Health Care Reform

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According to Dr. Angell on that 😉 right wing rag, the HuffingtonPost, here’s what we get with the House bill before the Senate even touches it.

* It enshrines and subsidizes the “takeover” by the investor-owned insurance industry.

* It expands Medicaid.

* It eliminates denial of coverage because of pre-existing conditions, but since it doesn’t regulate premiums, the industry can respond to any regulation that threatens its profits by simply raising its rates.

* It does very little to curb the perverse incentives that lead doctors to over-treat the well-insured.

* It is so complicated, it’ll cost a brazillion dollars to administer and enforce it.

(more)

What does the insurance industry get out of it? (emphasis mine)


If a similar bill emerges from the Senate and the reconciliation process, and is ultimately passed, what will happen?

First, health costs will continue to skyrocket, even faster than they are now, as taxpayer dollars are pumped into the private sector. The response of payers — government and employers — will be to shrink benefits and increase deductibles and co-payments. Yes, more people will have insurance, but it will cover less and less, and be more expensive to use.

But, you say, the Congressional Budget Office has said the House bill will be a little better than budget-neutral over ten years. That may be, although the assumptions are arguable. Note, though, that the CBO is not concerned with total health costs, only with costs to the government. And it is particularly concerned with Medicare, the biggest contributor to federal deficits. The House bill would take money out of Medicare, and divert it to the private sector and, to some extent, to Medicaid. The remaining costs of the legislation would be paid for by taxes on the wealthy. But although the bill might pay for itself, it does nothing to solve the problem of runaway inflation in the system as a whole. It’s a shell game in which money is moved from one part of our fragmented system to another.

Could somebody please explain to me exactly what the Democrats are celebrating?  No one is even looking at what’s in the bill, and they’re still clapping, slapping Kucinich and Massa, and whipping the hell out of it.  From what I can see, a Lieberman filibuster would be doing this country and the so called Democratic Party a favor.

Oh yes, and we get prayer therapy, Viagara and more restricted access to abortions.  Let’s here it for the Democratic majority’s health care reform.  

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    • dkmich on November 9, 2009 at 11:06 pm
      Author
  1. Oh yes, and we get prayer therapy

    Included because the Dems know that after this mockery of a bill passes, we’re all gonna need to start praying that we can pay.

    • Edger on November 9, 2009 at 11:51 pm

    especially Pelosi, are celebrating getting away with this…

    On July 9th, in a harmless-sounding letter to Pelosi, 40 Blue Dogs expressed concern that doctors in the public option “must be fairly reimbursed at negotiated rates, and their participation must be voluntary.” Paying doctors “using Medicare’s below-market rates,” they added, “would seriously weaken the financial stability of our local hospitals.”

    The letter was an amazing end run around the political problem posed by the public option – i.e., its unassailable status as a more efficient and cheaper health care alternative. The Blue Dogs were demanding that the very thing that makes the public option work – curbing costs to taxpayers by reimbursing doctors at Medicare rates plus five percent – be scrapped. Instead, the Blue Dogs wanted compensation rates for doctors to be jacked up, on the government’s tab. The very Democrats who make a point of boasting about their unwavering commitment to fiscal conservatism were lobbying, in essence, for a big fat piece of government pork for doctors. “Cost should be the number-one concern to the Blue Dogs,” grouses Rep. Woolsey. “That’s why they’re Blue Dogs.”

    In the end, the Blue Dogs won. When the House commerce committee passed its bill, the public option no longer paid Medicare-plus-five-percent. Instead, it required the government to negotiate rates with providers, ensuring that costs would be dramatically higher. According to one Democratic aide, the concession would bump the price of the public option by $1,800 a year for the average family of four.

    In one fell swoop, the public plan went from being significantly cheaper than private insurance to costing, well, “about the same as what we have now,” as one Senate aide puts it. This was the worst of both worlds, the kind of take-the-fork-in-the-road nonsolution that has been the peculiar specialty of Democrats ever since Bill Clinton invented a new way to smoke weed. The party could now sell voters on the idea that it was offering a “public option” without technically lying, while at the same time reassuring health care providers that the public option it was passing would not imperil the industry’s market share.

    Even more revolting, when Pelosi was asked on July 31st if she worried that progressives in the House would yank their support of the bill because of the sellout to conservatives, she literally laughed out loud. “Are the progressives going to take down universal, quality, affordable health care for all Americans?” she said, chuckling heartily to reporters. “I don’t think so.”

    The laugh said everything about what the mainstream Democratic Party is all about. It finds the notion that it has to pay anything more than lip service to its professed values funny. “It’s a joke,” complains one Democratic aide. “This is all a game to these people – and they’re good at it.”

    –from Sick and Wrong, by Matt Taibbi

  2. it has been a pleasure to see your handle around the ‘net.

  3. Dr. Angell has it right!

    Maybe, we should start calling the Committee on Health, etc. NOW and tell them to “kill the bill.”  We may as well, since it only promises to get worse from here on out.  

    I don’t think Ms. Pelosi, could ever truly relate to the plight of Americans.  She and her husband are very, very wealthy people!

  4. I can’t wait to see the Senate’s version…(eyeroll–facepalm)

  5. Is the House bill better than nothing? I don’t think so. It simply throws more money into a dysfunctional and unsustainable system, with only a few improvements at the edges, and it augments the central role of the investor-owned insurance industry. The danger is that as costs continue to rise and coverage becomes less comprehensive, people will conclude that we’ve tried health reform and it didn’t work. But the real problem will be that we didn’t really try it. I would rather see us do nothing now, and have a better chance of trying again later and then doing it right.

  6. So with my non-job and living in mAssachusetts next year I will be 55 which means if I had MassHealth the state could attach my estate to my medical bills.  Well the thing to do here is try and eat right, avoid the doctor, don’t get any shots and stock up on the natural health remedies which will vanish this December.

    Now vaccinating the health care workers first, well in ten years there will be no health care workers, how is that going to work.

    It does not address the non-privacy of “private” medical electronically digitized can be passed around anywhere instantly without your knowledge, consent or can I have a looksee to see what is in there.  You can get your credit report, how about your medical records.  Do you know what is in there, is it accurate, correct?   Will they(some insurance company) assign you to a higher risk group based upon family history, that genetic test you had, the screening for PAD,RLS,FSD,ADHD?  Did you Google your drug of choice first just to see if the search contained legal firms soliciting your business?

    • robodd on November 10, 2009 at 3:36 am

    to explain my psychological condition Obluma.  Combo of Obama and blue if you can’t figure it out.

    It seems to me we have been and are taking very serious missteps, irremedial missteps, missteps so mistaken that I have only a vague dread notion of where they will lead, which makes it all the worse.

    I need to step aside from politics for awhile, enjoy family, friends, art, music a bit more.

  7. to create a universal insurance pool for their fellow state residents. However, these same individuals are compelled by law to purchase insurance from private companies under the threat of a fine.

    This is the most illogical nonsense I have ever seen.

    I have totally loony Teabagger friends who notice this shit, and how do I disagree?

    Increments would have been a lot better e.g. outlaw pre-existing condition rejection and develop a formula that controls the cost of policies for people with disabilities and illnesses etc. And provide subsidies if necessary.

    And on top of this crazy bill, the house sets a precedent to further weaken Roe v. Wade. These are Democrats?

    • dkmich on November 10, 2009 at 1:06 pm
      Author
    • banger on November 10, 2009 at 7:16 pm

    It has got to be clear that we need to ally ourselves with the right and say that government is not the solution. Government could be the solution but, at this time, it simply cannot be. Everything that is done from “Defense” to social programs is designed to further the project of creating a neo-feudal order. This must be resisted by creating our own power centers and to encourage the dismemberment of the federal government. We need to work locally to make changes. The Feds are working to make sure that the largest multi-national corporations will literally BE the government — in fact, this has already happened as far as I can see. Am I wrong? Can we honestly say that any of us trust the Feds?

  8. Sure the house is burning down, but hell if I am not going to celebrate! I so rarely win this version of solitaire.

    So time to go into the kitchen and grab a … damn, the fire’s in the kitchen. OK, time to grab a bottle of wine from the pantry and celebrate.

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