The Good Bad News on Insurance Company Welfare

It’s Not That the Health Care Bill Does Too Little Good, It’s That It Does Too Much Harm

By: Jon Walker Wednesday March 17, 2010 1:41 pm

The Senate bill further entrenches the private health insurance system. It continues the terrible pattern of privatizing our social safety net in such a way that business skims 20% off the top. It makes sure the big, life saving medications of the future remain incredibly expensive, so as to enrich the drug industry. It takes a giant step towards eroding women’s reproductive rights. It wastes hundreds of millions to fortify the same, broken health care system that is crushing our economy. The worst part is I don’t see anything in this bill that might serve as a path to real reform. There is no public option or Medicare buy-in. There is no proper state single payer waiver. There is no mechanism to move to an all-payer system and/or a clear path to force for-profit companies out of the health insurance market.


House Democrats scramble to ensure adequate deficit reduction in health bill

By Lori Montgomery, Washington Post Staff Writer

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Democrats hoped to receive the Congressional Budget Office report on the legislation’s budgetary impact late Tuesday night. Because Democrats are using special budget rules, known as reconciliation, to protect the package from a Republican filibuster, the measure must reduce the deficit by at least $2 billion over the next five years and avoid increasing the deficit in any year thereafter. Under normal circumstances, that rule would require the bill simply to contain enough revenue-raising provisions to offset new spending. But, like so much else in the health-care debate, this time it is more complicated.

Instead of being measured against current law, the deficit-reduction potential of the “fixes” package will be measured against the Senate bill, which must be passed by the House before the Senate can approve the fixes. The Senate bill would trim $118 billion from the deficit over the next decade and hundreds of billions of dollars in the following 10 years. For the fixes package to comply with reconciliation rules, it must also promise significant long-term deficit reduction, aides said.

Even with Kucinich-

New Health Care Whip Count: Still 191 Yes, 206 No (205-209 with Leaners)

By: David Dayen Wednesday March 17, 2010 11:34 am

In fact, there is some slippage-

Jerry Costello Flips into the Stupak Bloc

By: David Dayen Wednesday March 17, 2010 1:14 pm

However, the abortion language was always going to be a problem for the Illinois lawmaker, and this is a fairly clear sign that he has returned to the Stupak bloc and out of the “Stupak-curious” realm. So add another no vote to the big board. With leaners, you’re at 205-210, with Democrats able to lose only 5 of the remaining uncommitted 16:

But there is a solution-

A Public Option Would Sure Fix Democrats’ CBO Troubles

By: Jon Walker Wednesday March 17, 2010 12:30 pm

Why have we not yet seen a reconciliation bill with a final CBO score? It needs to be made public today if they want to have it online for 72 hours before a planned Saturday vote. The answer seems to be that they are having trouble putting together a reconciliation bill that the CBO will project as saving a sufficient amount of money.

There is, of course, a very easy solution to the House Democrats’ CBO trouble. They could add a public option or Medicare buy-in. The CBO projects that even a very weak and restricted public option would save the government $25 billion. A stronger but still restricted public option would save roughly $110 billion. Those savings would be more than large enough to produce an acceptable CBO score.

Of course, Democrats are not going to include a public option because it would ruin bipartisanship, we need Olympia Snowe, Ben Nelson, Joe Lieberman, Blanche Lincoln, Dick Durbin would whip against it, the Senate does not have the votes, the Senate has the votes the House does not, it might delay the bill Obama traded it away to the for-profit hospitals in a backroom deal. Instead, I suspect that they will make up the loss by either raising more taxes or cutting much-needed aid to students and community colleges.

Have fun explaining that move Democrats. Go home and tell your constituents that not only did you deny them the public option they overwhelming want, but you decided to take money from low income college students, and use it to protect the profits of the private health insurance industry.


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