Friday, September 25, 2009

How I Got My Numbers

In my last post, I suggested that health care reform as it stands now offers us a choice between paying 12.5% or 4.5% of our income for health insurance. The larger figure assumes that the Baucus bill or some close variant of it passes and every American whose employer does not offer medical insurance is required to pay it on the open market. The smaller figure assumes that somehow Congress finds the will to create a single-payer system similar to Medicare.

I have to admit that I haven't actually seen the case put this way before. Here's how I arrived at those two numbers:

The Baucus bill widely assumes that most Americans now buying health insurance on the open market are paying about 12.5% of their income and that it is reasonable to expect them to continue to do so. It offers some kind of Federal tax subsidy for people who can't afford that: I'm not very clear on the details.

According to Representative Anthony Weiner of New York, Medicare currently spends 4% of the money it collects on overhead and administrative costs. Private insurance companies, on the other hand, spend about 30%. So I figure that if we can collect 4.5% of everyone's salary or wage and if we require a matching contribution from employers then we'd have a pool equal to 9% of the nation's payroll and we should be able to insure everyone.

Actually, I don't know how much money that would generate or if it would be enough to actually insure everyone. But my figures seem reasonable.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

A Simple Choice

When it comes to health care reform, doing nothing is not an option. And it looks like everyone is going to have to buy some kind of medical insurance. The only question is, how much are we going to have to pay?

The choices seem pretty stark:

Would you rather pay 12.5% of your income for health insurance or 4.5%?

If you'd rather pay 12.5%, then you must be for the Baucus plan. The good news about this plan is that it won't increase the federal deficit for the first ten years of its implementation and will actually decrease the deficit for the next ten years. The bad news is that 12.5% only covers the cost of insurance; it doesn't include your deductibles or co-pays. Have a bad year? You might end up paying 25% of your salary. But don't worry: your federal taxes won't go up.

If you'd rather pay 4.5% (and who wouldn't) then you are probably all for single-payer health care. The bad news? You'd have to pay more in taxes. The good news? Even a child could figure that one out.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Letter to my Congressmen

Here's the letter I sent to my congressmen last weekend (not just Brownback, but Pat Roberts and Jerry Moran, as well). They're pretty conservative guys.

The Honorable Sam Brownback
303 Hart Senate Office Building
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senator Brownback:

I recently read the following story in the Wichita Eagle:

Mike Levand, a 56-year-old independent contractor in medical sales, has been uninsured since January, when he moved to Wichita from Lenexa. Blue Cross/Blue Shield had covered him while he lived in northeast Kansas, but made him requalify after the move.

Because he had added weight and needed medication for health issues since he originally signed with the company, his premiums more than tripled, from $300 to $1,100 a month, Levand said.

There is no good reason for this man to have to re-qualify for insurance and then to be subject to this kind of price increase. Obviously, we cannot trust Blue Cross/Blue Shield to treat the people of Kansas with any kind of integrity or decency.

The time has come to stop the partisan bickering and find a way to make sure this doesn’t continue to happen everyday here in Kansas and across our nation. I urge you to put aside ideology and fully support a public option supported by premiums paid by subscribers. Without it, we are all at the mercy of an industry that has proven that it does not care about anything except maximizing profit no matter how badly it hurts individuals, families, communities and states.


Christina Hauck

P.S. You can read the full article at And if you need any further persuading, I urge you to read about the work being performed here in the Unites State by Remote Area Medical, which formerly only brought medical care to third world countries but which is now offering services in the U.S. I’m so ashamed that we can’t seem to care enough to solve this problem.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

What Americans Want

To judge from the neverending flow of spam that I routinely flush down my computer's toilet, Americans want two things, urgently: smaller bodies and bigger penises.

Even though we have no real stake in the matter, being relatively slender Lesbians, Margaret and I put our heads together and came up with a solution: a surgical technique that suctions unwanted fat from the body and deposits it into the penis.

Maybe this is just the impetus we need to pass a health care reform bill.

But don't worry. It won't cost taxpayers a penny. We've crunched the numbers, and we predict that this new procedure, marketed with all the care and expertise given any new medical product, will generate enough new tax revenue to pay for itself. We also expect a huge tax windfall from the sale of the numerous, um, supporting products that hugely endowed American males will soon need, for example, a jock strap capable of supporting a 50 pound penis. Some exceptional males will no doubt need specially designed wheelbarrows to haul around all their junk.

Talk about making her scream.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

How Many Ways Can You Spell Hypocrite?

So it seems that the man who got the tip of his pinky bitten off during the anti-health care rally not only provoked the attack by punching the other man in the face, he actually has Medicare and used it to pay for his hospital bill.

I was reading some posts in response to a story about this at the Washington Post but I just don't have the stomach for it. Apparently, when Move-on.Org sponsors a rally that's not civil dissent it's a way of stifling dissent and a prelude to the Nazi takeover. But when conservative whack jobs bring handguns and assault rifles to health care rallies that's not a way of intimidating anyone who disagrees, it's simply an exercise of the constitutional right to bear arms.

Well, this is what we get for refusing to fund our education system: a nation of people who can't think.

Oh, yeah, one more thing: I refuse to refer to the amputee as the "old guy" or the "poor old guy," because he's only 65, and baby, that ain't old.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Stupid, Stupid, Stupid

Read this on the NYT:

“The thing that concerned me most about it was it seemed like a direct channel from the president of the United States into the classroom, to my child,” said Brett Curtiss, an engineer from Pearland, Tex., who said he would keep his three children home. “I don’t want our schools turned over to some socialist movement.”

What a stupid man. Does he not realize that our public school system is "socialist," paid for by tax dollars?

Someone should take his kids away from him.