Can We Wait Until 2014?

Can We Wait Until 2014?

Oct 14th, 2009 | by Chris Whistler
Category : POV on Health Care Reform

The US Senate Finance Committee just approved a health care plan that includes a provision that would significantly expand Medicaid. This is great on so many levels. However, it has one flaw. That being, the full expansion wouldn’t actually start until 2014. Is it just me, or does that seem to contradict the whole idea of protecting the most vulnerable first?
Yes, it’s true that we’ve been trying to fix the health care system since at least 1948. So from one point of view, spending another few years trying to get it right doesn’t seem out of line. But imagine if all you hear around you is that health care reform is going to make a difference in the lives of the 47 million uninsured Americans right now, but then you find out that you have to wait longer than everybody else. Then, to make matters worse, your income is among the lowest in America and is the primary reason you are uninsured in the first place.
The unfortunate truth about this health care plan is that once again, those who are most in need are expected to wait longer than the rest of us. This includes hard working people with low incomes who just don’t happen to have dependent children – the current ticket for most people to qualify for Medicaid. And parents who are doing all they can to make ends meet for their children who are blocked from Medicaid coverage because their very limited income is deemed too high for them to qualify. The list goes on.
Where’s the justice in waiting to expand Medicaid until 2014? Or, maybe more pragmatically, where is the preventive care and coordination that is going to enable the right care at the right time in the right setting – you know, rather than causing the first stop to be in an emergency room after waiting until the cancer spreads, the diabetes worsens, or the heart attack occurs.
Doesn’t it make sense to have health care coverage for those that need it most first?

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25 Responses to “Can We Wait Until 2014?”

  1. I am one of those who suffers. So nice to emeet you.
    I got the narcolepsy bad: all the symptoms, and can’t drive or work. I also have Fibromaygia, RA, and Diabetes type 2. Started onsetting with EDS 2000. The sp, HH, and cataplexy EXPLODED all night every night THE WEEK of 9/11, that is when I knew I had a major problem. Life is tough. When my narcolepsy onset: eds in 2000, REM auxilliary symptoms exploded the WEEK of 9-11, somehow the psychological truama helped my Narcolepsy SP, HH, and Cataplexy onset with horrible severity. I get “hit” with this overwhelming feeling of sleepiness…. That is the sleep attack, which you can fight,but you won’t get any relief until you nap for a bit. Cataplexy is triggered in me with laughter, anger, surprize, fear, empathizing with a fictional or real charater or situation, and fighting off a sleep attack/sleepiness.

    You can watch my severe SP episode on my petition. I am hanging in there fighting social security, again. Could you Please Sign My Petition! Reform Social Security Disability SSDI and SSI Determination Processes ?- Thanks! I won at the hearing level 2006, but got cut off soon after that due to husband making too much $ for SSI/Medicaid. Now hubby left, have to reapply all over again in April! Just got first denial notice… Here we go, reconsideration, again. Not so sure I’ll make it for hearing again this time. It is ridiculous. You must First become a supporter of Poverty in American, then click on sign my petition button.

    Many Thanks,

  2. Steve Shurts says:

    Let’s get real folks. When has the government ever done anything more efficiently or better than private industry? The recent meltdown of the financial sector, automotive sector and housing sector was largely a product of governmental interference. Do we really want the same lack-luster performers taking over the 17% of our economy that is accounted for by the health care industry? I think not. Anyone in the health care industry, who doesn’t have a vested financial interest tied to such a takeover, would oppose it.

    Are there 47 million uninsured people in the United States? It depends on what you call an uninsured worker. If you mean the people that quit their jobs in order to take a better job and have to go 30 days without insurance, and if you count the 12 million+ illegal alien workers, and if you count the 8 million workers who are too young and “too healthy” to want insurance, you can come up with the 47 million number. However, if you believe that its okay to give up insurance for 30 days to take a better job; and, you think that 12 million+ illegals ought to not be covered; and, you believe that the idiots who think they are “too healthy” to need it, shouldn’t be covered by me and you, then the real number is more like 13-17 million.

    As for Rachel’s plight, that is what congress ought to be addressing. They can certainly pass legislation – immediately, I might add – that would remedy the problems that are in the system. When Obama spoke in Kansas City a couple of months ago, he outlined a plan that would address those issues. Of course, that’s not what he really wants; nor, is it what Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, etal. have proposed. Be a part of the solution – not part of the problem…

  3. Health insurance companies are the most blatant example of private industry doing things WRONG! Do you call hiring a staff of lawyers to find ways of denying claims, refusing to cover sick people, and using our premium money to pay executives multi-million dollar salaries doing things right? How can you say that the U.S. automotive industry’s problems are the fault of the government when those companies have been producing inferior products for decades and expecting the American public to buy them? The American automotive industry is a textbook case of poor management, planning, production, marketing, and distribution. You need to go to business school.

  4. If the insurance companies were forced to let anyone buy thier plan across state lines, it would force them to be competative and hence they would be cheaper. Compitation is good for business’s to be better.

  5. The NY Times is discussing a similar topic:

    The public doesn’t seem to know how long this will take.

  6. Steve Shurts says:

    On the health care industry, you make my point. It does not take the government taking over the entire industry to correct the issues that exist – it takes regulatory change. This is not what is being proposed by Washington. What is being proposed is a full scale takeover of the health care industry. This is socialism. It doesn’t matter if you want to call it socialism or not, by definition it is.

    As for the automotive industry, you are correct – mismanagement at GM and Chrysler was over the top. However, when the government steps in and gives away a US corporation (i.e. – Fiat did not pay a dime for Chrysler; they received the company lock, stock, and barrel as a “gift” in exchange for “technological improvements”). And, it is governmental interference when the government takes over 60% of the stock of a publicly held corporation.

    Finally, you were certainly wise not to argue that government regulation did not directly lead to the failure of the financial industry. We all know that corporate greed played a big part in the failure, but government regulation (or, should it be termed mis-regulation) was certainly the catalyst that brought the failure to fruition.

  7. Karen Hudson says:

    I have a granddaughter that was born 10 weeks early. She had brain surgery at 3.5 weeks old. Thank God she is doing great right now and has no developmental issues (4 years old and smart as a tack). However, she stands an 85% chance that she will need surgery to replace her shunt at some point in her life (could be in the next week or maybe never – we don’t know). She is required to have an annual MRI and more often if she experiences symptoms of shunt failure. She can’t see just any doctor nor can she afford to be put on a waiting list for an MRI. Her hospital bill alone was over $200,000 for her surgery. Her parents are young kids that work very hard and carry private insurance. The insurance covered the majority of her medical expenses. If this bill passes I believe it will put private insurance out. Thereby, forcing everyone on to Government health care. If this happens, there is a real possibly of waiting lists and denial of care. The Washington Post reported last spring that Medicare will run out of funds in 2017. This indicates to me that the Government is mismanaging Medicare and Medicaid. They have failed to control the cost of these programs. And now they believe they can create a government controlled health care system that will correct all the problems with Medicare/Medicaid and provide health care for all – Right! I say “hands off my family’s health care”.

  8. Paul says:

    The Healthcare is a power grabber at best. It will destory our economy like never before seen in this country. When I was at the Tea Party on Sept 12th The million or more people there were all on the same page,And as far as the health care goes.We as Americans must stop the train before it goes off the tracks.By the way I just have to add the Tea Party movement is real and there were more than one million people there. Your picture of the rally in D.C. was real and the proof is in the photo you showed in the paper. Not false like you reported. The bottom left of photo you say is false has the Black History week tents set up you can see the four tents whtie tops at the bottom left of picture. I was there you were not. As a newspaper, it irks me to see how you want to show a lack of good journalism. Maybe the next American Rally you might show up and properly show the real America instead of the far left lies.Paul the real American is the one who supports the Constitution not destroys it like our now defunct government. Vote them out now and take back our freedom.

  9. John bagley says:

    The government has consistantly destroyed the american dream. Social Security is bankrupt. US post office is broke. fannie may and mac are in financial ruines. The financial system in the private sector is bankrupt. Every part of our every day life is being assulted by our government. The gov. has let us down at every corner and turn. Now we as citizens of this great country are contemplating letting the gov. literally take over the health care system.

    Wake up, If the gov. really wanted everyone to have health care then we would have it all ready. The gov. has to create the system because they need revenue. What better way then create a war against the rich and poor, the weak and the strong. the educated and uneducated. The gov. is broke and no one in the federal gov. is being a leader. Why don’t we fix what the gov. broke before we create another gov. program?

    If you insist on everyone having health care then make it a law that at the age of 18 you have to have some health ins. Allow insurance to compete across state lines. Overhaul the regulations and have real oversight. We need real tort reform. We need real cost controlling measures. Make the health system controll there cost by posting there prices, So the consumer and the gov. are informed better. To cover the uninsured lets have a fed. sales tax. Lets say 2% that everyone pays. put it in a lock box that takes a vote of 100% in both houses to remove from lock box. Ask yourself im I republican or democrate?

  10. Steve, you argue as one who has never had to face the prospect of not having health insurance. The reality is that countless numbers of people have abided by the current system only to have gotten sick and then dropped by their insurance provider. Why? Because the current system is designed to make as much money as you can off of those they are supposed to be protecting.
    The fact is it’s unrestrained capitalistic systems that have caused the massive economic collapse we are now in. The current health care system is slowly bleeding our nation and families of the money they need. I’m not here defending the gov’t's record of running things, but let’s be honest, the standard is pretty low at this point. The private system has put the bar so low that even the government can run a system that is a vast improvement!
    The public option, run with an already established, time tested, non-profit model, like what Caresource is doing in Ohio, is the best answer. Let’s stop denigrating the 14 million (your number) without health insurance as people who aren’t worthy of protection and attention!

  11. i have serched for an hour for the health care bill on line. i cann”t find it. where have you hidden it. oh well i”ll just have to wait untill my congressman gets to work at 12:00. if he works at all. he better not get to comfortable in his posh office becouse come next year hes going to have a race for his life.

  12. Chris says:

    Stephanie: I’ve been without health insurance, when I was younger and didn’t think I needed it, so what’s your point? There’s also a reality that those same people that abide by the current system and whom get sick, are NOT dropped by their insurance provider and get the care they’ve paid for. I’m betting the stats are much more in line with people receiving the care they’ve paid for than being declined OR insurance provider’s would be out of business. Your last sentence is nonsense, IMO. Yes, there is a profit motive in insurance, but again, they would not survive long if it was only take, and no give. Furthermore, our innovation would come to a screaching halt without some form of profit (it’s not a bad word). Even non-profits have to make money, as you know.
    Again, I believe you are incorrect. The healthcare system if FAR from an “unrestrained capitalistic system”. I’m sure you are well aware of the mandates, rules, regulations, etc. that are put on the healthcare system and insurance co’s. This, along with waste, lawsuits, minimal competition, is what causes that bleeding you are speaking of. We can at least agree on the gov’t's record of being horrendous. Also, I’m sure you saw the recent stat that Medicare/Medicaid denies more people on a % basis than private insurance co’s. This will no doubt continue if what is proposed passes because we can’t afford it.
    As for Caresource and your system, I’m ALL in favor of States doing that if they want to and the voters approve, but I believe the whole “healthcare issue” to be completely unconstitutional at the Federal level and once started there is no going back. Again, nobody’s denigrating the uninsured (whatever the number), but we don’t need to turn the whole system upside down for “x” number of people when the system is working for the majority. Can we not try some simpler, more cost effective, less onerous ideas before turning 1/6th of our economy on it’s head (and over to the Feds)? Regards.

  13. Mike Clum says:

    You have to be kidding!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Mr. Whistler, you have never worked in the real world. Go to private industry, in preferably small business, and then tell us tax payers how to spend our money.
    That’s the problem with Washington and the state houses, there is no one there that can spell problem, let alone solve one.
    Mike Clum

  14. Why wait till 2014? Apparently you think this is a good bill.
    I say WAIT FOREVER if this is what people like Pelosi think is good.
    Yes we have problems but like the very very old saying: Do we want to throw out the Baby with the bathwater?

    Everyone who knows this proposed (Thank God it has not been voted on yet) bill is VERY VERY BAD for this country need to contact their legislators and demand that they vote no on this bill and let them know that if they vote yes that you will work to have them defeated when they run for re-election.

    And those that support these measures do not have all the facts. Please get the facts before you go on supporting this. If this is still what you want, then for the sake of the majority of the people in this country, I hope you will never have to find out what it does to the country.

  15. @Carloyn Droddy:
    I’m not sure why you call everyone else uninformed, but don’t provide any actual facts to support the argument for the other side. You accuse people of drinking the kool-aid, but don’t show that you haven’t guzzled the kool-aid from the opposition’s side.

    I’m not sure anyone is claiming that this is the perfect solution (also, Nancy Pelosi wasn’t involved in the creation of this bill as far as I know), however we need some type of reform. Maybe you should rethink your allegiances and open your mind to some new ideas.

  16. FRANK FREY says:

    The American Public deserves and demands Universal Health Care and sweeping reform NOW !!!! We need to quit blaming the Insurance industry and start blaming the proper culprits …….The crooked politicians who sell their souls for political donations by letting insurance companies get away with this mess.
    Vote NAY for any politician who refuses to listen to their constituents!!!!!!

  17. I don’t want to hear anymore of these sad stories. I am retired now, but as a medical/psychiatric socialworker, I have been hearing these stories and having people beg me, offer bribes, and just plain expect me to perform miracles because I knew their desperate needs. When I retired I had had all of that and all of war I could take. ( I formerly worked for the American Red Cross during Vietnam War.) I am beginning to see that many people only care about themselves. UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE should be apart of THE BILL OF RIGHTS.

  18. Louise Bouta says:

    I don’t want to be required to pay for health insurance. I don’t go to conventional/allopathic doctors. I keep healthy by using holistic health cares Look on website for an article “Death by Medicine” which shows the limitations of medicine, and yet the Amertican people are convinced, or the lobbyists insist, that it is the greatest. But don’t charge me wit paying others’ mistakes and poor care.

  19. Russ says:

    @Louise: “But don’t charge me wit paying others’ mistakes and poor care.” Are you implying that someone who gets breast cancer or prostate cancer did something wrong to do so? It’s not just people who make bad choices that need health insurance… everybody needs health insurance. Beyond that, what makes you think that people who can’t afford to see a traditional doctor has the money to see a holistic doctor? Your ignorance is hurtful to the discussion. As someone fortunate enough to be able to explore alternative medicines, you should hope others are taken care of enough that they get the same freedoms.

  20. Health care reform is nothing more then a big power grab by liberals. The reason we are in this mess is because our government is out of control. It is time to reign them in and vote against any politician that votes for this so called health care reform.

  21. Mike McV says:

    WAKE UP PEOPLE! ! ! Health Care is not about Health care. IT IS A TAX ON CARE FOR THE GOVERNMENT! ! !

  22. I do not carry insurance, and can wait until way beyond 2014 for increased government health care involvement! In the 15 years of raising children we have had insurance one year and didn’t use it because the pediatrician I wanted was not on the covered list. After canceling insurance we had two emergency trips. One was $5000 plus, which we liquidated our IRA to pay and one emergency room trip of $500 that was covered by money that came in unexpectedly. Our income at the time was about 30K. The IRA was from DINK days. If we had not had an IRA we would have sold a vehicle, or paid monthly. (Legally, care could not be denied us in an emergency because of inability to pay). In hindsight, selling a vehicle would have been better tax- wise in first case. Currently, with no savings as a single income family we would need to rearrange child care and become dual income should we have a major medical issue. That is better than making the same changes now to have insurance just in case something bad happens in my point of view.

    If the government takes over in 2014 I may also be restricted in providing low cost, or no cost maternity care that I now offer through a small MS. based midwifery partnership.

    Yes, insurance companies make far too many decisions in health care choices. I have an older friend as well as my parents struggling with this right now. As I understand it, this problem exists because most plans begin at the first dollar spent as required by State mandate. Since then there is no incentive for cost benefit analysis to limit care utilized, insurance decisions are the only thing limiting demand. With government insurance, decisions as to what gets covered will still be made by insurance only it will be government insurance officials limiting care. In addition the amount of care available will go down as doctor pay and independence will be legally restricted.

    Should these “first-dollar coverage” mandates be removed, most primary care costs AND decisions will fall back into the hands of patients and doctors. I for one think this kind of freedom is well worth it! Cash for services pulls costs down because (back to supply and demand) there is a limited amount of money to go towards a set supply.

    Two other quick points (1) We have to remember the goal is available affordable CARE not insurance.

    (2) And I beg to differ with the author of this article that low income working people are the most vulnerable among us. While government role is to protect these people, having delivered about 150 babies I can tell you those not yet born are the MOST vulnerable among us. We cannot expect justice for ourselves while we allow them none.

  23. Subject: .. our NATIONAL HEALTH CARE SERVICE, final reminders!

    “I am not going to vote for the health care plan if it includes the public option”…that is what the republican-democrat-independent LIEBERMAN is trying to advertised so he can go back to be noticed.

    You are barely known in MA and this is your last job as public servant. The money we the people paid you for the many years of being our public servant was a waste. Al Sharpton would have made or do a much better job.

    As David Letterman would have said: little LIEBERMAN go back to what you do better: changing “shirts” and just stay there so people will not step down on you.

    The National Health Care Service must no fail or be “negotiated down” by any kind of group, because it is an American cause that has waited for too long. And because we the people already have the back up plan of our own.

    Again the basic elements that must be in the Bill are:

    1 Has to be a National Health Care Service nation wide. Senators and House Reps are no different that the rest of us, not special health coverage for them.

    2 Its Administration has to be in the hands of the MULTI-STATE MANAGEMENT-CONTROL and SUPERVISORY CORPORATION. This corporation must be in put to work by the vote of all State Governors and the Board of Directors must always be proposed, selected and elected by the vote of all State Governors.

    3 Private insurance companies monopoly that failed us for more than 60 years and were built on greed-corruption-insensitivity and ineptitude must be totally out of the picture.

    4 There must not be any kind of exceptions in this NHCS bill, we must all contribute to fund this bill with paying an 8% for a legal family of 4 members of their yearly income between 18,000 to 500,000 family income, adjusted bi-annual for inflation.

    Below 18,000 income families of 4 members are covered by the Federal Budget and 500,000 is the top income to be considered for yearly NHCS deduction or payment. As it is with Social Security the deductions must be made with any and all income paid to individuals including their dependents.

    Just in case prior requirements requested by we the people are:


    Based on the fact that USA government has and is failing administering Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, Freddie Mack, and Fannie Mae and so many others, where waste and fraud is predominant, we the people demand that the new NATIONAL HEALTH CARE SERVICE must be handled without any interference from any branch of government by:


    Every Governor from every State to propose 2 born citizens professional certified medical doctors graduated in the USA as candidates to conform the Board.

    Ten members with the top ten most votes from every governor should be elected for a 3 years term. The election system to be part of this Corporation must be rotatory to allow all States to be part of this Board at every particular time. Only one candidate per State is elected out of the two proposed.

    This Board is the sole authority on all issues concerning the N.H.C.S. Plan.

    Their main obligation is:

    1 List all human conditions not cover by the NHC, such as hair transplant, abortion, breast and organ enlargement, cosmetic surgery, etc.

    2 Set the fix medical doctors fees and the price of all medical related services, to only be reviewed every 3 years.

    3 Set the fair, prove transparent price to all medicines prescribed by medical doctors. Assure that in not more than 5 years all medicines to be sold to the NHCS are generic. And open the free trade with Canada to buy much lower price medicines if local manufacturers do not lower their price by not less than 25% not latter than 6 month after this NHCS bill is signed into law.

    4 Organize, approve and bid out the number and PROPER ZONING location of all new or renew Public/Private Hospital and Clinics to be installed in all municipalities all over the United States.

    5 Other tasks to assure the full, lean and efficient functioning of the NHCS Plan.


    Jose Paulo Castro
    Independent citizen voter
    Forest Hills, New York

  24. Tim Lister says:

    Why do people bother with debating the number of uninsured? Is 13-17 MILLION people really that much better than 47 million? Even if what they say is true and we go with their smallest estimate, that’s still 13,000,000 people! To put that in perspective, New York City has a population of about 8-9 million. The entire state of New York has about 18 million people. So why does saying only close to the entire population of New York state is uninsured make any kind of point? That’s still pretty bad. Stop splitting hairs on the uninsured number issue! It is a pointless debate that does nothing but waste everyone’s time.

    Now to get to the real problem here… all of these millions of people have to wait another 4 years to get coverage? This is the real “death panel”. There are people with terminal illnesses that have treatable symptoms who have no insurance because they lost their job. Now they will probably get too sick to work in the meantime because in order for a single adult to qualify for SSDI (and therefore Medicaid) they have to practically be on their deathbed. How does that help them OR the economy? Wouldn’t it make more sense to try and get them some care now? People with diseases like cancer or HIV are going to get sick, it’s just a matter of time. Why not try to help keep them productive members of society instead of waiting for them to be bedridden before they qualify for government assistance? You know, the old saying “pay me now or pay me later” is very appropriate here, and in this case paying later will cost exponentially more. At the very least there should be some sort of wavier for terminal cases so they can get the help they need before it’s too late.

  25. magnificent put up, very informative. I ponder why the other specialists of this sector do not notice
    this. You must continue your writing. I am confident, you’ve a huge readers’ base already!

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Article References

  • Interesting statistics on preventive care
  • Senate Finance Committee's Health Care Bill
  • Poverty in America
  • Author : Chris Whistler

    Vice President, Government Affairs at CareSource Over 15 years of experience in public policy and finance, with a focus on the Medicaid program. Responsible for working with policymakers to ensure that they understand the benefits CareSource brings to our members and to taxpayers, and for leading advocacy for legislative and programmatic changes that enable CareSource to better serve our members.