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Because of the significant impact that this legislation may have on our lives, there will likely be an interest in discussing it in forums. We have already had other discussions on the matter at Home Theater Shack.

The prupose of this thread is to provide a venue for sharing information, opinion, and ideas related to health care reform in a manner that is consistent with the forum rules and affords the opportunity to engage in reasoned debate free from recriminations, partisan bickering, and vitriolic rhetoric. If you don't plan to offer specific suggestions or comments without polarizing accusations or insults, do not post on the matter.

These kinds of discussions often degrade into polemic verbal battles. This will not be allowed at Home Theater Shack. The reigns will be tight, so stick to facts, and keep your opinions focused on what needs to be done rather than the larger ideological perspectives and assumptions about the intent of others as a group or as individuals.

HR4872 can be found here:

http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=111_cong_bills&docid=f:h4872rh.txt.pdf

I suggest that anyone interested in commenting here read the sections related to your concerns and do the research needed to begin to understand what it says. Then post your questions, comments, and findings so that they can be discussed in an intelligent and rational manner.

Intelligent debate begins with understanding and facts. Together, perhaps we can discover the facts and approach the many questions we will undoubtedly have.

Again, keep it civil and focused. The thread, as well as any others, will be edited or closed if we cannot discuss this in a reasonable manner.
 

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As this is likely to degenerate into partisan political squabbling and a thread lock, before it does I'd just like to post my congratulations to the Congress for passing landmark legislation that is a first step toward changing America's health care system. The work is now really beginning.
 

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As I live up In Canada and we have had this system set up and running for as long as I know I have been watching this with interest. Obama has the right idea but implementing it when the country is already in very tight financial trouble may not have been the best timing.
Canada's health-care system has its faults one of the biggest is that there are sometimes long waits to get into the hospital for surgery and there are not enough family doctors particularly in the smaller communities. There are also those who choose not to work and live on the streets even though that still can work and we (the working community) have to pay for them as well.
If Obama can get this running in the long run it will give equal health-care services to every American
 

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Discussion Starter #4
As this is likely to degenerate into partisan political squabbling and a thread lock, before it does I'd just like to post my congratulations to the Congress for passing landmark legislation that is a first step toward changing America's health care system. The work is now really beginning.
I think that we are better than that here at the Shack and can discuss the matter in a civil manner. I agree that the work is just beginning. Regardless of which side of this you are on, including the middle, where I think the majority can be found, there is much to be done to work out how this will all be managed. I see a lot of good intentions in the bill, but also the potential for a big mess.

My first area noted that concerns me is the requirement for employers to provide a health care plan and the penalties that have to be paid into the system if they do not. I have not studied it enough to be sure about all of the requirements and exceptions, but it seems like it may end up being a large cost to many small businesses that may not be able to afford it. A lot of the stuff that I have read in the bill sounds good, but implementing it may not be practical. I am very concerned about the degree of beaurocracy that we are creating to manage all of what is there.
 

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I heard babbling back and forth about this for the longest, but honestly have no idea what is what and cannot say that I want to begin to read the fifty-eleven gazoogle of pages of the bill to try to understand it.

I can not say whether I am for it or against it at this point, but there are a few things I am hearing that concern me...

  • I have heard news reports that state there are potentially thousands of doctors that plan to retire because this bill passed. We are already struggling to get care to people and doctors retiring will only make it worse. Obviously doctors are not in favor of it.
  • I have heard news reports that people who cannot afford health care to begin with are going to be further penalized by taxation because they still cannot afford health care. This is stupid if it is true.
  • Supposedly there is the potential for my own health care premium to increase, despite it already doubling in the last five years while my deductibles have increased as well. If this is true, there will be people in a similar situation as myself who may no longer be able to afford health care, while there will be those getting it for free.
  • There is no doubt there will be millions... possibly billions of dollars spent (taxes we pay) fighting this bill... attempting to repeal it. I am not sure how this can be good.
What of this is true and what is not remains to be seen, but either way, the bill has sure caused a lot of chaos.

It would sure be nice to see something good come out of this without a lot of bad coming out of it as well.
 

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My first area noted that concerns me is the requirement for employers to provide a health care plan and the penalties that have to be paid into the system if they do not. I have not studied it enough to be sure about all of the requirements and exceptions, but it seems like it may end up being a large cost to many small businesses that may not be able to afford it.
This is one issue I also agree on. Employers will have to find the money somehow and I suspect some will deduct it off of the paycheck of staff meaning lower take home. And what about all these companies that profited from people who already pay into a third party health plan?
 

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So I went and downloaded the bill... thanks for the link Leonard. I regret that I don't foresee having the time to first read, then re-read, then re-re-read with the goal of understanding exactly what it says. So for the most part, my contributions here will be asking questions to clarify in an attempt to gain knowledge without having to work for it :D.

But seriously folks...

First question I have... my company is laying me off soon and hiring me back as an outside contractor. This means I would not be eligible for company sponsored (and partially paid for) healthcare. Thankfully for me, I have been and still am covered by my wife's insurance. If I wasn't, can anybody say what implicitions that would have to my tax structure and the means by which I would have to acquire my own insurance?
 

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From what I gather thus far (which isn't much), if you were not covered under your wife's plan, you would be required to buy insurance from an independent source (BCBS, UHC, etc.) AND... those rates are "supposed" to be less than they are now due to the health care bill (not sure how much less). If you did not buy, you would be fined (taxed) come tax return time.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Greg, what kind of work do you do and why were you layed off? I wonder if it had anything to do with the coming requirements to offer health insurance or pay a tax if you don't, or with the cost of health insurance.

It think that the effects of the bill on your ability to get insurance and the rates is yet to be seen. There are lots of good intentions in it, but the more I read the more questions it seems to raise.

I suggest you look into the specifics of what it says about your situation and help sort it out. If we don't do it, we are left to trusting in our legislators to do it, and we can see what kind of mess they have come up with here. The only way this is going to get fixed is if we each engage it, call, write, fax, and email Congressmen and Senators, and be heard, now and at the polls.
 

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From what I gather thus far (which isn't much), if you were not covered under your wife's plan, you would be required to buy insurance from an independent source (BCBS, UHC, etc.) AND... those rates are "supposed" to be less than they are now due to the health care bill (not sure how much less). If you did not buy, you would be fined (taxed) come tax return time.
Hmmm... so if you're right, this would actually, "help" my situation...
Greg, what kind of work do you do and why were you layed off? I wonder if it had anything to do with the coming requirements to offer health insurance or pay a tax if you don't, or with the cost of health insurance.
I'm an Electrical Engineer by education, and currently by occupation, currently specializing in Power Supplies, though I spent the better half of a decade in Business Development, and Marketing. The original decision was not based on healthcare, as the President of the company decided to close Engineering in this location and replace it with new hires on the West Coast. Now that being said, as they've found they can't hire the talent they want where they want it for the price they want to pay for it, there had been an interim plan to keep me on, promote me to Senior Engineer, give me a staff, and in return ask me to spend every other month in Cali (where my staff would be). That was eventually nixed in favor of this plan, based on revenue/expense/profit/headcount targets for the new FY by our parent organization in Japan. How much of that is due to the bill is difficult to say, especially since I don't know exactly what the bill says.
Personally, I don't believe it factored in very heavily, but this is an emotional response on my part. I believe this because factoring it in would require a certain amount of logic and therefore intelligence, which does not coincide with many of the decisions now being made by this management team. Now that I've gotten that out of my system, the fact is that my healthcare costs have been $0 for this company, as I've been covered by my wife's insurance. Sure, the potential was there, but...
I suggest you look into the specifics of what it says about your situation and help sort it out. If we don't do it, we are left to trusting in our legislators to do it, and we can see what kind of mess they have come up with here. The only way this is going to get fixed is if we each engage it, call, write, fax, and email Congressmen and Senators, and be heard, now and at the polls.
I agree, I just don't know when I'm going to find the time. The contract is for a limited time, and all my spare time has to go into finding new employment.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Ah, the same logic applies to big conspiracy theories...they are not smart enough to pull it off.:sneeky:

I understand about the time. But I fear that if we do not take the time to get involved in this, it could end up costing us dearly and the consequences could be much greater than we know. The reason that we have such a convoluted mess in health care, in Washington, and in our economy in general is that too few of us have engaged the process.

My calls, emails, faxes, and letters, to Senators and Reps have been made and will continue. I may continue to be patronized and get more non-answers to questions, but if enough people would take a little time to make themselves heard, the message that we want some rational discourse and some real answers might get through.
 

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May I ask a question?

Was the existing health care system not working? I have heard stories of many people being stuck with medical bills in the tens of thousands because they did not have proper coverage.
From what I have read and seen on the news, there needed to be something done.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Working depends on who you are, Tony. Some of the problems are that people, particularly self employed people, can't find affordable insurance, and employers are seeing the costs go up so much that many cannot afford to keep offering insurance or keep employees at all. There are issues with portability of coverage when people change work settings, people with pre-existing conditions not being able to get coverage, costs increasing at crazy rates for services and insurance, insurance companies dropping people who have large claims, denial of services for reasons other than treatment efficacy, and lots of people who are uninsured using emergency services which increase costs.

The current bill attempts to deal with many of these issues. I am not at all convinced that it will do so effectively, and it seems to increase taxes and costs for many, with questionable benefits for all. the politics involved are incredibly complex, and the whole thing needs to be simplified and taken in smaller chunks that can be discussed, debated, and decided in a rational manner. In effect, this bill may force that to happen, as those opposing it will try to pick it apart bit by bit with legislation and litigation in coming years. It seems to me a foolhardy approach to solving problems, but it is what we have.
 

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Sounds like Obama rushed this in a little fast, He is looking at our system and sees it works however Canada has had it for some 50+ years so most of the kinks have been worked out (not that its perfect) and at the time our population was much smaller.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
What problems do you have with your system? Some on the left here are adamant about moving us to a system more like Canada or GB. Like our system, my conversations with people from both seem to indicate that the systems work well for many, not so well for some.
 

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Wait times can be long for non emergency surgery like hip or knee replacements (sometimes up to two years). There is a shortage of family doctors and nursing is understaffed as their wages are regulated and some feel they dont get payed enough.
Here it dose not matter who you are if you walk into any hospital they will not refuse to see you but you may have to wait for 3 to 8 hrs if they are busy. We do have optional health insurance available like Blue Cross for self employed or unemployed people as over the prescription medication will not be covered. Most employers have automatic health insurance that we all pay into monthly so we get those prescription drugs for a substantial discount or free. Each province has its own health-care plan that all persons over 18 must pay into if they are employed. This covers all other medical treatment like hospital stays or needed surgery like my wife had to have done.
 

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Ah, the same logic applies to big conspiracy theories...they are not smart enough to pull it off.:sneeky:
Yeah, I did qualify it as an emotional response, but ultimately that may have been what killed the promotion plan... but what makes it so hard to believe is that there are people in the other office with similar responsibilities, and the two bosses we report to both agree the other guy isn't working out and needs to be ditched, which would open the spot for me, but the Pres is blocking that. That other guy hasn't been around long enough to have a personal relationship to save him. The guy at the top only seems to listen to his advisors when the advice matches his own preconceived notions. That spells trouble, and for that reason I'm probably going to continue the job search even if everything turns up roses here, because I just don't trust the man to lead the company any more.

OK. I'm done with the OT rant.

I understand about the time. But I fear that if we do not take the time to get involved in this, it could end up costing us dearly and the consequences could be much greater than we know. The reason that we have such a convoluted mess in health care, in Washington, and in our economy in general is that too few of us have engaged the process.
I don't disagree. I just don't know where I'm going to find the time to read 2300 pages worth of legaleze.

Wait times can be long for non emergency surgery like hip or knee replacements (sometimes up to two years). There is a shortage of family doctors and nursing is understaffed as their wages are regulated and some feel they dont get payed enough.
Here it dose not matter who you are if you walk into any hospital they will not refuse to see you but you may have to wait for 3 to 8 hrs if they are busy. We do have optional health insurance available like Blue Cross for self employed or unemployed people as over the prescription medication will not be covered. Most employers have automatic health insurance that we all pay into monthly so we get those prescription drugs for a substantial discount or free. Each province has its own health-care plan that all persons over 18 must pay into if they are employed. This covers all other medical treatment like hospital stays or needed surgery like my wife had to have done.
A lot of those problems are common here as well. Nursing is understaffed, I have, on more than one occassion, waited more than 12 hrs for treatment in an emergency room... my wife has a 6 month wait for her first appointment with a new specialist she'll be seeing. Granted, she could probably go see any-old-doctor next week if she wanted that, but we did that, a year later nothing's better, so now we have to wait to see the one that knows something and isn't trying to bilk the system by getting her onto a chronic-pain program.

Some of the benefits are the same as well, I don't know of any emergency room where they won't treat you regardless of your insurance. But that's one way our costs skyrocket, as uninsured people go to ERs for common colds etc, and some end up with medical bills that take decades to pay off.

Here on LI, most hospitals on the eastern half of the island are all part of one network, and have all decided they're sick of dealing with one particular insurer, I believe it happens to be the largest in this area, so anyone with that insurance isn't covered if they're in a wreck out east and someone calls an ambulance.

Things like that are disgraceful.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Well, no one can really read and digest the whole 2300 pages. I suggest picking an area of your personal concern and researching that part of the bill. Not only do you have to read the bill, but the documents or other statutes that it references. To think that our legislators can make a reasonable decision on somthing like this is just not realistic. But it is what it is, and we have to deal with it. We The People need to lead on this one.
 

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I'm another that has some information, but no where near anything remotely comprehensive.. that doesn't stop me from having an opinion.

I think the idea of universal health care is great. I would love for every one to be able to get the latest and greatest health care available.

The problem is that I can't see this becoming anything but another huge drain on the economy. Before the passage of this bill, 70% of the taxes the US government collected is for non-discretionary spending. Stuff like social security and medicare. It does NOT include stuff like the military, NASA, department of education, etc. This is going to be another program that will be added to the non-discretionary package. And the whole notion that we're going to reduce the deficit by enacting this legislation is.. hmm.. unlikely. I know enough of the details that there is 0% chance of the cost reductions from coming to pass.

I also very worried about the effect this is going to have on small businesses that are already having troubles making ends meet. If they're forced to pay more for medical, they'll fold.

Finally, the ability of the goverment to maintain a program of this size does not make feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Social security almost imploded in the 80's and I just read that expenses related to Social Security are outstripping the incoming revenues for the first time. The article seemed to think that this would reverse as the economy improves. I'm more concerned this is just the start of a trend.

I truly hope I'm wrong about everything above -- again, I love the idea, but I don't know about the implementation.


There are a few video's by a guy on YouTube that I think does a pretty good job at visualizing some of the issues:




 
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