SURVEY SAYS – What's Next for Health Care Legislation?

January 21, 2010 ( - It remains to be seen if last night’s election results in Massachusetts will influence the timing, composition, or passage of health care legislation this year.

That said, by now we probably all have a better – if somewhat imperfect – sense of what that legislation might look like, and what that might mean.  This week, I asked readers what they thought legislators should do about health care – and what they thought would happen (and why).  

While there were certainly different perspectives, it seems fair to say that most of this week’s respondents did NOT want to see the current legislation passed.  Only 6% were in favor of either the current House or Senate version (with a slight tilt toward the House package), while just under 12% said they would like Congress to pass a bill that can get through the House and Senate this year – even if it doesn’t wind up looking like the current House or Senate bill.  Half that number (6%) said they wanted Congress to pass “anything” because it’s better than nothing, and half THAT number (3%) said they wanted a bill passed this year, but ONLY if it doesn’t wind up looking like the current House or Senate bill.   

So – in some form or other, approximately 27% wanted SOMETHING to pass this year.

That said, a plurality of responses this week (28.4%) wanted Congress to “start over – after the 2010 elections,” while another 20.1% wanted Congress to “start over” with no specific time frame stated.  Another one-in-five said they wanted Congress to pass “nothing”, because that would be better than anything (that has yet been proposed).”   

Despite all the coverage, 4.5% said they either had no opinion, but didn’t know enough about the alternatives to weigh in on any particular choice.

Now, as for what people thought Congress would actually do, a plurality (37.1%) thought they would pass nothing – but because they wouldn’t be able to work things out between the two bills.  Just 3% thought Congress pass nothing (because that would be better than the current bill), and a matching 3% thought Congress would be inclined to start over.      

However, 20.5% thought they would pass anything (because it’s better than nothing), 17.4% saw them passing a bill that can get through the House and Senate this year, though they didn’t expect it would wind up looking like the current House or Senate bill, and 13% expected a bill to pass that looked pretty much like the current Senate (10%) or House (3%) bills.      

The remaining 10% opted for other, but I think it was pretty well summed up by the reader who noted – in what I’ve picked as this week’s Editor’sChoice, “Who knows what these incompetents will do?”      

You’ll want to read this week’s VERBATIM selections.  Yes, there’s some stridency and some real passion here – as well there should be.  There’s also some important insights.  So, check them out – and thanks again to everyone that participated in our survey!  

I say start over and actually put in healthcare reform and not insurance reform.  The current bills do nothing to significantly change healthcare in America.  All of the provision effect the insurance industry and not the point of care.  I am not one to defend the insurance industry as changes are needed but to call insurance reform healthcare reform is treating the public like they are idiots. I think you would be hard pressed to find someone who does not believe there needs to be changes in Healthcare and insurance but changing one and not the other will cause more issues than it solves.

Start over and come up with a plan that actually helps both the uninsured and the employers who, incase anyone has forgotten, do try to provide affordable coverage for their employees.

Pass a bill that will incent Americans to eat right and exercise.  Instead of subsidizing health care, subsidize fruits and vegetables to make them more affordable than candy and pre-packaged foods.  Require physical education everyday for our children (add it on to the end of the day and don't tell me it is too expensive, if  billions were necessary to save the banking industry what is the appropriate cost for improving future generations health literally & fiscally).  Create tax credits for having the appropriate BMI (1099-BMI from your Dr.), gym memberships (1099-GYM) and purchasing exercise/sports equipment.  We could always use a few more 1099’s.  However the combined forces of the fruit, vegetable & gym lobby have an uphill battle to fight on Capitol Hill.  Not that this will resolve all problems within the US healthcare system, but it would help alleviate many of the problems that exist today and in the future.

With more realistic concerns being addressed for both physicians as well as individuals!

Has anyone really read enough of either bill to have an intelligent opinion?  And I'm not talking just what you've heard on news/media designed to shock and terrify.  Anyone?  Anyone?  Beuller?

Health insurance is not a personal right mandated under the U. S. Constitution.  Those who choose not to have health insurance for whatever reason should not receive free health insurance.  These people already have free health care -- when they are sick or hurt they go to the emergency room.  What the health care system needs is (1) nationwide not statewide competition and (2) tort reform to lower costs.  The administration of Medicare needs an overhaul -- it is extraordinarily inefficient (I'm 70 1/2).  Opportunities for Medicare fraud need to be identified and stopped.  It seems to me that the health care system functioned much more efficiently before the flood of paperwork with its errors made by untrained coders of medical procedures.  What we don't need in this country is socialized medicine!

Federal Gov has no business getting involved in Health Care.  Read the Constitution.

Pass a less amitious bill that covers things that have the most support, such as requiring coverage of pre-existing conditions. More can be added later.

The only clear way to get real reform is to do something that will create real "transparency" in medical care. That would be to regionally regulate the healthcare industry (like they do the utilities). Healthcare as it stands today does not react to changing market forces. If you regulate healthcare (including what they can charge and what facilities they can purchase or build) then in order to attract consumers they have to rely on efficiencies, performance and psoitive outcomes.

This bill has been debated publicly in terms of what catastrophe will or won't happen if it is or is not passed --  scare tactics on both sides--and does not address spiraling costs, which is the real elephant in the room.  What's needed is for Republicans and Democrats to define and reach agreement on objectives, then deal with details.  One option that should be considered is converting medical malpractice coverage to a system similar to workman's compensation.  This would address both unduly expensive defensive medicine and the high cost of medical malpractice insurance.

Start over and really address (1) the price of what health care providers are charging and (2) ERISA preemption.  (1) When digital watches first came out they were pricey.  Then, after the companies recouped their investment in the technology the price dropped.  That's the way it works.  Not so for health care.  My daughter's insulin pump cost $6,000.  You think the investment has been recovered in the 25 years or so since pumps were introduced?  The price is high and stays high and gets paid because I pay only 10 or 20 percent so I don't complain. (2) ERISA's grant of deferance and insufficient remedies means no power for the consumer.  If your claim or coverage is denied, you can sue and incurr the costs, etc. and in the unlikely event you win, all that you get is what you should have received in the first place.  Nothing for your years of bad health, your bankruptcy, your distroyed family etc.

this legislation will bring people 'down' instead of pulling people 'up'....and the system will be abused as soon as the ink dries....

I've said for a while that the problem to tackle first is the escalation of costs.  That's what Congress ought to get to work on.

I do not think THIS bill should be passed under any circumstances - EVER.  The next try should be honest, open, thoughtful and NOT full of bribes to make it pass.  Just having to bribe people for support should be indication enough that there is something really, really wrong.

"Passing Health Care Reform remains important.  Unfortunately the egos of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid got in the way, not that the intransigence of John Boehner and the Kentucky Senator helped any.  The American public is understandably upset at the back room dealing which never should have happened.  We need to pass a bill that covers:

  • Prohibition of pre-existing conditions
  • rating up due to age
  • community rating
  • removing the insurance company anti-trust exemption
  • allowing insurance sales across state lines.
  • tort reform calling for mediation rather than annuities for trial attornies
  • requirement that all people under 65 must have insurance, just as FICA is a requirement

These seven provisions or any part of them would be a good start.

I find it interesting that in Massachusetts where supposedly 98% of the residents are covered by insurance, a great majority of the residents like that program, whether Republican or Democrat."

They'll pass nothing but not for reasons you put above.  It will be because the Republican mandate is to stonewall and "just say no" to anything, regardless of its worth.

I hear there's a nationwide sale on tar, feathers, rails and ropes. It started in Mass. yesterday.

Haven't the foggiest notion; when it comes the politic of the House/Senate, it's anyone's guess.

I'd like to believe that with the clear and resounding Republican victory in Massachusetts of all states, the Democratic leadership in Congress (and the White House) will see the writing on the wall and be humble enough to realize they need to go back to square one.  But I'm afraid the Democratic Congress and the President will continue their arrogance and move forward with the reconciliation work they're doing on the existing bills - and I wouldn't be surprised if they tried to delay Scott Brown's confirmation so he won't have a vote.  Maybe I'm just being paranoid.

Pass nothing, because they really don't want to.  With elections coming up, they don't want to do anything that might endanger their precarious positions, so they will continue to squabble, procrastinate, and posture; in other words, business as usual.

More payoffs to get the agenda passed at taxpayer expense

Condemn Republicans because they can now block the Democratic majority.  That's what no one understands.  Healthcare reform is not the point, the entire government could not care less about the people's healthcare or anything else for that matter - the point is to have the power and exercise it over a manufactured crisis.  Can healthcare improve - of course it can and should; but not from government intervention.  I cannot for the life of me understand why people in this country want the government to decide anything regarding their ability to live - that's assisted suicide.  OH wait the government favors that.

pass whatever they can via nefarious methods, no doubt.

Since the people of Massachusetts just sent a clear message to Congress, I am anticipating even more politicking behind the scenes.  I want every one of them to remember who they are working for, and that their jobs are not secure.

They are in such a race to get this passed I really and truly think they'll pass anything at this point just to say that they got it done.

I don't know.  I can only hope that a message was sent by the Massachusetts election but according to news reports today, Nancy has, of course, totally missed it.

Who knows what these incompetents will do?