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Best Analysis Yet: The Status Quo Wins in Health-Care Reform

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autorank Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-03-09 04:10 AM
Original message
Best Analysis Yet: The Status Quo Wins in Health-Care Reform
Edited on Sat Oct-03-09 04:11 AM by autorank
Ezra Klein, Wash. Post, 10/02 did a great job analyzing the outcome of the Baucus committee's health care horror show. It is to be commended.

Baucus and Conrad play a dirty trick to kill a last vote on the public option.

the drama came late in the evening. About one in the morning, Wyden's Free Choice Act came before the committee. But it never came up for a vote.

Instead, Max Baucus effectively ruled it out of order. The reason? It didn't have a full CBO score. This came as a surprise to Wyden and his team, who'd gotten the amendment scored by the CBO, and had been in endless negotiations with Baucus, the White House, employers, and labor over the past week. If the score was in fact partial, as Baucus and Conrad claimed, you'd think someone might have mentioned it. No one did.

But suddenly, in the wee hours of Friday morning, the chairs of the Finance and Budget Committees were explaining that the amendment lacked a valid score. An an amendment without a valid score is "out of order." Wyden was left with little choice but to withdraw the amendment. It was not deliberative democracy at its finest. But it served its purpose: it killed the amendment.


There's no free choice among health plans, as Congress has, for very good reasons that should have been anticipated but were not.

If the Free Choice Act had passed, politicians could have made a very simple argument to the insured: When this bill becomes law, you will have insurance choices just like those enjoyed by a member of Congress or a government employee. You will have a variety of insurers competing for your business and the opportunity to keep the same insurance even as you change jobs, or fall unemployed, or open your own business. You don't have to take advantage of this if you don't want to. You can stick with what your employer offers. But if you do want the choice, you can have it. It's here for you. That's what reform means, for everyone: choices, competition and continuity.
But it turns out not to mean that. The proposal was doomed by the joint opposition of businesses and labor. Businesses didn't like it because they lose control over their employees' health benefits. Labor groups didn't like it because they lose control over their members' health benefits. That's not an entirely selfish concern: It is easier to bargain on behalf of your workers or members if they have no other options, and thus are guaranteed customers for the insurer.


So there's a bill that will pass. We'll know it does no good since it's a binary evaluation, either my health care is affordable and decent or it's no different. They'll know since people will be furious that we're at the tipping point of access to care and affordability and the "60 vote" myth is just that, a load of bull shit.

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orpupilofnature57 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-03-09 04:47 AM
Response to Original message
1. Same old is killing us ,is that the idea?Dem's taking congress didn't get us
out of Iraq ,Couldn't curtail ShrubCo ,and the can't get it from greedy bastards ,we're bailing them out.
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autorank Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-03-09 01:02 PM
Response to Reply #1
5. Baucus, Harry R and the crowd don't get it. Health care is the 3rd rail
of U.S. politics. Its so real to so many people that saying you're going to "reform" it and promising
just the basics like a public option and freedom of choice creates hopes that people expect.

Baucus did his job, earned his pay and thinks he's going to be eleted for life, as do the others.

The good news is that this guy for the Post is a first rate analyst. He's following the legislation
with real reporting and insight. Let's enjoy him while he lasts!
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Joe Chi Minh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-04-09 11:14 AM
Response to Reply #5
22. Ironical when you think Reid was too poor when he was young to get
medical treatment for an arm he'd broken!
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Mass Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-03-09 09:01 AM
Response to Original message
2. The unions were against it for good reasons. as Klein noted.
Edited on Sat Oct-03-09 09:08 AM by Mass
The Wyden proposition is a non sense. All it would assure is that people can get less expensive insurances, which would likely be less effective insurances.

The problem is that, in the absence of strong regulations or single payer, all these measures only allow a race to the bottom, and this is what has been happening with this marking, with the exception of some progressive amendments that did not pass like Rockefeller's public option or Kerry's cut of the scale factor because of age.

All the other factors, including opening of Young Invicibles to all, lowering of the waiver to 8 %, do not help people. They help cover the fact that the bill does not constraint the insurances enough. The Wyden amendment was no different.
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autorank Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-03-09 01:07 PM
Response to Reply #2
6. You are right for $800!
The unions need to get the maximum benefits out of plans and they go to great lengths to make sure
that the overhead is low. The union plans are, to a large degree, with employers who self-fund the
plans so both management and union want overhead way down. Trading that for insurance company
involvement is unacceptable. The largest companies insuring over 50% of the nations work force
are self funded. They don't like this either whether they're union or not since they bypass the
insurance companies except using the firms to administer the plans.

The scary part is taxing "Cadillac" plans. They get that on the table and, even with exemptions for
union and public employees, they'll be back to tax those already negotiated plans. That's one item
to watch closely.

Your points are all well taken, especially about single payer.
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Orwellian_Ghost Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-03-09 09:49 AM
Response to Original message
3. Proves the point yet again
that we the people should never be advocating for public option, a weakened position to begin with, and should be demanding single-payer. You do this in two ways initially and then take matters from there:

1) Mass, prolonged street demonstrations in DC and state capitals accompanying;

2) Occupation, shut-down of all congressional offices for days, weeks, months at a time- whatever it takes.

We've already done the prerequisite niceties. How's that worked? Have we really any other choice if we are to get what is rightfully ours?
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autorank Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-03-09 01:37 PM
Response to Reply #3
8. The only options left are mass action
It's got to be like this, imho,


LA, 2006 demonstrations. That shut down idiotic legislation and even made the rabid Republicans
back off.

The Senate is sleep walking, in a trance, ready for a rude awakening. People's hopes are up.

As for the public option, it ended up a diversion. Had it been put in the bill, it would have been
a one to three year back door to single payer and that's why it's dead.

Time for the people to show up.
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slipslidingaway Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-03-09 10:14 AM
Response to Original message
4. Video - Wyden Free Choice Act killed by giggling Baucus
9:55 minutes
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ORkY3mHGzAI

Dylan Ratigan with commentary from guests and snips from Senate.

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autorank Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-03-09 01:33 PM
Response to Reply #4
7. Great stuff. Thanks!
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slipslidingaway Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-03-09 10:48 PM
Response to Reply #7
9. At first I thought this amendment had been defeated, little did I know that...
they were not even allowed to vote on the amendment.



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autorank Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-03-09 11:11 PM
Response to Reply #9
11. We are last on the list, nothing to them. But that will change.
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slipslidingaway Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-04-09 10:27 AM
Response to Reply #11
19. It needs to change quickly :) just wait til the boomers start enrolling on....
Medicare in the next couple of years while we try and use any Medicare savings to fund the public option.

:crazy:



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iceman66 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-03-09 10:53 PM
Response to Original message
10. Health care reform does not end with the Senate finance committee!
In fact, it can only get better from here!

This is not even the final Senate bill, and the House bill WILL have a strong public option!

All this negativity is just playing into the hands of the right wingers trying to kill this thing!
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autorank Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-03-09 11:38 PM
Response to Reply #10
13. This House Bill - "public option" only for uninsured
Edited on Sat Oct-03-09 11:40 PM by autorank
13 SEC. 202. EXCHANGE-ELIGIBLE INDIVIDUALS AND EMPLOY
14ERS.
15 (a) ACCESS TO COVERAGE.In accordance with this
16 section, all individuals are eligible to obtain coverage
17 through enrollment in an Exchange-participating health
18 benefits plan offered through the Health Insurance Ex19
change unless such individuals are enrolled in another
20 qualified health benefits plan or other acceptable coverage.

That's from Hoyers website link to H.R. 3200
America's Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009, Bill Text
http://energycommerce.house.gov/Press_111/20090714/aahc...

This language on the Exchange, which is where the public option is located, looks consistent
with Obama's major speech - the health care exchange and, therefore, the public option would
be available to only "those without insurance."

"But an additional step we can take to keep insurance companies honest is by making a not-for-profit
public option available in the insurance exchange. Let me be clear it would only be an option for
those who don't have insurance." Pres. Obama, Sept. 9

So if you do have insurance, there's no access to the exchange. You benefit from those provisions
that apply to the carrier who insures you, but you DO NOT have access to the public option. By the
specific language of the speech and this language, the only people with the public option are the 40
or so million uninsured.

The rest of us are stuck with crappy insurance plans.

The public option was a substitute for a real single payer plan. Even in the House bill, it's
not an option for all of us, just those without insurance.
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iceman66 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-03-09 11:55 PM
Response to Reply #13
15. Better than no public option at all.
This bill needs to be seen as the first step in a process, not the endpoint of health care reform in America.

It will not be perfect; it will not please everybody, but it will be a step in the right direction.
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autorank Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-04-09 02:53 AM
Response to Reply #15
17. Not for the nation that needs it and not for the Democratic Party
Edited on Sun Oct-04-09 02:54 AM by autorank
It isn't just people without insurance who need the public option. It's about 95% of the country.
The fully allocated cost of a family plan for health insurance is about $1400 a month. In some
states, like Utah, you can get them for $124 a month but you have a $16,000 deductible so it's about
the same. Most people work for employers who pay most of this and have a $100-250 monthly payment
(they're going up everywhere). If you're self employed, you pay the whole nine years.

This is terrible for the self employed and discourages entrepreneurs and solo consultants and
professionals from going on their own.

The businesses that pay the lion's share of the monthly costs are killed in foreign competition
because every industrialized country has government single payer health care except us (Switzerland
does it through heavily regulated private insurance but it's like the others). The reason they
do so is it's about 15% to 30% cheaper. That's a huge savings, not having to pay off the
insurance companies for no value added.

So not having a real public option available to all, and most all would choose it, hurts the
15 million self employed a great deal and the rest of the employed due to a competitive disadvantage
in trade.

If you have a House bill that has the private option for 40 million people, 13$ of the population,
and a Senate bill with nothing, then at conference, you get either (a) a public option for 6.5% of
the people or (b) nothing.

That's unacceptable.

In addition, the political costs are going to be huge. John and Jane Q Citizen out there think that
the public option is for everybody, for the most part. Imagine their surprise if we get some
option for those without insurance but hard working John and Jane get a couple of grand in tax
breaks against their $16,000 costs. People will feel betrayed and who will they blame, the
Republicans. Well, yes they will because people are not stupid and they know how awful the
Republicans are. But they will blame the Democrats too and there will be Hell to pay.

This isn't about getting a bill passed to avoid humiliation. Its about getting a bill passed to
help people. On a party level, it's about survival.

See this analysis of the president's plan based on his speech.

What Obama Actually Said About Health Reform
http://agonist.org/michael_collins/20090910/what_obama_...
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eridani Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-04-09 03:24 AM
Response to Reply #15
18. Not if it writes age discrimination into the law, which it does.
The current public options are steppingstones to nowhere at all. The worst thing about them is that for 4 yearm NOTHING AT ALL happens, during which health care continues to go down the drain.
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autorank Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-04-09 02:32 PM
Response to Reply #18
24. Isn't that 4 year deal interesting
I pointed that out after Obama's speech, he was clear about that. And it was like it didn't
happen, the four year statement. It's really outrageous. Lets see, how much is
44,000 deaths (x) 4 years?

A bill won't do, it's a program we need. Nice to see you.
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Swamp Rat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-03-09 11:12 PM
Response to Original message
12. Et Tu Baucus Maximus?
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autorank Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-03-09 11:39 PM
Response to Reply #12
14. You looked into his soul! Brilliant!!!!!!!!!!!
This guy is a charmer isn't he. I like the signage ;)

:hi:
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ihavenobias Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-04-09 10:47 AM
Response to Reply #12
21. With few exceptions the MSM has done a horrible job of reporting special interest influence.
I know, that's not a coincidence.
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PufPuf23 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-04-09 01:04 PM
Response to Reply #12
23. Great OP and Post #17, Great Graphic
Great posters that make DU worthwhile and keep it real.

I am dismayed by health care reform turned health insurance transfer of wealth.

We need more medical and associated schools that are affordable and more trained professionals.

We need to join the modern World for a level playing field.

One's employer (or lack thereof) should have nothing to do with health care.

The Baucas proposal is close to "terrorism" (in terms of American deaths and suffering) against his own party.
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Me. Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-04-09 12:15 AM
Response to Original message
16. K & R
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rucky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-04-09 10:31 AM
Response to Original message
20. Baucus needs to lose his chair.
He's not dealing in good faith. Fuckin' scumbag.
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