Corporate welfare bill to private health insurers passed in US

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KenS

Michelle wrote:

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.

You have yet to answer the fundamental question: how could Obama's plan be a huge gift horse for the insurance industry, and they were fighting the plan tooth and nail? Like I said already:'

KenS wrote:

And here are the big reasons why the insurers 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'.

It would be corporate welfare if people were being forced to buy their shitty plans. But the new law means they can't do anymore what makes those plans shitty for consumers and profitable for them.

They will not be able to cherry pick who they cover and deny care.

Like Tommy said, they'll fight a rear guard action against the new law. But they are doing it because it is the opposite of the 'corporate welfare' you wave it off as... simply because you are sure it must be true.

Michelle

I answered it.  You just don't like my answer.

Michael Moore looks at it from both sides:

Quote:

Thanks to last night's vote, that child of yours who has had asthma since birth will now be covered after suffering for her first nine years as an American child with a pre-existing condition.

Thanks to last night's vote, that 23-year-old of yours who will be hit one day by a drunk driver and spend six months recovering in the hospital will now not go bankrupt because you will be able to keep him on your insurance policy.

Thanks to last night's vote, after your cancer returns for the third time -- racking up another $200,000 in costs to keep you alive -- your insurance company will have to commit a criminal act if they even think of dropping you from their rolls.

However:

Quote:

If it's any consolation, the thieves who run the health insurance companies will still get to deny coverage to adults with pre-existing conditions for the next four years. They'll also get to cap an individual's annual health care reimbursements for the next four years. And if they break the pre-existing ban that was passed last night, they'll only be fined $100 a day! And, the best part? The law will require all citizens who aren't poor or old to write a check to a private insurance company. It's truly a banner day for these corporations.

So don't feel too bad. We're a long way from universal health care. Over 15 million Americans will still be uncovered -- and that means about 15,000 will still lose their lives each year because they won't be able to afford to see a doctor or get an operation.

KenS

Michelle wrote:

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?

I'm sorry for that Michelle. The words are taken out. Could you try reading again?

In my defence- that sarcasm comes out after I've asked the fundamental question nicely and you just ignore it. "You have yet to answer the fundamental question: how could Obama's plan be a huge gift horse for the insurance industry, and they were fighting the plan tooth and nail?"

KenS

Good quote from Michael Moore.

And I would suggest that unlike you, he gave a nuanced answer to the question.

You completely dismissed it as nothing more than corporate welfare. It cannot be passed off as perhaps an exxageration to say that its a gift to the private insurers.

Quote:

If it's any consolation, the thieves who run the health insurance companies will still get to deny coverage to adults with pre-existing conditions for the next four years. They'll also get to cap an individual's annual health care reimbursements for the next four years. And if they break the pre-existing ban that was passed last night, they'll only be fined $100 a day! And, the best part? The law will require all citizens who aren't poor or old to write a check to a private insurance company. It's truly a banner day for these corporations.

Yes, the private insurance companies were not totally slapped down. That isn't news. But more to the point: if you had quoted Michael Moore I wouldn't have taken exception. I took exception to what you said. [And you still didn't answer how the bill is a big gift for the private insurers. Nor of how to account for how that could be true when they fought it so hard. Moore didn't make such a claim.]

Unionist

KenS wrote:
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.

You managed to avoid answering both my points, Ken.

Medicare is "single-payer" for the scheme that it operates - not for all senior health care - as opposed to being a publicly administered kind of "broker" that still contracts with private insurers. Read this:

Quote:
Australia's Medicare, Canada's Medicare, the United Kingdom's National Health Service, and Taiwan's National Health Insurance are examples of single-payer universal health care systems. Medicare in the United States is an example of a single-payer system for a specified, limited group of persons within a country.

Now, delete the word "single payer" from my post and please consider my two points:

1. Medicare was introduced as a public option in 1965 without dismantling the private system. Why would that be a precondition now?

2. Québec introduced a public pharmacare option (plus mandatory universal coverage) in 1997. No battle with insurance companies or Big Pharma. Nada. And no one got dismantled.

I understand your point about exerting control over costs in a non-single-payer system. But that doesn't exclude a public option.

Why didn't Obama do this (if he was scared to even mention "single payer", which he apparently was):

1. Public option, open on a voluntary basis to everyone.

2. Subsidies to those too poor to pay for the public option.

3. No mandatory coverage for anyone.

4. No new regulations or obligations on private insurers.

Kind of the opposite of what he did, isn't it (except #2)? It's free-market driven, it doesn't do anything to the private insurers or Big Pharma... I would have called that "reform", even if it was still pathetic next to any other western industrialized economy.

 

wage zombie

I think that Obama could've pushed a lot harder, I think the Senate leadership should've pushed a lot harder, and I think more could have gotten into this bill.

But, while it's not perfect, it seems like there are definitely good things.  32 million people will get coverage who didn't have it before.  Companies will not be able to deny coverage for pre existing conditions (this will take time to kick in) and investments are being made in community health clinics.

Moveon members voted overwhelmingly to support the bill.  Kucinich voted for it even, saying that it's better than nothing.  An overwhelming majority of Americans supported the passage of this bill, saying that it is better than nothing.

Are progressives here really saying that this bill is worse than nothing?  That it would've been better not to deal with health care at all?

josh

I just have to add my two cents here.

Ken S is simply wrong in saying that the private health insurers fought this bill tooth and nail.  They supported most of it, and as the firedoglake link above indicates, wrote a great deal of it, in conjunction with Max Baucus's Senate Finance Committee.  The Chamber of Commerce fought it tooth and nail, but they're not insurers.

Nor is the bill a "challenge to established power."  It entrenches the for-profit health insurance system by giving the private insurers 25 to 30 million new customers without giving them, or anyone else, the choice of a public alternative.  And it pays for it over the long run by imposing a 40% excise tax on quality health plans.   So, instead of getting the wealthy to pay for the subsidies, those with good health plans, typically middle class and unionized, will see their coverage get worse.

In short, this law is a betrayal of the progressive principles which have guided the health care debate.  It is essentially what Bush I proposed in the early 1990s.  It is only because the right has succeeded in moving the debate, and the general political environment, so far to the right, that some "progressives" see what they would have rejected out of hand a decade or two ago, and what some did only a few months ago, as a victory.  It isn't.

 

 

 

No Yards No Yards's picture

Michelle wrote:

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.

 

I think that the recent rash of 40% or more premium increases should pretty well cover the cost of fines and fighting the odd court case.

 

KenS - per your comments about squaring the Insurance Industry's attack against the bill with it being a sell out to the Industry .... I've found a link to a leaked insurance industry strategy document outlining the plan for making people think the bill was bad for the Industry that you might want to take a look at  .... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NH6fu1AF0R4&feature=related

KenS

And by the way- those exceptions to care Michael Moore has talked about are not unique to people that the bill that will be bringing for the first time into first world health care.

A great many Americans with those really good health care plans have had those kind of exceptions forced on them in recent years. My father has one of those top of the line union negotiated health care plans, which no one ever thought would be threatened. And now it has one of those caps, which he may well hit.

al-Qa'bong

Obama supporters are just happy that their guy managed to do something since being elected.

KenS

I've already spent way more time on this than I can afford. [Leaving aside its rationality even ifg I had the time.]

And I look at the questions i get and its just getting worse. So I'll cut my losses and leave now.

No Yards No Yards's picture

I'll cut Obama a little slack simply because I think it's pretty hard to understand the USian mind set regarding healthcare ... as hard as it is for most of us to get our heads around, a very large percentage of USians do not consider heathcare as a right ... to them it's a commodity that if you can't afford then you don't deserve it, and you should take whatever "charity" is offered you and be thankful that you got even that.

Also, from a purely Canadian "mercenary" point of view, it's good to see that the bill does absoluetly nothing to errode Canada's economic advantage that comes with having a single payer healthcare system.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

josh, do you think that Obama could have passed a public option through the house?

wage zombie

Unionist wrote:

1. Medicare was introduced as a public option in 1965 without dismantling the private system. Why would that be a precondition now?

I think you're right to some extent.  Rather than setting things up as the government public option, they should've pitched it as, optional buy in to Medicare.

Now that this bill has passed though, with many changes to regulations, medicare buy in could be introduced much more easily as a simple bill.  Progressives in congress are definitely planning this, although who knows how it will go.

Quote:

2. Québec introduced a public pharmacare option (plus mandatory universal coverage) in 1997. No battle with insurance companies or Big Pharma. Nada. And no one got dismantled.

Quebec isn't the empire, doesn't have the red fear, doesn't have teabaggers.

Quote:

I understand your point about exerting control over costs in a non-single-payer system. But that doesn't exclude a public option.

Why didn't Obama do this (if he was scared to even mention "single payer", which he apparently was):

1. Public option, open on a voluntary basis to everyone.

2. Subsidies to those too poor to pay for the public option.

3. No mandatory coverage for anyone.

4. No new regulations or obligations on private insurers.

Kind of the opposite of what he did, isn't it (except #2)? It's free-market driven, it doesn't do anything to the private insurers or Big Pharma... I would have called that "reform", even if it was still pathetic next to any other western industrialized economy.

I think he didn't do this for pragmatic, political reasons.  I agree with you that I think he could have gotten more for the people if he had done things differently.

But, I think the USA is a strange place.  The Republicans whipped up fear of and opposition to this plan in part by saying it would cut medicare benefits.  That's what some people were really upset about.  Never mind that that the Republican plan made huge cuts to medicare way beyond anything in the Obama plan.  The media there is pretty fully owned i'd say.

So I agree, I strongly suspect that a lot more could have been achieved if Obama had pushed harder.

I still think this is a win.  And if progressives in Congress are interested, they can take this further.

ETA: While I am saying, with qualifications, that this is a win, Obama did promise a public option while campaigning.  Since they're touting this as health care reform, Obama's campaign promise should be treated as broken.  That should be clear.  Until there is a public option, Obama has not delivered on health care.

josh

It did pass the House.  Could have he gotten it through the senate?  I think if he fought and campaigned for it, it's possible.  But his style of governing seems to be to take the path of least resistance.

No Yards No Yards's picture

I believe the house did pass a public option at one point that was later removed after "negoiations" with the senate ... didn't they? I know at least at one point Pelosi announced very firmly that the house would NOT pass a bill without a public option.

It was the Senate where the problems really came from.

josh

Not in negotiations.  The House just caved and gave up.  About 80 progressives signed a letter last year to Pelosi saying they would not vote for a bill without a public option.  They all ended up voting for the senate bill yesterday.  Without a public option.

ElizaQ ElizaQ's picture

No Yards wrote:

I believe the house did pass a public option at one point that was later removed after "negoiations" with the senate ... didn't they? I know at least at one point Pelosi announced very firmly that the house would NOT pass a bill without a public option.

It was the Senate where the problems really came from.

Yes it did. I talked about that up thread. The senate was a sticking point and most of the furor over the public option occurred there. It came really close to killing any reform altogether because at the end of the fighting no one was budging. Then when the Repubs brought up the abortion funding diversion it set everything into a furor. Even though what they were saying was BS it did enough to put the house bill and support from the majority of the house to support the senate bill regardless of the PO issue in question. Brilliant but absolutely disgusting maneuver on their part.

No Yards No Yards's picture

"Negoiations" was my attemt at trying to be polite Laughing

wage zombie

The House passed a bill with a public option.  The House was able to do a bit more than the Senate because the Senate requires 60% majority to agree to vote.  Even without that restriction it was hard for the House to pass the bill.  They needed to add anti choice restrictions to the plan in order to bring Conservadems on board.

Then it went to the Senate and yeah that's where the roadblocks started.  A few Dem senators tried to kill the whole thing by refusing to bring it to a vote.  The Senate leadership, rather than strong arming those holdouts, caved, and all kinds of crap was put into the bill, public option removed, medicare buy in which looked like a go was removed.  Then the bill was passed.

At this point, the House and Senate could've gone to committe to bring the bills closer in line.  But, the Dems lost that 60th seat in Massachusetts, which meant that further changes to the bill would not be passable in the Senate (because the 41 Republicans would never agree to have an up or down vote).

So, that left them with one clear option.  Reconciliation, which removes the 60% supermajority in the Senate, and allows an up or down vote.  BUT, reconciliation only applies to budget related bills.  So, the House passed the Senate bill, and then the house passes the budget related fixes to the Senate bill, then it goes back to the Senate, and the Senate uses reconciliation to vote on the budget related fixes to the previously approved Senate bill.

The whole process is one big clusterfuck designed to block change for the people.

KenS

Violate my own rules with one mostly information point.

The industry lobby did not get what it wanted. It wanted complete defeat of the bill because of the parts about being forced to cover people and not deny care.

Their Plan B is to fight a rear guard action and get it all undone. The concessions they got in the bill via the blue dog Democrats is not in itself even Plan B.... it just contributes to it.

They still plan to put the boots to this 'gift horse'.

Unionist

wage zombie wrote:

Are progressives here really saying that this bill is worse than nothing?

Yes - just as Harper's "$100 a month" cynical substitute for child care was worse than nothing. It effectively shut down the movement for child care for the last 4 years, because no party was willing to stand up and say: "Not one child-care penny to parents - direct subsidy to the providers!".

Quote:
That it would've been better not to deal with health care at all?

I think what people here are saying is that it would have been better to deal with health care effectively, and not through some cynical entrenchment of the power of the private insurers.

And yes, it would have been better if Harper hadn't "dealt with" child care at all. At least it would still be on someone's agenda.

Michelle

What Unionist said in post 70. 

 

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

I just watched an analysis of ObamaCare on CNN and while they confirmed that if you do not purchase a health care plan you will be financially penalized, they did also confirm the following:

- the worse abuses of the health care inusurers will be eliminated

- for those at the lower income scale who have difficulty getting insurance, a government-provided Group Purchasing Plan will find the cheapest and best plans for those at low income levels

- no one will be refused coverage

- insurers can not refuse coverage for pre-existing conditions.

josh

You're just wrong Ken S.  While there were aspects of the bill the industry did not like, overall they're quite happy with it.  And their stock prices in the past several months, and today, reflect that.

 

"The whole process is one big clusterfuck designed to block change for the people."

 

Yes it is. Which is why you should never have an elected senate based on anti-democratic representation. Get rid of it while you can.

 

Michelle

Also: the thing is, Obama could've tried.  I mean really TRIED on the public option.

The guy is practically god-like when it comes to his oratory skills.  He could have done presidential messages, come up with extremely persuasive arguments in favour of the public option and really communicated them to the American people.  I mean, during his campaign, he was pretty short on substance, but damn, he was long long long on personality and persuasiveness and charisma.  Combine that with a killer argument in favour of a public option, along with a few stories of people who have been fucked over by private insurers, and I'll bet he'd have had a fighting chance. 

At least, he would have had a fighting chance at getting the right-wing Democratic senators in line, if he'd really spurred his base and the swing voters who voted Democrat in the last election because of his promise of universal health care.

It would have been worth fighting for.  It would have even have been worth a one-term presidency.

wage zombie

Unionist wrote:

Quote:
That it would've been better not to deal with health care at all?

Sure, if that's how you see the alternatives, fill your boots I guess. I think what people here are saying is that it would have been better to deal with health care effectively, and not through some cynical entrenchment of the power of the private insurers.

And yes, it would have been better if Harper hadn't "dealt with" child care at all. At least it would still be on someone's agenda.

We'll have to wait to see if health care has been removed from everyone's agenda.

So I'm seeing a few takes on this bill here:

1 - This bill is not effective health care reform but as an incrementalist approach it's a victory

2 - While this bill would improve some aspects of health care it is actually worse than the alternative of nothing at all because it means that now real health care reform is less likely/further away

3 - This bill actually worsens the health care situation in the USA

I think it's clear which babblers are holding position 1).  I'm having a harder time sorting out whether some people feel 2) or 3).

What do you think would've happened if the bill in the House yesterday didn't pass?

Progressives yesterday voted for this bill.  How come?

Here's Alan Grayson, one of the most vocal proponents of universal health care in the House, today on DailyKos building support for the Medicare You Can Buy Into bill:

http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2010/3/21/848909/-A-Near-Death-Experie...

He's not giving up yet.

Mike from Canmore

Unionist - thank you for your analogy in line 70!  I completely agree. 

josh

Michelle wrote:

because of his promise of universal health care.

Obama's campaign promises have been shown to have little connection to his policies when in office.  In addition, to calling for a public option, which he tried to deny he ever made, he also opposed the individual mandate, which Clinton supported, and the excise tax, which McCain, albeit in a different form, supported.  He supported both of those when in office.

 

wage zombie

Michelle wrote:

It would have been worth fighting for.  It would have even have been worth a one-term presidency.

I agree that it would have ben worth fighting for, and he didn't.  Disagree completely that it would have been worth a one term presidency.

Unionist

KenS wrote:

The industry lobby did not get what it wanted. It wanted complete defeat of the bill because of the parts about being forced to cover people and not deny care.

Then Obama should have taken those parts out, in exchange for a public option which embodies those principles (and others). Even if you're right about the insurers being against the bill (which I hear Josh saying was not as cut and dried as you're suggesting), that would have ended their opposition - according to your analysis - right?

 

Unionist

wage zombie wrote:

 

What do you think would've happened if the bill in the House yesterday didn't pass?

Wrong question. That bill should never have been proposed.

Quote:
Progressives yesterday voted for this bill.  How come?

Similar reasons that progressives in our House of Commons couldn't bring themselves to boldly oppose Harper's $100 child-care substitute: Lack of confidence in their principles, in their ability to explain things to people, and in the prospect of winning something worthwhile - so, they retreat to political expediency.

 

wage zombie

Do you think passing this bill has been politically expedient?

How come progressives in Canada know what's better for the USA than progressives there?

josh

Believe me, most progressives in the U.S. don't know what's good for them.  That's why they continue make themselves marginalized and ignored.

Unionist

wage zombie wrote:

Do you think passing this bill has been politically expedient?

See link below.

Quote:

How come progressives in Canada know what's better for the USA than progressives there?

Oh, I'm just listening to what U.S. progressives say about each other:

Quote:

Rep. Dennis Kucinich’s decision to vote “yes” in Sunday’s House action on the health care bill, although he had sworn to oppose the legislation unless there was a public option, is a perfect example of why I would never be a politician. I respect Kucinich. As politicians go, he is about as good as they get, but he is still a politician. He has to run for office. He has to raise money. He has to placate the Democratic machine or risk retaliation and defeat. And so he signed on to a bill that will do nothing to ameliorate the suffering of many Americans, will force tens of millions of people to fork over a lot of money for a defective product and, in the end, will add to the ranks of our uninsured.

[url=http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/the_health_care_hindenburg_has_lande... health-care Hindenburg has landed[/url]

Michelle

I don't think we know better than US progressives what's best for them.  But I also don't think that US progressives are in lockstep on this one.  And the arguments of the progressives who are critical make more sense to me.

Here's another take:

Black Agenda Report

Quote:

Until Wednesday morning, Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich was the only opposition from the Left still holding out against Obama’s private insurance subsidy bill – a massive redistribution of wealth to Wall Street masquerading as health care reform. The bill was long ago stripped of any fig leaf of a “public option,” and now awaits passage in its pure form – the formal establishment of a private health care system in which the people are forced to finance the profits of some of the biggest players in the Wall Street casino, the insurance corporations. Far from a step forward towards a society in which health care is every person’s right, the Obama bill is a huge step backward in the opposite the direction from which the entire industrialized world has been traveling. Obama’s so-called reform is in fact, a defeat of the dream of universal health care.
Obama used every trick at his disposal to place that dream out of reach. He pulled a shameless bait and switch on health care, talking the language of universality while conniving to transfer trillions of public dollars to the private insurance industry. Once Obama's private insurers' bailout bill is in place, it will be almost impossible to dismantle in the foreseeable future.A trillion dollars buys lots of loyalty. And to make certain that nobody ever gets to cancel the corporate bailout, the Obama regime would prevent states from setting up their own universal health care programs.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

ps: in addition to the points I mentioned in my post #74, CNN also reported that significant tax breaks are going to small businesses and lower-income-earners to allow them to afford compulsory health care insurance.

ETA: I have been living on a disability allowance since 2002, and I have no choice but to spend over $2,000 per year on a Blue Cross Group Plan for prescription, dental, eyeglasses, and hearing aid extendicare package. I live in Quebec, btw.

wage zombie

MoveOn surveyed their membership and 83% supported passing this bill.  Kucinich voted in favour.  Michael Moore, not even a politician (ie who need to worry about fundraising through the party machine), gave his (reluctant) support to the bill.

As far as the argument that this brings the USA further away from single payer, because now health care is off the agenda, I think we'll have to wait and see.  I see more people (online, so take it with a grain of salt) arguing that this is an empowering victory for progressives that will lead to more.

I don't really know what will happen, but I can certainly see that American progressives are responding far more positively to this news than Canadian socialists.

George Victor

Amazing empathy demonstrated throughout this thread for the several tens of millions now covered or will be covered by this measure.  They actually like the prospect.  Confirms the social principle that when you have it made in the shade, the grasp on political reality falters.

Michelle

Because "Canadian socialists" know what real universal health care is like.

George Victor

And all should live so long as to realize nirvana...and in the meantime, quit complaining.

wage zombie

Michelle wrote:

Because "Canadian socialists" know what real universal health care is like.

Absolutely.  So from our perspective it's ridiculous.  They call this health care reform?  It's a joke.  Their system is based on private insurance companies, which is why they pay more per capita for health care than anyone else.  The way they have their system set up is dumb by design, because the corporations run the country.  And the way the teabaggers get controlled like puppets and spout all kinds of ridiculous bs would be hilarious if what they were saying weren't so hateful.

So from that sense, without being smug about it, you're right.  There's no reason to expect any critical Canadian to get caught up in all the celebration of this super amazing wonderful victory that compares so inadequately with our own health care system.  Definitely some of the people crowing about how historic this just don't know any better.  They don't know much about health care in other countries.

But we know far less about the political reality on the ground.  Here's a video from anti HCR rally:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gFOnG9a1Pzw

The sense I get, solely from online activity, is that health care activists in the states are behind this bill, and while they're aware it isn't real reform it is most definitely a step in the right direction.

32 million people is the USA will have health care who didn't.  That's 1/10 of their population.

Unionist

Statement today from Physicians for a National Health Program, representing 17,000 physicians:

[url=http://www.pnhp.org/news/2010/march/pro-single-payer-doctors-health-bill... bill leaves 23 million uninsured[/url]

Quote:

  • About 23 million people will remain uninsured nine years out. That figure translates into an estimated 23,000 unnecessary deaths annually and an incalculable toll of suffering.
  • Millions of middle-income people will be pressured to buy commercial health insurance policies costing up to 9.5 percent of their income but covering an average of only 70 percent of their medical expenses, potentially leaving them vulnerable to financial ruin if they become seriously ill. Many will find such policies too expensive to afford or, if they do buy them, too expensive to use because of the high co-pays and deductibles.
  • Insurance firms will be handed at least $447 billion in taxpayer money to subsidize the purchase of their shoddy products. This money will enhance their financial and political power, and with it their ability to block future reform.
  • The bill will drain about $40 billion from Medicare payments to safety-net hospitals, threatening the care of the tens of millions who will remain uninsured.
  • People with employer-based coverage will be locked into their plan's limited network of providers, face ever-rising costs and erosion of their health benefits. Many, even most, will eventually face steep taxes on their benefits as the cost of insurance grows.
  • Health care costs will continue to skyrocket, as the experience with the Massachusetts plan (after which this bill is patterned) amply demonstrates.
  • The much-vaunted insurance regulations - e.g. ending denials on the basis of pre-existing conditions - are riddled with loopholes, thanks to the central role that insurers played in crafting the legislation. Older people can be charged up to three times more than their younger counterparts, and large companies with a predominantly female workforce can be charged higher gender-based rates at least until 2017.
  • Women's reproductive rights will be further eroded, thanks to the burdensome segregation of insurance funds for abortion and for all other medical services.

 

Jingles

I have a small request:

Would everyone please, please start using the bloody [ quote] function? Many of these posts are incomprehensible, composition-wise. (That is, in addition to and above the usual incomprehensible Obama worship.)

VanGoghs Ear

i agree with George  - Unionist and Michelle are arguing as if it's all a game of Politicos proving their purity of principles.  It's about 32 million real people who will be covered.

wage zombie

Where is the Obama  worship in this thread?

No Yards No Yards's picture

Federal Insurance Rate Regulation Dropped From Bill To Meet Reconciliation Rules
By Susie Madrak Sunday Mar 21, 2010 4:00pm

Clearly, passing this health-care bill is just the beginning, because it doesn't really contain strong regulatory powers. It was pulled under reconciliation rules, and Obama reportedly will try to introduce it later:

WASHINGTON -- A Democratic plan for new federal power over health insurance rates was dropped Thursday from the final health care bill, squeezed out by the way the Democrats are pushing the bill through Congress.

Rolled out with fanfare just weeks ago, the Democratic plan was a response to double-digit rate increases proposed by health insurance companies in California and elsewhere.

It was first proposed by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., then picked up by President Barack Obama.

It would have given the federal government the power to reject proposed rate increases. It also would have allowed the secretary of health and human services to order insurance companies to give back part of premiums if the government decided that the companies spent too much of their incomes on salaries or advertising.

 

http://crooksandliars.com/susie-madrak/federal-insurance-rate-regulation...

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

ObamaCare may not sound progressive to some, but the United States is not Canada, and they have an extreme independent streak, and that streak extends down to being proud of whatever private health care they can afford. Of course that overlooks the 30-million-plus without basic health care other than welfare-provided, but that leaves more than 300 million under private health care plans, so ObamaCare has an enormous hurdle to overcome just getting out of the gate. I think we should be encouraging Obama, because he's made a start towards universality, which is probably more than presidents all the way up to Bush ever did.

Michelle

Yes, we don't care about those 32 million people, right?

As someone who has spent most of her life (up until the last five years or so) in extremely low-paying jobs without benefits, I'm pretty sure I'd have been one of those millions of people without health care had I lived in the US, because I know I certainly couldn't have afforded to buy my own plan.

So in order to think about this clearly, I've been trying to put myself into the place of one of those people who are uninsured, knowing it could have been me had I not had the lucky break I did in geography when I was born.

I'm trying to imagine myself suddenly being faced with being forced to spend ten percent of my income on a shitty insurance plan from a private company that will jerk me around every time I try to claim anything.  (I can't even imagine shelling out 10 percent of my income NOW, and my budget was a lot tighter then than it is now.) 

I know an American with a "Cadillac" plan - and even those ones involved a bunch of red tape and wrangling to get them to pay out.  I can only imagine what the poverty plans will be like.

I'm thinking about people who are going to be majorly ripped off by this.  And there's no choice now - you either pay ten percent of your income to a private insurance company for crappy coverage, or you get fined.  Plus you have to pay all the deductibles anyhow, and whatever else the crappy plan doesn't cover.

I think I might be rather upset were I one of those 32 million people right now, who thought they might get a public option but instead are being forced to buy a rip-off plan.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Michelle wrote:
I think I might be rather upset were I one of those 32 million people right now, who thought they might get a public option but instead are being forced to buy a rip-off plan.

I understand your sentiments, but according to the CNN analysis I heard earlier today,  those 32 million are able to choose which plan they want, and also have access to a new government-sponsored Group Purchase Plan to help them get adequate coverage, in addition to tax breaks that make it more affordable. No one has said this is perfect, it's just a tiny baby-step towards something better.

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