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Corporate welfare bill to private health insurers passed in US

Michelle
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Joined: May 10 2001

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.


Comments

Fidel
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Joined: Apr 29 2004

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
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Joined: Dec 2 2009

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

 

hehehehehehe....


NDPP
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Joined: Dec 28 2008

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
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Joined: Apr 29 2004

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
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Joined: Dec 4 2005

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
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Joined: Apr 17 2001

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
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Joined: Aug 6 2001
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
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Joined: Apr 22 2001

 

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
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Joined: May 10 2001

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
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Joined: Jun 14 2006

Tommy_Paine
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Joined: Apr 22 2001

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
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Joined: Aug 6 2001

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
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Joined: May 10 2001

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
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Joined: Apr 22 2001

 

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.


KenS
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Joined: Aug 6 2001

"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.


ElizaQ
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Joined: May 27 2005

 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
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Joined: Aug 6 2001

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'.


Michelle
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Joined: May 10 2001

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
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Joined: May 27 2005

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
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Joined: Oct 28 2007

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
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Joined: Dec 11 2005

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
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Joined: Oct 28 2007

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
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Joined: Dec 11 2005

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
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Joined: May 10 2001

And what will be covered?


Boom Boom
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Joined: Dec 29 2004

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


ElizaQ
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Joined: May 27 2005

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
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Joined: Dec 28 2008

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
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Joined: Dec 11 2005

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
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Joined: Aug 6 2001

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
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Joined: May 10 2001

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.


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