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My Turn: Do we really want the pre-Obama insurance system?

Anthem: (noun) a song or hymn of praise or gladness. Anthem is also the name of the premiere health insurer in New Hampshire. There are many people in New Hampshire who believe Anthem is the model of health care. They believe that Anthem, and private health insurance companies like Anthem, rather than the government, should be in charge of your health care.

Do they have a point?

The Affordable Care Act has had an inauspicious roll out, including President Obama’s “lie of the year”: “If you like your health insurance, you can keep it.” We have been told that we can’t trust our own government. Indeed, the two parties in Congress trust each other so little that they can’t make even the smallest compromises.

Should we turn the clock back and return to the days of unrestricted private health care coverage? Do we really want the system we had just five years ago? During President George W. Bush’s administration in 2008, before the ACA was even a gleam in candidate Barack Obama’s eye, Angela Braly, the CEO of Anthem’s parent company WellPoint was voted a 51 percent pay raise. WellPoint then promptly raised its insurance premiums 39 percent to further increase profits and help pay for Braly’s pay raise and the double-digit pay raises of other WellPoint executives.

What does the CEO of a health insurance company do to merit a 51 percent pay raise – during the biggest recession since the Great Depression of the 1930s? Anthem made health care less affordable and less accessible for individuals and businesses struggling during the recession. Anthem did not improve health care. In fact, Anthem didn’t even provide health care. People can’t get health insurance if they can’t afford it or have a pre-existing condition. She “merited” a pay raise because Anthem made a profit during the recession by collecting more money from its customers than it paid out in benefits. That represents the successful model of health care touted by the private insurance advocates.

Anthem and all health insurance companies do not actually provide or even insure health. They cover medications for hypertension and diabetes but don’t provide for counseling or the dietary factors that prevent or cure obesity, hypertension and diabetes. Exercise, a clean environment, proper dental care and mental health screening and counseling are all essentials for health management that are not covered by private health insurance companies. They manage disease, not health.

Shouldn’t we have a health care system that rewards leaders who actually improve health care? Don’t we want a health care system that prevents high blood pressure, diabetes, strokes, cancer and cardiac disease? We should give raises to the health care insurers who make care more accessible and more affordable.

Certainly, we can blame politicians for focusing on all the wrong aspects of health care. We have a president who says he wants to improve health care and then promises people they can keep their faulty health care plans. We have Republicans who want to repeal the ACA and replace it with smaller, more expensive coverage dominated by business like Anthem. We have Democrats who cobbled a weak health care plan together and then weakened it further during implementation.

But in truth, the fault lies with us, the voters. We’re fanatical about not raising taxes to pay for improved health care but say nothing when a business “taxes” us with a 39 percent increase in premiums and then decreases coverage. We dismiss a “government option” where we actually have a say in policy and are silent when a private entity that we can’t control dictates our health care. If government is not the answer, what is?

We need a national discussion about health care. I’d even take a state or local discussion. We need to look beyond the ACA at what really matters in health care. It’s time to make a list of those qualities that improve health, improve accessibility and lower the cost of care. We need to be honest with ourselves and keep all our options on the table. Then, we need the courage to change the status quo to make it work. Now that deserves an anthem.

(Dr. James Fieseher is a family physician in Portsmouth.)

Legacy Comments70

Do we want the pre Obamacare system ? NO!!! Do we want the Obamacare system ? NO!!! Do we want a Single Payer syeetme? YES!!!

Do you want the Obamacare system? NO!!!! Do you want the Obamacare system? NO!!!! Do you want others to pay for your health care? YES!!!!

"Cowboy up" is a saying invoked by the Boston Red Sox its essence it means "Man Up" ...... that is a philosophy long ago forgotten by liberals.. They no longer care a whit about the poor - they just want free stuff for themselves that they aren't man enough to pay for.

Well, James, if your comment was directed to my, I have to say you completely misread my comment. I was saying that when I was still employed before Obamacare, health insurance costs were skyrocketing every year higher than inflation. Something had to be done and Obama did it. Now if the Republicans don't like what he did, where was their plan? Of course these improvements from Obamacare raise costs, but what was the alternative? Continue to have sick people use the ER and have the costs come to you? Also if that was some kind of sarcastic remark about me not being employed, I will let you know I worked for 55 yrs. If you and your righties have your way I may have to start updating my resume.

tillie, you just admitted that Obamacare raises costs. Then you went on to say that sick people using the ER and costs come to everyone. If it is less to have sick people without insurance use the ER, I would take that over having to double my premiums. If that is the case then it is cheaper to use the ER, that seems more "affordable" to me. I have worked 46 years tillie and due to this economy and the Obama reign, I will wind up working 62 years before I can retire. The Republicans had a plan but Democrats tabled it every single time.

Is that the same old tired plan that has something to do with tax credits?

for tillie: Candidate hustling votes asks the farmer how many kids he has..... Got six says the farmer..... Are they all good little democrats – he asks...... Five of them are but my oldest boy….he’s got to readin

This joke makes no sense obviously the Democratic kids would be the readers and the other one the Republican. I saw a poll where only 43% of Republicans now believe in evolution, down 10% in the last decade. Scary stuff.

Not really scary, this from Science News on November 4, 2013-DMANISI, Georgia – The discovery of an ancient human skull in the Asian country of Georgia has thrown the proverbial monkey wrench into the theory of human evolution. On October 18th, Science Magazine published a journal article titled, “A Complete Skull from Dmanisi, Georgia, and the Evolutionary Biology of Early Homo.” The article records the discovery of a human skull found in Dmanisi, Georgia, where numerous other ancient human remains have been discovered. The skull had been discovered in 2005; however, as explained in the journal article abstract, scientists have only recently determined the significance of the skull. “Here we report on a new cranium from Dmanisi that, together with its mandible, represents the world’s first completely preserved adult hominid skull from the early Pleistocene,” the abstract reports. “The Dmanisi sample, which now comprises five crania, provides direct evidence for wide morphological variation within and among early Homo paleodemes. This implies the existence of a single evolving lineage of early Homo, with phylogeographic continuity across continents.” For evolutionists, the skull presents a major problem. According to naturalistic dating methods, the specimen is nearly 2 million years old. Yet, despite the alleged ancient age, the skull is similar to today’s cranial structures, with differences that could fit into variation levels of modern humans.

That is impossible for the skull to be 2 million years old since the world is only 10,000 years old. Right? So Itsa you are one of the Adam and Eve and the snake crowd?

Ma'am, sorry to disappoint but I was responding to one of your protégés gdn1 whose diatribe is similar to yours, this may have led to your confusion.

Thanks for the compliment, but I have no protégés. Most of the liberal posters and a few of the conservative posters are better informed than I am. I just think I am quite good at catching hucksters and hypocrites.

this coming from the woman that has declared the USA is a democracy

.....and health care a "right".

Reading and rereading this article, it definitely states Wellpoint promptly raised it's rates in 2008 to cover the huge salaries it gave it's executives. I am on government run health care now, thank God, but thru the 90's and most of the last decade I had United Health care thru my employer. Each year the rates went up and the deductibles and my employer's contribution went down. I can't imagine what it would be now. We were also told to not give new hires over 30 hrs so they would not be full time and eligible for health care and this was long before anyone ever heard of Obamacare. There would be no Obamacare if healthcare hunky dory and everyone happy with it. The Republicans never offered a viable solution or plan, just said no to everything.

Ronald Reagan Predicted The Obamacare Disaster Back In 1961.....Reagan observed that “the doctor’s fight against socialized medicine is your fight. We can’t socialize the doctors without socializing the patients.” The second half of has come true. Democrats have already proposed the 1st - Democrat Kathleen Murphy said that since many doctors are not accepting medicaid and medicare patients, she advocates making it a legal requirement for those people to be accepted.

"I'm not saying that medicine has to be completely socialized. Doctors, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, medical device makers can all remain independent. But they need to be much more regulated. "....tell us your plan for "much more regulated" on device makers...You have a plan??

The plan I support is called HR 676. You should look into it.

HR 676 was introduced by John Conyers, enough said. Medicare is for elderly people who can't earn income in later life. What is wrong with present day Americans that they expect everyone to "chip in" when they are perfectly able to provide for themselves.

do any of the LIDV know why Congressman Conyer's wife went to PRISON?

Medicare is an example of single payer US Government run socialized medicine. I'd like to see Sail, or GWTW, or ItsaRepublic, bring on just 1 example of someone they know who is on Medicare that would give it up and instead go back to a 'personal responsibility' system to pay for their care.

Ahhh! the simplicity of the LIDV mind..... Not even Romney CAN opt out - your Govt mandates it! There’s one exception: If you’re eligible for Medicare, are working and have health insurance through your company or your spouse’s employer, you can hold off on signing up.That would be millions like me - we refuse. HEADLINES: The Trustees of the Medicare program have released their annual report on the solvency of the program. They calculate that the program is “expected to remain solvent until 2024, ..... But what that headline obfuscates is that Obamacare’s tax increases and spending cuts are counted towards the program’s alleged “deficit-neutrality,” Medicare is to go bankrupt in 2016. In addition, Medicare is such a poor program that seniors have to buy supplemental Insurance Part B & D to get even decent coverage. Your knowledge if Medicare is limited - please read up on it.

Sail When you hit retirement and are eligable for medicare just don't use it. Go ahead and be a responsible citizen and pay for your own care and see how you like it.

That is not the same and you know it say-what! Medicare is a plan for seniors who are not able to work full time and be employed later in life. When I retire I will take the promise made by the almighty government and reap the benefits as promised by high minded liberals who preached this as if it was the second coming.....I will have paid into it for over 56 years when I retire and it is due to me. Conversely, you and others are able bodied and need to take the responsibility to care for yourselves. The thought that everyone needs to "chip in" to give you a break is truly sickening (pun intended). Can you have some self respect and some sense of self responsibility? Or will you just stand there shamlessly with your hand out and palm up? That is part and parcel of what is wrong with this country........makers and taker-dependent-entitled folks.

so if you plan on retiring at 65 after paying taxes for 56 years you must have been 9 years old when you started paying taxes. I thought child labor was illegal. Government like society is a compact whereby the people agree to certain responsibilities one of which is the care of those who can not care for themselves. Your vitriol along with the others of the carpe diem crowd against the liberal boogy men you see behind everything along with anybody who doesn't agree with you 100% shows that you would be much happier if there was no government just anarchy that would allow you to as you please with no regard for others. I pity you all.

Who retires at 65? That is a recipe to get old and die. I plan to work until I am 70 at least and maybe 72. I was 14 years old when I landed my first paid by check job. I worked 40 hours per week and when I turned 16 I worked 45 hours per week. When 10% of the population needs to be helped and not able to care for themselves, that was fine but now so many people rely on government and that means relying on the maker and they are takers. Period. When you retire at 65, don't worry, we will take care of you. We need government but not all intrusive government,

Hmm, not a single reply to this point. Which is exactly what I expected. The silence is deafening.

its illegal...

I bet the silence isnt deafening..I bet the silence is lazy Monitor employees..probably still wishing they were in that top NH companies list of places to work..

The health insurance company profits have increased since ACA. The 39 percent increase was a result of the ACA mandates. According to a recent Gallup poll 63% of Americans are not in favor of the ACA, so yes a majority due want to return to the preobama insurance system.

Citation James, where are your facts to back this stupid claim? The ACA wasn't even in effect when that 39% rate increase happened, so there could be no mandate. Duh.

Gdn1- if you read the article the writer refers to the CEO of WellPoint and the 39% referral in the article was what California anthem raised their rates in 2011 in anticipation of the regulatory mandates scheduled to be imposed by the ACA. I was also referring to same. Also it may seem stupid to you, but business owners and corporations actually plan, strategize and react so they account for future increases expenditures, they do not have the luxury of borrowing like the govt does or they would not be in business.

In 2011 they raised their rates in anticipation of a law that wasn't going in to effect for 3 more years. Really? What sort of ACA mandates went into effect in 2011 that resulted in this increase James? And you think this is a perfectly legit excuse for this rate increase? Free markets at work? Corporations doing something more cost effectively than the government? I think you need shutting off, you've had enough of hype coolaid.

Apparently you failed to recognize there was cost associated with the usual democratic talking points; covering children until the age of 26, expanded mental health coverage, and the elimination of preexisting condition exclusion. Those measures have been in place and cost insurers; and those who pay for health insurance. If you had actually paid for health insurance you would have been aware of the health insurance premium increases over the last few years, but you would have had to been employed to realize this.

What flavor is the coolaid today?

It's kool-aid.....

Good to see you haven't missed the important point of the discussions.

you should know you are the one chugging the socialist medicine

As I said, you would have to be employed to understand the increases in healthcare insurance cost for those who actually pay their own premiums since your messiah became president, but that would entail you having been employed and not living in your parents basement.

The answer to the headline is YES: 1) 81% Favor Repealing or Changing Health Care Law. 2) A new poll from Gallup reveals 56 percent now believe that it is not the government’s responsibility to ensure its citizens have health insurance. 3) and MOST IMPORTANTLY - Public trust in the government, already quite low, has edged even lower…. 73% have an unfavorable view. ...For anyone to push for more massively inefficient bureaucratic laden Big Govt is clearly out of touch with what America stands for

81% of Americans don't understand health care. The more people like you speak out against this, the more it becomes clear how uninformed all of you are with our health care system. You yourself have fallen victim to several bits of erroneous factoids right here in these forums.

So 81% of Americans don't understand health care, but people who consider themselves enlightened progressives do and we should all fall into line with your views and agenda? That is like taking a picture and then trying to tell people that the subject of the photo (wildlife) is not really there.

I submit no one understands a 2000 page law with thousands of pages of regulations being constantly added...Have you read the entire law and all the related regulations gdn1??? Are you part of the 81% yourself??

Just to let you know where sail is coming from, he has said in the past that there is nothing wrong with our health care system.

There is something wrong with every single system we have in society. The issue is that we turned a system which 85% of the population liked, were used to and satisfied with (for the most part) to cater to 15% of the population and now the 85% are being disenfranchised.

1st Time I can say you are correct - Heath Care in the USA is the best - what you and the liberal progressive democrats want is for somebody else to pay your bills.

Sail, if anybody is paying someone else's bills, it's me paying yours. You see, I'm one of the "young invincibles" insurance companies love. I can count on one hand the number of times I've been to a doctor in the past decade. I have no injuries and have never taken medication. So my insurance premiums are probably subsidizing yours.I support single payer because 1) it's the right thing to do and 2) the current for-profit system is going to bankrupt this country.

It is impossible for a liberal to "win" an argument because their premises all stem from delusional fantasies of impossible Utopia that are buttressed by the ultimate delusion that Utopia can be decreed. The difference between government by decree and government by design is lost on these chimera. A free people that govern themselves in the arena of a nation of laws is rapidly being destroyed by these liberal lemmings. Liberalism is a form of insanity that leads to the wearing of pajamas and living in your parents basement

How do you figure that? Honestly, if you go on an Obamacare exchange, you will probably get a subsidy and others of us will pay more. Is that the "right thing to do?", so far the only thing I have read are kudos for Obamacare and quick sign ups from progressives. Bottom line, they don't want to take responsibility for paying for their own healthcare, they want others to chip in and pay.

Teehee - that is way we call you the LIDV..

Indeed he has. His 81% figure includes people like me who think that the ACA doesn't go far enough. He has conveniently put the percentage of others like myself in to his court to shore up his argument. We are not in your court, Sail, never have been, never will be. You are so dishonest you can't even cite the real numbers.

The population consists of about 29% progressives. The only people I see oohing and aaahing over Obamacare and writing letters praising the website and how much they will save or be subsidized as progressives. I am pretty sure that 99% of those who did not vote for Obama are not for this flawed plan. That said, you assume that all of the other people, say 54% support Obamacare. Well, millennials don't and over half of the independents don't. Not sure where Sail got that number but even from the beginning 63-65% of the population did not support Obamacare. 35% did and most recent polls show that 68% don't support Obamacare. Polls also showed that 91% of progressives supported it. Do the math, if 9% wanted single payer and every single one of them were part of the 65%, that still leaves 56% who do not support it. If 56% don't support something, Democrats and progressives should not double down on something so unpopular. It is arrogant to think that someone knows better and by GOD! you are going to get this....end of discussion.

Bet ya didnt read it SO READ AND WEEP - the forum is open for your apology.

when a LIDV doesnt know the difference between Health Care and Health Insurance he has lost the argument

Why is Anthem the only entity providing insurance in NH???? How come I can buy car insurance from a hundred different places, but not health insurance????


This is about the very best thing I've seen written about the state of our healthcare system. This should be a speech aired on all TV channels during prime time.

Tell you what Doc......I agree with you. Let's have a national discussion, equal input from all people, a national vote as to what they want and in the meantime, we need to scrap the Obamacare monstrosity.

Doctor, thanks for saying what needed to be said. What we Americans are experiencing is a profit-driven health care system. And it's not just insurance companies who are more interested in maximizing profit than they are in healing people. It's pharmaceutical companies, massive for-profit hospital chains, medical device makers, etc. I think a famous quote attributed to Winston Churchill is appropriate here: "You can always count on Americans to do the right thing--after they've tried everything else". In other words, single-payer health care is a matter of when--not if.

so...there should be no private medical device makers..just to single out one of your examples? Whats your alternative? All medical device makers run by the US government??? No competition? Have you thought this through???

In Canada are medical device makers run by their Government? How 'bout Britan, or Switzerland? Or any of the other countries with single payer socialized medicine? No, that is? So what sort if nonsense is this coming from you? Go look up the meaning of "sophistry" because you're spewing it forth!

No, they re not run by the government but the government taxes and roadblocks many of them in those eurotrash countries.

So...its ok for medical device companies to be more interested in maximizing profits than in healing people if you have single payer??? I'm not spewing anything...I'm asking for some clarification on genxer's position...

GWTW, read my post again. My answer is in there.

I'm not saying that medicine has to be completely socialized. Doctors, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, medical device makers can all remain independent. But they need to be much more regulated. I don't believe health care should be a huge profit generator for Wall Street because for the most part, people don't choose to get health care like they choose to buy a new car or TV, for example; they get sick or injured and require it. People don't choose or enjoy going to doctors and hospitals--they have to. Nobody should be living high-on-the-hog to alleviate another's suffering. Here's an example from Steven Brill's Time Magazine article: a man goes to the doctor complaining of an aching back. The doctor advises him to have a neurostimulator installed in a one-day outpatient surgery. The bill comes to $87,000 including the $49,000 he was charged for the stimulator. By making lots of phone calls and researching industry practices, Brill figures that it cost the medical device maker about $4500 for this neurostimulator. Other charges on the patient's bill include $3 for a marker, and $32 for a blanket. These are all reusable, of course. Some more: $108 for a tube of Bacitracin, $39 for a surgical gown which can be bought in bulk for $3. This is all on top of the facility fee paid to the hospital which is already supposed to cover all these basics. I don't mind a reasonable profit being made but I don't think this is right. Do you?

".... including the $49,000 he was charged for the stimulator. By making lots of phone calls and researching industry practices, Brill figures that it cost the medical device maker about $4500 for this neurostimulator. " much was liability for potential law suits?? Any idea???

Of course, GWTW. The neurostimulator has a 1000% mark-up because of liability for potential law suits! Why didn't I realize that!? You win again, GWTW!

Just say you don't know...

gen x er...if you and I start a company today to make much will we have to invest, how long will it take, and when do you expect we could see a return on our investment? I got a garage and a screwdriver and a few thousand dollars...if you got a hammer, soldering iron and a few thousand, we could be raking in 1000% profits in no time...right???.

GWTW - dont cha know that elizabeth Warren & barack NObama have already declared - YOU DID NOT BUILD THAT

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