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E.J. Dionne: Why Democrats Are Fighting for a Republican Health Plan. Dionne concludes:

You could argue that Democrats have learned from Republicans. Some might say that Democrats have been less than true to their principles.

But there is a simpler conclusion: Democrats, including President Obama, are so anxious to get everyone health insurance that they are more than willing to try a market-based system and hope it works. It’s a shame the Republicans can no longer take “yes” for an answer.

But there's an even simpler solution: Big Money owns both legacy parties.

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Submitted by Lex on

Frankly, this is a load of hot horse manure. If the deciding principle was to institute a market based system there were better ways to do it. Several European nations use market systems to achieve affordable universal coverage.

We could have mandated that the insurance companies provide basic (preventative, catastrophic and maintenance) coverage at basically no profit; pay for it with a simple payroll deduction; and let people/employers buy supplemental coverage.

How hard would that have been? This farce isn't about using markets to address the problem. It's about selling the American peasant to the insurance companies for possible campaign contributions.

I lived under the S. Korean national plan for nearly two years and i loved it. My employer and i split the $72/month premium. I had reasonable co-pays for doctor and pharmacy visits. The plan covered just the basics. That is, had i needed a root canal, insurance would have covered it...but would only cover the most inexpensive cap. If i wanted porcelain i'd have had to pay or purchase supplemental that would cover it.

Of all the ways to skin this cat, the Democratic Party worked very hard to find the worst of all possible solutions.

...i'm trying real hard to abide by the "no name calling" rule.

Submitted by jawbone on

Yup--that it regulates the health insurance companies the most ever in history!

I must be careful listening to him and NPR, as I was out on the deck and I yelled at the radio that he was (colorful description) lying. Or insensate about what goes on in the rest of the industrialized world. Or thinks his listeners are ignorant of the rest of the world and can be bamboozled....

Nobody seemed to be outside, so maybe I didn't alarm the neighbors.

And NPR? Nary a peep of correction. He can say anything -- cut costs by 3000%, mos tight regulation in history -- and no indication this might be, well, exaggeration or lying. OK, finally the MCM did address the 3000% cut remark, after so many blogs and apparently callers asked about the comment. The WH offered a correction. Obama was supposed to say premiums for small businesses would be cut by about $3000 -- not 3000%, which is mathematically impossible. And the bill did not offer credits to small businesses. But something more slippery, such as the "most regulated in history" is allowed to stand.

The MCM seems to take a caveat listener/viewer/reader stance. If you as a consumer of news can't figure out where you're being played, well, tough. You lose.

Just like with BushBoy... until BushCo became intolerable to Villagers.

Submitted by jawbone on

percent when it was actually dollars. Just carried away by the emotional high of his adoring fans....

There's video in this post by katiebird at The Confluence.

(Commenter RalphB posted link to MA state treasurer saying that MA-type health insurance reform could bankrupt the US economy in four years.

The Massachusetts treasurer said Tuesday that Congress will “threaten to wipe out the American economy within four years” if it adopts a health-care overhaul modeled after the Bay State’s.

Treasurer Timothy P. Cahill – a former Democrat running as an independent for governor – said the local plan enacted in 2006 has succeeded only because of huge subsidies and favorable regulatory changes from the federal government.

“Who, exactly, is going to bail out the federal government if this plan goes national?” he asked.

Cahill made his remarks after Gov. Deval L. Patrick, a Democrat, accused him and Republican gubernatorial candidate Charles D. Baker of being silent amid the state and national health care debates.

Partly local politics?)

AP factchecked the premium reduction assertion, finding several experts who believe premiums will continue to escalate.

Obama asked his audience for a show of hands from people with employer-provided coverage, what most Americans have.

"Your employer, it's estimated, would see premiums fall by as much as 3,000 percent," said the president, "which means they could give you a raise."

A White House press spokesman later said the president misspoke; he had meant to say annual premiums would drop by $3,000.

Here are the reasons for AP gives for its skepticism:

"There's no question premiums are still going to keep going up," said Larry Levitt of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a research clearinghouse on the health care system. "There are pieces of reform that will hopefully keep them from going up as fast. But it would be miraculous if premiums actually went down relative to where they are today."

The statistics Obama based his claims on come from two sources. In both cases, caveats got left out.

A report for the Business Roundtable, an association of big company CEOs, was the source for the claim that employers could save $3,000 per worker on health care costs, the White House said.

Issued in November, the report looked generally at proposals that Democrats were considering to curb health care costs, concluding they had the potential to significantly reduce future increases.

But the analysis didn't consider specific legislation, much less the final language being tweaked this week. It's unclear to what degree the bill that the House is expected to vote on within days would reduce costs for employers.

An analysis by the Congressional Budget Office of earlier Senate legislation suggested savings could be fairly modest.

It found that large employers would see premium savings of at most 3 percent in 2016, compared with what their costs would have been without the legislation. That would be more like a few hundred dollars instead of several thousand.

The claim that people buying coverage individually would save 14 percent to 20 percent comes from the same budget office report, prepared in November for Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Ind. But the presidential sound bite fails to convey the full picture.

The budget office concluded that premiums for people buying their own coverage would go up by an average of 10 percent to 13 percent, compared with the levels they'd reach without the legislation. That's mainly because policies in the individual insurance market would provide more comprehensive benefits than they do today.

For most households, those added costs would be more than offset by the tax credits provided under the bill, and they would pay significantly less than they have to now. However, the budget office estimated that about 4 in 10 customers shopping for an individual policy would not be eligible for tax credits — and would face higher premiums on average than without the legislation.

The premium reduction of 14 percent to 20 percent that Obama often cites would apply only to a portion of the people buying coverage on their own — those who want to keep the skimpier kinds of policies available today.

Submitted by Lex on

From unregulated to "the most ever in history", meaning "look how we can blow a tiny bit of regulation out of proportion!"

If they set the bar any lower for themselves, they'd trip over it.

Or as i quipped to the group of Uni profs i play trivia with on Thursday nights last week when Nixon came up and they all started bad mouthing him..."Hey, lay off Tricky Dick, you know full well that we'll be lucky to see another president that far to the left in our lifetimes."

Obviously i'm no fan of Nixon, but the truth is just that sad.

Submitted by jawbone on

Here's where he says "toughest insurance reforms in history" and calls it "a patient's bill of rights on steroids."

So what did we do? What is the essence of this legislation? Number one, this is the toughest insurance reforms in history. (Applause.) We are making sure that the system of private insurance works for ordinary families. A prescription -- this is a patient's bill of rights on steroids. So many of you individually have worked on these insurance reforms -- they are in this package -- to make sure that families are getting a fair deal; that if they're paying a premium, that they're getting a good service in return; making sure that employers, if they are paying premiums for their employees, that their employees are getting the coverage that they expect; that insurance companies are not going to game the system with fine print and rescissions and dropping people when they need it most, but instead are going to have to abide by some basic rules of the road that exemplify a sense of fairness and good value. That's number one.

On the planned exchanges and potential savings:

The second thing this does is it creates a pool, a marketplace, where individuals and small businesses, who right now are having a terrible time out there getting health insurance, are going to be able to purchase health insurance as part of a big group -- just like federal employees, just like members of Congress. They are now going to be part of a pool that can negotiate for better rates, better quality, more competition.

And that's why the Congressional Budget Office says this will lower people's rates for comparable plans by 14 to 20 percent. That's not my numbers -- that's the Congressional Budget Office's numbers. So that people will have choice and competition just like members of Congress have choice and competition.

On tax credits:

Number three, if people still can't afford it we're going to provide them some tax credits -- the biggest tax cut for small businesses and working families when it comes to health care in history.

On deficit reduction (w/out mention, of course, of the "doc fix" which will, if enacted, blow the deficit reduction and, if not enacted, mean doctors can't afford to treat patients under Medicaid):

And number four, this is the biggest reduction in our deficit since the Budget Balance Act -- one of the biggest deficit reduction measures in history -- over $1.3 trillion that will help put us on the path of fiscal responsibility.

Then on the less precise positive aspects, including the source of the corrected statement of $3000 savings...per employee:

And that's before we count all the game-changing measures that are going to assure, for example, that instead of having five tests when you go to the doctor you just get one; that the delivery system is working for patients, not just working for billings. And everybody who's looked at it says that every single good idea* to bend the cost curve and start actually reducing health care costs are in this bill.

So that's what this effort is all about. Toughest insurance reforms in history. A marketplace so people have choice and competition who right now don't have it and are seeing their premiums go up 20, 30, 40, 50 percent. Reductions in the cost of health care for millions of American families, including those who have health insurance. The Business Roundtable did their own study and said that this would potentially save employers** $3,000 per employee on their health care because of the measures in this legislation.

The complete speech is there; scroll down below video box.

*Earlier he stated "single-payer governmen-run" was not in the bill; his wording would indicate he didn't see that as one of good ideas. since they were in the bill. Heh. You "little single payer advocates," this paragraph's for you! Lumped in with the Magic Hand of the Market Repubs.

Now, there are some who wanted a single-payer government-run system. That's not this bill. The Republicans wanted what I called the "foxes guard the henhouse approach" in which we further deregulate the insurance companies and let them run wild, the notion being somehow that that was going to lower costs for the American people. I don't know a serious health care economist who buys that idea, but that was their concept. And we rejected that, because what we said was we want to create a system in which health care is working not for insurance companies but it's working for the American people, it's working for middle class families.

**It's not clear to me which employers the Business Round Table means: small businesses, currently paying well above what large corporations pay? All businesses? Ezra Klein said on WNYC on Thursday (no transcript) that large businesses would most likely see premium increases due to this bill, but he didn't quote sources for that.

Submitted by jawbone on

and they can't bring themselves to even think that critically about Obama.

Nor can they think along the lines of Corportism taking over both parties; it would explode their world view of politics. And they are among the great beneficiaries of the conglomeration of media -- even while they see their cohorts being downsized. The changes in the media world economic situation make them all the more cautious about expressing criticism.

Clear malfeasance and breaches of ethics can be criticized, preferably for lower level crooks, such as Bernie Madoff, but not for the leaders of the system or the overall system.

Can we call them running dog Corporate lackeys? Pleeeeez?

Submitted by hipparchia on

Can we call them running dog Corporate lackeys? Pleeeeez?

damn, i love this [except for the fact that dogs don't deserve to be classed with vermin].

Submitted by jawbone on

Doesn't sound right, but it may just that my ear is accustomed to "running dog" -- where did that come from exactly?

Submitted by jawbone on

It was sad for me to read this from Swopa.

My question to Swopa, in which I ask:

...will this same logic apply when Obama whips Dems to vote for his SocSec “reforms”?

If they’re anything like his health insurance reform, it will be a public giveaway to the FI part of FIRE.

Maybe Congressional Dems can fight it, but, if it gets to the point that a loss would harm…what is it?…Obama’s viability? Dems looking cohesive?…Then, will this logic apply?

Civil liberties? More wars? DNA samples from anyone arrested, even for a misdemeanor?

When do we support principles instead of individual people or parties?

mass's picture
Submitted by mass on

"Democrats, including President Obama, are so anxious to get everyone health insurance that they are more than willing to try a market-based system and hope it works."

My goodness those benevolent Democrats will do anything to help us poor folk. Geeze Lousie.

Submitted by jawbone on

in California marked the turning point for the public and the Congress. When people saw these huge increases coming out across the US, they became very scared and began to rethink their qualms about the Obama BHIP-PPP (Big Health Insurance Parasites Profit Protection Plan).

Other panelists on Inside Washington agreed with that comment. They see the action, they know its effect. No one made any connection to the Obama WH and Sen. Baucus's close relationship with health insurers....

I see connections, but, alas, have no proof. Just seeing the actions and ignoring the words, the Kabuki from Obama.

Wellpoint had employed the Baucus aide who wrote the Senate bill -- she was VP for two years at Wellpoint, a well paid sabbatical from Senate staff work. Certainly communication was very close.

Wellpoint was the point company for the current round of increases, and theirs were very high even while the parent company had extremely high profits. My parasite in NJ only increased rates by 15%. (Only....)

So, why would Wellpoint do that now, create such bad PR for itself just now, when it would spook both voters and pols?

To get the damn bill passed.

"Oh, Mr. Dem, please don't throw me in that briar patch! Anywhere but that brair patch!" said Brer BHIP.

Submitted by jawbone on

I came across someone who is keeping a running list of Obama's broken promises -- it was well over 100. But I can't find it now.

Small blog -- anyone know of it? Help appreciated.

mass's picture
Submitted by mass on

I'm not sure public opinion ever changed much on the health bill, though.