Health-care Coverage for More Americans and a Budget Savings: Bad Ideas?

As this NYTimes article indicates the proposed legislation going through the legislative process will extend coverage to millions of more Americans, and the CBO (the non-partisan branch)  “said that the $871 billion cost of the bill would be more than offset by the new revenues and cuts in spending…”  But according to Republicans the foregoing is a really bad deal…. Hmmmm???

Maybe it is time, as Jim Hightower (photo above) suggested, to contact our Republican congress persons and ask that they give up their “socialized medicine” – which consists of wholely tax payer financed health insurance and physicians on call for every minute the federal legislators are in session.  Doing the right thing would involve spurning these evil socialist benefits. Right???



Filed under Healthcare

27 responses to “Health-care Coverage for More Americans and a Budget Savings: Bad Ideas?

  1. From an op-ed piece by Eric Alterman:

    “Thing is, Rahm Emanuel is right when he observes, nay, brags, that liberals have nowhere else to go. Nobody’s ever managed to pass comprehensive health-care reform before, though Democrats have been trying since Harry Truman’s victory in 1948. Obama could have done a great deal more to fight for the public option, to make life miserable for Joe Lieberman, to threaten Olympia “Hamlet” Snowe, etc., with exposure for their foolish and time-wasting games. But the fact is he got the best bill he could have gotten out of this Congress. Yes, it’s a crime how much power the insurance and pharmaceutical industries have to undermine the democratic intent of the voters. It’s outrageous how eager the Republican leadership is to employ the (previously) rarely used filibuster technique to try to derail the process at every step, without ever presenting anything remotely resembling an alternative themselves.

    But so long as this is the way the system works, then activists will have to make do with the Democratic Party they have, absent their ability to elect a better one. They have a chance to try to take out recalcitrant “Blue Dog” Democrats in 2010 primaries, but most of them come from purple or red states that are unlikely to turn leftward under attack.

    Meanwhile, as Republican senator Richard M. Burr observes, “The lines are drawn” for the coming midterm elections.

    This is why Howard Dean, who began to walk back his opposition a bit on Sunday, surely had a point when he observed that the Medicare expansion, which would have added millions of people to federal-program rolls within months of enactment, and thereby “would have made 2010 a lot easier for” Democrats. (This ought to give you some understanding about why Lieberman flip-flopped on what, until a few months ago, had been his own proposal.)

    But the fact is, a bit of populist anger from the liberal base is actually good for the Democrats. It makes them appear reasonable to the elites and to so-called swing voters. It doesn’t matter whether the base is right or wrong. A party that governs from its base—whatever public opinion may say—is considered ipso facto irresponsible by opinion-making—and in the case of the Democrats—campaign-funding elites.

    Rahm is right. The outrage over the sellouts in this bill cannot much outlast the winter storms. Politics is about perception, and by the time the snow has melted, Democrats will be forced to sell the hell out of this thing whether they like it or not. This is the lesson of 1994: With a Democratic president and a Democratic Congress, if they do not hang together, they shall surely hang separately.”

  2. I am choosing to see this legislation as an incremental step in the right direction. Is it all we wanted? “No!” Is it better than what we had? “Yes.”

    • I’m unable to share your view yet. I’m still hoping there can be improvements in reconciliation. I abhor that limitations to my right to make my own decisions about all parts of my body and my health is being made the business of Congress, or anyone outside ME for that matter. I am also more than discouraged by how badly the proposed bills cater to insurance and pharmaceutical companies.

      I don’t think a government of lobbyists and in the best interests of the major corporations rather than the citizens is one to aspire to!

    • tosmarttobegop

      But then is the question is it worse then what is current system?

      Certainly steps in the direction is better then standing still. But what if those steps are going in the wrong direction?

      Progress is change, the argument is the direction of that change.

      I too am getting tired of the adage of “you can not let the prefect be the enemy of the good!”.
      But when the reality is turning out “you can not let the prefect be the enemy of the worse!”.

      Yes there are superficial changes happening, in the end these changes are amounting to nothing more then the person died but was able to be buried in such a lovely set of clothes!
      The needed change is not happening and neither is the change happening in the right directions.

      Congrad to Nelson, he invoked the dreaded “A” word something that is like the whistle to Pablo’s dog.
      Generating a conditioned response and throws logic and reason out of the thought process.

    • Sorry to disagree, Iggy, but forcing people who cannot afford it to buy insurance from private companies who may charge whatever the hell they feel like is a boondoggle.
      There is no reform for the people who needed it in this bill. It is a sham.
      Rahm brags that liberals have to accept this. Alterman echoes the meme. I REJECT IT COMPLETELY because it is RIDICULOUS. I don’t have to accept anything that is this BAD for the country. The Democrats will rue the day that they went along with this giveaway to the healthcare special interests.
      I am usually in agreement with Eric Alterman, but he is acting as an apologist here. This bill DOES NOT address the issues that Obama promised to address in his campaign speeches. This is NOT going to insure the people who cannot afford insurance, it is going to penalize them. This is not going to lower spiraling costs or regulate greedy companies that are profiting at the cost of people’s health and lives.

      We DON’T have to accept this. We can say NO. On this issue alone, the DCCC and the DSCC have lost me completely; I will never give them another red cent. I may stop voting Democrat completely because of this.

      I am not so angry because I am a sore loser who did not get her way, though that is how some will paint liberals who don’t go along. Some change is NOT better than no change in this case.

      I am so angry because the Democrats could have done this differently, had they EVER had ANY intention of truly addressing the issues from the people’s perspective. But they NEVER did. The Senate Finance Committee was written by hospital and doctors associations, management companies, pharmaceutical companies, insurance companies and others with a profit stake. It is the version that is most likely to pass. WHAT DOES THAT SAY ABOUT OUR GOVERNMENT?

      And what does it say about the people in this country who are so ready to roll over and take it in the you-know-what??

      There is no reason to accept this huge middle finger that is being stuck up at us; there is no reason to accept this giant payout to the greedy bastards that are holding us hostage; there is NO REASON to go along with something that is SO HEINOUS.

      Remember while you are busy blaming the republicans, lieberman and anyone else that has been set up to play the baddie in this little melodrama that they wrote this whole thing in advance because they never had any intention of giving us any relief–they only intended to line the pockets of corporate interests and their own campaign coffers. People will continue to die because this bill does not deliver relief. That is the bottom line.

  3. Emmanuel is correct, darn it. I don’t know whether what may eventually become law is better than what we had; I’ll withhold judgment until I see what comes from the Conference Committee, although on December 21, 2009, my initial response is “not really”.

  4. I recognize that the CBO says the cost will be offset by savings. The problem is that this offset depends on the fiscal discipline of the congress critters to NOT spend that savings. This is something that BOTH sides of the political aisle have shown themselves to be incapable of.

  5. tosmarttobegop

    The claim is that more people will now become covered by insurance hooray!
    Let look at how that is being accomplished?

    Mandate that everyone buys insurances, yes many who do not have insurance will then have insurance!
    The young and health will now be paying into those Big insurance who as part of the reasoning for the move is that big insurance has been deemed to be heartless and demon spawned. Great profit for them and even less reason to change their ways.

    But to the simplistic mind that does serve the purpose of increasing the numbers of the insured!

    No long will insurance companies be allow to refuse coverage to those who have preexisting conditions.
    Hooray that is good! The numbers of the uninsured are now whittled down farther another score toward victory.

    But then that has to be countered huh? Forcing the insurance companies to take on a known risk.
    So now they can charge an absorbent amount for covering the preexisting.

    Yesterday Joe did not have insurance because of his type 2 Diabetes, today he does not have it because the cost of the insurance will drain what is left of his merger wages! What to do? OK the Federal Government will come in and provide assistance for him to be able to afford the insurance.

    So the insurance company is not losing anything by covering Joe and still have that profit from the young and healthy! It is just so good to be heartless and demon spawn with friends in the Government to force Joe to buy insurance that he can not afford then make up the difference that Joe can not pay!

    But between forcing everyone to buy insurance and forcing the insurance to cover those with preexisting conditions at an absorbent rates. This handles the problem of the uninsured!

    Now if they will just mandate then all the home-less buy a home then that problem can be solved too!

    • Unfortunately, mandates don’t solve the problem of the uninsured. Mandates assume that those without insurance are just being irresponsible, not that they can’t afford it. Now they are told that if they don’t get insurance (which costs me $9600 for my whole family, as currently provided by my employer), they will have to pay a fine of $2500. How will those fines be collected? Has anyone thought about that? How are these mandates going to force people that don’t have $9600 per year to pay for premiums to buy insurance? They aren’t; they will penalize them. But there is no telling how that money will be collected. And if it is not collected right away, it will build up. What happens when you don’t pay it? Are we going to have to start jailing people because they can’t afford the fines they incur for not buying insurance that they can’t afford?

      Obama and the Democrats were supposed to deliver health care, not incarceration for fines that are based on your income level.

      What are the numbers on the subsidies? Because I know a person that is making less than $1200 per month for a family of three and barely qualifies for benefits. Who will qualify for these so-called subsidies? Will it be state by state like it is with welfare?

      This whole thing is BULLSHIT. And we don’t have to take it.

  6. tosmarttobegop

    And Paula what are we going to do? Vote the Democrats out? More and more is seems to be there is no difference between the Republicans and the Democrats!

    Oh we like to think there is big differences, but the reality seems to be more wishful thinking then reality.
    In the end it seems only the difference between being knee-capped by a gangster named Guido or one named Romeo.

    • I must admit that I used to think there was a difference. I remember that things got better for the little guy while Clinton was in office. But, ultimately, some of the policies that were put into place under his administration–which he agreed with–caused the devastation that we are living with now.

      One thing that I know that we can do is to NOT GO ALONG. Don’t pretend that something is okay when it is not. Speak out, stand up, push back. That is the only thing I know of for sure. They are afraid of us to a certain extent because of the numbers issue and because they have to be able to present at least a PRETENSE that they are trying to represent us.

      I will be called all kinds of names and branded with all sorts of labels for not going along, but there will be two things you will not be able to call me: a quitter or an enabler.

      • tosmarttobegop

        I agree but only to the extent that reality is that without money the voice is nothing more then an aggravation for the Politicians.

        LOL Brownback, Tiahrt and Roberts have often heard from me.
        If there is a reply and Tiahrt seem the one most wanting in doing that.
        Is nothing more then a form letter and it is apparent that my thoughts were only read long enough to get a feeling of the subject matter.

        Was it medical, military or spending? Then the form letter reads like “I am glad you have contacted me on this important matter. I take your concern serious and hope you will continue to give me you input.”

        They always remind me of my letter to Pizza hut, I blasted the corporate logic and told them they really should hope that Papa John hires the exec who made the decision to stop selling Pie-zones!

        What did I get back? a Thank you letter for patronizing their stores and hope I continue to enjoy their fine products!

  7. Unfortunately, the insurance companies win when we and those who represent us allow the conversation to be based on how many people have health insurance — as if our goal should be that everyone have health insurance.

    Rather, the goal should be focusing on health care prices so that we don’t need insurance in the first place. The price of health care is the root cause here, and the insurance co’s have a vested interest in keeping it high enough that people can’t afford it without them.

    • lillacluvr

      You have hit the target! Bring costs down and the average person can manage their health care needs.

      But if something catastrophic happens- as in my case, cancer. Then I don’t care how low the price is for all that treatment – I still could not pay for all of it.

      I would like to see every American have a basic health care plan available from the government. And then the availability to buy catastrophic health insurance coverage from either private or government-run health insurance plans.

  8. tosmarttobegop

    LOL yeah kind of like “I saved X amount of children from the burning building. By throwing them into the river where they all drown.

  9. Health Insurance stock prices rise dramatically since the defeat of the public option.

    Mission Accomplished!

    • Of course. Thanks to the individual mandate, insurance companies are set to get millions of new customers. Nothing helps your stock price like millions of new customers (unless it’s a government bailout).

  10. I have unsubscribed from all of my email subscriptions that are associated with the Democratic Party. I left messages letting them all know why I unsubscribed and that they should plan on not receiving further support or funding from me.

    I was not that polite.

    • lillacluvr

      Sad to say, Paula, I don’t think the Democratic Party really cares if we support them or not.

      Because, when it comes right down to it – at election time, they know we have the choice between bad or worse.

      And this goes for both parties.

      • I wholeheartedly agree.

      • It is really time for people to get angry and march in the streets. But it is very hard to do that when you are just barely hanging on from day to day. The powers that be surely have us by the short ones.

        I would be willing to march, though, if I thought for a minute all those that complained would march behind me. They won’t and they are sorely needed. I am not judging though; we are all hanging by a thread these days.

  11. I would like to know if any of the ‘biggies,’ like voting rights for minorities or women, Medicare — had their beginning in a toe in the door that was way less than what it became?

    I guess even if they did, I would also need to know if the partisan atmosphere of needing to obstruct anything that may be deemed as victory by the ‘opponent’ was as it is today.

    I’m perplexed and bamboozled. This legislation is an outrage, yet I can’t lose the hope that it could be built into something.

    I am finding it difficult to let go of the dream.

    • lillacluvr

      I heard the woman Senator from Michigan Debbie Stabanow (sp?) on MSNBC last night and she said that Medicare started out as just hospital insurance, then it covered doctor visits, then they added disabilty coverage and finally the drug program (Medicare Part D) during the Bush years.

      But it took years to get to where the Medicare is today.

      But, as we were all discussing last week, Medicare pays exorbitant fees for some very questionable items.

      So, no matter how small a program is, there will always be those people who can come up with creative ways to get all that taxpayer money even if they are selling snake oil.

      • I think that the idea that this bill will eventually turn into anything good is just a bone they are throwing out so that we will not protest the crap they are getting ready to pass.

        As I said, for me, the issue is that this bill was never intended to give relief to the people of this country, but was written with the idea in mind that the corporations that are already profiting could profit even more. Therefore, for me, it is a non-starter and it always will be.

        If any politician can explain to me why all those lobbyists got a seat at the table and an opportunity to submit their wishlists when WE THE PEOPLE did not;
        if any pundit can explain to me why it takes the permission of the greedy bastards that screwed up our health care delivery system in order to write the regulations for “reform,” and WE THE PEOPLE are not consulted;
        if anyone that is making excuses for why this health care bill should be considered when it does not solve the problems that were discussed at the outset as the reason for reform can explain to me why the special interests got what they wanted in this bill and the only interest that “compromised” the one thing that it was insisting on was WE THE PEOPLE,
        then perhaps I will reconsider my complete opposition to this boondoggle.

  12. The spin today is that there will be subsidies to help the poor be able to afford health insurance. Supposedly, the Senate bill provides that those who make 150% of poverty level would get subsidies.
    The special interests themselves have mentioned that health insurance premiums are expected to double within the next three years, before all of the regulations in the bill go into effect.
    Here are the current federal guidelines for poverty level and my calculation of what a family could earn in order to qualify (assuming 150% is the number that sticks):
    Poverty income for 1 = $10,830, 150% of $10,830 = $16,245.
    Poverty income for 2 = $14,570, 150% of $14,570 = $21,885.
    Poverty income for 3 = $18,310, 150% of $18,310 = $27, 465.
    Poverty income for 4 = $22,050, 150% of $22,050 = $33,075.

    People who are making this amount of money will need the government to pay ALL of their premiums because they could never afford any premium on this small salary.

    I have yet to hear how these subsidies would be paid. If they were set up as tax rebates or credits, that would be a non-starter for these folks, wouldn’t it? I don’t know how much of a subsidy they are offering either. These are important “details” that I will be looking into.

  13. lillacluvr

    What I don’t understand is if it takes subsidies to help people pay for this mandated insurance, then where is the benefit to taxpayers?

    And, of course, we will continue to give health insurance companies subsidies to contine making their huge profits.

    So, again, where is the benefit to taxpayers?

    I’m disgusted with the whole lot of them..