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Dr. Dean to the rescue!

Caro's picture


Dean to Announce Health Care Effort (Political Wire)
Greg Sargent reports that former DNC Chairman Howard Dean “will make a surprise announcement, unveiling a major new health care campaign that will gear up his political operation to pressure the White House and Congress to preserve a public insurance option as part of health care reform.”.. Today’s announcement is keyed to the fifth anniversary of Democracy for America, which debuted during Dean’s 2004 campaign as Dean for America.

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vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

It shouldn't be an option, to be pecked to death by the death-by-spreadsheet crowd. It should be the system.

My understanding is that Obama's plan will offer just that, a private and a public option, with scads of money of course going to, um, ensuring that the public plan doesn't obviate the private one.

The likely outcome: Big Insurance will cherrypick the healthiest, most profitable customers, leaving the rest for the public plan.

gqmartinez's picture
Submitted by gqmartinez on

A real public option should be on the same footing as private options--the private plans cannot be allowed to cherry-pick, while the public option has to suck up only the sick. If there are different standards for the public and private options, it is a subsidy. In other words, for the private plan to operate, it needs the help of the government (bailing out the private plans by taking those it doesn't want).

If a public option is all we're going to get (for now), then it's vitally important not to conflate a possible government subsidy with a true public-private competition. Maintaining the line that a government subsidy (i.e. allowing private insurers to cherry pick) is the same as a public option is bad tactically. It makes a public option look weak compared to the subsidized version. In a soundbite: We shouldn't bail out the health insurance firms. That's exactly what it would be, we are buying the toxic assets and letting the insurance companies keep only the golden assets.

Personally, I'd be happy to see a public option compete and wipe the floor with private options. I'd be happy to see the Grover Norquists try to justify a failed model. It would be devastating to conservative philosophy.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

The power brokers ensure that they get favorable terms. Not that that could happen on Obama's watch, mind you.

gqmartinez's picture
Submitted by gqmartinez on

No proposal that allows the "favorable terms" for the insurers should be called a "public option". Rather, it should be called what it is: a government subsidy for health insurance parasites. Just like bailing out the big banker boiz, the current GOP-Dem-Obama definition of "public-private partnership" is likely to lead to socializing the risk and privatizing the profits.

Personally, I don't think a public - private competition is bad at all and that it will inevitably lead to a variant of single payer (won't go into what I mean by "variant"). But I don't consider a public option plan to be a public option plan if there are not equal terms to the public and private plans. If we want to look at the where the puck is going to be versus where its at now analogy, we may want to consider making this distinction explicit. If the faux-public option (what I call a subsidy) gets into legislation and the VME* starts calling it a public option, then any "public option" (which is really the subsidy) will be made to look bad--how can it really compete in a rigged system? A rigged system is a subsidy.

* VME = Village Media Empire = MCM + Obloggers uncritically adopting the MCM/Obama line

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

One shouldn't negotiate with parasites. Especially when there's a known cure.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

That we should leave it up to the wolves and sheep to sort this out amongst themselves.

Submitted by jawbone on

Think Progress

Rather than advocating for a broad overhaul of the health care system, for instance, Dean argued that we can build on what works in our current system and reform health care by giving Americans the choice of keeping their existing insurance plan or enrolling in a new public option.

Dean predicted that more Americans would chose a public plan, but he ultimately argued against a single-payer proposal:

The American people will preferentially choose Medicare, but not all of them will choose Medicare. So we will have a hybrid system. Many more people will be in a public sector because it will probably be better for them. But they will only be in the public sector if they want to be, and they can get out of the public sector if they choose to try something different later on. That seems fair to me. I don’t think we should impose a single payer on everybody, but I do think we should give Americans the choice of having one if they like it. ... (Emphasis at Think Progress)

Comment 2 has interesting facts:

A Nurse Says:


** 2.6 Million New Jobs,
** $317 Billion in Business Revenue,
** $100 Billion in Wages, and
** $44 Billion New Tax Revenues

You can find out more about this study here

The press release is here

Greg Sargent says Dean wants to get a quarter of a million signatures on a petition for public insurance opt in, but I can't find the petition. I haven't watched the video yet, however.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

It's a petition to encourage Obama to offer a "public option," i.e., to offer some portion of a loaf (however stale) instead of no loaf.