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August 15, 2009


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That's a really interesting point of view

Love your insight as well as your presentation media. My opinion is that the system is broken but I have never seen (and I've been around a while) the government "fix" anything.

There are many countries in South America that offer better health care to their citizens than we do at a fraction of the cost!

We blow billions of dollars on health care yet can't provide something as simple as a neighborhood first aid clinic, which has existed for decades in many countries.

The solution to the health care crisis is to offer publicly funded health insurance to everyone while letting people purchase private health insurance if they prefer to do so (option 3).

This will force insurance companies to lower their premiums in order to compete with government-provided insurance.

This option will mean paying more taxes, but obviously it will still be considerably cheaper than private insurance, and won't make people dependent on their employers for their health care needs.

This current economic crisis has proven that free markets will not solve society's problems, especially not in the health care industry, when
the primary motivating factor of free markets is to maximize profits.

I enjoyed your napkin series. However, I have a bone to pick about your equation of HR 676/single payer insurance with socialized medicine. There is a big difference between the gov't as the insurer and gov't as the healthcare provider (aka socialized medicine). Under HR 676, the gov't would not directly employ healthcare providers. I think it would be a good idea to fix that napkin. We don't need more confusion in this mess of a debate.

This makes your illustrations more complicated, but another point is that some form of single payer and socialized healthcare already exist in our system and it's not going anywhere (Medicare, Medicaid and the VA system).

First let me say I regularly use your visual codex. Your sketching method is really great for communicating clearly. For example, it really made it clear how biased and oversimplified your reasoning is regarding health care in America.

I lost my insurance.... and thought, at first, I was going to be stuck with a $1800/month insurance bill I couldn't afford. I pay for my own HSA plan now... it's cheap and it works great. But the problem with HSA's is that people on them tend to opt for LESS medical intervention and LESS drugs. While this is probably HEALTHER is the *vast* majority of cases, it's not PROFITABLE.

HSA's are "on the rise"... and our outpacing "managed care" plans. This is SCARING the pharma lobbysists who helped PAY FOR OBAMA's campaign (although they really supported Hillary more in the beginning)

This is the "kill HSA" bill ... and you'll notice that HSA's are NEVER mentioned in the national debate because they are DEAL BREAKER.

The majority of uncovered people can afford HSA's ... so why let the government BREAK a system that's WORKING. Why not just PROMOTE them, allow them to be TAX DEDUCTIBLE and even SUBSIDISE them a bit to make them more affordable for lower income users?

I'm not buying this nonsense one bit. The government interfering with my healthcare to the point they want to is unconstitutional but that probably won't be a problem considering this administration would like to abolish the constitution.

Your statement, "The government option can't make a profit by law." informs me that you have no idea what you are talking about.

If government could make a profit that would be a good thing. Of course we're talking about government so making a profit is not even a possibility. Our federal government can't even GIVE money away without screwing it up. See the Cash for Clunkers program if you need proof of that. As a matter of fact I defy you to point to even one gov't program that is run as inexpensively and efficiently as a private business.

I just don't understand why anyone would trust our government to do anything, least of all something as personal as their own healthcare.

I am to assume that your argument is sound - "Because health care costs are already bankrupting the country ... the actual additional costs are unknown." Just please assume the worst so we can move forward with government intervention.

This is a load of crap. I don't care how many documents you've gone through or hours its taken you to draw your stick figures, this is not an argument. Are you assuming that healthcare costs shouldn't go up? Maybe we should have the same healthcare we had in the 20s? 50s? 70s? at the same cost. Maybe we should give up the R&D that goes into curing Breast Cancer or heart disease? Maybe we should give up all of the advancements, they don't cost anything, right?

There is a reason world leaders come to the USA when they are fatally ill. I know. the talking heads and certain think tanks want us to believe that the socialized medicine in Europe has so much higher survivability rates and cost less. But that doesn't seem to apply when their elite get sick.

You want good healthcare? You have to pay for it and sticking the government in middle of it will only cost everyone more and slow down all of it like implanting a double bacon cheeseburger directly in your heart.

Like in every country with public healthcare, private insurers will have to compete with public insurance (which is perceived as "free" because it's paid by taxes) and they'll have to lower rates and earnings. Here in Spain I have private insurance for 250€ /month for all the family (4 people). No premiums. And the insurer still makes a lot of money out of it.

"If I am presently employed and covered, I will pay more for insurance under all proposed plans."

I'm not sure I understand why I "pay more" under the public insurance option. If I (or my employer) drop the private insurance plan, and I'm now paying a bit more in tax instead, why do you say that I'll be paying more? The argument for the non-profit public insurance option is that it'll in fact be cheaper than paying for private insurance, since it's not trying to make a profit.

[new taxes] - [private insurance] > 0?

Not clear why you think that.

Wow! Where to begin? Talk about an oversimplification....it was almost painful to read each of these "messages", it was kinda of like trying to explain the rise of fascism in Europe with stick figures and smiley faces.

Where you are inherently and somewhat childishly wrong, is the assumption that I can trust my government to do what it says? The track record to the contrary is extensive and ongoing on both sides of the aisle. The government should first learn how to fix/fund/manage Medicare before it EVER attempts to intervene or insert itself in any way into our health care system. The one "napkin" that is missing is the one that specifically explains how any of the government reforms would be paid for? That napkin is curiously blank.

Let's not shout....how stupid.
Shout, get mad, get passionate! Fight what you believe in!

The one part that bothers me the most - "if you remain with the same employer" Even the President's plan ties me to my present employer if I want to keep my present, private health insurance. If I change employers I should be able to sign up again for a private health insurance plan. It is wrong for the government to tell me I have to be stuck in my job or I'm on the public plan.

I saw your slideshare show. I am clueless about co-ops and exchanges. Napkin #5 perhaps? Or a link to help me digest this latest piece? Thank you!

Kipp, your food analogy is colorful, but not entirely accurate. Of course it's okay to make a profit selling food. It's also okay to make a profit providing health care. But insurance companies don't make a profit from providing health care, they make a profit from paying for health care. Their business model is more accurately analogous to that of some middleman who charges a fee to take your money and hand it to the grocer.

ugg... "Your..."

You're "three simple questions" may be constructed to leave us with only one "obvious to all us who are right-thinking" answer - but they are a little more complicated.

1)first, should paying for our health be a profit-driven business?

Should paying for food be a profit making business? Food is even more important than healthcare - why are we letting grocery stores make a profit?

2) Second, since change is coming no matter what, how do we want to pay for it: as profits for insurance company shareholders or as taxes to the government?

Unlike profits to shareholders (which don't evaporate and actually get spent on things like paying laborers, secretaries, gardeners and plumbers, tips at restaurants and maybe charitable contributions) taxes are spent by the government on things like the War in Iraq, the prison system, and drug prohibition. What's the "right" answer supposed to be here?

3) Okay - #3 is a fine question. Nothing wrong with thinking over shouting...

First, admitting that you are "speaking in secret code" does not help your credibility, and, second, nor does saying that the White House has never supported a single payer system. That's either intentionally misleading (lying) or just ignorant of Obama's past statements. He's been quoted as saying he prefers a single-payer (totally government-run) system. That's not just a small misrepresentation in your illustration, it's a major sticking point for many people.

Should be required reading.


Well, you may not have it perfectly right but you have it right in spirit and most important you make a good visual explanation.

It might take a napkin to get some of the people, some of the time. to understand how they are being fooled into thinking their present or non-existent plans are the cat's whiskers.

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