Disscussion: The Obamacare debate never slows
Based on the number of comments that attach themselves to articles about Obamacare, it’s clear that readers are both interested and concerned about how it will affect them personally, how it will affect the quality of health care generally and whether it is a good thing for the country.
As Sandhya Somashekhar and Amy Goldstein write, “consumer advocates say it is becoming easier for people to sign up for coverage but insurers warn that critical flaws continue to hinder participating health plans.” Their article has attracted more than 1,100 comments at this writing.
We’ll start with a cynical remark from WashThatManRightOuttaMyHair, who wrote, “Generic Democrat campaign ad for 2014:”I was for it before I was against it.”
aj49 said, “Dems are on Holiday recess and facing their constituents and they know if Obamacare fails, so do they. For the Dems -- 2014 is all or nothing
To which proudlyprogressive replied, “And when it succeeds, so does the nation. Little right wing minds.”
Skeptic said, “Co-Pays are irrelevant. Total out-of-pocket for the year is the relevant metric. People who care about co-pays are the same kind of deep thinkers who buy a car based on the monthly payment.”
ThinkThink2 wrote, “Who cares as long as every American has access to healthcare? We’ve waited years for this, what’s a couple of months?”
VWWV said, “you people need to realize one, very simple thing: If you HAD INSURANCE. You were ALREADY PAYING for “freeloaders” like homeless vets, schizophrenics, poor kids, and domestic violence victims. Why? Because hospitals are already required to not let people die on their doorsteps. If you really want this winner-take-all culture, then you need to pass a bill allowing Hospitals to deny care.”
Liberalandproudofit wrote, “The actuaries aren’t dumb. The ACA will pick up after the slow start. Whatever you may think of the president, some very smart people are working on this.”
To which cashman7323 replied, “LOL. Libs never do understand that what sounds good to an actuary does not pan out in reality. People are more like cats than sheep.”
Ah haa! said, “Just when you think this Obamacare debacle can’t get any worse, you wake up and read the paper and read about the latest disaster. When [Sen.] Al Franken (D-Minn.) says it’s bad it’s bad!”
And angie12106 added, “Yeah, he’s campaigning for next year -- hedging.”
gnsherman wrote, “I just don’t understand. You pay thousands of dollars for nothing. The insurance companies provide what? Yet, people are upset that these insurance companies are regulated to insure that they provide something. Who would have thought anyone could argue against this.”
And angie12106 said, “Yeah, Righties just don’t get it -- because they don’t THINK.”
Skunk at the picnic wrote, “That is simply not true. People can and do buy insurance that meets their needs. To say that millions don’t have any idea of their needs is stupid and insulting.”
We’ll close with this short conversation:
BartDad said, “My friend who makes about $30K had a $180/month policy that didn’t cover her asthma and had a $15K lifetime max. Now she gets a [bronze] policy that covers everything for $0 a month. Of course she has to pay the deductibles and copayments but as long as she keeps close watch on her asthma she won’t get sick.”
angie12106 said, “Great news.”
But bz11 replied, “Her cost of $0 per month is being paid by someone else yep great news ”
All comments on this article are here.
Discussion: Mental illness gets increased attention
Our Readers Who Comment are engaged in a serious debate about mental illness and its treatment (or absence thereof) in the aftermath of the stabbing of Virginia state Sen. R. Creigh Deeds, apparently by his son, who then fatally shot himself, police believe. The young Deeds had undergone a psychiatric evaluation but was not admitted to a hospital because no bed was available.
We’ll start with EternalOptimist1971, who wrote, “This is just so sad. A young man is now dead, a father lying in a hospital bed injured and devastated by the loss of his son, all for the lack of a bed at the local psychiatric hospital operating under a limited budget. Something needs to be done to prevent this type of event from ripping another family apart. A better funding formula with more heart and a reduced “bang for the buck” attitude should be re-examined.”
CA_DixieMay said, “This exemplifies the depth of people’s not understanding mental illness ”State investigators said Tuesday that they were still trying to establish a motive and the sequence of events that led to the violence, which they said appeared to begin with an altercation between the men.” A motive? He was ill he was irrational and in serious need [of] hospital care. Condolences and well wishes to the family. These situations are terrible and I wish nobody had to go through them. We need to do a better job of aiding the ill person and protecting the rest.”
clausgehner wrote, “An investigation of mental health services is overdue in the whole country, not just in Virginia. The other question, however, which also bears some investigation, is, how did the son get hold of a firearm? This seems to be a recurring issue, that the parents/guardians of young adults with known mental issues seem to allow, or at least not adequately prevent, access to their guns. I am very much in favor of universal background checks, but even the most stringent of these would not prevent this kind of tragedy if the gun-owners do not act responsibly. Not to blame the victim at this point in the tragedy, but this could easily have cost other innocent victims their lives.”
Desertdiva said, “Coming from a medical care background if there are no beds there are no beds. Either there wasn’t adequate staff to open new beds or there weren’t new beds available. Either way you can’t produce something that doesn’t exist. I used to be in the homes with these people and I know first hand what it’s like to try and find someone a bed. The Deeds family incident isn’t unique but because of their name recognition it became public knowledge. Many of these people go on to kill their family members and it’s only a blip on the evening news.”
CynicalRant wrote, “Yes, the mental health system is a failure. We have people on meds who shouldn’t be, people without meds who need them, and people on treatments that will later prove to be harmful. The foundation is broken because of the health care system as a whole being run like a medication industry seeking higher profits. Simply put, people’s health ought to come before corporate profits. When will we start caring more about life than money?”
Lilmisspunky quoted the article, which said, “The attack on the senator brought new scrutiny to Virginia’s mental-health system,” then asked: “Is the senator’s son so much more special than another person who has mental health issues? Why won’t the media ever write this type of ‘hype’ story about some unknown person?”
Which prompted InMcLean2.0 to reply, “It’s not a ‘hype’ story. Famous people get more coverage because they’re, well famous. That’s how fame works.”
JMUgrad wrote, “Completely agree, InMcLean. I don’t understand why people would comment on something when they have no idea what they are talking about, especially after a tragedy like this. Deeds does have a public record of advocating for broader mental health availability and treatment. I feel that those who do not have compassion for others in times of intense loss, such as this, need to reevaluate what it means to be human.”
But lilmisspunky insisted, “yes, it is a ‘hype’ story because it involves a senator’s son. otherwise we wouldn’t hear about an unknown person with the same problems. its no more of an important issue because it now includes the senators son. it was an important issue BEFORE the senator’s son died.”
JPRS said, “Hopefully this incident refocuses attention on the issue of mental health services, so that legislators in Richmond finally take some serious action to expand access and treatment. If so, something positive might come out of this tragic situation.”
jackyk wrote, “It is inexcusable that in 2013 this country still dismisses mental illness as something that should stay locked in the closet. I recently supported a family from my church whose daughter was highly suicidal and she was only kept inpatient for four days because that’s all Medicaid would pay for. She is not well, she can’t afford her meds and she is not receiving the help she needs. I am saddened by the stories I’ve read and the people even in my own neighborhood who should be receiving comprehensive long-term help. God help us all.
TigerMil replied, “Of course it’s excusable. We elect and reelect the legislators who cut these programs and feed other programs with more political capital than mental health.”
We’ll close with m.a.mestek, who said, “More goverment spending that’s how we fix this. BS. it is priorities. If you go to a hospital bleeding they make room for you. Mental illness needs the same priority.”
All comments on this article are here.
Comments: New tools let you fix those typos
It’s the commenter’s lament: You formulate an opinion, carefully construct an argument, confidently click the post button and then gasp in horror to find you’ve used “their” in place of “there.”
We’ve heard your pleas.
Thanks to a new set of commenting features that are rolling out now, users will have five minutes after they’ve posted a comment to go back and edit it.
They’re There, isn’t that better?
You’ll notice a few more changes as well:
-- Improved Report Abuse options: By popular demand, we’ve broadened the options under Report Abuse to these: Spam, Offensive, Disagree, and Off Topic. We know there are many specific reasons a comment could merit moderators’ attention, and we think your help and these flags will allow our mods to react most efficiently to objectionable content. Thanks to all who provided helpful suggestions.
-- Easier access to ignored user list: A new drop-down menu next to your avatar allows you to easily access and manage your list of ignored users. From this menu, you can also view your profile and look at your My Comments page, which lists your comment-thread contributions.
Some sections of the Web site, including this blog and some other blogs, won’t see these changes immediately, so don’t be alarmed if you hit a comment thread that hasn’t yet been upgraded.
What do you think of these improvements? What should we tackle next? Let us know in the comments section below.
We’ve heard from users who had trouble finding the new location of the stream-sorting toggle. You can still sort a comment stream by newest, oldest and most-liked comments — just click on the triangle on the Comments tab.
Also, you’ll notice that the flow of new comments pauses when you hover your cursor over the comment stream. That’s a feature we’ve implemented to stop the comment stream from scrolling while users are leaving replies.
We’re eager to hear your feedback on all of our improvements.
Discussion: A pregnant debate over maternity care
E.J. Dionne Jr.’s op-ed column Monday began, “If you’re a conservative strongly opposed to abortion, shouldn’t you want to give all the help you can to women who want to bring their children into the world? In particular, wouldn’t you hope they’d get the proper medical attention during and after their pregnancy?”
He asked these questions, he went on, because “conservatives are positively obsessed with trashing the Affordable Care Act’s regulation requiring insurance policies to include maternity coverage.” Our Readers Who Comment have pretty much sided with Dionne on this one, although there are exceptions in the more than 4,500 comments the column has generated.
We’ll start with choppy1, who wrote, “The response to maternity care in ACA reveals three things about conservatives:
“1) They are consistent about not wanting ‘us’ (old, white men) to pay for ‘them’ (young men and women of any race).
“2) They mistake what’s good for the individual (making it on your own) for what is good for society (everyone needs help to make it).
“3) They have so little interest in government and public policy that they don’t even bother to understand the basics, such how insurance works by pooling risk.”
DOps offered that “People who smoke represent a higher risk of incurring medical costs. people who don’t have a lower risk. That may be why even under ObamaCare, non-smokers pay less and smokers more. All risks are not rated equally. If you are someone who is ‘at risk’ of being pregnant, maybe you should have the option buying specialized coverage to handle the rating of that risk. And the rest of us are not subsidizing your privilege, which is likely substantially of your own choosing to exercise.”
wmbrent wrote, “Not to mention all those property taxes we pay, whether or not we have kids in school. The socialists pulled that fast one on us before we even knew there was such a thing as socialism.”
TheTruthSeeker1 replied that “We pay taxes for the good of all. Socialism is not for the good of all.”
SMS45 said, “It’s been my experience that some people who have never achieved anything feel better that someone else has less than they have.”
But sold2u replied, “Sigh. If you aren’t in favor of subsidizing apple pie and motherhood, you are somehow ‘against it.’ The correct question is ‘Why do we demand that people who aren’t going to have kids subsidize mothers?’ ”
boblesch pointed out, “We decided long ago that educating all children is good for society and we all pay for public schools through taxes. How is this different?”
Mirrorgazer said, “Motherhood is a choice; cancer is not. People who have children should be financially prepared to have them. Why couldn’t the government (compliments of taxpayers) just provide Medicare for those who could qualify? It has its flaws but is an established, appreciated program that works most of the time for most of its recipients. It covers basic physical exams and it can help the smart user prevent illnesses due to lifestyle. In the event of catastrophic illness, it comes through.”
shellbella3636 wrote that “Motherhood is NOT a choice when you shut down options for abortions.”
boblesch replied, “Say, we extrapolate the argument -- I have no risk of heart disease, cancer or stroke. Shouldn’t I be able to get a policy whose costs reflects my lack of risk in those high-cost ailments?”
But Bertram2 asked, “How do you have no risk for those things? Are you an android?”
And SANDYBRYANT said, “Bob, that’s because tomorrow you may get hit by a bus and suddenly all your risk factors change. Pooling risk makes it more expensive for those in the low-risk pool in the short run, but in the long run those costs over a lifetime will be lower for those individuals as they move into higher-risk pools, as naturally occurs with age.”
But boblesch wouldn’t quit, writing, “If I get hit by a bus -- my body will die and I’ll no longer need care.”
SMS45 replied, “Bob, the real question is whether you believe in universal access to healthcare.”
Boblesch said, “sms -- i’ve been an advocate of expanding Medicaid to everyone since 1993.”
And we’ll close with SMS45, who wrote: “Good man.”
All comments on this article are here.