Jul 16, 2009

Health Care Reform: The Devil is in the Details!

"It`s just about -- it`s about money. It`s about money, because when you have 72 percent of the American people thinking that they should have the choice instead of Congress, this is about money. And the insurance industry gives out of a lot of money.

....And, you know, this is going to be a hell of an issue in 2010 because -- you know, honestly, what`s the point of having a 60-vote majority in the United States Senate if you can`t produce health insurance reform out of it?"

Howard Dean

UPDATE, 7/28.
I frequently put up Jon Stewart clips here, because he often manages to illustrate important points on vital issues in our country. Under the guise of a comedy show, he interviews newsmakers in a way that anyone can understand what the issue is about. Health care reform--with a strong public option that covers everyone--is topic #1 right now. There's lots of misinformation, a strong campaign to kill any reform [and leave the status quo for the benefit of?..], and a Republican party that has decided to offer nothing else but a big fat "NO" to anything sensible.

Bill Kristol is a pundit who's got most things totally wrong, plus he advocates extreme ideas--and very wrong ideas. Yet, apparently it doesn't matter what you say as long as you represent vigorously one side. We need to be "fair & balanced" so give the flat-earthers, con artists, and idiots their share of respectability in a debate. Kristol is among those who don't want any health care reform and has urged the Repubs to kill any Dem bill. Repubs have been saying that health care reform will be Obama's "Waterloo." They have offered no alternative plan or made any sensible proposal. What we hear is labeling ("socialism," "no choice," and, yes, "fascism") and a campaign to scare & confuse the public.

I think now Obama understands that he can't have any support from the conservatives, that they want him to fail at any cost, and he's learning that eventually it will be his (and the Dems') work that will be judged by the voters. Let the conservatives cater to their shrinking political by playing the "birther" card! [They won't accept that Obama is a US native born!]

Stewart makes Kristol admit the logical: that the government (when appropriate) can deliver better services than the private sector! That our soldiers get a (dare I call it, socialized) universal health care coverage that's better than what the insurance companies give the rest of us! The American public doesn't deserve what the military get, Kristol said!....

Watch this clip:


[Original post, 7/16/09]

Without a strong public option, no health care reform should take place. I'm glad to hear that many progressive Dems in Congress are going to oppose anything that does not contain the public option and universal health care coverage.

A couple more points. Forget the Repubs. Pass a good bill with a simple majority--no GOP votes needed. The conservatives have opposed all good things we take for granted today.... from Social Security, Medicare, labor rights, consumer protection, national parks and electrification.. just to mention a few. Health care should be a right not a privilege.

Profit is a motivating force and it can be a good one when is appropriate. However, we should not privatize everything because we can't analyze everything on a cost-profit basis, according to the marketplace standards. For example, national parks, libraries, police, firefighters, basic education, armed forces, health care, and ..monitoring volcanoes, should be publicly funded. The reasons for this should be self-evident (unless you're a conservative in the US).

Again, members of Congress are well-off people who nevertheless enjoy the best coverage paid by the government. Why should they enjoy something the rest of America can't? The political situation is favorable right now for a comprehensive reform; the public wants it with a ..public option. I don't understand Obama's strategy. He will not get any Repub support on this or any other meaningful refore. This GOP is very regressive and coallescing around the most conservative and backward elements.

Mr. President, make this brand of politics obsolete. Take a few lessons from FDR. Forget about bi-partisanship if it means sacrificing good options. Clinton passed his balanced budge with 1 vote majority. That's all you need. You will get the credit or the blame for this and other policies during your tenure. Getting a few Repubs votes (very unlikely anyway) won't help you in the long run. As a matter of fact, show some strong leadership and show them--as they did in 2001 with their Congressional majorities and with Bush in the White House--that elections have consequences. The American public resoundly repudiated the Republican party in Congress and gave you big majorities--all within 2 years (2006-2008), a record of a turnaround in Congress.

OK, How to pay for health care? We can't, the Repubs say. No, that's not true. It is a matter of priorities. There's plenty of money, so even if we accept those numbers floating around, like the $1 trillion in the next 10 years, $200 billion per year is a bargain. It's a fraction of what we've spent in the Iraq & Afghanistan wars. We're the only country that spends close to 17% of its GDP and leaves 1/3 (or more) either uninsured or under-insured! The closest big spender is Switzerland with 11%. So others have managed to do lots more with less. [Here's a comparison]

Bill Moyers assesses the public option on his Journal blog.

The following video is illuminating too.

I have CIGNA as my health provider. The private organization (non-for-profit) I work for has thousands of employees and, thus, great bargaining power. I haven't made any claims, but think I have an excellent plan that includes vision and dental. I've worked for other companies before, some with puny health care benefits or none at all--so I went with no medical insurance for years.

A progressive culture of life means having certain benefits by being a member of the commonwealth, that the government is of, by, and for the people. Education, health care, access to opportunities, legal equality, are some of the rights an enlightened society affords its citizens.

We try to improve our lives by using the government not as a nanny but as an enabler and a guarantor of certain conditions that allow people to reach their own potential.


UPDATE, 7/18 [instead of opening another topic, this op ed fits here]

The six deadly hypocrites [by Paul Krugman]

Will the destructive center kill health care reform? It looks all too possible.

What’s especially galling is the hypocrisy of their claimed reason for delaying progress — concern about the fiscal burden. After all, in the past most of them have shown no concern at all for the nation’s long-term fiscal outlook.

Case in point: the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003, which denied Medicare the right to bargain for lower drug prices, locked in overpayments to private insurance companies, and did nothing, nothing at all, to pay for its proposed outlays. How many of these six self-proclaimed defenders of solvency voted no on the crucial procedural vote? One. (Joe Lieberman, to my surprise.)

And let’s not forget that Ben Nelson, who appears to be the ringleader, has fought tooth and nail against competition from a public option — which would almost certainly save a significant amount of money, as well as providing much-needed competition.

If the Gang of Six really does kill reform, remember their names; they will bear the responsibility for vast, unnecessary suffering over the years to come....

Paul Krugman hits another nail on its head. Meanwhile, Politico's Ben Smith has more details: Healthcare Foes Plan Obama's "Waterloo".