich FIRST, and THEN figure out how to better manage the money. I'm not rich, and never will be, but I also wonder what the rich are going to get for their money.

Posted by W Corvi on 01/06/2011 at 4:04 PM

Re: “Downing

Tax rates on the wealthy are at ,or near, historically record lows. As a result ,the rich are gradually sucking more and more money out of circulation, leaving less money available to keep our general economy healthy. If the wealthy were actually reinvesting their money into the general economy (the famous "trickle down" theory) their low tax rate wouldn't be such a problem. Unfortunately, the rich are recirculating their money back into the financial sector of the economy (stocks and bonds) instead of investing it into the general economy. The net result is that we've got a complete disconnect between the economy of Wall Street and the economy that the rest of us live in. The folks on Wall Street are making record profits during the midst of this recession while the rest of us are suffering. If the rich continue to fail to reinvest their money into the general economy, where it can be used to produce jobs, then we have no choice but to increase their taxes and reinvest that money into the economy ourselves. America is probably the only country in the world where the people at the bottom of the economic scale will consistently argue against raising taxes on the wealthy. That's because we have this charming national fantasy that each of us is only one lucky break away from becoming a millionaire.

Jay Quick

Posted by Jay_Quick on 01/06/2011 at 10:24 AM

Re: “Downing

There's that "Marxist" word again. During World War II, Frank Sinatra paid 90% of his income in taxes and he still lived better than just about anybody. And, he didn't COMPLAIN about it.

Posted by fadtastic on 01/06/2011 at 7:24 AM

Re: “Downing

Oops--there's an extra "isn't" in that sentence. Should be: A lot of money that's inherited escapes any taxation (even once) because it's in the form of capital gains.

Posted by Nintz on 01/05/2011 at 7:55 PM

Re: “Downing

Countryfeller: A lot of money that's inherited isn't escapes any taxation (even once) because it's in the form of capital gains.

Posted by Nintz on 01/05/2011 at 7:51 PM

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