Tuesday, September 01, 2009

The following is an editorial written
by my brother, G. Robert Garrasi. I
thought it was noteworthy, and provides
a lot of material for discussion. If
there is anyone out there reading this,
please feel free to leave a comment at
the end of the post.

Here it is:

"Lately, the newspaper has printed a slew of letters to the editor vilifying private health insurance companies. (Coincidentally, this is the same approach now being taken by the White House.) But let's look at the facts involved in the private vs. public debate.

HR 3200 does not provide any enforcement mechanism to prevent illegal aliens from accessing the proposed public health care system.  HR 676 specifically makes the public system available to all U.S. residents (that means illegals).

The proposed public options seek to cover 47 million new participants (illegals included).

In the U.S., there are approximately 300 patients per doctor.  Forty-seven million new patients means that we would have to manufacture another 157,000 doctors.  But it takes at least 10 years of training to create a new doctor.  So we have a problem right there.  Now we could reassign doctors from medicare patients to this new 47 million cohort, but then we would have a shortage of 157,000 doctors for the elderly. As a nation, we would have to move to a triage system. How would socialized medicine change the career plans of those who would have gone on to be physicians, but would not be interested in doing so if it meant that they had to practice socialized medicine?  Perhaps we could gin out the 157,000 new “doctors” via a two year BOCES program?

Dealing with a government run system as opposed to a privately run health care system. With a privately insured system, patients have redress to state insurance commissions and the courts.  With a public system, they do not. Have you ever tried suing the federal government?  You can't do this unless it waives its sovereign immunity. And statutes of limitation issues are uniquely suited to cutting off private actions against the government. Further, HR 3200 prohibits court review of administrator decisions. Have you ever tried dealing with the VA? Or been treated in a military hospital while on active duty?  When I was so hospitalize, we were required to get out of bed and mop the floors every morning. Nice service touch, that.

The proposed legislation is rather vague in sections. This gives federal agencies more freedom in defining just exactly what the legislation means.  And federal courts, as a matter of policy, typically defer to agency interpretations in this regard.

A public single payer option would probably require several million new government employees to administer. Will these employees be subject to the rules of the market place and competitive pressures forcing them to provide good service, or will they be government employees merely trading hours for dollars? Will they be SEIU unionized? Will they be fluent in the English language? You make the call.
Proponents of the public option say that there will be $200 billion in medicare savings per year.  If there are 36 million people on medicare eligible right now, that amounts to a "saving" of $5,600 per year per patient. Just how will that be saved?

It’s been said that the public option goal is to offer competition to the private sector. But there won’t be a private sector. Consider an employer whose workforce earns on average $50,000 per year. Under HR 3200, that employer could continue to provide health insurance benefits to its workforce or cancel its health insurance plan and pay into the public plan 8% of its payroll. Eight percent of $50,000 is $4,000 per year. But family health insurance in the private sector costs about $14,000 per year. Hmmm…$4,000 public plan vs. $14,000 private plan…what to do? HR 3200 gets rid of private insurance in this fashion. HR 676 specifically does away with private health insurance via a labyrinth of pricing and service rules. Read the bills.

Finally, health insurers profit by generating revenues in excess of their costs. There costs are actuarially calculated. They price their services to earn a normal profit relative to those costs.  If they try to earn more than a normal profit, they are at a competitive disadvantage and are priced out of the market. You get what you pay for."


  1. Anonymous9:31 AM

    I want people who are sick to be taken care of, no matter what their ability to pay, but that's about the end of it. Can't we work out a way for that to happen without overhauling everything else?

  2. Anonymous9:10 PM

    I don't know what to say. It sounds very complicated. In Australia we have medicare to help pay for health visits, and we have private health insurers also. Those with private health insurance get tax advantages. Still, we have way few doctors and now clinics are 'managed' to make a profit, with doctors only given a certain amount of time to spend with each patient. It must be very frustrating to a doctor who wants to do their best.


  3. Dear Sonya,

    Our country right now is so divided on this issue and a host of others that I fear there may ensue a civil war of sorts. America has been a grand, lovely experiment, and I pray that we will not lose our freedom and our country. Freedom is not the easiest and most typical way for people to live on this earth, and unfortunately, we have taken it for granted so long that we have become complacent.

    How are things on the other side of the world these days? Are you going into your springtime?

  4. Anonymous12:52 AM

    Yes, springtime is upon us. Where I am the nights have been frosty and the days either clear and sunny or overcast with rain. It is still too early to plant my spring vegetable garden. Perhaps in a few weeks I can get on with that.


  5. Anonymous2:24 AM

    it is now a year later as I am writing this and we know still very little about what was passed. 'to help us' Ha ha Who knows what it contains?...not even the officials have read or know!! They Said abortions would not be included...but they are we found out. What else was lied about? We were told today by our doctor that even today with the health care bill not in effect they are way understaffed. ...sigh.... Sarah


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