Tag: Insurance Company Welfare

Time to stop pretending

New Health Care Law a Republican Plan That Should Make Insurance Companies Proud

By: Jon Walker Tuesday March 30, 2010 2:22 pm

This new law at its heart is a pro-private health insurance, pro-big business Republican bill. It is not liberal or progressive, and it would be hard to justify even calling the law “centrist” because it lacks very popular elements like a public option and drug re-importation-reforms wanted by the broad “center” of the country.

It is nearly identical to previous Republican bills and laws. It is strikingly similar to a plan from the Heritage Foundation. It almost exactly follows the same proposal put forward over a year ago by the health insurance industry itself. After it passed, the drug companies spent big on ads thanking Democrats for passing this massive giveaway to their industry.

The law is a completely wasteful and poorly designed piece of corporate welfare. It is nothing for progressives to be proud of. If you want to argue that we should have supported it because the rampant corruption in our Congress and the fact that a huge number of senators are wholly owned by the health care industry means that this wasteful, pro-corporate bill was the only way to get some help to some people in need, I can at least accept the honesty of that argument. But let’s all stop pretending this was some great victory over the health care industry and for progressive policy.

A Huge Progressive Victory

Tribal Loyalty and the Corporatist Agenda: It’s Not Just For Republicans Any More

By: Jane Hamsher Monday March 29, 2010 8:40 am

Ezra then went on to write (with no small amount of irony) that poor David Frum had been purged from AEI for his failure to walk in lockstep with the GOP on health care, after Frum pointed out that the foundations of the bill really were conservative.  He castigates the party for its unfettered tribalism in shutting down a truthteller like Frum, who he applauds for merely pointing out the obvious conservative intellectual inconsistency. You could give yourself whiplash trying to count all the reversals wrapped up in that one, starting with Ezra’s long-held insistence that the health care bill represents a huge progressive victory (though he has been trying to square the two, as if progressive “goals” hadn’t been used as bait to neutralize liberal opposition and achieve a drastic corporate agenda).

It’s probably unfair to single out Ezra for this rather glaring inconsistency, since he was just one of many who were quick to excoriate “purists” on the left who didn’t support the bill and then subsequently leaped to Frum’s defense.   But if the lesson of the David Frum firing is that it’s really bad for a political movement to stigmatize dissent and deviation from the party line, what does it say about those steely-eyed “pragmatists” who castigated pro-choice dissent within their own party when abortion rights were deemed an acceptable sacrifice?

There is no consistent, coherent moral position being expressed here.  Rather, a woman’s right to choose has value primarily when it can be demagogued to exclude those who don’t pass its litmus test of tribal loyalty. Abortion is a core element of the liberal canon that cannot be broached at any cost when it comes to shutting down potential trans-partisan alliances around civil liberties or ending the war that have nothing whatsoever to do with choice.  But when it comes to a law that actually seriously impacts a woman’s right to choose,  abortion rights can be sacrificed for some “greater good,” with some feminist cover quickly assembled to affirm that an appropriate standard has been met.  And anyone who doesn’t arrive at that conclusion at the same time is operating in bad faith and should not be taken seriously.

The abortion issue is emblematic of the way in which appeals to tribal loyalty were used to stigmatize and delegitimize progressive opposition to a radically corporatist health care bill. George Bush couldn’t privatize Social Security because of liberal opposition, but liberal resistance to a health care bill authored by the insurance companies was effectively neutralized by a call to Democratic party loyalty.  Anyone making a consistent values argument, who didn’t immediately fall in line and support the passage of a neoliberal health care bill, was “helping the Republicans” – as if Republican opposition to the bill wasn’t the very thing that gave progressives negotiating power in the first place.

In What’s the Matter with Kansas, Thomas Frank poignantly describes how white working class Americans are tricked by corporate elites into acting against their self-interest through naked appeals to irrational tribalism.

Glad that only happens to Republicans.

What you got.

This is what you got for 6 years of time and money supporting Democrats-

A middle class family of four making $66,370 will be forced to pay $5,243 per year for insurance. After basic necessities, this leaves them with $8,307 in discretionary income – out of which they would have to cover clothing, credit card and other debt, child care and education costs, in addition to $5,882 in annual out-of-pocket medical expenses for which families will be responsible.  Many families who are already struggling to get by would be better off saving the $5,243 in insurance costs and paying their medical expenses directly, rather than being forced to by coverage they can’t afford the co-pays on.

Read it and weep suckers.

And then realize that the reason “health care” was the top priority is that it had the greatest public support and least resistance.

What do you think is going to happen with financial reform and global warming?

Welcome to the new Black Plague, the new Dark Ages.

And it has nothing to do with the melanin of our President.

Just his policies.

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.

No Public Option, No Mandate

As expected Obama has sold us out to the Insurance Companies.

His “New Regulation System” is likely to be ruled out of order by the Senate Parlimentarian and defeated by Republican Filibuster.

There is still an anti-Union excise tax.

There is NO Public Option and therefore NO constraint on Insurance Company behavior.

He has RAISED the penalty on the Individual Mandate.

It’s Official: Obama Is Against The Public Option

By: Jon Walker Monday February 22, 2010 8:45 am

Just to be clear, you can’t “support” something if you make no effort to see that it passes. If you do things that directly harm its chances of becoming law, like not include it in your health care proposal, then you are against it. But don’t worry, even as Obama takes steps to make sure that people don’t have an alternative to the private insurance companies that helped ruin our health care system, he did take steps to make sure you face an even bigger IRS penalty if you refuse to buy the poorly regulated product from the private insurance companies.

This is not Health Care Reform.

It is a bad bill that must be defeated.