All in a Day’s Work

The House Ways and Means Committee, marking up the Health bill:

  • Rejected 25-15 an amendment from Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) that would have eliminated the public plan option;
  • Rejected 22-19 amendment from Rep. Charles Boustany (R-La.) that would have prevented providers from being forced to participate in the public plan;
  • Rejected 21-18 an amendment from Rep. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) that would have required members of Congress and their dependents to enroll in the public plan option;
  • Rejected 21-19 an amendment from Rep. Peter Roskam (R-Ill.) that would have based payment rates on the private market, rather than on Medicare;
  • Rejected 26-15 an amendment by Rep. Wally Herger (R-Calif.) that would have prevented comparative effectiveness research from being used to deny care based on cost.

Comments (16)

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  1. Larry C. says:

    Sausage being made.

  2. Gregory L. Garamoni, Ph.D. says:

    I am contacting you because today I visited your website and see that we appear to have a shared interest in protecting the rights of doctors and patients as Washington politicians are poised to inject a lethal dose of statism into the heart of our healthcare system — an industry already clogged with more government control than any others. This massive dose of statism will induce grave waves of arrhythmia — inflation, price controls, doctor shortages, waiting periods, and rationing.  

    Something has to be done soon halt to this leftist-led, lemming-like leap into the sordid sea of statism.

    Doctors on Strike for Freedom in Medicine is a private, nonprofit, educational, and partisan-activist organization that I founded on July 4, 2009 to take on the mission of preserving, protecting, and promoting freedom in healthcare in the United States of America. 

Doctors on Strike is based on the principles recognized and published in our founding document, the Declaration of Independence for Doctors:

    That doctors and patients have the same inalienable individual rights that all citizens have — the right to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness;

    That the purpose of government is to secure individual rights, not violate them;

    That individual rights impose limitations on government;

    That statism in healthcare violates individual rights;

    That the statist healthcare proposals being advanced by the Administration and Congress would violate individual rights and gravely threaten the viability of the healthcare system; 

    That doctors, patients, and elected officials need to act — now — to preserve, protect, and promote individual rights and freedom in medicine.
    Our long-term educational objective is to supply doctors and healthcare providers with the intellectual ammunition required to win the “philosophical war” against statism in medicine.   We provide doctors and other healthcare providers with a principled, vigorous defense of freedom in medicine based a philosophy of rational self-interest, individualism, and laissez faire capitalism.   
    What sets Doctors on Strike apart from fine nonpartisan organizations is that we are an activist organization that can and will “take the gloves off” to take on public officials without having to worry about our tax-exempt status being revoked.  This allows us the freedom to publish pointedly partisan pieces here that can’t found elsewhere.  We try to strike an acceptable balance between the need for objectivity in thought and the need for passion in action. Our ideal is to be passionately reasonable and reasonable passionate.  

    Our most pressing goal for 2009 is to help defeat the statist healthcare reform proposals presently circulating through Washington. To this end, Doctors on Strike is actively encouraging doctors and patients to put intense political pressure on legislators during their deliberations on health care reform.  And we provide the political ammunition to do this.

    Our website provides convenient ways to communicate our message to legislators.  We provide links to the contact information on every senator and representative.  We just added a special page devoted to the 51 members of the Blue Dog Coalition–a unique resource not found anywhere else on the web.  We supply sample messages that can be copied, pasted, modified, and communicated to legislators over the phone or by email, fax, or mail.  The messages vary in length from once sentence to several paragraphs to suit the preferences of a diverse group of doctors and patients.  The core message is the same: We demand that Congress and the Administration respect the right of doctors and patients to make private healthcare decisions without any governmental interference.

    I invite you to go to our Political Ammunition page see for yourself how easy we have made it for voters to tell Congress how important it is to protect freedom in healthcare. If you have not yet made your views known to your senators and representative, why not do this now? See just how easy it is and then let others know too.

    We are also calling on doctors to prepare themselves to go on strike against any more government-run healthcare programs.  We are calling on doctors to let the country know now that if the President signs into law any legislation that establishes another government healthcare plan, doctors will refuse to participate in any such plan, and will stop participating in all other government healthcare programs, including, but not limited to Medicare, Medicaid, and TRICARE.

    As the 2010 election cycle approaches, we will identify and work openly to support those candidates for elected offices at the state and federal level who champion individual rights and liberty in healthcare.  We will also unhesitatingly identify and publicly target for defeat any candidates for elected offices who support statist public policies that violate individual rights and infringe on liberty in healthcare. We just created a page on our website, “Targeted for Defeat in 2010,” with this goal in mind.

    I am pleased to report that since we launched our website on July 4th, we have been visited by people from 468 cities in 28 countries around the world, including 49 of the 50 states in America. Our message is getting through to people interested in protecting individual rights in healthcare. But we have a lot more work to do.

    This is our war–one we cannot afford to loose. We can be allies. I am contributing some intellectual and political ammunition.  I am asking for your support by spreading the word about our organization and our message.   

    I would welcome your advice and support.

    Dr. Gregory L. Garamoni
    Licensed Psychologist
    Executive Director,
    Doctors on Strike for Freedom in Medicine
    Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida
    904-631-3939
    http://www.doctorsonstrike.com
    garamoni@gmail.com

  3. k l m says:

    I appreciate the lucid arguments that are laid out on this site, however I disagree strongly with the premise that our current system of health care provides the greatest freedom to individuals. We have no input or ‘freedom’ when our insurance carrier increases costs and reduces coverage on a yearly basis.

    I strongly support a public health care plan that will provide competition within the marketplace. I come to this conclusion based on the fact that the for-profit health insurance industry is in business for profit, not health care. Bill Moyers interview with Wendall Potter brings to light many of the problems with a profit focused insurance mentality. It is simply at odds with assuring that we have a healthy population which is really one of the most potent liberties we can all share.

    I would very much like to hear comments which do not originate from the insurance companies which might dissuade me from lobbying strongly for a public health insurance plan. (note..I said insurance, not health care. Big difference)

    Thank you with all respect.

  4. Brian says:

    Garamoni-

    I wish you well but don’t ever forget that if you follow through with your “strike” people will remember that it was you that abandoned patients all for the almighty dollar.
    There is no way to pretend that you are doing this for my benefit. You are just increasing the pain and suffering of American citizens. Go ahead and drop your patients, stop their chemo for cancer, stop treating pneumonia and cause pain and death. If you do that you are responsible for that death. You are holding lives hostage for selfish greed. The plain simple truth is that the fight over healthcare is about Insurance not wanting competition, Insurance not wanting to pay fair-market values for services rendered. Insurance wanting to maintain a stranglehold on America and the pocvket-books of American citizens. It isn’t over covering the un-insured, it isn’t caring about who is waiting for medical treatment, it isn’t about the security of Americans. It is greed plain and simple.

    As to the propsed amendments
    1) Kudos on keeping the public option open- this increases competition, choice, availabilty, portability, and the actual price of healthcare
    2+3) I disagree with this- no-one should be FORCED to do anything.
    4) I completely agree- the present Private market is over-inflated and are based not on operating and administration costs but on the greed of corporate america
    5) Kinda divided here-
    First- denying service is bad if the service is truly needed
    Second- on the other hand, much of our problem is spending on frivolous tests that are not nessessary and are often over-priced.

  5. Devon Herrick says:

    Taken together, these two items present a rather frightening thought…

    o Rejected an amendment that would have based payment rates [in the public plan] on the private market, rather than on Medicare;
    o Rejected an amendment that would have prevented providers from being forced to participate in the public plan;

    It appears Congress’ idea of cost control is to dictate below-market reimbursement rates and then force physicians to treat money-losing patients.

  6. Jack says:

    @k l m

    You said “for profit not health care.” You show me a doctor who’s so cold that he’d kill someone because it would save him some money and I’ll show you a really awesome criminal court case.

  7. Brian says:

    Jack-
    When wee talk of for profit and not health care, the party addressed are not doctors, nuirses or healthcare professionals. Doctors hands are as tied as the patients hands are. The one holding the keys to the handcuffs are insurance and pharma.
    Insurance and pharma determine what a doctor can and cannot do. Insurance determines what treatments a patient recieves or does not recieve. AND Insurance determines what the value for said services are— not the market. The fact is that insurance charges over-iunflated prices for services. A more realistic view of the buisness overhead shows that “medicare/medicaid” pricing not only meets the fair-market value for services and equipement, but allows for huge profit margins. Never forget that the mark-up on equipement is in the 1000′s percentile. Insurance is a plain and very clear-cut example of legalized racketeering. It is no wonder that insurance is often refferred to as vultures. Why? Because they ARE vultures that are only concerned with profit. Doctors are, mostly, interested in healthcare.

  8. Nathan says:

    lots of trash in your post Brian.

  9. Stephanie Bond says:

    Brian, the fact is that everything is over-inflated thanks to government intervention in all spheres of our economic lives. Profit is only one factor that people take into account when deciding where to invest, whether the investment takes the form of developing hospitals or clinics, or training to become a doctor, nurse or other health care provider, and then working in that field. The vultures are not the providers of insurance, but the government itself, looking to drain resources from wherever it can. Government’s track record OUGHT to have everyone running from Obama’s health care ideas just as fast as possible. If you or anyone out there is truly interested in having widely available AND affordable health care, then vote to get the government OUT OF IT.

  10. Stephanie Bond says:

    “I strongly support a public health care plan that will provide competition within the marketplace.”

    So, what you are really saying is you support holding a gun to people’s heads as a viable alternative to uncoerced competition? You are advocating more legalized theft. You will achieve destruction of the health care industry. How is that going to help anybody? Please, for the love of rationality, wake up already.

  11. Stephanie Bond says:

    “It appears Congress’ idea of cost control is to dictate below-market reimbursement rates and then force physicians to treat money-losing patients.”

    Where have we just seen that scenario? Oh yes, it was called Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the mortgage crisis. For those of you with your heads in the sand, the government forced banks to make loans to overly risky borrowers, and that is why there was such a huge collapse in the financial sector. Of course, that point is not widely reported on the Telly News Geared to Sell The Status Quo.

    Take a look at markets where people don’t have to be forced to buy. Cell phones, computers, TVs, video games. No subsidy needed there. In fact, in health care, there have been subsidies for such a long time, which together with all the subsidies, taxes, quotas, and other government interventions = you have no resources to cover your own health care costs. Now the government wants to enfeeble even more people, by further corrupting the health insurance industry. Is there no end to Obama’s fascism?

  12. Brian says:

    Once again, A public OPTION is a public choice. Not a co-ersion. You want to pay triple prices? be my guest, You can throw your money away if you want to. If I pay for a service, I expect to recieve that service.

    When I pay for insuranvce then I expect to be insured. I do not expect the insurance company to turn around and un-ilaterally decide whether to extend the benefits that I have already paid for. I do not expect the insurance company to give me a lemon when I paid for an apple. I expect to get what I pay for. Unfortunatly, Insurance decides what you get, when you get it, and how you get services. Insurance unilaterally decides whether, after taking your money in payment, whether to even fulfill their side of the buisness contract. AND if they decide not to, then who is to ensure that they live up to their side of the bargain?
    You say take you buisness elsewhere…. sounds good and works on paper. BUT the problem lies in the fact that EVERY insurance company does exactly the same thing. They decide what you pay and what you get for your money. That cannot continue. You talk of guns to the head but the biggest gun is that weilded by insurance over doctors, patients, and hospitals. Rememeber that things on paper may look nice and logical but in real life turn out to not be logical or effective.

  13. Bart Ingles says:

    Once again, A public OPTION is a public choice…

    Brian, I think you confuse label with the actual content. The title “Public OPTION” is positively Orwellian.

    Unfortunatly, Insurance decides what you get, when you get it, and how you get services.

    And you think this won’t be true when the insurance company is the government?

    You talk of guns to the head but the biggest gun is that weilded by insurance over doctors, patients, and hospitals.

    No, government has the biggest gun.

    I agree with you that there are serious problems with health insurance, but understanding those problems requires more than lashing out at the first convenient target.

    The problem isn’t that for-profit insurance companies make business-oriented decisions, the problem is that they have to compete within the particular rules of their marketplace. Unfortunately government hasn’t done such a good job at setting the rules.

    If government is incompetent as referee, what makes you think it will be more competent as both referee and player?

  14. k l m says:

    Stephanie:

    My mistake. I should have said not for profit health insurance plan. Not health care plan. It is my feeling that we pay an excessive amount of our insurance dollars for profit and shareholders dividends and that our health care suffers. We have no control over the yearly increases in premiums and deductibles decreases in coverage. I do not think that we should expect to get our health insurance for free, but I want my money going to pay the health care professionals that deserve the money, not the insurance company execs and their private jets.

    It is the american public that is being robbed here. I was recently laid off from a job in a profession that will not be bouncing back for at least a year or more. There is no way that I can afford to continue my insurance for more than a few months. I can get cheaper, lower coverage…with a $10,000 dollar deductible. COBRA won’t work as the firm I worked for is too small and the state assistance program is completely overwhelmed and there is a two month wait for applications to be reviewed. If I get sick or injured, I’ll be sure to thank you for paying my bills through your higher insurance rates and medical care costs.

    In regards to your comments about buying cell phones, computers, etc. These are not truly necessities, and last time I checked, the loss of one of these items does not cost hundreds of thousands of dollars or have the potential of bankrupting you as a single major illness or injury can.

    And finally, let’s please drop the ‘facism’ stuff. It is a gross misunderstanding of the word and practice and does not belong in intelligent debate.

  15. k l m says:

    Mr. Ingles,

    I recently re-read 1984. I do not see how “Public Option” is in the least “Orwellian”. Can you explain this without exposing too much irrational distrust of government?

  16. Alina says:

    You may deduct feqliaiud medical expenses you pay for yourself, your spouse, and your dependents, including a person you claim as a dependent under a Multiple Support Agreement. You can also deduct medical expenses you paid for someone who would have feqliaiud as your dependent for the purpose of taking personal exemptions except that the person did not meet the gross income or joint return test. You deduct medical expenses on Form 1040, Schedule A (PDF), Itemized Deductions. The total of all allowable medical expenses must be reduced by 7.5% of your Adjusted Gross Income. For more information, refer to Publication 502, Medical and Dental Expenses.