WDEL Blog: Allan Loudell

Private pharmaceutical / insurance shenanigans: It's not just the government!

If you follow this blog, I hope you know I try not to play favorites.

If the Obama Administration's roll-out of the President's health-care overhaul has been a disaster, I say so. Both the chronic website glitches AND the Administration's failure to previously acknowledge how people subscribing to their own insurance plans were likely to experience sticker shock. Reputable liberal/progressive pundits I know are not trying to whitewash the scope of this disaster.

But I always try to put things into context:

It is also true, for example, that President George W. Bush's Medicare prescription drug program nearly imploded in late 2005 and early 2006.

The difference: It was not as momentous as President Obama's health-care overhaul, so it didn't utterly dominate the news over many cycles. And although many Democratic members of Congress opposed it because they regarded it as costly unfunded giveaway to the nation's insurance companies and pharmaceutical firms, they did not challenge it in court nor did they try to defund it. No threatened government shutdown or playing roulette with the debt-ceiling deadline. Less trauma & drama = less news coverage.

Finally, Democratic lawmakers in Washington and in state capitals helped save President Bush's health-care achievement from its rocky roll-out. Then-Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, in 2006: "I voted against it, but once it passed I certainly determined that I would try to do everything I could to make sure that New Yorkers understood it, could access it, and make the best of it."

Now let me alter the discussion a little bit. We've seen how the vast Federal bureaucracy can screw up things.
(Although it's becoming pretty obvious the Obama Administration was intent on unveiling the Federal website on October 1st, come hell or high water, precisely because it didn't want to give opponents any further ammo. In the end, they were going to get their ammo anyway).

But don't underestimate how our current private system of pharmaceutical chains, insurance companies, etc., can screw up things as well. But is this dysfunction inherent as the different players interact, or is someone making a dishonest buck? Consider this article from The Los ANGELES TIMES that also appeared on the philly.com website...



(Personally, I don't get flu shots. Never have. Actually, they're going to be offered here at WDEL/WSTW. I'll be too busy doing what I do. But personally, I'm not sold on the efficacy of flu shots.)



Posted at 8:03am on October 30, 2013 by Allan Loudell

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Comments on this post:

Wed, Oct 30, 2013 11:08am
Just wanted to point out in Allan's critique above that the difference between the rancor of the Medicare debacle and Obamcare debacle, and why today this topic seems to dominate so much more heavily, is because the Democrats played by the rules and Republicans don't.

If this were football, and the Democrats lost, they would go to the locker room, shower, get on the bus, and go home. Republicans losing, on the other hand, would barricade the gates keeping all the fans inside, bring out two nuclear weapons, and threaten to blow up the metropolitan area, if the score board were not changed to their favor.

Republicans have ruined America. Everything, absolutely everything wrong today is because of their party. Our deficit. Our sluggish economy. Our two wars. Benghazi. Spying on American citizens. Deadlocked Congress. Guns killing our children, our Global Warming-induced freak storms, death of the Monarch butterflies... all directly related to Republican leadership from 2000 to 2008....

America needs to do what Delaware has done. Come to their senses and if a candidate runs as a Republican... run the other way and vote en masse for the other party.

Delaware has made tremendous progress. Comparing the two legislative bodies of the United States and Delaware, is like comparing the incompetence of Lindsey Lohan to the expertise of Hillary Clinton...

Republicans have done so much more damage to the United States of America than Al Qaeda ever dreamed of.......

Wed, Oct 30, 2013 11:16am
Just in case someone chooses not to read the article Allan points to, here is the key paragraph...

"Past efforts to design and launch a large national health coverage program suggest that the experience will be far from perfect, at least at the outset. However, the Medicare Part D experience teaches us that, when things went awry, federal and state officials were often able to identify problems and work with stakeholders to develop policy and operational solutions, so that consumers could obtain the promised benefits. Alas, it is on that last point where the paths of Part D and Obamacare diverge. Unlike Democrats then, Republican officials at all level are trying to sabotage a health-care reform designed to help millions of Americans. Rooting for its failure--precisely what was unthinkable for Democrats in 2005 and 2006--is now standard operating procedure for Republicans.

Wed, Oct 30, 2013 5:23pm
Further proof of what I just posted on the previous page. You're a DRONE, Kavips!

Wed, Oct 30, 2013 11:08pm
Big Government programs under both Republicans and Democrats are destroying our country...Bush was a Big Govt (R) and most recent Democrats are for Big Govt.

All these large programs have wonderful ideas and sound caring but how many Trillions of dollars are wasted or lost due to incompetence, abuse and fraud? Even programs that are supposed to be self-funded through taxes (Social Security for one example) are going to fail due to these funds being used for purposes other than their designated/promised intent.

"According to the U.S. Debt Clock, total long term unfunded liabilities are at $126 trillion, a $1.1 million liability for each U.S. taxpayer.
The main driver of that astronomical number is two of our major entitlement programs: Social Security and Medicare.
The Debt Clock says Social Security is looking at $16.6 trillion in unfunded liabilities, while Medicare faces $87.6 trillion. And Medicare’s prescription drug benefit, which passed in 2003, adds another $22 trillion.
The Debt Clock’s Medicare unfunded liability is twice the current government projection—$43 trillion—because Democrats used Obamacare to try and deceive the public. Prior to passage the government’s estimate was similar to the Debt Clock’s."


Mr. Loudell: I was wondering if you knew or had heard why the U.S. Debt Clock has been frozen for months? I went to the site to check the numbers on my linked story but all the numbers fields are blank/empty...I'm sure you must know someone who knows.

Wed, Oct 30, 2013 11:17pm
As for flu shots... No matter what doctors tell you, I almost always have flu-like symptoms everytime I get a shot. I honestly think the shots are a waste but I have little children and so I get shot for them (definitely not for me).
I have to get mine in the next week or so and will report what happens at my local Walgreens.

Mike from Delaware
Wed, Oct 30, 2013 11:34pm
I didn't use to get a flu shot; then one year I got the flu. Now I get the shot every year, it's way better than getting the flu.

Thu, Oct 31, 2013 5:44am
I've been getting my flu shot for a number of years now, and have had no issues until recently. I had a real bad case of something recently which after it ended left me with a lingering cough which I've had for months. Perhaps it was a flu strain not covered by the shot or it was something other than flu. It's hit and miss.

Allan Loudell
Thu, Oct 31, 2013 5:58am
Mr. Grey...

I heard the U.S. Debt Clock had been frozen because of extraordinary accounting tricks by the Treasury Secretary as we were approaching the debt ceiling.

I googled for any stories about the clock coming "unfrozen", but came up empty.

Mr. Pizza...

Many people come down with a persistent cough/congestion from a common cold and/or allergies and mistakenly think it's the flu.

I myself suffer from a variety of allergies year-round - notably hay fever - from various pollens. My voice has been hoarse on-the-air for weeks, not helped by public speeches. It's starting to get better.

(I remember reading somewhere that folks with persistent allergies are actually LESS likely to come down with a common cold or flu because they're always expelling the bad stuff! Knock on wood, I never call in sick! But I'm one of those who constantly washes one's hands, uses a tissue when touching a door-knob in public places, etc.)

I suppose my skepticism about vaccinations goes back from having received allergy shots for many many years from elementary school through early college -- yet I still suffer hay fever. And then you start thinking intellectually about it - that vaccinations basically involve exposing yourself to some of the stuff you're allergic to, in small doses - and I started to wonder if I didn't just do better walking or hiking in fields or forests! It's made me no worse... and occasionally better!

Despite my aversion to needles (although vaccinations are infinitely less traumatic for me than drawing blood!), I DID however take the three innoculations for protection against Lyme disease -- ticks are the one downside to walking and hiking in certain habitats. (Only later did I learn that those who take the shots will forever register false positives for the presence of Lyme, if they're ever tested!)

Allan Loudell

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