Baucus Compromise: Fines for Uninsured, Higher Rates for Those Over 60 and Smokers

More details about the Baucus compromise for health care reform:

But the Baucus plan also includes the fines that Obama has rejected....The Baucus plan would require insurers to take all applicants, regardless of age or health. But smokers could be charged higher premiums. And 60-year-olds could be charged five times as much for a policy as 20-year-olds. (my emphasis)

So a 60 year old and a smoker who can't afford premiums gets fined for not having insurance? But the 25 year old, whose premiums are 5 times less than the 60 year old, will get help with catastrophic insurance?

Mr. Baucus’s proposal would offer low-cost catastrophic insurance as an option for people 25 and younger. Policy experts say many people in this age group cannot afford comprehensive coverage or see no need for it.

And the public option? The AP says it's sinking fast: [More...]

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., told reporters a Medicare-like plan for middle-class Americans and their families isn't an essential part of legislation for him. Hoyer's comments came shortly after a key Democratic moderate said he could no longer back a bill that includes a new government plan.

...Rep. Mike Ross, D-Ark., who once supported a public option, said Tuesday that after hearing from constituents during the August recess, he's changed his mind. "If House leadership presents a final bill that contains a government-run public option, I will oppose it," Ross said.

This gets worse by the day. The House is going to pass a bill without a public option that heavily discriminates against those between 60 and 65, even if they are healthy. The Democrats in Congress who vote for this should hang their heads in shame. And so should President Obama if he signs it into law.

< Tuesday Night TV and Open Thread | Krugman's Response To The Centrist Blogosphere's Arguments Against The Public Option >
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    Ironically, (5.00 / 5) (#1)
    by Spamlet on Wed Sep 09, 2009 at 01:42:43 AM EST
    I feel sick.

    Andrew Coates (5.00 / 4) (#3)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Wed Sep 09, 2009 at 03:22:26 AM EST
    strikes the perfect description of the Baucus plan:

    criminalize the uninsured and subsidize unaffordable private insurance premiums with public funds

    (found Coates site via Corrente)

    Still trying to find that cartoon of the Democratic Donkey shooting a gun with a hook-shaped barrel (so that the gun is actually pointing back at the donkey).  The point is that this plan would be political suicide. I can't see it passing.  In fact, Nancy has said that a plan without a public option doesn't have the votes to pass.  We can hope.

    If this is how it comes out (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by sallywally on Wed Sep 09, 2009 at 07:06:39 AM EST
    (1) It's even worse than I feared, and
    (2) I hope hope hope it fails! It's utterly draconian.

    I wonder what this plan would d to Medicare, which I'm to go on as of Jan. 1, when I become 65....


    The Baucus Medicare (none / 0) (#40)
    by KeysDan on Wed Sep 09, 2009 at 09:22:59 AM EST
    framework seemed suspiciously vague and non-specific, but I am getting the idea that benefits will increasingly become a function of income.  For example, the bill speaks of benefits (including those for part D, and in the donut hole) based on premium levels (which are to be frozen until 2019) above the $96.40 per month. (incomes of $85,000 per year or less for singles).  However, medical providers, rather than taking a scheduled cut next year will actually get a slight increase.  A preventative consult will be allowed every two years.  Physician Assistants will function in hospice care as if they are attending physicians.  Hospital providers will be increasingly penalized for hospital-acquired infections (MRSA, bed sores) and for culpable re-admissions. Beyond that, it seems to be a big question mark.

    Sounds like an insurance company bail out (none / 0) (#4)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Sep 09, 2009 at 04:10:55 AM EST
    to me.  I still feel like someone in a backroom is arguing that the economy can't take the shock of the health insurance industry going under.  I suppose they are too big to fail too now.

    It's always been a bailout.... (5.00 / 3) (#7)
    by lambert on Wed Sep 09, 2009 at 06:38:33 AM EST
    ... for the insurance companies. See AP here at "guaranteed market". As Ian Welsh (not a single payer "purist") remarks:
    The best way to make money, bar none, is to have government force people to buy your product.

    Now, I know the argument that tight regulation is going to make everything OK, even though insurance companies always profit by collecting premiums and denying care, and that it's their fiduciary responsibility to make that profit. So make sure to read further on in the Coates article, which discusses the failure of the two state experiments most like the "public option" (or "plan"): MA and ME.

    So, the excrementalist argument is that we can take this small change and make things better later. But isn't just as likely that the insurance companies will take a percentage of their guaranteed profits and kick it back to Congress to buy some more congress critters, and prevent any further reform? And that the FAIL of the crippled "public plan" (or "option"), whose CBO-projected 10 million enrollees won't have enough market power to "keep the insurance companies honest" will poison the well for future reform? And that all this is going to take another decade or so to play out -- and crippled the Medicare brand too?*

    It may be fine to let a camel's nose under the tent, but what if the camel is a vampire squid with a guaranteed market?

    NOTE * Public option advocates like Howard Dean should really stop confusing public option with Medicare. Medicare is a single payer system. Public option, exactly because it is one option among many, is not a single payer system.


    If there is a public option (none / 0) (#16)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Sep 09, 2009 at 07:35:31 AM EST
    I can deal with the other given situations.  That's a camel nose for me I can deal with.  If there is no public option though, only regulation and mandates.....outrageous.  And the whole deal is nothing more than an economic bailout for industries that long ago blew themselves up with their own greed, and they would never survive this market correction because of that.  If they were allowed to fail, it would provide a real opportunity for companies with better business models to enter the game and provide real competition charging fees that people could afford.

    Health insurance (none / 0) (#34)
    by gyrfalcon on Wed Sep 09, 2009 at 09:03:25 AM EST
    companies are hauling in record profits, so I'm not sure where you're coming from on this.

    In 2008, (5.00 / 1) (#38)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Wed Sep 09, 2009 at 09:14:42 AM EST
    profits at many health insurance companies were down, actually.  Why?  Because of bad investments, downturning stock market.  (but definitely not from paying expensive claims.)

    I'm too tired to find the links again.  If you're interested, please google.


    Without government and employer (5.00 / 2) (#42)
    by MO Blue on Wed Sep 09, 2009 at 09:40:53 AM EST
    subsidies the private health insurance system would be unsustainable. Because of cost people, even those who are offered cost sharing employer coverage, are dropping their insurance.

    The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported this week, "Americans with employer-sponsored health insurance can expect to pay a bigger share of health care costs this year than ever before -- 41 percent."  For families in Minneapolis, they estimate, that will come to almost $7,000 out of pocket per family. That's the world we live in now.  We also know what the world will look like tomorrow, as the Center for American Progress has put together a projection based on Congressional Budget Office data:  average premiums will rise more than 70% in the next 8 years, even faster than they have the previous 8 years.  Snowe may think employer-based insurance can turn this runaway train around voluntarily, but a Hewlitt Associates survey says  as many as 20% of businesses are contemplating dropping health benefits in the next 3 to 5 years if this trend continues.  So, good luck with that. link

    Even now the the insurance company is pricing itself out of the market for many people, more employers are dropping employee insurance, requiring ever increasing employee participation or offering junk insurance. Health care costs are forcing more and more people into bankruptcy (health care write offs increase cost of care). So the argument is not that the industry is not extremely profitable. The argument is the private insurance industry would continue to lose market share if not propped up by the government because they are offering a overpriced, defective product that people cannot afford.

    And, (5.00 / 1) (#62)
    by easilydistracted on Wed Sep 09, 2009 at 12:01:02 PM EST
    while plan premiums rise, plan benefits are decline. Some changes are obvious, like increased annual deductibles. Some are not so obvious. For example, in the summary of amendements I received for my plan for the upcoming year was an obscure passage regarding limited coverage for routine office calls at the negotiated rate (maximum of three in the new plan year). Plan participants that don't bother to read the plan summary will probably remain oblivious -- until office call number four and a bill from their friendly PCP at the non-negotiated rate of, say, around 150 smackers.  

    If things are so peachy for them (none / 0) (#37)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Sep 09, 2009 at 09:13:27 AM EST
    Why won't they give Waxman their financials?  They claim it is about being "ashamed" of their CEO pay and that isn't anyone's business, but we already know what those jerks make.  And nobody has rioted about Goldmans yet.  We have a pretty good idea of what their "administrative" costs are too.  We have some figures, but we don't get to have the whole enchilada.  Why?  And why must rates continue to increase so much faster than actual medical costs are?  I ask these questions because things are not fully lining up for me.

    All the proposals are crap... (5.00 / 3) (#8)
    by masslib on Wed Sep 09, 2009 at 06:44:59 AM EST
    I am going to keep waving the yellow flags here.  The CBO predicts at best under HR3200 10 million would be enrolled in the "public plan" by 2019, under HELP, zero would be enrolled by 2019.  For some issues, in some emergencies, there is no middle way.  We need a major expansion of government administered health care.  Let me repeat, we need a major expansion of government administered health care.  We don't need a public plan that acts as some sort of threat to private for-profit insurance.  We need more government administered health care.  We are crowding out massive amounts of spending in other sectors to maintain the health finance sector.  It's foolish.  Yes, Baucus's plan is horrible, but don't be fooled.  this may appear to make the other plans look positively left-wing in comparison.  They are not.  47% of all health care bills are already paid by government administered health care.  The private industry is pushing prices up, including for the government.

    Oh, and the smoking thing is so neoliberal and sick.  McCaskill also wants to charge smokers more.  

    Interesting how they are still picking (5.00 / 3) (#10)
    by nycstray on Wed Sep 09, 2009 at 07:20:22 AM EST
    on smokers, who are already paying more in taxes on the product, but make no mention of obesity, which is a major problem and also affecting children's health.

    How about people who (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by Wile ECoyote on Wed Sep 09, 2009 at 08:08:59 AM EST
    don't exercise? Or people who eat fatty foods?

    How about people... (5.00 / 3) (#31)
    by kdog on Wed Sep 09, 2009 at 08:59:11 AM EST
    who excercise, do yoga, and eat rice cakes and live till 108?  Thats alotta check-ups!

    Lifestyles (5.00 / 1) (#61)
    by hollyfromca on Wed Sep 09, 2009 at 11:59:38 AM EST
    I don't have a link for it, but I heard on the teevee last month that obese people actually cost the system twice as much as smokers.  And long ago there was some study that said that smokers actually suck much less total resources out of the system, since they die a decade earlier and collect less S.S.  And all of my healthy athletic friends are all having lots of costly hip and knee replacement surgeries from all of their injuries!

    Then there's us pet owners! (5.00 / 1) (#63)
    by nycstray on Wed Sep 09, 2009 at 12:14:22 PM EST

    WASHINGTON -- Federal government researchers Thursday filled in a blank spot on the map of life's hazards -- the part occupied by Spot, Fifi, the leathery chewing pretzel and the water bowl.

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that an average of 86,629 Americans visit the emergency room each year after taking a fall caused by pets or their paraphernalia.

    That's the equivalent of 240 ER trips a day, and roughly 1 percent of the 8 million visits for falls of all sorts.

    About one-third of the falls broke bones, about one-quarter caused bruises, one-fifth caused sprains, and a little more than one-tenth caused lacerations. About 62 percent of the falls involving dogs occurred at home, and 86 percent of those involving cats.

    "We know that pets have many benefits," said Judy Stevens, an epidemiologist at CDC's injury center. "We just want people to be aware that pets and pet items can be a fall hazard and can lead to injuries."

    Or drinkers, or... (none / 0) (#11)
    by masslib on Wed Sep 09, 2009 at 07:22:21 AM EST
    how about this?  We charge anorexics more.  It's cruel to charge smokers more.

    Watch it on the anorexics! (none / 0) (#13)
    by nycstray on Wed Sep 09, 2009 at 07:26:20 AM EST
    As a skinny chick, they might decide to raise my rates even more!!!

    Cigs are 10 bucks a pack here, and iirc, part of that money does go into health care.


    LOL, my point is smokers are not (5.00 / 3) (#14)
    by masslib on Wed Sep 09, 2009 at 07:28:45 AM EST
    the only people making unhealthy choices.  Demonizing addicts really doesn't get at the root of our health care problems, even if it feels good for the puritans.  

    Oh, I got your point :) (5.00 / 2) (#19)
    by nycstray on Wed Sep 09, 2009 at 07:57:59 AM EST
    Man, they've really F'ed this up. I'm not seeing anything that will help with the cost of insurance as it currently stands and then they want to allow them to raise my rates based on getting older? Isn't that the same thing that is happening now? If I have to pay even 3x what it would currently cost me, that would be over 1200 a month when I'm 60. And if there are any cost control regs, they won't kick in until 2013 or later, right? My only choice for health care may be to become poverty stricken as I age. Oy.

    Well, it looks like smokers (none / 0) (#33)
    by KeysDan on Wed Sep 09, 2009 at 09:01:40 AM EST
    are not the "lone rangers".  Really.  The Baucus plan does speak to other conditions that are sensed to be self-inflicted, including hyperlipemia, diabetes.  It was not clear in the framework released just how, but these and other situations including little exercise or obesity where pointed out.  

    little exercise? (5.00 / 1) (#50)
    by nycstray on Wed Sep 09, 2009 at 10:44:33 AM EST
    Interesting. Well, if that happens, I suggest more people own Dalmatians and other dogs that need a couple good miles a day* {grin}

    * for us, that's almost a power-walked couple miles. We're both fast walkers :) Helps ya get your Vit D requirements also!


    So if you have (5.00 / 2) (#54)
    by Spamlet on Wed Sep 09, 2009 at 11:14:04 AM EST
    chronic pain, say, from a back injury (perhaps incurred through exercise), will you have to wear a disability placard whenever you're outdoors, to keep from being rounded up and fined by the Exercise Police? Why not just sew it into the fabric of your clothes?

    Reminds me... (5.00 / 2) (#56)
    by kdog on Wed Sep 09, 2009 at 11:17:16 AM EST
    of the daily excercises in front of the telescreen in "1984".

    They're next (none / 0) (#15)
    by mmc9431 on Wed Sep 09, 2009 at 07:32:46 AM EST
    After they finally succeed in bleeding the smokers out of existance, they're going to need something to replace all the lost tax revenue. Alcohol will be the next alternative.

    I won't allow myself to be bled.... (none / 0) (#18)
    by kdog on Wed Sep 09, 2009 at 07:54:58 AM EST
    I'll keep dodging the draconian taxes, and I'll find a way to dodge a health insurance mandate fine if I should lose, or have to cancel, my insurance.

    Freedom...where there is the will, there is a way, even if its the sneaky way.  But god damn it I will exist, even thrive, despite the odds being stacked against by our esteemed central planners, all so their insurance buddies can continue to pay their greens fees and summer home mortagages off our sickness and pain.

    My gut says run, don't walk, from anything they end up signing.


    I'm with you (none / 0) (#55)
    by Spamlet on Wed Sep 09, 2009 at 11:16:08 AM EST
    Rebellion if you want to make your point loudly (sometimes you do). Subversion if you just want to be free.

    Agree (5.00 / 2) (#20)
    by cal1942 on Wed Sep 09, 2009 at 08:08:48 AM EST
    Oh, and the smoking thing is so neoliberal and sick.

    Happy to see someone else on this site has it in for neoliberals. Hopefully there are others.

    That part of the Baucus plan may warm their pinched little hearts.


    So, how are we, the people (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by nycstray on Wed Sep 09, 2009 at 07:23:14 AM EST
    supposed to afford this? And continue to afford it?

    I can afford the fine, not the health insurance . . .

    Ironic (5.00 / 3) (#23)
    by cal1942 on Wed Sep 09, 2009 at 08:11:58 AM EST
    ain't it?

    A fine for not making enough money.

    The madness continues unabated.


    Or making enough money (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by nycstray on Wed Sep 09, 2009 at 08:39:37 AM EST
    but having it tanked by the high insurance rates. I predict in 2-3 yrs, insurance premiums for me would match my current rent. How crazy is that?! Yes, I have an affordable rent. Doesn't mean I can afford to pay it twice every month. I keep my life affordable due to the nature of my business. Never know when I'm going to have a slow month or 3.

    Madness is right.


    Canada is beginning to look good! (5.00 / 4) (#17)
    by mmc9431 on Wed Sep 09, 2009 at 07:43:00 AM EST
    So people that are 60 have to punt for 5 years until their Medicare kicks in. Great. At a time of life when earning capacity, (as well as any job potential), diminishes, people are now going to have to dig into their retirement funds before they retire just to survive.

    This is the worst possible bill they could come up with.

    Didn't anyone mention to them that this is also a very strong voting block? It seems as though the Democrat's are on a suicide mission.

    Sort of a twofer (5.00 / 2) (#25)
    by cal1942 on Wed Sep 09, 2009 at 08:20:33 AM EST
    Can't afford the higher premiums so dip into retirement savings that are already nearly totaled because of the meltdown.

    The bonus for Republicans is that the Baucus gang of six has created a deadly device aimed straight at the Democratic Party. Nice work Democrats.  Go all bipartisan and bring about your own demise.  



    Go ahead (none / 0) (#22)
    by Wile ECoyote on Wed Sep 09, 2009 at 08:09:41 AM EST
    you will be back down here to get treated quickly.  

    the percentage of canadians... (5.00 / 3) (#30)
    by Dadler on Wed Sep 09, 2009 at 08:47:52 AM EST
    ...who come to the us for healthcare is miniscule.  most of them are those wealthy enough to have elective procedures without waiting.  stop lying about that.  and it is a lie.  a childish one, to boot.

    Point out the lie (2.00 / 1) (#41)
    by Wile ECoyote on Wed Sep 09, 2009 at 09:30:24 AM EST
    Canadians do come to the US for treatment correct?  Point out the lie.  The lie is sticking your head in the sand and repeating over and over the Canadian health care system or the NHS is perfect.

    Americans traveling out of the country (5.00 / 1) (#44)
    by MO Blue on Wed Sep 09, 2009 at 09:56:23 AM EST
    for medical care is a new private insurance industry initiative.

    As Washington searches for ways to tame the country's escalating health care costs, more insurers are offering networks of surgeons and dentists in places like India and Costa Rica, where costs can be as much as 80% less than in America.

    Until recently, most Americans traveling abroad for cheaper non-emergency medical care were either uninsured or wealthy. But the profile of medical tourists is changing. Now, they are more likely to be people covered by private insurers, which are looking to keep costs from spiraling out of control.

    The four largest commercial U.S. health insurers -- with enrollments totaling nearly 100 million people -- have either launched pilot programs offering overseas travel or explored it. Several smaller insurers and brokers also have introduced travel options for hundreds of employers around the country. link

    In the not too distant future  it is very possible that our beloved private insurance industry will force you to travel to India for health care while the Canadians will still be getting treatment at home.


    Talk about outsourcing! (none / 0) (#57)
    by Spamlet on Wed Sep 09, 2009 at 11:19:36 AM EST
    n the not too distant future  it is very possible that our beloved private insurance industry will force you to travel to India for health care while the Canadians will still be getting treatment at home.

    the topic is not Canada (none / 0) (#60)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Sep 09, 2009 at 11:35:43 AM EST
    please return to the subject which is Baucus's compromise bill.

    And unless they are fantastically wealthy (none / 0) (#35)
    by sallywally on Wed Sep 09, 2009 at 09:04:57 AM EST
    I doubt they go to the head of the line in the US.

    The rest of us have to wait forever down here, even for procedures that are not necessarily "elective" as long as they aren't immediately life-threatening.


    And you think the gov't will fix (none / 0) (#39)
    by Wile ECoyote on Wed Sep 09, 2009 at 09:18:13 AM EST
    that?  LOL

    Am I the only one who wonders (5.00 / 2) (#24)
    by Anne on Wed Sep 09, 2009 at 08:13:35 AM EST
    if the Baucus plan is designed to be so bad, so unacceptable, that people will automatically rally around the other plans that seem "better" on the face of it?

    I fear we are once again looking at "compromise," but I just cannot bring myself to choose between the sharp-stick-in-the-eye that is the Baucus plan, and the kick-in-the-shins, punch-in-the-gut plans already on the table.

    Is this how it's going to be now?  Having to sell off more and more of our souls to the corporate masters in exchange for a few crumbs?  Because that's sure how it feels.

    And I don't like it one little bit.

    No, I am absolutely sure that is what is (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by masslib on Wed Sep 09, 2009 at 08:35:25 AM EST

    Meant to scare us off (none / 0) (#26)
    by mmc9431 on Wed Sep 09, 2009 at 08:33:43 AM EST
    I think all the plans now seriously considered are designed to scare away any prospect of HRC. Their thinking is:

    If you think things are bad now, look what the alternative is.


    Maybe (none / 0) (#29)
    by cal1942 on Wed Sep 09, 2009 at 08:39:55 AM EST
    It's to kill off any possibility of regulation, forget "reform."

    If this thing passes the Senate and whatever passes the House can you imagine what would happen in conference.

    It would seem that with the bar so low going in that what would come out would not get by the House.


    You're not the only one (none / 0) (#58)
    by Spamlet on Wed Sep 09, 2009 at 11:21:58 AM EST
    That has occurred to me as well.

    Maybe the 11th-dimensional chess meme is true.



    I don't understand this post (5.00 / 3) (#32)
    by gyrfalcon on Wed Sep 09, 2009 at 09:00:52 AM EST
    How do you get from an incomplete group of ideas being circulated informally by Baucus that hasn't even been agreed to by the "Gang of Six," never mind the whole Senate Finance Committee, never mind the whole Senate to "The House is going to pass a bill without a public option that heavily discriminates against those between 60 and 65, even if they are healthy."

    Baucus's fragmentary ideas are entirely insane, but because Steny Hoyer said -- again -- that a PO isn't essential for him, that means the House is going to capitulate and pass something based on the Baucus outline?  I don't see how that follows.

    In the same press conference where Hoyer made that comment, Nancy Pelosi reiterated that no bill without a PO is going to pass the House.

    The Baucus stuff is so insane, in both policy and political terms, I'm wondering if it's even meant to be taken seriously.  It's not even a proposal, it appears to be a list of things Baucus thinks the "Gang of Six" would agree to.

    What Baucus thinks he's doing here I have no idea, but it's not entirely impossible he's simply circulating the pathetic and grotesque results of  months and months and months of sincere efforts to work with what's now called Republican "moderates."

    "Backward reels the mind," as the saying goes, at the political consequences of "health care reform"
    that ends up costing everybody much more money and accomplishing nothing.

    Nancy Pelosi, (none / 0) (#49)
    by NYShooter on Wed Sep 09, 2009 at 10:41:27 AM EST
    "No bill without a PO is going to pass the House."

    So when the whole plan goes up in flames the Republicans will say, "See, their plan was so bad even they wouldn't vote for it."

    "We did the country a favor by pointing out how bad it was, and once they themselves saw it for what it was, they shot down their own plan."


    The Republicans will have (none / 0) (#64)
    by gyrfalcon on Wed Sep 09, 2009 at 01:31:11 PM EST
    a spin for whatever passes or doesn't pass that makes them seem smart.  It's not worth considering what "the Republicans will say."  They always say something.

    Something for everyone to hate (5.00 / 1) (#36)
    by ruffian on Wed Sep 09, 2009 at 09:08:00 AM EST
    and nothing for anyone to love. Heckuva job Max.

    I wish it was a scheme to highlight the relative simplicity of Medicare-for-all, but I fear he is really serious.

    Good luck to Hoyer with that nonsense (none / 0) (#2)
    by shoephone on Wed Sep 09, 2009 at 02:01:15 AM EST
    Some of the members of the Progressive Caucus really detest him (and that is an understatment). Internecine warfare, here we go!

    Now is the time for leadership, and the leadership is crumbling. So... what will Pelosi say next?

    My suggestion to everyone: Get on the phone to House members Wednesday and Thursday. Let them know they'd better do the right thing. And yes, add "or else" if you must.  

    Yep (none / 0) (#5)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Sep 09, 2009 at 05:54:16 AM EST
    it gets worse and worse. Hopefully this piece of garbage doesnt get passed.

    I have to agree with everyone (none / 0) (#6)
    by Chuck0 on Wed Sep 09, 2009 at 06:33:43 AM EST
    else here. This proposed bill is crap. And I don't see how it is reform in any way, shape or form. I'd call my rep in Congress, but that's basically a waste time in that he's a worthless Republican that pretty much toes the party line on everything. I doubt the guy could develop an original thought if his life depended on it

    I'm much closer to 60 than to (none / 0) (#43)
    by Moishele on Wed Sep 09, 2009 at 09:52:34 AM EST
    25, and I could afford to buy private health insurance if it were available to me. Currently we're on COBRA but as with all good things that will end some day soon.

    The biggest problem for me is that I'm a 8 year cancer survivor and private insurers literally hang up the phone when they hear that bit of info. Unless insurers are required to take all who apply I'll be up a creek. I'd have to give Baucus credit for at least including that provision in the plan.

    I have no issues whatsoever with smokers being charged more as they will require more care. Currently we all pay for their habit whether in insurance premiums or tax dollars. If people want to continue smoking or if they 'enjoy' it so then let them realize they'll have to pay for it.

    And as for fines for those who don't sign up, I could see that provision being shot down quickly. Certain religious groups do not include modern medical care in their belief system, and one can't legally require them to do otherwise.

    Smokers will require more care than who? (5.00 / 4) (#46)
    by nycstray on Wed Sep 09, 2009 at 10:20:30 AM EST
    The morbidly obese? Anyone with a terminal condition? Those that require critical care from car accidents etc? Those with curable life threatening illnesses? Those with chronic conditions?

    As a smoker, I haven't been ill for years or had any need for medical treatment aside from a bashed up knee from hitting the sidewalk. Right now I'm an insurance company's dream (my non-smoking friends, not so much!) and have been my whole adult life (closer to 60 than 25 also). Prior to the bashed knee, the only other medical treatments I have needed have been work related injuries. Perhaps you should raise my rates when I work on-site? Oh, I know, raise my rates because I'm a pet owner! Have you seen the ER stats for us, lol!~


    I question this (5.00 / 1) (#59)
    by Spamlet on Wed Sep 09, 2009 at 11:28:14 AM EST
    Certain religious groups do not include modern medical care in their belief system, and one can't legally require them to do otherwise

    Remember, we're not talking about a requirement to seek or get medical care. We're talking about a requirement to buy health insurance. They can believe whatever they want as long as they shell out. Just as people who send their kids to religious schools are required to pay the property taxes that fund the public school system.


    Not sold... (none / 0) (#45)
    by kdog on Wed Sep 09, 2009 at 10:07:43 AM EST
    on smokers requiring more care or being more expensive...yeah, smokers get cancer at a higher rate, but they also tend to die a lot younger, requiring less care over the course of their life.  Smokers are also more likely to drink or use other intoxicants, further shortening the life span.  

    Not to mention we pay at the candy store in the form of the ridiculously high sales taxes.


    And some smokers (5.00 / 1) (#47)
    by nycstray on Wed Sep 09, 2009 at 10:25:40 AM EST
    and ex-long term smokers live into their 90s  ;)

    Convenience stores in New York and the smokers who will be pay the price are angry about the change, but health officials hail the tax increase as a success. Officials said cigarette taxes will raise a total of $1.3 billion for the state budget in fiscal year 2008-2009, including the new tax.


    perhaps we should get a discount instead of a hike, lol!~


    All this time... (5.00 / 1) (#48)
    by kdog on Wed Sep 09, 2009 at 10:33:43 AM EST
    I didn't know you were in the reviled and over-taxed smokers club stray...my sister!...:)

    Can I still be your sister (none / 0) (#51)
    by nycstray on Wed Sep 09, 2009 at 10:46:25 AM EST
    when I quit?  {grin} Yeah, it's my one main vice, but I still follow my beliefs and go the American Spirit non-additive route, lol!~

    Always my sister kid.... (none / 0) (#52)
    by kdog on Wed Sep 09, 2009 at 10:52:04 AM EST
    but what will NYC and NY State due when you move, or if you quit before you move...you're one of their workhorses:)

    I hear CA has a budget problem also (none / 0) (#53)
    by nycstray on Wed Sep 09, 2009 at 10:58:57 AM EST
    hmmm, maybe I should rethink quitting, lol!~

    My mother (none / 0) (#65)
    by gyrfalcon on Wed Sep 09, 2009 at 01:33:34 PM EST
    passed away at 93 with clear lungs and a 70-year pack-a-day habit.  Some people luck out.

    And mine didn't luck out (none / 0) (#66)
    by shoephone on Wed Sep 09, 2009 at 03:07:40 PM EST
    Kidney disease and heart disease got her at age 69.