19 Responses

  1. Titos
    Titos October 17, 2008 at 6:52 am | | Reply

    Obama’s plan to cover the uninsured will not discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions and if you are poor you will be susidized. In general the intention of Obama’s plan is to expand coverage, increase choice and invest in prevention, which in time will reduce total cost (in general similar to Massachusetts). McCain’s plan’s focus is on cutting costs now and by abolishing regulation at state level, most insureres will shift incorporation to states where regulation is more lax. He does provide more choice by setting you free from your employer’s plan through the personal tax credit (though he taxes the employer for it), but if at all the plan is ok for those already insured and healthy – not the 46 m uninsured, the sick or at risk. If you have diabetes, any other pre-existing condition or have medical risks you can’t afford McCain’s plan. It’s as simple as that.

  2. Jenny R
    Jenny R October 17, 2008 at 8:32 am | | Reply

    I think you have to look at the long term record of the parties. The Dems are far from perfect, but they have a much better record of trying to do something for working people. That they were not able to do this under Clinton was due to the fact that the Gingrich right wing took congress over very early and made it impossible to get anything through congress that would have benefited the average working person.

    McCain and Palin both have records for cutting services and working very closely with lobbyists who have personally rewarded them. Obama is a guy who walked away from the top jobs available to a top Harvard grad (we’re talking potential millions a year in income) and put his efforts into helping the poor.

    That pretty much says it all for me. He may not accomplish all he wants to–the republican heritage of catastrophic Federal debt will be with us for a long time, but at least he’ll try.

    McCain thinks people making a quarter of a million dollars are “typical working class.” Next to his income they do look kind of poor. He isn’t likely to put his efforts into helping the working person based on his very long record.

  3. JudyK
    JudyK October 17, 2008 at 8:36 am | | Reply

    It took years for me and my co-workers to talk the firm where we work into offering group insurance—and that was before my diabetes was diagnosed. So now someone wants to tax my employer for offering me that insurance!? Of course, my employer will drop the group insurance offered to us like a hot potato! With diabetes, where do I get individual insurance even for the minimum diabetes supplies and meds that I use? I’m Type 2 and don’t require a lot right now—but to an insurance company the future doesn’t look good for more meds and complications. No insurance company will want to cover me! I had already decided I would have to work well past 65 for the insurance my employer offers! I’m in no way eager to vote for anyone advocating my employer drop the group insurance! Thanks for helping me make up my mind!

  4. Romeo from the great white north
    Romeo from the great white north October 17, 2008 at 10:06 am | | Reply

    Up here in Canada we can go to any doctor we can or want to see, but after that, here in Alberta you have to have a private plan to cover any drugs, dental you may need and only some plans cover pump supplies or even test strips. I have a private plan and still spend around $2500 over and above what my plan covers.
    Most health care in North America is reactive not preventative. If our poloticians could get out of their box and look at things from a different perspective they may see that we would like to take better care of ourselves if we are given some choice.

  5. Kevin Freeman
    Kevin Freeman October 17, 2008 at 5:57 pm | | Reply

    I just can’t visualize our government helping out with the myriads of healthcare problems already in existence. I think that nationalizing healthcare will only add to them and drive up costs when doctors and hospitals start charging even more than the exorbitant amounts they already do. That’s exactly what happens over time with government controlled markets; they come to understand that when Uncle Sam in charge, it means a better paycheck for them. The problem is, that paycheck is coming out of our pockets on a national scale. Free markets work great when they’re allowed to. If only the government could figure that out… whatever happened to capitalism anyway?

  6. LindaB
    LindaB October 17, 2008 at 7:04 pm | | Reply

    Although neither plan is stellar, I am going with Obama and his vision. Why? Because as one of the 47 million without Insurance, and with several chronic conditions including diabetes, the cost out of pocket has been astounding. I am going without many of the things I require to make my life liveable.
    If McCain comes in we may get a 5000 credit, but, how will that help me when no company will cover me? A plan for both me and my husband would exceed the 5000 credit we would get. We do not have thousands sitting around to pay the difference and the company where my husband is employed would drop their employ Insurance like hot potato. He has insurance, they will not cover me for 16 months because of the diabetes and then they say they could still deny me, its at their discretion.
    Right now having out of pocket expense with this disease is a fact of life for alot of us,but, think about what you would be paying out of pocket if you had none at all?
    Check prices on some of these diabetic meds and related costs and you will see what I mean.
    My cost out of pocket for pump supplies is over 600.00. If I can get on my husbands pland it would be 65.00 for 3 months worth.Lyrica? over 400.00 a month at the lowest dose, or a 30.00 w/ the ins.
    I could go on and on.
    So when you think about your out of pocket after your Ins. pays, look at how much it would be without any Insurance. Scary huh??????

  7. William Schaffer
    William Schaffer October 18, 2008 at 1:37 am | | Reply

    Kevin F must not have looked around the world at health care spending. Nowhere in the industrialized world are there so many uninsured and underinsured as in this country. France, which has almost as high a GDP per capita spends about 60% as much as we do on health care – and does a better job. Sweden and Germany are almost comparable to France. Great Britain spends about 40% as much as we do and they get overall health care comparable to some of the worse health plans available in this country. The major difference is that about 30% of the health care dollar is spent on “overhead”, the cost of all those medical coders and assistants you see in clinics who have to try to get health insurance to pay for the care that you receive and for the agents at health insurance companies that try to reduce your benefits.

    We are never going to be anywhere near a “free market” situation for health care. It is not what you can call a rational market and never will be due to factors that normally constrain markets – mainly the feeling that people will demand the best care, no matter th cost, if it is available. In fact, with Medicare, Medicaid, the VA and a few other government health programs, about 50% of all health care is already provided by the government since most of your health care needs will occur in the last 10 years of your life. And the government is more efficient. For instance, with all of its faults the VA provides health care with only about 2-3% overhead as compared to an insurance-based 30%.

    Something that adds significantly to health care costs in this country is the cost of medications. I’m sure that you know that many people that do not have insurance get their prescriptions from beyond our borders – for a lot less. This is because of government controls of prices and bulk purchasing, something that was specifically denied in the Medicare Reform Act a few years ago. The high prices we have to pay is a result of market capitalism. It’s easy to know what will and what won’t be covered with a single payer system. If you want more coverage, you can buy relatively cheap supplemental insurance.

    And finally, there is the psychological toll that we have in this country that does not exist in Canada, Europe, Australia etc. Will our insurance cover this procedure? What if it is denied? Should I keep working at a lousy job just for the health insurance? How can I keep insurance if I change jobs or have a long term where I am unemployed or work for myself? The health insurance is actually constraining free market activity at work because it keeps people from making entrepreneurial changes.

    I’m cynical that any real changes can be made to a cheaper and better single-payer system since the insurance companies have too much money and power.

  8. Lauren
    Lauren October 18, 2008 at 8:17 am | | Reply

    How can we talk about emergency room visits and catastrophic expenses ‘driving up the cost of health care’ when insurance company CEOs (such as United Healthcare’s CEO) taking bonuses close to a BILLION dollars? Health insurance companies cannot be for-profit enterprises! No matter what Obama does (because he’s going to be our next president, thank God), he won’t make a dent if his plan is all about expanding “coverage.” As millions upon millions of us know, the insurance companies need to be reined in and in my opinion fined massively for all their improper denials, delay of claims, and even the “legal” practices that are beyond unethical (such as denying emergent and necessary care unless it is pre-authorized, refusing to cover the best drug available in favor of a cheaper, older-generation medication, etc).

    If I, when I am a physician, parcel out care the way insurance companies do, I would be the most unethical, discriminatory, and cruel doctor alive.

  9. Nancy J
    Nancy J October 18, 2008 at 12:51 pm | | Reply

    I think Obama plan will work because I am on Medicare now. I started when I was 42, they paid for all my Diabetes supplies and meds, any supports I needed. I have other medical problems too.

  10. julieswhimsies
    julieswhimsies October 19, 2008 at 12:01 pm | | Reply

    I think Senator Obama’s plan is the most rational at this point. McCain wants to allot everyone $5000.00, which will also be taxed. Whaaatttt?!!!

  11. Mat M
    Mat M October 19, 2008 at 11:00 pm | | Reply

    I would just like to say that I’m a little disapponted with Amy’s lack of confidence. I read this blog regularly and I am usually impressed with her ability to talk about issues that affect diabetics, which is why I find it very hard to believe that Amy is having any trouble at all comparing these two health plans. I am not going to go into detail here, several people have already writen very through comments about the details of the plans and why Obama’s plan is clearly the better choice for anyone with a cronic desease.

    Amy, you should have the guts to say what is very clear, Obama’s plan is better for this community. It is painfull to see you dodge this fact, and it has forced me to question whether you care more about losing some readers than you do about being a strong advocate for diabetics. I am not trying to be rude or offencive and I have a lot of respect for Amy’s opinions. I guess that is why this bothered me enough to write this comment on my phone as I’m reading in bed about to go to sleep.

  12. Alex
    Alex October 20, 2008 at 1:38 pm | | Reply

    I’m really surprised that you paid $5,000 for diabetic supplies and care while on a COBRA plan. I think your original health insurance may not have been quite as good as you thought it was.

    I was on COBRA a few years ago and then paid my own insurance premiums for a year or two and I never came close to spending $5,000 unless you count the year that I spent a week in a hospital after a bad bout of the flu.

    Right now I have a very inexpensive health plan through my university employer, but the prescription copay is ridiculously high and uses some percentage rate which means I pay for almost half of my supplies. That still doesn’t take me much above $1,000 if it even goes that far.

    I suppose you are using some of the newest treatments which insurance companies may balk the most at paying for which is probably part of the problem, but it might be worth checking out what other plans are available.

  13. Kevin D.
    Kevin D. October 21, 2008 at 12:08 am | | Reply

    What I don’t think alot on here realize is Obama’s plan has said NOTHING about controlling any costs. What good is he at giving everyone insurance if it will cost $1000 a month. If I didn’t have it through work and I had to pay $1000 a month, I’d take the risk and stay on my own. He doesn’t mention anything about it being affordable insurance.

  14. LindaB
    LindaB October 21, 2008 at 7:06 am | | Reply

    Obama talks about affordable hrealthcare all the time. He also has stated that if you like what you have keep it, if not, or you don’t have any you would have access to the same health plan as thay all have up in Washington. Look into what they have. It’s alot better than most private or employer coverage, and there is no limit on what they recieve as far as treatment, medications, pre-existing conditions, cutting edge technology, etc. If you think McCain or any of the others uses private insurance or even Medicare as there coverage, you are mistaken. They know what they have is much better than anything any of us have.

  15. mollyjade
    mollyjade October 21, 2008 at 9:28 am | | Reply

    Alex, a bottle of insulin is about $100. Strips are about a $1 each. So if you’re a type 1 doing the very minimum testing 4 times a day and your prescription insurance pays half, that’s $160/month in prescriptions alone. That will get you well over $1,000 without even getting into doctors visits, bloodwork, and any treatments for diabetes complications. And testing 4 times a day isn’t enough if you’re excersing, driving, or just monitoring closely.

  16. jules
    jules October 21, 2008 at 9:24 pm | | Reply

    Check out AARP’s website where they compare the two plans. McCain’s comes out ahead and that is from a very left leaning group. Shocking I know for all you libs. Just hold your hands out and Obama will give you whatever you want. The skies the limit!

  17. Bill
    Bill October 22, 2008 at 9:01 am | | Reply

    Alex – There’s a common misconception about COBRA. It’s not a separate plan, but rather a continuation of the plan that you had under your prior employer as if you are still an employee. The benefits are exactly the same. If the employer changes coverage, then just like a current employee, the COBRA enrollee’s coverage also changes. Because of that, some people’s Cobra plans are much better than other people’s.

    Amy – it’s highly unlikely that either of them would mess with COBRA, at least not without replacing it with something else…there are too many people who rely on it. In California, though, you’re also protected by CalCobra, which (to simplify things a bit) acts like an additional layer on top of Federal Cobra and extends it out to 36 months. We also have the MrMIP plan, which is guaranteed issue (with some exceptions) to people that have been declined by an individual health plan and haven’t voluntary terminated other coverage.

    And then there’s the Federal HIPAA legislation which requires health insurance companies that sell to individuals to offer at least two plans to people whose Cobra has expired or been involuntary lost. Those plans can be expensive, but they’re standard plans with (generally) a decent level of benefits.

    There’s a non-profit foundation that runs a website designed to help uninsured people sort out free and low cost coverage options…there’s a questionnaire that will tell you what local, state or federal programs you can qualify for… Check out for more info.

    Note: The standard disclaimer applies…none of this is legal advice. You need to consult an attorney or a qualified benefits specialist if you have questions about your specific situation.

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