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Mar 30, 2010 6:59 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Health care reform bill gets mixed reviews on East End

Mar 30, 2010 6:59 PM

President Barack Obama signed sweeping health care reform into law last week, capping a decades-long effort by Democrats to fix what they called a broken insurance system and extend care to millions of uninsured Americans.

But, in some ways, the trial has only just begun. All over the country, ordinary citizens are waiting to see how the bill’s many complex provisions will actually play out in their lives, and politicians from both sides of the aisle are waiting to see which of their competing narratives will be validated by history.

When reached this week, Democratic and Republican leaders on the East End seemed to be talking about different bills entirely, with one side celebrating a monumental victory and the other side predicting social and economic catastrophe.

Residents of the South Fork, meanwhile, voiced a mixture of optimism, trepidation and confusion in a region that leans decidedly Republican, but whose Democratic congressman, U.S. Representative Tim Bishop of Southampton, voted in favor of the historic bill.

Despite all the venom and rapture from partisans at all levels of government this week, Harry Cohn, 78, a resident of Manorville, voiced the most common sentiment of average citizens: perplexity.

“I’ll be honest, I don’t know anything about it,” he said of the bill.

Ian MacPherson, 86, a retiree from Bridgehampton, also said he was unsure about how the bill would affect his everyday life, but expressed support for the spirit of the legislation.

“In principle, I think it’s a very good thing,” he said. “But if it does cost a little bit more for some of us, it’s in the general interest of everyone else.”

The massive bill is designed to extend health care coverage to an estimated 32 million people who do not currently have it by expanding Medicaid, creating insurance exchanges and providing subsidies for low- and middle-income Americans. The bill mandates that most Americans have health insurance by 2014, or face a fine.

It will also impose tighter regulations on insurance companies, forbidding them from denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions, mandating that they allow dependent children to stay under their parents’ insurance plans until age 26, and banning lifetime limits on payouts.

Some of those provisions will go into effect right away, while others will unfold over the next few years.

Like many Americans, Rose Crispin, 72, of Hampton Bays said that she was still trying to wrap her head around the details of the bill, but supported it nonetheless. “I think a lot of the things it addresses are correct and need to be corrected,” she said.

Joe Deppe, 57, an architect from Southampton, said he has health insurance already, but would have liked to have seen a more comprehensive health care overhaul.

“I wish they would have gone a little further with it,” he said. “I think 
they watered it down a little, just to please everybody.”

Local Democratic leaders this week praised the legislation as a boon for the country. Gorden Herr, the chairman of the Southampton Town Democratic Committee, said that he was “absolutely thrilled” about the bill’s passage. Now, he said, the task of his committee is to counter what he calls misinformation on the part of conservatives.

“The Republicans have been very good,” he said, “They’re much better than Democrats at getting the word out. Generally speaking, Democrats think that most people do good and 
most people want good. And Republicans just have a better machine, and a better organization for misinformation.”

Southampton Democrats will be passing out fact sheets in the coming weeks, and will hold a press conference on Thursday, April 1, thanking Mr. Bishop for his vote in Washington. The press conference will begin at 10:30 a.m. and will be held in front of Mr. Bishop’s Southampton office.

Bill Taylor, the chairman of the East Hampton Town Democratic Committee, added his voice to the chorus of Democrats praising the legislation this week.

“The Democratic Party is overjoyed that it finally passed, and we thank Tim Bishop for his support,” he said. “We think it will turn out to be a very good thing for the country.”

But local Republicans decried the bill, citing its $940 billion price tag and the new taxes it will create.

“I think, unfortunately, it’s going to bankrupt the country,” said Ernie Wruck, the chairman of the Southampton 
Town Republican Committee. “I 
think it’s a bad deal for average Americans. And I think it’s costing people every day 
their jobs.”

Mr. Wruck said that he thinks small businesses will hold off on hiring new employees until they know how the health care bill will impact them.

The bill will raise taxes for some high-earning Americans, and levy a new tax on insurance companies for high-cost plans. John Jay LaValle, the chairman of the Suffolk County Republican Committee, argued that those taxes will have wider, unintended impacts on the economy.

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Now local politicians are using RNC talking points? I wish you had asked Mr. Wruck to actually explain how "it's costing people every day their jobs" - and then ask him if he learned English from Yoda
By dagdavid (646), southampton on Mar 31, 10 10:42 AM
Dag I agree Mr. Wruck misspoke. This bill is not costing jobs every day but it will once implemented. You can not provide coverage and subsidies for free. Business will be hit with increased taxes and some will be hit with mandates and/or fines. Some business such as Caterpillar have already released how much this bill will cost them. It is an economic certainity that if labor costs increase signficantly business with thin profit margins will be forced to reduce the size of their workforces. I ...more
By razza5350 (1911), East Hampton on Mar 31, 10 2:55 PM
Corporations are complaining because this legislation ends years of corporate welfare. Yes, it will cost them more, but they are being disingenuous as to why.

Ryan Grim has reported the following: "Under the previous system, major corporations were subsidized by the government to provide prescription drug coverage to their retired employees. At the same time, corporations could claim on their tax returns that it was they -- not the taxpayers -- who paid for the drug coverage, and could ...more
By dagdavid (646), southampton on Mar 31, 10 3:36 PM
2 members liked this comment
Dag I am surprised you of all people support this bill. "Health care reform cuts out the fat" LOL. We both know this bill is loaded with fat. First the left felt that Utopia was single payer universal health care, then the public option and finally you get left with with this pile of garbage. Bidens comment that this is a big *&*%^&^ing deal was laughable. I obviously oppose the bill for different reasons but unless you are driniking the Obama Kool aid you cant be happy with this monstrosity that ...more
By razza5350 (1911), East Hampton on Mar 31, 10 4:42 PM
Why aren't the Republicans crying about the billions of dollars and lives we are costing with our nonsensical war in the Mid East? That is costing us more, and also the care of our wounded soldiers returning, who also need mental health care to cope with the dichotomy of what they were involved in there, and the mess we have here. Let's clean up our country, help our poor and suffering, and THEN help other countries. All that money going to Haiti should have gone to New Orleans as the victims of ...more
By Mom (1), Southampton on Mar 31, 10 1:07 PM
Last time I checked the Dems have controlled the house, senate and presidencey so what are you trying to say?? glad to know the country's health care crisis is solved though. Thanks for giving us that piece of information
By razza5350 (1911), East Hampton on Mar 31, 10 9:37 PM
1 member liked this comment
By SamIAm (36), hampton bays on Mar 31, 10 1:33 PM
3 members liked this comment
curious you are, young padawan
By youngdem (16), Southampton on Mar 31, 10 8:12 PM
A history lesson is in order: In 2002, the United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 1441 which called for Iraq to completely cooperate with UN weapon inspectors to verify that Iraq was not in possession of WMD and cruise missiles. The vote that authoized the war in Iraq officially gave President Bush the right to, “use the armed forces of the United States as he determines necessary and appropriate in order to defend the national security of the United States against the continuing threat ...more
By Simon (16), Southampton on Mar 31, 10 8:34 PM
1 member liked this comment
Just want to know how many of you would pay for a house for 3 years before you move in. Well that is what you are going to do for the next 3 years with this Health Care Bill
How can you trust a guy that does not use gis real name??
By sjd (420), Westhampton Beach on Mar 31, 10 9:59 PM
As the SP's editorial pointed out, we are all paying now to provide coverage for the uninsured. At the hospital where I worked before retiring, we received $40,000,000 annually from the NYS Bad Debt and Charity Care Pool. Where do you think that money came from?

Some make the absurd argument that we have "free" universal health care now because uninsured people go to the Emergency Room. Two points -- yes, and they get billed so it is not "free"; and, two, it costs 2X as much for hospitals ...more
By number19 (111), Westhampton on Apr 1, 10 8:34 AM
1 member liked this comment
Number 19 I do not believe your statement to be entirely true. My understanding is most uninsured's (legal that is) must pay down there assets until they become eligible for medicaid and THEN the taxpayers pick up the cost. Illegals are a different story and a tremoundous burden on tax payers in terms of medical care.
By razza5350 (1911), East Hampton on Apr 1, 10 4:25 PM
Let's follow up on that history lesson Simon. The Bush admin presented another resolution to the UN called the 18th resolution on Iraq which would have activated the prior resolution to which you allude. The resolution was withdrawn when it became apparent that it did not have sec coun support. The French Ambassador to the UN( along with the France) were villfied because he gave an accurate assessment of what lie ahead: a disaster. The Chief weapons inspector, Hans Blix reported one month BEFORE ...more
By number19 (111), Westhampton on Apr 1, 10 8:57 AM
1 member liked this comment
Any relevence of the UN 18th resolution is moot given the House and Senate vote that overwhelmingly approved the use of force against Iraq. Clearly there were many interests at stake and no doubt France and the other UN nations were looking out for theirs, much like they did leading to the second gulf war. President Clinton is on record stating the same conclusions made by Bush and other world leaders. Blix reported had mixed reports on Iraq's cooperation; some indicated cooperative and others ...more
By Simon (16), Southampton on Apr 1, 10 1:10 PM
Can any tell me why, if I can google earth and see my own house, we didn't know with certainty that Saddam had WMD? Do we really think we can defeat terrorism by chasing handfuls of terrorists around their own country when they don't even have a united front with which to wage war? (Seems much of the killing and damage they do to our military men is via IED's) And as I recall, this "war" as it is now so freely called was never declared. (We just sort of snuck in the back door with that one) ...more
By maggi (7), East Hampton on Apr 1, 10 11:33 PM
I am no fan of Bush but last time I checked we were still in Iraq and Afganistan and Bush has been gone over a year now.
By razza5350 (1911), East Hampton on Apr 2, 10 9:41 AM
1 member liked this comment
Frankly, the whole debacle is sad.
Insurers, and drug companies have profited grossly at the expense of the injured, or ill for decades.
It has become blatantly obvious that people cannot regulate themselves, so it would seem authority needs to do it.
To quote Matt Taibbi in Rolling Stone, "The system assumes a certain minimum level of ethical behavior and civic instinct over and above what is spelled out by the regulations. If those ethics are absent — well, this thing isn't going to ...more
Apr 2, 10 10:42 AM appended by Mr. Z
You know what just popped into my head? Chris Rock's stand up routine about welfare. And, the old Weekend Update segment on taxes, and crime.
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Apr 2, 10 10:42 AM
What makes health care as expensive as it is is that the for-profit insurance companies strive to spend 80% or less of every health care dollar on loss. T.R. Reid in "The Healing of America", points out that every industrialized nation provides better health care than America at a fraction of the cost. The boogyman of "Socialized Medicine" may exist in England, but not in France, where private insurance, premiums paid for by the employer and the worker w/ copays has produced arguably the best ...more
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Apr 3, 10 12:05 AM
2 members liked this comment
They want 300k a year, and most of their patients take home $300 a WEEK, or even less.

Oh yeah, that's [expletive deleted] sustainable...
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Apr 3, 10 12:12 AM
I don't understand, if "every industrialized nation provides better healthcare" than why do so many people from those 38 countries come to the U.S. when they need to have certain high risk procedure's done?
If those in charge of pioneering new techniques and medical advances were to all of a sudden not be able to profit from them, do you really belive they would continue to research them?
By AlwaysLocal (292), southampton on Apr 3, 10 1:46 AM
1 member liked this comment
Also, HHS, T.R. Reid was quoted as saying "...mandating for-profit insurance is not the lesson from other countries in the world.," so wouldn't this healthcare bill directly contradict his beliefs? This statement alone directly postures his ideas against those of France, and this new healthcare bill we just saw passed.
By AlwaysLocal (292), southampton on Apr 3, 10 1:49 AM
Well, AlwaysLocal, there is a difference between cost and structure of care, and the quality and education of the personnel providing the care.
We are the "Great Melting Pot", and we do have this knack of attracting some of the best, and brightest talent.
We also have one of the highest levels of technology in a medical environment. Look at facilities like Sloan-Kettering for example.
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Apr 3, 10 9:18 AM
We have the most expert doctors and the finest medical facilities in the world, if you can afford them. Many wealthy patients do seek specialized medical treatment here, but many reverse the commute to Europe as well.

Excellence in a medical care system is not judged by the caliber of the best care that that richest patient can afford but by many smaller criteria, such as, "How much longer can a woman of sixty expect to live?" In France, it's twenty years; in America, fourteen. Our ...more
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Apr 3, 10 12:14 PM
I don't recall the quote, but T.R. Reid doesn't propose a specific model for our health care system, although France's looks best. He IS opposed to FOR PROFIT health insurance as a model. Although extra private for-profit insurance for procedures not covered by national health, (like cosmetic surgery), are fine.

Nevertheless, the bill is better than what it succeeds since it covers tens of millions of uninsured individuals. With time, and as we see the staggering inefficiency imposed ...more
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Apr 3, 10 12:25 PM
France? are you kidding me? LOL Why not Mexico ? Mexico spends far less per person on health care than France and doesnt have socialized medicine. The reason most Americans dont live as long per dollar spent is because on average we dont live as healthy lifesyles and we have many obese people. If I had to look at the track record of for profit vs medicare and medicaid, I'll take for profit thank you very much.
By razza5350 (1911), East Hampton on Apr 3, 10 7:37 PM
I think that Mexico would thank you for including it in the ranks of the industrialized nations. But if you want to use per capita spending as the test of quality, why not include Somalia? They spend almost nothing on health care.

Your post is not germane. When comparing industrialized countries, on every measure of national health care, from infant mortality to life expectancy, the US comes out worst or near worst and never spends LESS than twice as much per capita. Instead of looking ...more
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Apr 3, 10 10:12 PM
I agree with you 100% Mr. Z, but think about your statement. If all of a sudden the "best and brightest talent" can make more money elsewhere, why would they continue to flock to us? Our superior levels of technology were achieved by the motivation of profit, if you take that motivation away we will fall back to the pack very quickly (and ultimately behind the pack) After these two factors are gone, our "knack" of attracting the talent will be no more.
By AlwaysLocal (292), southampton on Apr 4, 10 3:49 AM
"Profit" is not a four letter word people. It has been one hell of a motivation for many of the most important medical breakthroughs in human history. Demonize whoever you wish, but this bill will kill the quality of care in this country. Sure it will be affordable, but research for medical advances will not be funded privately due to that fact that a private company will not profit from any breakthroughs, thus bringing any advancement to a screaching halt. The only option would be to have the ...more
By AlwaysLocal (292), southampton on Apr 4, 10 3:57 AM
When comparing countries its impossible. Their are too many different variables that come into play. When talking about relevent US record between national for profit and national non profit their is no comparision. Best standard is medicare Vs medicare advantage. For the same amount one operates at a massive lost the other a profit. Which is run more effectively?
By razza5350 (1911), East Hampton on Apr 4, 10 8:15 AM

LOL ,Razza? Highatsize is correct! Several years ago, the World Health Organization made a survey of many countries both developed and otherwise, based on five critical healthcare criteria.

France was judged the best in overall quality! And who is your source?
By Obbservant (449), southampton on Apr 4, 10 9:35 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By Obbservant (449), southampton on Apr 4, 10 9:35 PM
Hospital costs are driving health care through the roof. Just take a look at the letter to the editor this week about what it cost someone's relative to stay in Southampton Hospital with pneumonia for a few days. Outrageous. But, their insurance company will have to pay it.
By goldenrod (505), southampton on Apr 3, 10 12:37 AM
1 member liked this comment
Yep, goldenrod, you've got a great point.
It seems like too many in our society MUST capitalize on EVERYTHING they possibly can.
The greatest cost factor in any industry our society utilizes, is the price placed on time.
What is a person "worth" per hour? Why is someone worth 30, 40, and even 50 times what someone who earns minimum wage? (e.g., [3M/20k = 150] & [300k/20k] = 15). So, if you make 20k a year, and your doc takes home 300k, basically society is telling you that he is worth ...more
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Apr 3, 10 9:26 AM
Nothing against a person making 20 K but normally a doctor needs about12 years of education and has huge responsibilities. A person making 20 K most likely does not have a college degree and is likely flipping burgers
By razza5350 (1911), East Hampton on Apr 3, 10 7:40 PM
The reason that doctors make so much money is not because of their individual worth but because of their effective national labor union, the AMA, which tells legislators what laws to make about medicine.

The AMA was a reaction to quack practitioners of the 19th and early 20th Century like the famous goat gland doctor, "Dr. Brinkley", who killed patients with deadly operations. But it developed from a licensing agency for competency to a gatekeeping agency for high profits.

To ...more
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Apr 4, 10 12:36 AM
The answer to ignorance is knowledge. If you truly believe that US health care compares favorably with other Western industrialized nations, (from whom we draw our heritage), just read the book I cited, "The Healing of America", by T.R. Reid.

The specters that have been raised above by posters of incompetent, antiquated, careless, unsanitary, indiscriminate and indifferent treatment as a result of national health care are proven to be simply, empirically WRONG.

What may kill our ...more
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Apr 4, 10 3:28 PM
1 member liked this comment
I agree that the answer to ignorance is knowledge. I highly reccomend you do some research on Medicare/Medicaid fraud, unfunded liabilities, and look at the hard numbers. If you believe it is our MORAL imperative to provide coverage for all so be it (this bill is far from that) but if you think the gvt will run this more effective than the private sector and rein in costs history has proven the contrary. Facts and history don't lie.
By razza5350 (1911), East Hampton on Apr 4, 10 4:11 PM
[The article, "Empire and Alliance reach agreement, both sides say they're pleased" has been pulled by the Press, so the following answer that I tried to post there is posted here:]

to razza5350:

I don't believe, nor have I ever indicated, that insurance executives, physicians, medical device manufacturers, and Big Pharma are evil. That's ridiculous.

Furthermore, your fulminations about what TR Reid has supposedly said reveal that you have no conception of the subject ...more
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Apr 5, 10 4:58 PM

Don't mind the profanity, 'cause it might allow you to vent a little anger.

The same principals apply to the health care market as well.
Apr 5, 10 5:21 PM appended by Mr. Z
I would also like to add that it has been a long time since a man of middle class means had sat in the Oval Office. Hopefully, time will show that he is there for the people, not just his wealthy, fat cat associates.
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Apr 5, 10 5:21 PM
Let's face it, this bill is a pork laden, expensive piece of garbage. As a registered Democrat I am disgusted by what the Democratic leadership has done.The only thing worse than this bill is everything offered by the Republicans.
By bird (829), Southampton on Apr 6, 10 12:45 PM
The insurance business is the most closely regulated business in the country. The 50 STATE insurance Departments ans the 50 STATE legislatured passed and pass copious laws and regulations limiting the Companies bahavior. Even the margin of profit is regulated to no more than 5% of annual earned premium. More, the Companies are required by law to make some profit so tthey will have the reserves necessary to pay losses without going out of business should there be a catasrtophic year of losses. Had ...more
By Lost Tribe (66), East Hampton on Apr 6, 10 9:39 PM
All I can say is you clowns elected him!!!!
By Walt (292), Southampton on Apr 6, 10 10:04 PM
What are you guys talking about?? Don't you know that the gvt can solve all of your problems.
By razza5350 (1911), East Hampton on Apr 6, 10 11:45 PM
lol, I was just informed today that the insurance offered by my employer was going up by 27% for every person in the company (about 50 of us). The timing seems a little ironic, doesn't it?
By AlwaysLocal (292), southampton on Apr 8, 10 12:42 AM
It is time for this country to turn back to its founding principals. Individual control and liberty. Enough with the big government, wealth redistribution and hand outs. These are not the characteristics that made this a great nation. Socialism is a dead end road.
By reality 101 (137), East Hampton on Apr 8, 10 11:42 AM
Guys, check it out -- here's what the health care legislation, recently passed with Tim Bishop's help, will do for the East End:

-- Close the "doughnut hole" and make other Medicare improvements for 112,000 people.
-- Provide coverage for 8,700 people with pre-existing conditions.
-- Tax credits and other coverage help for as many as 97,000 families and 20,000 small businesses.
-- Let 49,000 people age 26 or less be covered by their parents' plans.
-- End annual and lifetime ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Apr 9, 10 1:40 PM
Whats not to like....How about the price tag? How about every bullet point you mentioned except tax credits and closing the donut hole does NOT apply in NY.
By razza5350 (1911), East Hampton on Apr 9, 10 4:26 PM
Razza, this is where you get yourself in a bind. Every point I mentioned applies, not only in New York, but in the First Congressional District of New York, right here on the East End. The data comes from a 3/23/10 27east piece, "Health care reform's effects on New York's First Congressional District", so you are wholly wrong here. Your mistake is welcome, however, because it gives me the chance to point out that the statistics I quoted, like coverage for 8,700 people with pre-existing conditions, ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Apr 9, 10 5:43 PM
1. In NY you can NOT be denied coverage if you have a prexisting condition. The insurance company CAN deny coverage for the prexisting condition only for the first 12 months only. The reason for this clause is no one would bother getting coverage until they got sick.

2. Paterson approved a law which can extend dependent coverage to age 29
By razza5350 (1911), East Hampton on Apr 9, 10 8:01 PM
3. Insurance companies can not cancel people in NY if they get sick
4. Most insurance policies offer unlimited coverage. If not you can always switch carriers if Need be with no concern for pre existing in NY.

Please know what you are talking about before reading the. BS Timmy is telling people. He is misleading you
By razza5350 (1911), East Hampton on Apr 9, 10 8:05 PM
FYI that data is flat out WRONG. Just google press on Paterson health care dependent limits for proof
By razza5350 (1911), East Hampton on Apr 9, 10 8:09 PM
Razza, between the releases of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and those of our Governor-under-a-cloud (yes, I know he's a Democrat), I'll go with the Committee's stuff. Contrary to what you say, it's not just Tim Bishop's release, but that of the whole Committee, with both Dems and Republicans to keep each other honest. But even if you were right, and we already had some of these features in New York, is that a reason to oppose the legislation if it will help folks who need it in other ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Apr 9, 10 11:02 PM
By the way, Razza, I just checked, and Tim Bishop is not even a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee which the Press names as the source of the data I quoted. Therefore, if anyone's misleading me, as you suggest and I doubt, it's not Tim Bishop.
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Apr 10, 10 10:42 AM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By JamesLeo, on May 26, 16 7:49 AM