Corporate welfare bill to private health insurers passed in US

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Michelle
Corporate welfare bill to private health insurers passed in US

I figure we can use this thread for the horror stories that are sure to emerge in the months ahead, about people who have been forced to buy private insurance (or have to pay a fine), and then have been bankrupted by medical costs when those shitty private plans refuse to pay their claims.

I don't really get why so many progressives are celebrating.  The Republicans couldn't have come up with a better plan to reward their corporate buddies than this one.

Issues Pages: 
Fidel

I think the National Undertakers Association backed the GOP plan a few months ago. So I dunno.  I think China will achieve universal health care before the U.S. does. Too many Americans are more willing to fatten morticians' bottom lines than share anything with their fellow Americans. I think the country is definitely running a fever.

welder welder's picture

The right wingers heads are starting to explode...Talk of revolution and insurrection!!!

 

hehehehehehe....

NDPP

The truth about the Health Care Bill

http://fdlaction.firedoglake.com/2010/03/19/fact-sheet-the-truth-about-t...

"Real health care reform is the thing we've fought for from the start. It is desperately needed. But this bill falls short on many levels. And it hurts many people more than it helps.."

Fidel

I'll bet Wall Street bankers can afford health care, and especially now that theyve been provided so many guarantees in life by US taxpayers. I'll bet not one fat-cat banker will have to declare bankruptcy and lose everything if or when they're ever sick. Not a single one.

Sineed

David Frum wrote an interesting essay:

Quote:
Conservatives and Republicans today suffered their most crushing legislative defeat since the 1960s.

It’s hard to exaggerate the magnitude of the disaster. Conservatives may cheer themselves that they’ll compensate for today’s expected vote with a big win in the November 2010 elections. But:

(1) It’s a good bet that conservatives are over-optimistic about November – by then the economy will have improved and the immediate goodies in the healthcare bill will be reaching key voting blocs.

(2) So what? Legislative majorities come and go. This healthcare bill is forever. A win in November is very poor compensation for this debacle now.

So far, I think a lot of conservatives will agree with me. Now comes the hard lesson:

A huge part of the blame for today’s disaster attaches to conservatives and Republicans ourselves.

<snip>

how many votes could we muster to re-open the “doughnut hole” and charge seniors more for prescription drugs? How many votes to re-allow insurers to rescind policies when they discover a pre-existing condition? How many votes to banish 25 year olds from their parents’ insurance coverage? And even if the votes were there – would President Obama sign such a repeal?

We followed the most radical voices in the party and the movement, and they led us to abject and irreversible defeat.

http://www.frumforum.com/waterloo

Doug

The exploding teabagger heads are worth celebration in itself.

This is the most anyone there has been able to achieve since the creation of Medicare and Medicaid - all other attempts at universalizing health insurance at the federal level have gone down in flames. It's sad that this was probably the most they could have done as the insurance and other medical lobbies are so powerful. Glass half-full. It's only the end of the beginning of the struggle for better health care.

KenS

There's no question that what people get under the health care reform is a raw deal in comparison to wht we have in Canada. And that it does not strip the medical insurance industry of its business and power.

[Duh.]

The insurance lobby fought this tooth and nail. How do you square that with the thread title: that this was a bill FOR private health insurers?

Tommy_Paine

 

David Frum has been trying to position himself as the voice of reason on the American right. 

Talk about cherry picking.

 

Anyway.  One could have an easy time slice and dicing this health care reform bill as not measuring up.  But, I think if those who were active in supporting health care reform in the States look at it as a foot in the door, and build on it, it could yet measure up to the victory Obama claims it to be.

Michelle

How do you build on this?  There's no public option.  If they ever tried to bring one in after this, they'd be back to square one, whereas Obama could have used his incredible influence to include it if he'd really wanted to.

This plan is just forcing people to line up at private insurers' doors and hand over their cheques, with no competition from a public option to keep them honest.

Caissa
Tommy_Paine

How do you build on this?  There's no public option.

 

Well, unlike the first attempt by Clinton, this one forced all the opponents out into the open, exposed tactics and personalities that can be targeted strategically in the coming years.   And, when people start to enjoy the few things this does bring them, then it's easier to get them clamouring for more.   

 

I'd love to be on a pro health care lobby group with a good budget in the States right now.  I'd make Karl Rove look like Albert Schwietzer.

KenS

Michelle wrote:
The Republicans couldn't have come up with a better plan to reward their corporate buddies than this one.

Again: how do you sqare this with these simple facts that should have been observable to even the most superficial observation of what has been going on in the US for months now?

1.] The private insurers spent TONS of money lobbying and TONS more on advertising against the basics of the Obama plan.

2.] Republicans in Congress coordinated with that playing upon peoples' fears. They also stoked the Tea Parties and exploited the opening they created.

It is obvious the private insurers wanted nothing to do with Obamas plans- they put EVERYTHING behind it going down in flames.

Please square that with "The Republicans couldn't have come up with a better plan to reward their corporate buddies than this one."

And think about how you answer that in its own right, before moving on to the next questions in reply to your comments.

Michelle wrote:

How do you build on this?  There's no public option.  If they ever tried to bring one in after this, they'd be back to square one, whereas Obama could have used his incredible influence to include it if he'd really wanted to.

This plan is just forcing people to line up at private insurers' doors and hand over their cheques, with no competition from a public option to keep them honest.

"Obama could have used his incredible influence to" get the public option "if he'd really wanted to."

Excuse me. Obama just staked everything on getting what he got. Once he took that step, hed have no clout to get anything done if he lost. No small gamble in its own right when there was nothing like a guarantee he would win. Plus the credibility on a number of other things he torched to get this [and not just the ones that matter to people around here].

He staked all of that, and barely won.

Yet we have people saying "if he had really wanted it he could have got a public option."

How about sqaurieng that one too?

Not to pick on you personally Michelle. You express what is easily the majority opinion around here.

Michelle

He barely won because the majority of Americans who voted for him for health care wanted a real option and a public option, not this.

I don't feel picked on, that's okay.  I sure wouldn't say this on Daily Kos! :D

Tommy_Paine

 

It's a lesson for us all.   Whatever you think of that bill, it represents the biggest challenge to established power in the States that we've seen in the longest time.    And, look at how the stops were pulled out by the establishment to fight it.  I think, through the Teabaggers and their media flying monkey squad, they were nakedly trying to incite violence, even.

 

That's why we've got to be fighting now, and continually, against such enterprises already lined up and waiting to defeat anything we try to do.

 

You know, many here are quick to point out the short memories of the general public and of right wingers, but I often find it short here too, being the only crank who remembers Navigator and their tendrils in the media.    They, and PR firms, formal and informal, who operate more competently than Navigator, truly behind the scenes and under the radar are already working on ways to privatize our system.    

This is a battle of no quarter, make no mistake.

ElizaQ ElizaQ's picture

 KenS.  I've followed the healthcare debate quite and have to agree with most of your assessment.  Obama has influence yes but he's not a miracle worker.  Republican antics aside it became quite clear that when the public option came initially on the table that there were a significant amount of more conservative Dems that weren't going to fly that way no matter what sort of behind the scenes arm twisting occured and boyo there was a lot of it.   Most of this debate happened within their own caucus with the Republicans on the outside shouting, no, no, no! death panels!, omg killing grandma, ABORTION funding and socialism/marxism/facism booga booga.   Sad to watch from the outside but to me it was a major example of the differences between our system and the US's.  Here the PM would just say you are going to vote this way, deal with it and it's done.  

 Of course I would have loved to see some sort of single payer implemented and bar that some sort of public option.  It sucks that political climate and discourse stinks to high heaven right now.  With all things considered I'm actually surprised they managed to get as much as they did.  I'm uneasy about the whole fining people thing though I get the reasoning behind it.  I think it's a wait and see how that all plays out.  I keep reading that it's not necessarily a killer because the fine is way less then insurance and there is already those stating that it won't even work the way it's supposed to anyways.   There's also some sort of insurance exchange to help deal with affordability though I admit I don't really no how that is supposed to work.

Bright spots include the one thing that pisses me off no end and that I personally find morally unconsionable.  It will be against the law to deny anyone coverage who has a pre-existing condition and kick people off plans when they actually get really sick.   The removal of insurance caps is also a big one. 

These two things are huge and imo there is no way that insurance companies think these are good things.  People are already talking lawsuits over these provisions.   It's a major blow to how they do 'business' and keep their numbers(profits) flowing.   What I see as significant in passing these things is that the government now has a foot in the door of enacting some oversight in insurance business practices.  That in itself is a step forward and I can see that potentially being built upon.

KenS

And here are the big reasons why the insures saw this as violently oppossed to their interests Michelle.

The government is ending a lot of the practices that allow the insurers to cherry pick who and what they cover. That is how they make their money. Very simple.

In return they are being handed new business they must take that they don't want- where there is no profit.

I suppose in Alice in Wonderland that could be called 'corporate welfare'.

KenS

"He barely won because the majority of Americans who voted for him for health care wanted a real option and a public option, not this."

How is this suppossed to work?

You can't take what people say in opinion polls to get what you want in politics.

A majority of Americans say they want a public health care option?

Two thirds of Canadians say they don't want ANY kind of tax increases. In the same poll, over 70% of them want no spending cuts.

The comparable thing in the US is that a great many of those people who said they wanted a public policy option, ALSO were not liking the aspects of the Obama plan that made the private insurance industry do ANYTHING. And having a public policy option would require FAR more beating down of the private insurers than Obama was proposing.

Sure they want a public policy option. But if having one means substantially cutting in to the gold plated plans that about one third of Americans have, then forgot it. They were just assuming they could have their cake and eat it too.

Your is just another parallel universe view that politicians don't have more support because they don't push radical alternatives for which a lot of you create a mythical backing for.

Michelle

KenS, in answer to your earlier question about why the Republicans were so dead set against it if it was such a conservative plan - David Frum answered it well, dog forgive me for using him to support my point.

The reason the Repugs went batshit is because, frankly, they went batshit.  They got their base all riled up in mob psychology and escalating rhetoric about Obama=Hitler and birther conspiracy theories and stupid shit like that, and then when it went spiralling out of control, they couldn't back down from it because, as Frum says, when you demonize your opponent as Hitler and death panels, you can't back down.

But Frum also made the point that, from a reasonable Republican point of view, it's a pretty good deal for them, and similar to what Republicans have been putting forward anyhow - private insurance for everyone.  It's exactly what a Republican would have put forward had they been pressured into putting forward their own plan.

And it's a total dream that the private insurance companies who have made a killing (literally!) on selling shit plans and refusing claims now have a completely captive audience - all the people who were denied or couldn't afford plans before are now being FORCED to buy private shit plans, and if they don't, they face a fine.

But you can bet that while insurance companies won't refuse to insure them (because they can't now), that they'll do their damndest to deny as many claims as possible, from routine to major surgery.

And don't get me started on the "gold-plated plan" rhetoric.  You know who that's aimed at, KenS?  Union members.  Workers are the ones whose "gold-plated plans" (or, "Cadillac plans") are being so attacked and vilified in the American media.  And Obama went with that, and decided to TAX those plans on the employer end, which will eventually erode those plans because the employer won't want to pay those taxes.  So, good job.  Destroying workers' health care plans in order to help pay for shit plans from private providers to the poorest, instead of including a public option that rivals unionized plans and letting people have a real choice about their health care.

It's a fucking scandal, is what it is.  A Republican dream.  And once the teabaggers get over their hissy fits, they'll see what a dream it is.

ElizaQ ElizaQ's picture

Tommy_Paine wrote:

 

It's a lesson for us all.   Whatever you think of that bill, it represents the biggest challenge to established power in the States that we've seen in the longest time.    And, look at how the stops were pulled out by the establishment to fight it.  I think, through the Teabaggers and their media flying monkey squad, they were nakedly trying to incite violence, even.

  They weren't just trying in the past. They still are.  Go to any harder right site right now and the comments and calls for violence have increased since yesterday. There were at least two assassination calls that went out over twitter yesterday.   The rhetoric is quite astounding and there are a great many people who believe that the passage of this bill means the end of America.  The republic is dead. America is now communist/nazist.   It's worse then 9/11.   People are in mourning.   People are calling for God to come save them.  Weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth.   The hyperbole would be rather humorous is it wasn't so widespread or in the fringe but no it's echoed through the media and through actual elected reps.    Beck should be a treat or horror to watch today.

 

Quote:

That's why we've got to be fighting now, and continually, against such enterprises already lined up and waiting to defeat anything we try to do.

 

You know, many here are quick to point out the short memories of the general public and of right wingers, but I often find it short here too, being the only crank who remembers Navigator and their tendrils in the media.    They, and PR firms, formal and informal, who operate more competently than Navigator, truly behind the scenes and under the radar are already working on ways to privatize our system.    

This is a battle of no quarter, make no mistake.

 

 I agree.

George Victor

It's been suggested, time and again, that Obama is letting down his troops, is a sellout.  Paul Krugman has just as insistently pointed out just what forces of madness and racism that he was up against. He had to water it down to get it past some of his own bloody party.

Krugman sums it neatly today:

"Instead, the emotional core of opposition to reform was blatant fear-mongering, unconstrained either by the facts or by any sense of decency.

It wasn't just the death panel smear. It was racial hate-mongering, like a piece in Investor's Business Daily declaring that health reform is "affirmative action on steroids, deciding everything from who becomes a doctor to who gets treatment on the basis of skin color." It was wild claims about abortion funding. It was the insistence that there is something tyrannical about giving young working Americans the assurance that health care will be available when they need it, an assurance that older Americans have enjoyed ever since Lyndon Johnson - whom Mr. Gingrich considers a failed president - pushed Medicare through over the howls of conservatives.

And let's be clear: the campaign of fear hasn't been carried out by a radical fringe, unconnected to the Republican establishment. On the contrary, that establishment has been involved and approving all the way. Politicians like Sarah Palin - who was, let us remember, the G.O.P.'s vice-presidential candidate - eagerly spread the death panel lie, and supposedly reasonable, moderate politicians like Senator Chuck Grassley refused to say that it was untrue. On the eve of the big vote, Republican members of Congress warned that "freedom dies a little bit today" and accused Democrats of "totalitarian tactics," which I believe means the process known as "voting."

Without question, the campaign of fear was effective: health reform went from being highly popular to wide disapproval, although the numbers have been improving lately. But the question was, would it actually be enough to block reform?"

Unionist

The enemy [1] of my enemy [2] must be my friend. The "logic" of despair.

 

[1] Mandatory private health insurance.

[2] Frenzied racist right-wing fanatics.

 

George Victor

I'll just hustle this little note over from the other thread before Ken's fatwa on the thread of the "believers" is carried out. (Or is that non-believers? Don't know where orthodoxy lies any more)  :D

 

"My cousin's son in Florida will now be able to get the healthcare insurance that was denied him because of insurance companies not wanting to take him on for less that $1200 per month.  And another 30,000,000 people (Canada's population) will be covered.

Strange how the empathy for those folks is swamped by invective about "corporations".  Not the corporations in which one's life savings are invested, though.  Other corporations.   What meaningless, so-20th-Century "analysis".

quote:

"He knew that his bill was more a beginning than an end. The Social Security Act, Roosevelt said, "represents a cornerstone in a structure which is being built but is by no means complete." And Bush nearly destroyed this, proposing the individual social security fund recipient be turned into an investor. Perhaps it will take more than a year to claw their way back from the madness of King George."  (That's George Bush, the reviled president preceding the current reviled president, but about whom we read diddly squat any more...opinion posing as analysis being so fickle).

Unionist

George Victor wrote:
My cousin's son in Florida will now be able to get the healthcare insurance that was denied him because of insurance companies not wanting to take him on for less that $1200 per month.

How much will his premium be, out of curiosity?

 

Michelle

And what will be covered?

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

I'd like to see some focus on how to stop increasing health care privatization here, people.

ElizaQ ElizaQ's picture

Michelle wrote:

 

It's a fucking scandal, is what it is.  A Republican dream.  And once the teabaggers get over their hissy fits, they'll see what a dream it is.

Not going to happen anytime soon.  Hissy fitting is going to get worse and 'health care death of America bill' is already playing into the next thing on the agenda. Even as this bill was being passed they were segwaying and leveraging the horror of it all  into immigration reform.

NDPP

An Attack on Health Care in the Guise of Reform

http://www.wsws.org/articles/2010/mar2010/pers-m22.shtml

"In the end, what decided the bill's passage was pressure brought to bear by the White House, acting on behalf of the most powerful sections of the financial elite.."

Unionist

Boom Boom wrote:

I'd like to see some focus on how to stop increasing health care privatization here, people.

I fully agree. As I have said before, the U.S. will get precisely the health care it wants and deserves. Its starting point is at the bottom of the "western" countries, and it will remain there after this cynical so-called "reform". Canada, notwithstanding all the pressures our economy and culture and political system undergo from the south, has quite courageously established and maintained a single-payer system which Obama didn't even dare suggest, for close to a half century now. In Québec, we have universal mandatory drug insurance - with a public option. Home care is covered in Manitoba and coming to your home soon.

Yet, as Boom Boom points out, privatization is a growing danger. We need to meet it head on. Going by the past half century, what happens in the U.S. in this regard will have little or no effect on our struggle here. So, while I lament the fate of the people of the U.S. in being unable to access public affordable health care, in the final analysis, it's as much my battle as the battle for health care in Kazakhstan. Both are important, but my sympathies will always tend more toward the weak and powerless than to those who need only to get over their own prejudices and misconceptions.

 

KenS

Michelle wrote:

And don't get me started on the "gold-plated plan" rhetoric.  You know who that's aimed at, KenS?  Union members.  Workers are the ones whose "gold-plated plans" (or, "Cadillac plans") are being so attacked and vilified in the American media.  And Obama went with that, and decided to TAX those plans on the employer end, which will eventually erode those plans because the employer won't want to pay those taxes.  So, good job.  Destroying workers' health care plans in order to help pay for shit plans from private providers to the poorest, instead of including a public option that rivals unionized plans and letting people have a real choice about their health care.

I'm glad to see that you follow what is actually said in the media.

Given that, I'll be interested to see how you square that this was 'corporate welfare' when the insurers fought so hard against the plan. I'll get back to that in another post.

I can see how trade unionists think that was directed at them, and certainly they get caught in it. But this is a product of the realities of the Gordian knot of US health care.

It is simply impossible to build a public option while leaving all the private plans untouched.

In Canada we had a public plan first, and the private plans arose as a supplement to that. And here the union plans are the backbone of that supplemental system. Not so in the US. Even for those who do have health care in the US there are 2 major categories- people with coverage that doesn't dump them and get generally good care. And those who get shitty coverage that routinely weasels out of any catastrophic care. People how are in the first world system because of union contracts are the smaller part of it.

Imagine what it would be like tobuild a public plan if we didn't already have one. The one we have was built before the insurance industry dug their claws into the system. And- crucially for a leader getting public support- our system was built when even unionized workers had shitty health care. They had nothing to lose. That is not true any more.

It would have been very easy for Obama to pander by building a public policy option while leaving the private system alone. And the industry would have absolutely loved it- let the government have all those people they don't want to ensure. Questions aside about the principles of that kind of pandering- that option wasn't fiscally possible.

A real public option, can only be built by really bearing down on the private insurance industry. I don't know enough to know if that was seriously considered- but I doubt it. [And if it had been- you'd see the unions lining up to oppose it. No doubt they didn't like this taxing of their plans, but did they voceiferously oppose it?]

At any rate- Obama chose the route of regulating the existing industry- force them to insure everyone and to end denial of care. Which is why they fought so hard. The tax on people with higher end health care was just the fiscal reality and a redistribution to pay for expanding the system.

I don't watch the debates anywhere close enough to see what the academics and health economists are saying. But all these political and legal battles are just one of the 2 circus rings. Think about our debate of how we are going to pay for health care in the years ahead. The US pays twice as much per capita and have just added new costs. They claim this will be expense/revenue neutral, but even with the tax on higher end plans it can't be true. Alone: forcing the insurance companies to stop denying care is going to bring in a lot of new costs.

There will not be a public option in the US without 'de-constructing' the private industry. And even the more moderate version of forcing companies to provide first world coverage to everyone cannot be done without taking some money out of the private care system... where the big expenditures are because cost controls are minimal compared to what we have in a single payer system. The tax on good health care plans was unavoidable. You can bet that if Obama could have got this done without that he would have, because it was obvious that it would be ammunition for the lobbyists and the hysterical ads.

Michelle

If they made the public option better than the "gold-plated Cadillac plans" you can bet that people would be leaving their plans in droves to pay into the public option.

That was an option, too, you know.  To make the public option so good that everyone would want it.

Unionist

KenS wrote:
In Canada we had a public plan first, and the private plans arose as a supplement to that.

Um, Ken, what are you talking about? There was all kinds of private insurance (I'm old enough to remember "hospitalization insurance") before medicare was implemented federally. The Canada Health Act put an end to private plans covering basic services.

Maybe I misunderstood you?

KenS

Unionist wrote:

KenS wrote:
In Canada we had a public plan first, and the private plans arose as a supplement to that.

Um, Ken, what are you talking about? There was all kinds of private insurance (I'm old enough to remember "hospitalization insurance") before medicare was implemented federally. The Canada Health Act put an end to private plans covering basic services.

Maybe I misunderstood you?

That system was just nothing in comparison to the indusrty that exists today in the US. And the private plans we have today arose as a supplement to our public system. Thats the important point, not whether or not there was private insurance before. Of course there was. I'm also old enough to remember the medical plan my family had then because my parents had union contracts- and it did not fundementally change the working class reality that going to the doctor and buying drugs cost you money you didnt have.

KenS

Michelle wrote:

If they made the public option better than the "gold-plated Cadillac plans" you can bet that people would be leaving their plans in droves to pay into the public option.

You bet they would. But its just a complete fantasy.

Dismantling the private system would be a pre-condition of building that public option.

And all Obama had to do was snap his fingers to do it.

ElizaQ ElizaQ's picture

Michelle wrote:

If they made the public option better than the "gold-plated Cadillac plans" you can bet that people would be leaving their plans in droves to pay into the public option.

That was an option, too, you know.  To make the public option so good that everyone would want it.

 

 It was an option and a good one at that.  It was in there at one point.  Unfortunately it didn't have the votes it needed to stay in there.

KenS

"If they made the public option better than the "gold-plated Cadillac plans"....

You don't even need to have close knowledge to know this for the fantasy it is.

We all know that they pay far more for health care in the US. And you are going to leave that system intact, and build next to it an even better publicly funded system...

Can I go to this planet right now?

KenS

Michelle wrote:

If they made the public option better than the "gold-plated Cadillac plans" you can bet that people would be leaving their plans in droves to pay into the public option.

That was an option, too, you know.  To make the public option so good that everyone would want it.

ElizaQ wrote:

It was an option and a good one at that.  It was in there at one point.  Unfortunately it didn't have the votes it needed to stay in there.

"Never had the votes" is a severe understatement. It didn't have enough support to stay in the ring even.

There has never been a possibility to leave the existing system as is, and build an equal or better public system.

There were some people who thought that proposing such a wonderful public system would be the first step to pushing the private system out. Needless to say, they didn't have a road map for that.

And you have to admit that given the reaction there was to just having the profit opportunities of the industry trimmed, its difficult to see how proposing its demise was supposed to work.

Tommy_Paine

 

I think the next step in the battle begins one second after Obama signs it into law.   Just because insurance companies are now forbidden from dropping sick clients, and can't deny coverage for pre-existing conditions doesn't actually mean that they will stop doing so.

 

Catalogue every case, and publicize it to the max.    For starters.

 

 

KenS

And even more to the point: if you can find any of the politicians or policy wonks proposing that ideal public system, despite their obvious dissapointment you won't see them calling Obama a sellout or saying that this plan is just 'corporate welfare'.

KenS

I'm sure you are right on that Tommy. Drop people anyway, fight it through the courts, get the law changed in the next Congress.

Tommy_Paine

Oh, it's like anything else.  The companies have had a fall back contingency for probably six months at least, like whenever there is campaign finance reform, the parties are exploiting the loopholes before the ink is even dry on the legislation.

 

Unionist

KenS wrote:

Dismantling the private system would be a pre-condition of building that public option.

And all Obama had to do was snap his fingers to do it.

Sorry Ken - explain that please? "Medicare" in the U.S. is a single-payer public option, is it not? Was the private system for over-65s and retirees "dismantled" when LBJ introduced it?

No, I didn't think so.

In 1997, Québec made [url=http://www.ramq.gouv.qc.ca/en/citoyens/assurancemedicaments/index.shtml]... drug insurance mandatory[/url] for all Quebeckers, no exceptions. If your employer has a private plan, you must join it. If not, you must join the public plan.

Do you remember the massive lobbying campaign by the insurance companies and Big Pharma and the vicious battles needed to pass this legislation?

Neither do I.

KenS wrote:

We all know that they pay far more for health care in the US. And you are going to leave that system intact, and build next to it an even better publicly funded system...

Can I go to this planet right now?

Sure. It's a planet where a public system is not-for-profit - like ours. How much of the "they pay far more for health care" is after-expense profit, Ken? That entire saving can make a publicly funded system "even better".

 

ElizaQ ElizaQ's picture

KenS wrote:

Michelle wrote:

If they made the public option better than the "gold-plated Cadillac plans" you can bet that people would be leaving their plans in droves to pay into the public option.

That was an option, too, you know.  To make the public option so good that everyone would want it.

ElizaQ wrote:

It was an option and a good one at that.  It was in there at one point.  Unfortunately it didn't have the votes it needed to stay in there.

"Never had the votes" is a severe understatement. It didn't have enough support to stay in the ring even.

 Well it did manage to stick around for awhile.  The if I recall correctly congress did get through a vote that included a form of a public option and Pelosi did what she could to stick to the public option guns for a time.  Took a whole lot of political grief for it too.  The senate was the big stumbling block. Too many Bluedogs that tipped the small majority they held away from it.  For a time it looked like any reform whatsoever was going to be scuttled over the public option fight between the two houses.   I remember it being declared pretty much dead a number of times due to the stalemate over it.  Ted Kennedy dying and the political fallout from his successors election didn't help numberwise  or politically either.    Then the Repubs  introduced the abortion funding strawman diversion which sucked in the Pro-life dems from the congress and put even that vote at risk.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

I don't know enough about American politics to say whether Obama could have done better; from what I've read, while most leftist American critics agree that this bill was a massive capitulation to the Republicancs and to the drug companies, they don't seem to suggest that anything more radical would have made it through the house. I could be wrong on this point.

At any rate, a public option, it ain't. But it does accomplish one significant thing, indeed, the only thing of note accomplished by the election of Barack Obama in 2008: it galvanizes the will and belief of the American wide left. Not as platitudes, but as a measure of utopian thinking that the elite have been grinding out of the working classes since the late-nineteenth century. The people are happy and they believe that change is possible. That's a good thing.

ElizaQ ElizaQ's picture

Tommy_Paine wrote:

 

I think the next step in the battle begins one second after Obama signs it into law.   Just because insurance companies are now forbidden from dropping sick clients, and can't deny coverage for pre-existing conditions doesn't actually mean that they will stop doing so.

 

Catalogue every case, and publicize it to the max.    For starters.

 

 

 

 If net talk and some news reports can be taken at face value the next battle or one of the next ones will be in the courts.  There are several State attorney generals who have gotten together and said they will be filing Constitutional challenges in reference to states rights.

Tommy_Paine

 

States rights arguments before the courts haven't been too successfull since Dred Scott.   But then, there's no telling what those nut bars in the Supreme Court are capable of these days.

Michelle

Do you have anything other than personal attacks to offer, KenS? 

I'll tell you what.  When I read your posts, I will read as far as comments like "You're living in a made up world" and then I'll stop right there and won't read further.  I just come here for fun now - who needs your abuse?

ElizaQ ElizaQ's picture

Tommy_Paine wrote:

 

States rights arguments before the courts haven't been too successfull since Dred Scott.   But then, there's no telling what those nut bars in the Supreme Court are capable of these days.

 Well it will be interesting to watch.  Just watching the news and it's not just a few filing suit when the bill is signed tomorrow.  They're saying in will be 38 states.

No Yards No Yards's picture

Old math insurance companies used to determine which polices to drop:

drop policy if cost of covering illness > premiums paid.

 

New math insurance companies will use to determine which policies to drop:

 

drop policy if cost of covering illness > (premiums paid + weak assed fine)

 

--------------------

 

Can anyone confirm that the restrictions against, more or less, unlimited premium hikes are still in the bill? I heard from a somewhat reliable source that this part was stripped out of the bill as part of the concessions to the Repugs for zero votes, but I have not seen any confirmation and I'm not going to go looking for it in a bill that is taller than myself.

KenS

KenS wrote:

Dismantling the private system would be a pre-condition of building that public option.

And all Obama had to do was snap his fingers to do it.

Unionist wrote:

Sorry Ken - explain that please? "Medicare" in the U.S. is a single-payer public option, is it not? Was the private system for over-65s and retirees "dismantled" when LBJ introduced it?

No, I didn't think so.

In 1997, Québec made [url=http://www.ramq.gouv.qc.ca/en/citoyens/assurancemedicaments/index.shtml]... drug insurance mandatory[/url] for all Quebeckers, no exceptions. If your employer has a private plan, you must join it. If not, you must join the public plan.

Do you remember the massive lobbying campaign by the insurance companies and Big Pharma and the vicious battles needed to pass this legislation?

Neither do I.

 

I'm not exactly sure your point. But Medicare is most definitely not a single payer system. The fact it would be an 'option' alone would make it not a single payer system. Single payer means that you have one player- in practice but mot necessarily the government[s]- who has control over all the main levers of the whole system.

 

Unionist wrote:

Sure. It's a planet where a public system is not-for-profit - like ours. How much of the "they pay far more for health care" is after-expense profit, Ken? That entire saving can make a publicly funded system "even better".

 

Take out the profits of the health care industry and the US system would be 10% less than twice as expensive per capita.

 

The main issue is the single payer [or not] thing. [See above.] The fact Canada has am [in pronciple] single payer means that governments can exert control on costs that even the big players in the US like the big HMOs can only influence. That means doctors salaries are held down, that hospitals cannot trip over each other to offer expensive services, drug prices brought down. The US private industry would like to do all that too, but as big as they are they don't have the clout.

 

This is why public policy was not a real option. You can only have it in the US by taking out the existing private industry. The talk of building a parralel pubic system was predicated on simply glossing over that fact. No surprise that ducking wasn't viable.

Michelle

Exactly, No Yards.  It'll just cost them a little more to screw people over now.  Which is why they opposed the bill.  But that doesn't make it a good one, and that doesn't mean it's not a gift to them in the long run.  They'll find a way to make it work for them.

I'm willing to be corrected, however, if there are reasonable caps to the premiums, or if premiums are pro-rated to income for the poorest people in the US, and everything covered by OHIP here is covered by those plans.

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