The Question To Ask

When ever you meet someone that argues against the public option or single payer as part of health care reform, ask them this simple question, “If you lost your family’s health coverage from work, what would you do?” And then wait for their answer.

55 thoughts on “The Question To Ask

  1. Very true. Not only that, but “What are you going to do when your employer (inevitably) announces that the company health plan is being dropped?” Or severely curtailed, at least.

    Your question illuminates the most basic element of the healthcare reform debate, which somehow has been missing from the conversation: how utterly broken the current system is.

    Good point.

  2. Jonolan,

    I would ask you to consider that as you get older, and as you add a wife/husband and children to your insurance coverage (assuming you haven’t already), potential problems will likely arise due to pre-existing conditions (to be determined by the insurance company), and the huge expense that will involve — paying for the insurance coverage and for the out-of-pocket payments for un-covered conditions.

    There may come a time when the cost of buying your own coverage will exceed your ability to pay for it, no matter how much you shift your financial priorities.

    Then what would you do? The public option would be a great way to keep your family protected, while not breaking your financial back. An even better option would be Single Payer, but that seems to be off the table.

  3. “If you lost your family’s health coverage from work, what would you do?”

    Me? I’d watch my spouse die. Unlike Jonolan, my spouse is uninsurable. And I could not shift enough priorities to be able to pay for 100% of my spouse’s care out of pocket, even after bankruptcy.

    It’s bad enough now; my health insurance premiums and out-of-pocket costs exceed my mortgage.

  4. BnF,
    If I were in that pickle, as far as my spouse was concerned, I would move to Canada or Great Britain post haste. Actually, I am free of that dilemma as we are both over 65 and fall under the single payer umbrella (Medicare.) The reason that Medicare exists today is that the health insurance cartel was trying to fleece the elderly and the elderly vote with a vengeance.

  5. WaltTheMan,

    “Buy” – I’m afraid my hands don’t type as well as they used to. Thanks.


    My situation is odd. I’m poly and one of my wives is on my policy while I pay for the 2nd’s policy independently.

    It is possible that I could run into trouble at some point; that’s true. It’s also life and likely a result of poor choices on my part anyway – such as trusting that my job will be there tomorrow. But, why would I expect other people to pay for me and my family, either directly or indirectly.

    • Jonolan,

      It appears your situation is even more precarious than you might understand. You’re forced to take the gamble that your “legal” wife will become ill, and your “poly” wife will not. You don’t mention children, but the gamble is even more unpredictable with any added children.

      Maybe you don’t realize that you already are paying for the healthcare of others, although indirectly. You pay for a lot of things that others use, as we pay for the things you use, such as roads, clean water & air, fire & police departments, etc. I don’t mind paying for such things, since they keep everyone more healthy and safe. Do you object to paying for these things?

      Why make an exception for health care? If we all pitch in to make the people of this country more healthy, it will certainly cost us less than it does now.

  6. So you’re pretty proud of yourself for being a polygamist. Don’t usually find people bragging about breaking the law.

    Anyway, do you have an extra $13K a year to buy health insurance for your second wife? Good for you. Now all you have to hope is she doesn’t have a pre-existing condition that makes it difficult to get a policy. Of course you have two wives so if one of them dies you still have one to wait on you.

  7. Health care is also a national defense issue. During all four major wars that this country fought in the last 100 years, there were significant numbers of men who were unable to serve because of health problems. Some, like a certain anal cyst were beyond the bar, but 1/3-1/2 of draft physicals were failed due to curable health issues. Tooth decay was the number one reason for rejection in WW II. TB and polio were number two and three, but there were no cures at the time of WW II.
    The cures that were developed relied on methods that were 50-150 years old at the time. Streptomycin and weakened virus or virus fragments led to the cure of both infections, respectively.

  8. jonolan at 2:58 pm

    “I’d do the same thing I’ve done twice in the past – shift financial priorities and buy my own coverage.”

    The problem with that strategy is that most of the country has already shifted their priorities as far as they can be shifted, just to stay in a home and keep food on the table. There’s a reason why so many bankruptcies are caused by medical bills, and why three quarters of THOSE had health insurance coverage. As Cornell West put it, it’s greed run amok!

    “But, why would I expect other people to pay for me and my family, either directly or indirectly.”

    If you are covered by health insurance, that is exactly what you ARE expecting. You are part of a POOL, of insured people, sharing the risk that some will get sick or be injured, but be spared the catastrophe of today’s medical costs. It is the greed of the insurance companies that has distorted that concept, which is why a government-administrated public CHOICE to be in a POOL large enough to spread risk effectively is the only curb to their continued parasitic drain on families and individuals. Medicare as a buy-in option for people under 65 would be the easiest to implement, because the infrastructure is already in place.

  9. Jonolan,

    “It is possible that I could run into trouble at some point; that’s true.”

    Talk about an understatement. Going to jail would put a quick end to your health insurance worries. Your wives would be out on their own, but you would get health care courtesy of the rest of us taxpayers.

    “But, why would I expect other people to pay for me and my family, either directly or indirectly.”

    Do I take it you will refuse to accept Social Security and Medicare when you are eligible?

  10. Zooey,

    The roads, police, and fire department counterpoint is really just argumentum ad absurdum. Just because the US has some cooperative efforts doesn’t not mean that any and all cooperative efforts are valid.

    You say that you don’t mind paying for others, but how will you feel when your taxes go up significantly, your employer has to lay off people, and inflation caused by the increased national debt further erodes the value of your income?


    There’s a big difference between being part of a pool and a tax subsidized health insurance program, especially one that doesn’t address a single factor in healthcare costs.

    You see, this supposed greed of the health insurance companies is a lie. They operate at only a 3-4% profit margin; that’s hardly greedy. They also deny only 50% of the claims (percentage-wise) as Medicare does.

    Briseadh na Faire,

    I might very well refuse Social Security and Medicare. It wouldn’t mean much though since I made a concerted effort throughout my life to be both productive and self-supporting. It wouldn’t, in all likelihood, be a strain to forgo them.

    • Jonolan,

      Over the last several years, taxes have gone up on the middle class, people have been losing jobs at a steady rate, and income just isn’t worth what it used to be. We don’t have to wait for that to happen.

      I can see I’m banging my head on a wall, and frankly, I don’t have good enough health insurance to keep doing that. I wish good health for you and your family.

  11. Jonolan,

    “There’s a big difference between being part of a pool and a tax subsidized health insurance program, especially one that doesn’t address a single factor in healthcare costs.”
    You’re part of a pool either way, and both address the same factors, only with private insurance the incentive is given to employees to deny claims as a basis for performance. Medicare only becomes subsidized when it is underfunded because medical costs have risen faster than contributions to the system. Then you have non-competitive issues like Part D where the government is prohibited from negotiating down drug prices, introduced and passed solely by Republicans to pad the pockets of Big Pharma. They get rich off the taxpayer, and in return Pharma buys the politicians to keep it that way. If the system goes broke, that was their goal all along.

    “You see, this supposed greed of the health insurance companies is a lie. They operate at only a 3-4% profit margin; that’s hardly greedy. They also deny only 50% of the claims (percentage-wise) as Medicare does.”

    You’re confusing profit with overhead. Medicare operates at a 3-4 % overhead, while private insurance operates at a 20-30% overhead. They pay huge salaries to executives plus all the perks like corporate jets, limos, and expensive meals, all part of “operating expenses”. That 3-4% profit is what goes to the shareholders as dividends. As for Medicare rejecting more claims than private insurance, I’d have to see proof, that sounds too much like a Limbaugh Lie to me. Medicare can’t reject applicants, and is only people over 65. Private insurance rejects people all the time, they only want people who pay for policies but don’t get sick or injured.

  12. I feel the same way, Zooey. There’s little point in continuing this discussion between us. It’s a case of American capitalism v. Socialism; there’s no room for debate or compromise and little enough room for dialogue.

    • Sorry, Jonolan. I wasn’t arguing capitalism v. socialism.

      I simply like the idea of humans being humane to other humans. And I really don’t care what it cost me or you.

      Thanks for stopping by the Zoo.

  13. As soon as you try to enforce that by having one set of people who’ve earned wealth subsidize the lives and/or lifestyles of those who haven’t, you’re arguing in favor of Socialism in all but name.

    In any case, via con Dios.

  14. There are two sure things in life… we all are going to die someday and we all have to pay taxes. If given the choice between funding wars and funding health care for all Americans, I would prefer that my tax dollars go to funding health care for all. I choose life over death.

    jonolan – you are not being realistic. You arguments make you sound like a selfish person. It sounds like you value wealth over health care for everyone.

  15. Cats,
    jonolan is in the wrong country. Zimbabwe or Myanmar would much better fit his desired life style then the United States.

  16. Odd, Walt; I’m the one supporting traditional American values and you’re the ones wanting to shift the US to a foreign model and you believe that I’m in the wrong country?

  17. I never said “family” values, Zooey – but good and funny point. 😆

    Let’s just say that I’m not particularly Socially Conservative, though I’m quite Fiscally and Politically Conservative ans support the tradional American values of liberty, self-reliance, and personal responsibility.

    One thing based on your previous comment – Is it even humane if we’re forced to do it by government fiat?

    • No, you didn’t say “family” values, but you’re parsing words. That seems to be what you do.

      If you were “humane,” you wouldn’t have to be forced, would you? You seem to value the things that get YOU the most.

  18. jonolan, you basically have no family values. You think everything you do is based on you, effects only you and has no effect on the world.

    In other words, you are entirely self centered. You recognize nothing beyond yourself and are a self proclaimed sociopath.

    Is your 2nd wife trade goods?

  19. So, jonolan,
    This does not apply as an “American value?”:
    We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence(sic), promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

  20. Walt, you should have highlighted secure the blessings as well. We are a society and the only reason we have survived is because of that idea.

  21. And we can all thank jonolan. He has presented us with a perfect picture of what life would be like if we all embrace his twisted version of anarchy. He gets to have two wives (though why one, let alone two women are that stupid is beyond comprehension) and thinks that cooperation is a Socialist idea.

    He ignores the fact that such ideas have advanced our society to its present state of disarray. He thinks he is the source of every idea. He believes that if he has money the other Capitalists will care.

    He is seriously delusional on all counts.

  22. hoodathunk,
    I correct spelling or usage errors as a service. The critters are ever vigilant in ensuring that others do not make fools of themselves in this blog, sometimes; that is impossible!

  23. WaltTheMan,

    Yes. But, even you decide that providing and/or subsidizing health insurance for everyone is actually promoting the general welfare, forcing the productive members of society to pay for the rest violates their Liberty.


    I value whatever anyone can get for themselves and don’t begrudge anyone their successes, but I refuse to pay them for their failures.

  24. hoodofthunk – I’m guessing the “hood” is very apropos – can’t help his or herself. Lacking a cogent argument, he or she has to resort to irrelevant personal attacks.

    As to the “health denial system” – Medicare denies over twice as many claims as the private insurers, so I fail to see where there’s evidence for improvement on that score via socialized health insurance.

  25. Walt. if I make errors, please point them out but don’t correct them. If I wish to make a fool of myself due to a lack of education or talent , such is my burden. My comment was merely a suggestion you hadn’t gone far enough.

    Jonolan indulges in the recent idea of mental masturbation. He strokes his ego and thinks he has risen to his level of intellect all by himself. He forgets that he is what he is as a culmination of effort by many before him. He is incapable of developing a new idea and believes that riding on the accomplishments of others is the epitome of life.

    He is incapable of realizing such isn’t the case.

  26. “Medicare denies over twice as many claims as the private insurers,”

    Obviously this person has no experience with Medicare. No one over 65 is ever denied care. Anyone who claims otherwise has no experience with the system and is listening to talking points.

  27. And, jonolan, your responses do nothing to deny the idea you are a self centered sociopath. They only display evidence to support it.

  28. jonolan… I would rather be a sharing and caring person than a self-centered fool like you. Two wives indicates that you must be in control at all times. Do they walk ten steps behind you? Do they wait on you hand and foot? Your sexual bed is just that… for sex and not for sharing love. Anyone with two wives believes that they own these women. How mighty macho of you. My guess is that you are a white male and live either in Texas, Nevada or Utah OR you are just a fucking liar.

  29. Hmmm, statistics posted on a private blogs versus those on the public blogs of various organizations directly related to health care. Said private blog postings that go on to attack the President. Said private blog being sponsored by an individual who has stated there is no debate or compromise possible.

    Where’s Sasquatch?

  30. Don’t go messin’ with Sasquatch! Those guys on the beef jerky ads do not come out well messing with the Sasquatch!

    I’m curious about denials of claims. When charges are not paid by insurance, we all know the bill goes directly to the patient treated, to pay the difference. How much do Medicare patients get charged when Medicare doesn’t pay the caregiver?

    I am paying charges on my second foot surgery that were covered on my first. I don’t remember my parents ever complaining about paying bills Medicare didn’t cover. I’m seeing this as primarily a caregiver issue. It could also be a confusing billing issue, that gets resolved on a second or third attempt.

    What Medicare does not do is cancel policies, deny pre-existing conditions or have event limits, yearly limits or lifetime limits.

  31. Medicare denies almost no claims and the majority of the ones the do deny are for incorrect coding and the like. They pay much faster than private carriers and if they do deny a claim, the doctor knows why and what has to be done to get payment.

    Listen to the doctors. This is from their mouths. You are out and out lying about this.

  32. House, what we have here is a kid with no street creds. He put together a blog, grabbed a few stats and has never had to deal with the health care system. He is something of an Oscar Meyer wiener. Filled with lord knows what and thinks he is a food group.

    If it wasn’t for the anonymity of the web he would be asking if you wanted cheese on your taco.

  33. If “American Capitalism” worked, we wouldn’t be bailing out any industries, we wouldn’t be subsidizing any agriculture.

    The fact of the matter is, “American Capitalism” is a compromise. It is a blend of socialism and capitalism even now. Because, quite simply, pure unregulated Capitalism always fails.

    Yes, the “market” self-corrects in unregulated Capitalism – but with devastating consequences. Boom and Bust was a regular cycle until Post-Depression regulations gave the market some great measure of stability. Now, however, Republicans – so-called “fiscal conservatives” have succeeded in deregulating industry after industry, and always followed by tax-payer bailouts of the deregulated industry.

    So, what deregulation amounts to is allowing the few to plunder an industry, and shift the costs to the taxpayer. It’s nothing more than wealth redistribution from the working class to the ruling class. This is the system Jonolan so arrogantly supports. It works quite well for those in the upper 5%. Not so well for the rest of the country.

    But when the redistribution of wealth hits critical mass, there will be a revolution. And the wealthy will be its first victims. Reality check: when entire bloodlines are wiped out, their wealth will eventually escheat to the State. And unless we change course, that is exactly where we are heading.

  34. Zooey,

    If they deny claims then they effectively deny care in the same way Liberals claim that the insurance companies deny care by denying claims – except Medicare does it a lot more often.

    As for using my own site – each post linked to separate, original sources and I wasn’t sure how many links in comments this blog allowed before considering the comment spam.


    Attempt to think, no matter how hard it is for you do so. I sent you to my blog only – as I stated – so you could easily go to the public sources for the raw data.


    My data came straight from the doctors. It’s from the AMA’s National Health Insurance Score Card. So no; I’m not lying.

    In any event, I’m done here. With a few shining exceptions you’ve all proved to be too ignorant and stupid to discuss this point.

    If – by some undeserved miracle – you’ve to courage for self-examination, you’ll see that I argued the issue while most of you chose instead to attack my character, mostly on topics unrelated to health insurance.

    Zooey, thank you for an interesting discussion.

    • What I find most amazing about people who are against healthcare reform is they are completely blind to what it does to our industry and thus our economy. Small businesses pay a fortune (if they can afford to) for healthcare for their employees. Large companies offshore jobs in many cases due to healthcare (see GM/Ford/Chrysler moving jobs to Canada). Our economy cannot sustain healthcare as it is. It will bring down all sectors (but finance) and it keeps small businesses from starting up as the entrepreneurs often cannot take the chance of starting a new business due to the cost of healthcare for themself and their family members.

      This should be something fiscal conservatives would scream for.

  35. jonolan
    October 19, 2009 at 4:55 pm

    “hoodofthunk – I’m guessing the “hood” is very apropos – can’t help his or herself. Lacking a cogent argument, he or she has to resort to irrelevant personal attacks.”

    I’m sorry, I can’t let that slide – RACIST PIG! In Addition to your sexism and classism. Just another garden variety troll in other words.

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