Healthcare in Georgia

Peach Pundit has been asked, and has agreed, to serve as forum for the healthcare debate here in Georgia. We’ve already experienced some of that. This issue is probably going to be the biggest issue to come out of the legislature next year and Peach Pundit is a great place for the average Georgian to be able to chime in, discuss, debate, and learn about a particular issue.

So, stay tuned as some of our elected officials make their debut on the front page to discuss the way forward on this issue.

33 comments

  1. rugby_fan says:

    Bill, that is just so typical of you. You expect lawmakers to prance around with clearly defined objectives as if it were something they should do with our tax dollars.

  2. Inside_Man says:

    Here’s a tidbit for you. At yesterday’s closed door educational meeting on CON, the CEO of Floyd medical center, chosen to represent the Hospital stakeholders, elected (on the direction of the GACH) to speak not about how CON affects his industry, but about the evils of physician owned surgery centers. Interestingly enough, his entire speech was taken from the website of the Amerian Health Planning Association, and follows a familiar blueprint. Apparently, the Coalition to Save Georgia Healthcare is taking it’s entire gameplan from the national association that promotes state control of health markets. Fortunately for him, the doctor who followed, co-chair of Resurgens, also elected eschew the provided guidelines for speakers and pound the bully pulpit. The only people who sounded reasonable were Commissioner Meadows and the 30-something CEO of the largest Nursing Home provider in the state.

  3. Green Death says:

    There is no health care crisis. There is a set of people in our society who have made bad choices about what to do with their money. Just because someone chooses not to plan for the future does not create a crisis for me.

    Charity is a wonderful thing. It should be practiced and encouraged. Charity is not a proper function of government.

    In order to have any meaningful discussion on any topic the participants must first agree on the axioms from which the discussion will proceed.

    Here are a few I propose for this Healthcare debate:

    – People should be free to make decisions about how to spend their money if those decisions do not cause harm to other people.
    – People shoudl be free to make FOOLISH decisions about what to do with their money as long as those decisions do not harm other people.
    – I have no legal responsibility to care for my neighbors’ family. If I choose to provide them with money or assistance it should be up to me as to what I do and in what amount.

    If we cannot agree on those statements as true then a discussion about healthcare cannot possiblity be anything other than a harange. I KNOW there are other axioms which should be proposed and set before a meaningful discussion can be had.

  4. David says:

    Bingo! We are not our brother’s keeper. It is nauseating to me that those who have produced nothing, who contribute nothing to our society, who continue to be a burden and a drain on our society get totally free medical care while those that do their best and actually contribute to the community have the costs they pay driven up to the point where it is no longer affordable. We as a society are being bled dry by the parasites of this nation who literally suck the life blood from each of us. I do not ever want to hear that the rest of society is getting by on the “backs of the poor.” What a crock! We are dying the death of a trillion cuts for all of the social spending we provide for those who have given nothing and continue to live an irresponsible life.

  5. Inside_Man says:

    Unfortunately, you have to deal with a little law called EMTALA, which says, yes, you do indeed have to treat anyone who shows up at the ER. This is at the heart of the healthcare crisis, esp. since the ER is not the appropriate place to treat most medical problems, not to mention the most expensive!

  6. lawgal says:

    Green,
    I am a part time law student working a full time retail job to put myself through law school. 1/4 of my paycheck goes each week to health care, leaving barely enough to pay my bills. Tell me where my bad choices are? That I am working a job to pay for law school? That I am going to law school and not working?
    It is easy to say that people spend their money badly. However, $200 a month is unreasonable for a lot of people, and if you add dependents into the equation that number only grows.
    Essentially, you are saying that your life is more valuable than mine. That because you can afford insurance, you have the right to better medical treatment and, as a result, live a better quality of life than me and, since you get better health care, you have the right to live longer than me. I don’t buy that argument, your life is no more valuable than mine.

  7. David says:

    Lawgal,

    (I) We aren’t saying that you personally are doing badly. Actually, you sound like one of the good eggs. You have simply been dealt a more difficult hand because of the goldbricking tapeworms in this society that you and I have been forced to support. The politically incorrect thing to say is that the lives of the producers are infinitely more valuable than those who take, take, take…

  8. lawgal says:

    I don’t buy that argument. Yes, there are people out there that choice to buy cars, go out to eat etc instead of buying health insurance.
    But there are also people out there that cannot afford healthcare. $200 a month for insurace is a lot, trying living on $600 a month (it is not easy by any means).
    Plus, health care is so expensive for numerous reasons. One being that insurance often shuns preventive care, instead preferring to treat the disease once it progresses. Another reason is that those with insurance have no reason to be frugile, making them choose more costly, yet no more efective treatments. That drives up cost for everyone because the insurance company is forced to pay for the more expensive procedure and they need to get that cost back somewhere.
    Finally, expanding on Insides statement, emergency rooms have to treat people. So if someone without insurance gets sick, they have no reason to seek care to keep their sickness from getting worse. Instead, they wait way too long and require much more extensive care that they are unable to pay and we absorb that as well. If we give them incentive to treat the disease early (or less costly preventive care) the cost goes down for everyone.

  9. David says:

    Lawgal, The things you list are contributing to the costs, no doubt, but the biggest single reason, without exception, for the expensive prices of health care in this country is the money that is paid for the health care of the freeloaders. Period…

  10. Jason Pye says:

    At this point the only incentive is to start to cut out the red tape in the health insurance industry (and it is an industry), which is one of main factors driving up the cost of care.

  11. Jace Walden says:

    Lawgal,

    By saying that Green Death’s money should be sacrificed to go toward your health insurance, you are essentially saying that your life is more valuable than his. You’ve assigned him to the status of a sacrificial lamb for your own betterment.

    Sounds kind of selfish to me.

  12. Jason Pye says:

    Jace,

    It’s collectivism and altruism at it’s “best.” You, as an individual, don’t exist for yourself. You exist to serve the “common good.”

  13. lawgal says:

    Selfish would be saying that everyone’s elses money should go to buying me a new car, a better house and nice clothes.
    I don’t remember much from economics, but I remember There is no such thing as a free lunch. Everyone bears the cost somewhere. Our healthcare system is not set up so that the sicker or those that demand better treatments pay more. Someone somewhere has to absorb that cost.
    In the auto industry, if you want a nice car, you pay more. If you get in multiple accidents, you pay more. There is accountability.
    In the current system, no accountability exists. If you don’t have insurance, you simply wait until you get really sick, go to the emergency room, and then you dont have to pay. That cost has to be absorbed somewhere. If you do have insurance, there is no incentive to have a cost/benefit ratio and ask is this expensive surgery worth the cost, or can I get the same result with a cheaper option. And I know people who continuously use the emergency room even if they have insurance, even though they could just as easily go to the doctor. And I know people who think its worth it to pay the extra $5 copay to get brand name drugs even when generic versions work as well. Those drugs as a whole cost a lot more than $5 extra, and that cost is also absorbed somewhere.
    We need a system that promote accountability. The free market is all but lost in the current system, and there is no incentive to be frugile. That is the ultimate problem with healthcare toay.

  14. Jason Pye says:

    The free market is all but lost in the current system, and there is no incentive to be frugile. That is the ultimate problem with healthcare toay.

    No, the problem is that the market isn’t truly free due to insurance mandates from state governments as well as the feds, for example.

    If you eliminate the red tape and get government out of the process, costs will go down and competition will allow people to chose what kind of health insurance best suits their individual needs.

    The more government gets involved, the worse the system will become. That is being proven as we speak.

  15. LoyaltyIsMyHonor says:

    Well Senate Bill 28 is certainly not the answer. I can’t wait to see this train wreck hit the committees!

  16. Green Death says:

    Lawgal

    I hate to reduce this to personal experiences because anecdotal evidence is no way to formulate policies. No matter what position you want to take you can find a person who has an experience that illustrates that absolute necessity for your proposal just as the other side of a debate can find at least one case wherein your proposal leads to dead puppies.

    Having said that – I have personal experience with two people who are/have put themselves through graduate school while working part time. In both cases they carried health insurance while they did. Both planned ahead and gave up other expenses in order to go to school and be insured.

    Now that we have the “This is how I did it” out of the way….

    Insurance premiums are as high as they are for a multitude of reasons – one which you point out… in the ‘olden days’ insurance was primarily for catostrophic coverage – it did not cover ‘ordinary medical care’ (annual physicals etc.) – the deductibles were higher. If my child got sick, I took him to the doctor and wrote a check for the visit. It is governmental regulation that requires the insurance company to include certain coverage in ALL policies that drives up costs — with the resulting ripple effect caused by higher insurance premiums (more uncovered etc etc).

    And – I dont think my life is more valuable than yours. But using your rationale, shouldn’t the government subsidize your purchase of a safer car (a Volvo station wagon) rather than a $1500 used Saturn? I can afford a car that has a 5 star safety rating, so how is that fair that you can only afford a car with a 2 star safety rating?

    Also, I can afford more liesure time, which allows me to work out more frequently, which allows me to live longer. Should the government then subsidize your Gold’s Gym membership?

    Now – having said all of that — buying insurance is a choice – why shouldn’t a person be responsible for those choices? If you submit that some people cannot under any circumstances afford insurance, then isn’t that the sum of choices previously made? Where does this slippery slope end?

    But now I will reiterate what I said previously – if people discussing a topic cannot agree on axioms from which a discussion will proceed, then the discussion will become a harangue. I fear we are only a post or two away from that scenario.

    So tell me Lawgal – with which of my three proposed axioms do you disagree? Do you want to propose others?

  17. Bill Simon says:

    Lawgal,

    Who forced you you to go to law school now?

    Answer: No one. You could have found a job with your undergraduate degree, worked a few years for a company that paid more for your benefits, saved money, and THEN go to law school when you were more on solid financial ground.

    Green Death is right…YOU made the choices to put yourself in this financial position, right?

  18. andrew_claxton says:

    Guess what guys?

    There are about 1.5 million uninsured Georgians and you are already paying for their healthcare!

    They cost us $1.2 billion each year! (from the Ga Health Policy Center)

  19. andrew_claxton says:

    SB 28 ensures that those who can pay for their own healthcare do pay for their own healthcare. No more freeloading.

    It also opens up more choices for consumers.
    Lawgal, how would you like to pay $250 per year instead of $250 per month? This bill would open up GA’s market to more low cost, high deductable catastrophic policies.

    Or we can continue to pay $1.2 billion per year for the uninsured…

  20. Jason Pye says:

    Andrew stop carrying the water for your boss. This legislation is dangerous for Georgia and Judson Hill should be ashamned that he introduced it. As I’ve already pointed out to you it forces Georgians to prove they have health insurance or face wage garnishment from the government.

    Also, as the Cato Institute has pointed out, it leads us down the road to socialized medicine.

  21. Green Death says:

    Andrew’s post points out what I have been trying to say – unless we proceed from a set of agreed upon axioms, we will end up haranguing one another.

    I don’t think that we ought to be paying 1.2 billion for the uninsured. I think people should live withthe consequences of their decisions.

    Andrew presents as axiomatic that we will have to pay $1.2 billion regardless. I reject this proposition.

    As for his submission that Lawgal could get insurance coverage for $250 per year, I wil assume he is correct. But think about it – since a regular office visit to a doctor is ~$150, she will either have less coverage (perhaps the catostrophic care of which I spoke earlier) or there will be a reduction in the care availible to her (a la Canada). An insurance policy cannot provide for comprehensive care such as we have all become accustomed at $250 per year. UNLESS it is subsidized by others either through taxes or a ‘progressive’ premium system. Sorry- as charming as I find Lawgal I don’t think it should be my responisbillity to pay for her health care at the point of a gun. And I think SHE should have the choice to select either a comprehensive policy or a catostrophic one – just as I want the same choice for myself.

  22. David says:

    I hate to say it but we will have socialized medicine, it’s just a matter of time. My father was a general practitioner as far back as the 50’s and he saw it coming then. So, to all the social leeches who continually take and give nothing – congratulations: You win! The rest of us lose, big time. The Great Society social programs of LBJ that was supposed to end poverty in America and help those “who couldn’t help themselves” have bankrupted the nation. Good job…

  23. David says:

    Jason, I agree with you. I’ll fight the good fight with you, believe me. But as we continue to put more folks on the gov’t dole and more of our tax money is taken to subsidize irresponsible lifestyles, I just see it as a losing battle. It may take more years to completely happen, but it will occur. The politicians have made sure that this has occurred little by little. It’s vote buying at its hideous worst. What was the first income tax percentage, 1% or something like that? We just have too many voters now who know that they can vote themselves money/unearned benefits from my and your pocket. And no politician will get elected on promising to truly cut the size of gov’t spending. Those who vote for a living will not allow it. Earn what you can, Jason, shield what you can and hope you and your family will have enough.

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