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Sep 15, 2009 4:01 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

President addresses nation and Congress as health care debate continues on East End

Sep 15, 2009 4:01 PM

President Obama’s address to a joint session of Congress on health care reform last Wednesday received high marks from the East End’s congressional representative, Democrat Tim Bishop of Southampton.

Mr. Bishop said Thursday that the president made a forceful case for the necessity for reform, but it remains to be seen if the high-profile speech swayed members of Congress or the American public to Mr. Obama’s point of view.

“I thought the president did as good a job as can be done in terms of making the case and outlining the goals, and outlining how he would propose we achieve those goals,” Mr. Bishop said. “And then each member of Congress is going to have to make his or her own decision as to whether or not they believe that we’re on the right path.”

Southampton Town Republican Committeeman John J. Bennett, an attorney with the Southampton Village law firm Bennett & Read, said this week that the president is on the wrong path. He said he is happy with the current health care system, and Mr. Obama’s speech was an example of the government being arrogant and telling its constituents what’s best for them.

“The people who want to believe Obama’s pack of misrepresentations are going to believe it, and the people who know better aren’t going to be swayed by it,” Mr. Bennett said. He said the speech was “an insult to any intelligent, thinking, hard-working American” and he offered the adage, “The government that governs least governs best.”

Mr. Bishop said that in his address, Mr. Obama explained what the United States must do to ensure the future fiscal stability of families, businesses and the country.

“We need to cover as many people as we possibly can, because if we don’t, we all pay for them,” Mr. Bishop said. “That is a not highly recognized fact, but true. We all have, in effect, this stealth tax of somewhere in the neighborhood of $1,000 to $1,200 a year that we pay as a result of people who seek treatment who are not insured.

“We already have north of 100 million Americans who get their health care provided by the American government,” he continued, citing Medicare, Medicaid and the Veterans Health Administration. He said only 5 percent of the remaining 200 million Americans, or 10 million people, are expected to sign up for the proposed public health insurance plan by the time it is fully implemented, in 2019 or 2020.

“How any reasonable person can argue that that constitutes a government takeover of health care, when you already have 100 million Americans getting their health care from the federal government and no one is saying that that constitutes a government takeover of health care ... I can’t explain,” he said.

Citizens could buy into the public health insurance plan, or public option, as an alternative to private insurance.

“This public option is a lot of garbage,” Mr. Bennett said. “It’s going to drive every private insurer out of business, so nothing would be left but a huge bureaucracy. And as Milton Friedman said, ‘Hell hath no fury like a bureaucracy scorned.’ I don’t want a bunch of bureaucrats telling me how I can take care of my family’s health care requirements.”

Though Mr. Bishop is in favor of a public option, he said that, as Mr. Obama said Wednesday, the public option is not the be-all and end-all of health care reform. The congressman also admitted that he thinks getting a reform bill through the Senate with a public option will be very difficult.

The public option would serve to drive down insurance costs by creating more competition in the health insurance market, Mr. Bishop said, but Mr. Bennett fervently opposed the government having a place in the market.

“America is a place that has been successful because of the emphasis on private enterprise,” he said. “As Thomas Jefferson said, ‘If you want a government that gives you everything, you’ll get a government that can take away anything too.’”

“I work hard to provide health care for my family and my employees …” Mr. Bennett continued. “It is expensive, of course, because it’s something that you don’t want to be parsimonious about. Any good quality health care is not going to come cheap.”

Mr. Bishop outlined two ways the reform plan would deliver health care to people who cannot afford it: It will raise the income level that individuals and families must fall under to qualify for Medicaid, and it will subsidize insurance for families that do not qualify for Medicaid but still struggle to afford insurance. The House bill would offer subsidies to families earning up to four times the poverty line, or $88,000 for a family of four, and the Senate version would subsidize families earning three times the poverty line, or $66,000. The subsidies would ensure that an individual’s or family’s health insurance premium is no more than 12 to 15 percent of their income, he said.

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By landarchi (33), Southampton on Sep 14, 09 11:40 AM
Single payer is the only true reform.
By yearrounder (208), Southampton on Sep 14, 09 2:03 PM
Tim Bishop did work as a provost for 29 years prior to gaining office. I guess this qualfies him as an expert on cap and trade, health care reform and the Iraq war. His "debates" were a joke. It was nothing more than a sales pitch to push his agenda.
By razza5350 (1911), East Hampton on Sep 14, 09 3:23 PM
What is an insurance company other than a big bureaucracy? When was the last time Mr. Bennet called up a health insurance company for an authorization? Shopped for coverage? Had to think about how to pay for it?

Are insurance companies more entitled to profits than citizens are entitled to health care? Whose side is he on in the crisis with Empire and Southampton Hospital? How about people who lose their coverage when they lose their jobs? How about the numerous part timers on ...more
By M. O'Connor (147), Southampton on Sep 14, 09 4:10 PM
regurgitated liberal nonsense. In MOST states (NY is one of them) people do not lose their coverage when they lose their jobs. There are over 300 million americans 18,000 deaths is a ridiculously low number. Bankruptcy occurs because you can not work and have NO disability coverage. The hospital has to negotiate rates with Medicare as well. I can go on and on. Stop drinking the Kool Aid. Stop destroying our childrens future. Stop big GVT. No Public option. No health care reform that doesnt reduce ...more
By razza5350 (1911), East Hampton on Sep 14, 09 4:42 PM
Since Mr. Bishop can't explain why the Government option is a takeover, I'll attempt to explain it to him. When the Government supplants a function of the free market, in this case insurance, using public funds and legislation to compete unfairly with companies that must turn a profit to survive, customers will naturally be drawn away from private insurers by artificially lower premiums, especially the larger entities that don't always have their members best interest at heart, such as school districts, ...more
By RichardBlumenthal (24), Westhampton Beach on Sep 14, 09 7:01 PM
The right wing says, "Control costs", but proposes no real way of doing so aside from the same old, long-since disproved gimmicks of tort reform and tax breaks. You trust your doctor? Do you want to stay with your doctor? Then listen to what doctors have to say:

A new study finds that a majority of physicians support the creation of a public health care option.

A Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) study published in Monday's New England Journal of Medicine shows that 63 percent ...more
By dagdavid (646), southampton on Sep 14, 09 7:50 PM
Mr. Blumenthal, can you think outside of the Republican talking point memos? Do you realize how many people in New York make too much to qualify for Healthy New York and too little to purchase private insurance?

The New York state department of health says there are still 2.5 million New Yorkers under 65 years of age without coverage and the State spends over $1 billion annually covering the hospital costs of uninsured individuals. Guess what? THAT is government run health insurance and ...more
By yearrounder (208), Southampton on Sep 14, 09 8:01 PM
Oh, and before you whackos start screaming about all the emergency room patients being "illegal", get this: immigrants — particularly those here illegally — are often blamed for overcrowding hospital emergency rooms and driving up the cost of health care for citizens.

But a new report from the Public Policy Institute of California says that foreign-born residents who are not U.S. citizens are among the least likely to use emergency rooms.

More specifically, immigrant Hispanics ...more
By yearrounder (208), Southampton on Sep 14, 09 8:04 PM
gimmicks??. Please find me one doctor who doesnt think tort reform is a good idea. Lets talk waste
1.Medicare paid dead physicians 478,000 claims totaling 92 billion from 2000-2007. source (US Senate Permanent Committe on Investigations, 2008).
2. Nearly one in three claims (29%) medicare paid for durable medical equipment was erronous in fiscal year 2006. Source (inspector general report department of health and human services August 2008)
3. Medicare and Medicaid lose an estmated 60 ...more
By razza5350 (1911), East Hampton on Sep 14, 09 8:16 PM
Dear Yearrounder,
Are you suggesting that Mr. Obama's proposal will save money? It will cost upwards of $100 billion each year according to CBO estimates. I guess that's a bit more than emergency room visits. Also, please have a look at what our state already offers people with no insurance: “Consumer Guide to Health Insurers” describes “Insurance Options for Uninsured New Yorkers” on page 41.
Incidentally, thanks for visiting http://shouldirun.com I wonder what you thought of investing ...more
By RichardBlumenthal (24), Westhampton Beach on Sep 14, 09 10:09 PM
1 member liked this comment
Please people. Can we stop quoting polls from obscure sources. For every poll and study under the sun, there are three polls or studies that claim to prove the complete opposite. I laugh at you guys citing these useless sources and acting as if they are the final say in the subject.

Secondly, yearrounder, have you been to Southampton Hospital lately? I was there about six months ago (visiting a family member) and as I walked through the waiting room for the ER I remember thinking to ...more
By AlwaysLocal (292), southampton on Sep 14, 09 10:30 PM
1 member liked this comment
By hamptons surfer (79), southampton on Sep 15, 09 6:16 AM
A new study finds that a majority of physicians support the creation of a public health care option.

A Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) study published in Monday's New England Journal of Medicine shows that 63 percent of physicians support a health reform proposal that includes both a public option and traditional private insurance. If the additional 10 percent of doctors who support an entirely public health system are included, then approximately three out of four physicians nationwide ...more
By dagdavid (646), southampton on Sep 15, 09 8:16 AM
From Mr. Blumenthal's site: "First, we should be clear about the goal we are trying to reach. Unless there's a great reason to get involved, government should stay out of people's lives."

Good idea, Mr. Blumenthal. As you are so anxious to keep government out of health care, if you are serious about running for office, perhaps you should start by making a pledge to refuse to accept medicare and, if you should happen to get elected, refuse any public health plan offered government employees ...more
By dagdavid (646), southampton on Sep 15, 09 8:22 AM
Of course they do. Wouldn't you if you were a doctor. The GVT is like an ATM machine distributing our tax payer dollars with no oversight. Medicare and Medicaid are one of the largest expenses to taxpayers and grossly mismanged with waste and fraud. Not to mention bankrupt. Stop big gvt
By razza5350 (1911), East Hampton on Sep 15, 09 8:30 AM
Dag in response to your attack on MR Blumenthal perhaps you should make the pledge to fund the public option with your paycheck and let us who dont want it take a pass.
Further more If you could return to me ALL of the money I dumped into medicare over the years I would gladly reject the coverage. Medicare has more coverage gaps in it than swiss cheese. After paying all those taxes I still will need to buy a supplement policy for @3000 annually to fill those gaps unless I get Medicare advantage ...more
By razza5350 (1911), East Hampton on Sep 15, 09 8:41 AM
Surfer did u just call ME a liar?
By AlwaysLocal (292), southampton on Sep 15, 09 4:08 PM
Dear dagdavid,
The Government is out of money. There is no money to fund this trillion dollar program. Here are the facts: $2 trillion is collected in a year, the Government spends $3.5 trillion in a year, and it owes $12 trillion and counting. There is no money. When the treasury bonds don't sell, the Government prints money to buy their own bonds. If this reckless policy doesn't stop, the economy will be destroyed and very few of us will have health care. We need to look for answers to our ...more
By RichardBlumenthal (24), Westhampton Beach on Sep 15, 09 5:45 PM
um always local, in case you missed it....during the address by the shady attorney from chicago, another shady attorney from south carolina yelled out ''you lie''. it was pretty big news. what may truly shock you is that i didn't spend 2 seconds looking at your comment...much less lift a finger to respond to them. but now that i read them....i agree. peace brother. good waves, so out now for sunset session.
By hamptons surfer (79), southampton on Sep 15, 09 6:22 PM
A new Investor’s Business Daily poll of more than 1,300 physicians finds that nearly two-thirds (65%) don’t back ObamaCare, more than 70% say the government cannot provide insurance coverage for 47 million additional people and save money without harming quality, and 45% of doctors say they “would consider leaving their practice or taking an early retirement” if the liberal health care plan passes.

Earlier this week, as the front-page story in today’s Investor’s Business Daily noted, the ...more
By thetruthhurts (21), southampton on Sep 17, 09 8:45 PM
Silly people, how much did Bush cost us here and what benefit do you have to show of that benefit. People of today are some how to small minded to see the big picture, we I was younger to have the President of the most Power Nation say "stay in school" would of been a great thing. Why the hate to someone that gained a bad economy and is using ideas of those that ran against him, he is even giving them credit for it. Wake up, wake up, wake up. For a nation built on God we surely have a lot of ...more
By let'stryagain (21), WestHampton Beach on Sep 18, 09 11:21 AM
Facts and truth ... not opinions ... FACTS AND TURTH....
By let'stryagain (21), WestHampton Beach on Sep 18, 09 11:23 AM
thetruthhurst, a majority of physicians support a public option. Period.
By yearrounder (208), Southampton on Sep 19, 09 2:48 PM
Obama is all LIES!...www.infowars.com
By wolf22 (7), Montauk on Sep 21, 09 9:57 AM
wolf22, your padded cell is waiting
By peoplefirst (787), Southampton on Sep 21, 09 10:54 AM
By let'stryagain (21), WestHampton Beach on Sep 21, 09 1:35 PM
Letstryagain. First of all What are you talking about and what does it have to do with Healthcare.
By razza5350 (1911), East Hampton on Sep 21, 09 2:56 PM
letstryagain, please continue to post...it must be hard to see everything so clearly when so many around you are ignorant...right!? its up to you to get the message out!
By thetruthhurts (21), southampton on Sep 25, 09 10:33 AM
According to the Health and Human Service's National Health Expenditures report, private insurers will pay out $854 billion in medical claims for health insurance policyholders this year. That represents about one-third of the nation's estimated $2.5-trillion medical care bill for this year. But that's not the whole story. The premiums paid for those claims payments will total $1.2 trillion, which includes $179 billion in "administrative" costs (21% or over $1 out of every $5 spent on health care) ...more
By yearrounder (208), Southampton on Sep 25, 09 10:51 AM