We need a public plan

This is what we know: The United States has the resources, infrastructure and capital to have the best health care system in the world. But, as a nation, people pay more and get less. Nearly 50 million Americans are still living without health coverage — an accident or illness away from bankruptcy.

That number continues to grow as employers drop health care insurance benefits, folks lose their jobs as a result of the recession and the monthly demands of insurance premiums become impossible to meet.

Guaranteeing insurance company profits comes before the health and well-being of family, friends and neighbors. For instance, Anthem reports profits in the tens of millions of dollars every year, but still sued the taxpayers of Maine because it was denied an 18 percent rate hike on "Health Choice" and "Luminous" individual policies.

We need health care reform that addresses the fundamental problems in the system. Insurance companies are not focused on providing the public with a quality, affordable, dependable product. Rather, they put profits before people.

Officials in Washington would have people believe that the problem is too complicated to be solved. It's actually quite simple: Big insurance wants to maintain the status quo so it can continue to make millions at the expense of American workers and families.

The health care insurance reform bill before Congress includes measures that should be counted as victories, but we need a public plan so that all people can have access to the health care we deserve.

Kate Brennan, Lewiston

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 's picture

jalbrechtl - Do you even know

jalbrechtl - Do you even know how much a visit to your doctor cost? Do you know how much a 3 day hospital stay cost? Do you know how much it cost to go to the ER for a breaking your wrist? Do you know how much a tylenol cost when you are in the hospital. Does your hospital or doctor show you a price list? I bet you would be amazed at the cost.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

A guy from Hartland was

A guy from Hartland was recently flown by Life Line helicopter service from Bangor to Boston. Two days after the flight he got the bill in the mail. Can you say $16,000?

What gets me is the Red Cross get the blood from donors, but the recipients in the hospital are charged in the neighborhood of $150 plus a pint. I know there a storage, transportation, administration costs and all that good stuff, but WTF?

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Forgot about those

Forgot about those phlebotomists and lab techs. Freakin' parrot; he always leaves something out.


suelt1973, Health care costs


Health care costs went up 6% last year. Insurance premiums in Maine 16-25% (30-39% in California, Nebraska, and many other states, 80% in Alaska.). Health care costs have obviously no relationship to insurance costs because insurance companies are monopolies and can set prices wherever they want. Insurance companies can refuse insurance to sick people before or after they pay their premiums.

The problem is not health care costs.



"know that we already have

"know that we already have the best health care on the planet." Like Armymom the search for ignorance goes on unabated. No certifying body; no medical authority; no agency of government anywhere reports that the US has the "best health care on the planet". That on person whatever their status comes to the US for specialized care proves nothing or if you prefer as little as a snow storm in Washington proves about climate change.

This claim is self delusion so that the author can defend the status quo. A status quo from which they most likely earn their living. For the rest of us, we need to re-double our efforts to save the lives of the 45,000 people who die each year because they don't have insurance, the 1 million a year who die because of medical malpractice, and the many millions who are injured because of rationing by the health insurance industry.

 's picture

Everyone keeps saying its the

Everyone keeps saying its the insurance companies that are at fault. How about the cost of healthcare. When you go in for a regular checkup with your doctor, do you even know how much it will cost? If you are going to have surgery, do you ask the doctor how much is it going to cost? NO! Besides healthcare, do you ever pay for something without knowing how much its going to cost you first? Its the cost of healthcare that is driving up the insurance cost. We need to make the healthcare profession more accountable. There should be a price list for healthcare. I went to my doctor for an ear infection. I did not have insurance. I asked how much for this visit. The staff looked at me like I had a second head. They told me they would bill me at the end of the month. But I wanted to know how much first. Would it be less to see the Triage nurse, the phyiscan assistant or the doctor. How much. Well before I saw the anyone, they told me it would cost $85, to see the Triage nurse. But it was like pulling teeth to get that information. Baring complications, your doctor or his office staff should be able to tell you exactly how much the procedure will cost you. Just because you have health insurance, doesn't mean that you shouldn't know how much a visit to your primary care phyiscan is going to be for a phyiscal. We need to pay attention to how much these things cost. But because you have insurance all you are worried about is your deductible. Anyone going to the doctor or a hospital for any type of treatment should know, baring complications, what the cost will be before you have the treatment, whether you have insurance or not.

 's picture

Well Ray, why would we want

Well Ray, why would we want to allow cloture if we want debate to occur on these matters. The only way that Republicans can be obstructionist today, is to force debate and maybe fillabuster. Once you vote cloture, debate ends.

"The new version of the cloture rule, which has remained in place since 1975, makes it considerably easier for the Senate majority to invoke cloture. This has considerably strengthened the power of the majority, and allowed it to pass many bills that would otherwise have been filibustered. (The Democratic Party had held a two-thirds majority in the 89th Congress of 1965, but regional divisions among Democrats meant that many filibusters were invoked by Southern Democrats against civil rights bills supported by the Northern wing of the party.) Some senators wanted to reduce it to a simple majority (51 out of 100) but this was rejected, as it would greatly diminish the ability of the minority to check the majority."

 's picture

Tron for the last year the

Tron for the last year the Democrats had a supermajority in the Senate. They did not need any Republican votes, so how in the world could the Republicans obstruct anything if all the Democrats agreed?

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Excellent point, ST

Excellent point, ST

 's picture

Thanks, Mr. Gagnon. Kate, the

Thanks, Mr. Gagnon.

Kate, the rest of us (except a handful of the willfully ignorant inmates of this forum) know that we already have the best health care on the planet.  That's why foreign big-shots, like Canadian premiers, come to the US when the chips are down.  (Most of the MSM missed that little item.)

We also know that health insurance is expensive and that situation was caused primarily by governments, especially state governments, especially state governments like Maine's, who mandate coverage and pretend to believe that by doing so, they make the coverage cheap.

We further know that the monster bills currently (and hopefully) dying in Congress will result in higher premiums AND worse health care, because the US government can't manage its own butt.

 's picture

What a laugher! Go into any

What a laugher! Go into any hospital and tell them you want what the Canadian Premier got. Do you really think it's available to all Americans?

 's picture

Well Dany Breton (Tron), I

Well Dany Breton (Tron), I guess you didn't read this the last time it was posted. Typical of you and your progressive, socialist friends. The current members in the House of Representatives (that's Congress for you Tron) as of Jan 2009 is 256 Democrats and 178 Republicans and I believe one open seat. Now in the Senate (that's the other legislative chamber) as of the same date, there were 60 Democrats and 40 Republicans which has now changed by one, because of the Mass elections, to 59 Democrats to 41 Republicans. So tell me how the Republicans can stop anything the Democrats want. The Democrats only lost the Super Majority which they don't need to pass anything. No Tron, they don't need one Republican to pass anything. On top of that they have a Presiednt who is Democrat and is willing to sign into law, anything they place in front of him. My math tells me that the Democrats can do anything they want, when they want, whenever they want, if they want. The problem here is that Democrats are devided within the party because of the swell in the number of well informed consituants in their districts, who are not pleased with this Presidents progressive agenda and do not want any part of it and have threatened to vote certain Democrats out of office. Democrats are fighting within the party, because the majority in this country is still right of center when it comes to what this President is trying to accomplish, a gradual move to statist government through progessive policies. Don't know what kind of funny math you use, but 2+2 still equals 4. So stop blamig the oposing party, the Democrats have only themselves to blame. They ceated the mess and they own it.

 's picture

David, you are correct that

David, you are correct that the Democrats could do anything they wanted until the election of Senator Brown. The fact that Health Care Reform did not pass is strictly the fault of the Democrats. For the first year of the President's Administration, the Democrats could do anything they wanted because they did not need any Republicans to vote for cloture. Now, the Democrats will need one Republican to vote for cloture, but once that occurs they only need 51 of their members to pass anything.

Can't seem to fine anything where to Republicans filibustered any bills in the Senate late year.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

T...what has obama done to

T...what has obama done to make life better for the average working American than it was before he took office? Are we more prosperous? Are we safer? Is unemployment higher or lower than it was in Bush's last two years? Is the stock market doing better? Bush saw a period of a $14,000 DJA (that's Dow Jones Average for those of you in Allagash County). obama's Dow can barely sustain $10,000. Where exactly are we better off, T...enlighten us, please.

 's picture

Tron is correct that the Dow

Tron is correct that the Dow did close above 14,000 under President Bush. Looking at the numbers the Dow then had a slight correction, as most markets do when hitting a high. The Dow pulled back to just under 12,000 in early March. In mid-May it closed above 13,000 again. It hasn't seen those numbers again. So what happened in early May of 2008 that could have caused this to happen?

 's picture

On January 20, 2009 the Dow

On January 20, 2009 the Dow opened at 8279.63 which is greater than 8000.

 's picture

Tron, I was correcting your

Tron, I was correcting your statement of "however by the time Bush left office it was under 8,000".

"During the Bush administration the Dow plummeted tens of thousands of point", from the high it dropped less than 6000. At last check, 6000 is less than 10000 and since it is less than 10000, it is not "tens of thousands".

So what major event happened in May 2008 to cause the mark to do down?

 's picture

Tron the dramatic down turn

Tron the dramatic down turn in May of 2008 coinsides with then Sen. Obama taking the lead in delagates in primary.

 's picture

No Tron, after he took office

No Tron, after he took office the market went to 6626.94 in the middle of March.  It did not see 9000 again until July.

 's picture

Tron, you are right the

Tron, you are right the market did recover under President Obama but not to due to his accomplishments. The market does not like uncertainty. Once it became clear that Health Care Reform with the public option would not pass and the Senate and House version of reform probably were not reconcilable the market recovered.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Not asking you to care; just

Not asking you to care; just try to open your eyes to what's REALLY going on around you. If you look hard enough, you'll soon come to see that it isn't just the republicans or the democrats. They're both doing to us what the animals do to each other on the Discovery Channel. And, you're correct about obama.  One of my biggest fantasies is that someone comes out with pictures of obama caught in a closet with a dead girl or a live boy. CLOSET GATE....HOOOOYAHHHH

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

I've got the carpenters

I've got the carpenters building 14 extra planks, T...We'll show 'em. Let 'em all WALK THE PLANK...AARRGHH!!

(Observation by the parrot: "That one-eyed, hook swinging, wooden legged swashbuckler's feeling his rum today")


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