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Obama OK with ditching public option

Health Care Public Option 2009

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#1 Spectacles

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Posted 16 August 2009 - 01:07 PM

....and the tea baggers win, too, though I'm sure they'll still continue to insist that there is something "socialistic" at work in Teh Evil Obama's health care reform.

http://news.yahoo.co...ius_health_care


Times like this, I'm glad I'm no longer a Democrat. Looks like we're going to get a health care "reform" bill that's comparable to Bush's Medicare prescription bill: a costly bill that provides only modest relief for consumers and big relief for health care industries. We truly are an oligarchy, but we're under the illusion that we're a democracy. I guess we're running on the fumes of yesteryear....

And I'm too pissed off to say more about this, so I'll just hush. But right now I wish I had just sat out the 08 election. What an effing joke....
"Facts are stupid things." -Ronald Reagan at the 1988 Republican National Convention, attempting to quote John Adams, who said, "Facts are stubborn things"

"Although health care enrollment is actually going pretty well at this point, thousands and maybe millions of Americans have failed to sign up for coverage because they believe the false horror stories they keep hearing." -- Paul Krugman

#2 Balderdash

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Posted 16 August 2009 - 02:17 PM

Quote

Times like this, I'm glad I'm no longer a Democrat. Looks like we're going to get a health care "reform" bill that's comparable to Bush's Medicare prescription bill: a costly bill that provides only modest relief for consumers and big relief for health care industries. We truly are an oligarchy, but we're under the illusion that we're a democracy.

The real thing we should have been afraid of.  Money wins not the people.

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#3 Shalamar

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Posted 16 August 2009 - 02:22 PM

I am very disappointed to hear this. But with as many lobbyst as the insurance industry can fund and as much as they can contribute to campaigns. They have their hooks in too deep in too many people.

I see nothing wrong with them making a profit, but obscene profits are just that -obscene.


Edited for spelling

Edited by Shalamar, 16 August 2009 - 05:13 PM.

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#4 Spectacles

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Posted 16 August 2009 - 04:08 PM

Apparently I need to clarify: by "tea baggers," I'm not referring to all Republicans--only that subset of the loud voices shouting down others at town halls, claiming, hilariously, that Obama is some kind of socialist or Nazi. A socialist wouldn't capitulate to pharmaceutical and insurance companies and back away from offering a Medicare-like public option. If anything, Obama is just as much of a corporatist as any Republican, despite his campaign rhetoric. This should comfort people who fear he's a socialist--but I suspect they'd rather fear he's a socialist, even if there is not a shred of evidence to support that fear.

So my apologies to any Republicans who thought I was deriding them. My derision is reserved for the screamers at town halls. And Obama. But apparently being critical of both the extreme element of the right and the Democratic president is somehow "partisan" to someone, who lodged a complaint.

Let me be clear: I am unhappy with Barack Obama. (A fact that apparently was overlooked when someone took offense and complained about my "partisan" use of the word "tea baggers.")  I know that his supporters still think he's playing 11th dimensional chess and will end up passing the best health care reform ever. I don't. This was the best chance we've had to pass meaningful reforms to improve health insurance affordability and reliability in this country in ages, and I think a public option was a necessary component. (This makes me a socialist in some eyes. Of course, ironically, a lot of the people screaming about socialism at the town halls are on Medicare--and they love it.) But apparently what's important to this administration is to pass a bill, any bill, and try not to alienate any deep-pocket campaign donors in the process.
"Facts are stupid things." -Ronald Reagan at the 1988 Republican National Convention, attempting to quote John Adams, who said, "Facts are stubborn things"

"Although health care enrollment is actually going pretty well at this point, thousands and maybe millions of Americans have failed to sign up for coverage because they believe the false horror stories they keep hearing." -- Paul Krugman

#5 offworlder

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Posted 16 August 2009 - 05:05 PM

well the way I read this,
he may think he's not going to get it with the gov-public thing, the thing the right-wing are saying is Big Gov takes over everything > so he's looking to see what shape it would be that he Can get a reform package passed.
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#6 Shalamar

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Posted 16 August 2009 - 05:15 PM

Specs, I agree with you on the appearance of needing to pass a bill any bill. I've complained elsewhere here about the speed at which this is rolling.

I think that many people aren't viewing medicare as being socialist. They see it as a repayment for what they have paid in for so long.  ( Wether it is or not, socialist, I mean).

I've never thought Obama was a socialist - but he sure is proving to be just another politician.
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#7 Spectacles

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Posted 16 August 2009 - 05:47 PM

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Shal: I've never thought Obama was a socialist - but he sure is proving to be just another politician.

I hear ya, Shal. No argument here. But then, I didn't buy into the "change" rhetoric, anyway, and I wondered just what exactly he'd fight for--aside from getting elected. I'm still wondering. During the campaign, he said we needed to open the Medicare prescription bill and re-do it to allow us to negotiate for better prices. But is that off the table now that Pharma is on board with the health care reform? What exactly did Obama give up to get the pharmaceutical companies to cough up all that ad money supporting health care reform? He's said in the past that the pubic option was necessary to "keep the insurers honest." Now, not so much. And remember all the exciting "transparency" he promised? Health care negotiations were to be covered by C-SPAN so we the people could follow the process. But after the election, when the rubber met the road, those televised hearings were limited to one afternoon back in June, and the process is so opaque that it's a mystery. A citizens group sued to get a list of White House visitors during a period of announced executive meetings on health care reform. Turns out that many of the visitors were health care industry lobbyists.

Yeah, it's the same old show. And I wouldn't mind as much if his campaign rhetoric had not been SO far removed from the reality. I was skeptical--even cynical--then, but I voted for him because I wanted a Democrat to clean out the Bush appointees in Justice and Energy and other departments and hopefully get some competent people in. That seems to have happened, at least. But as for the rest, I had hoped that he'd prove me wrong. I worried that four years experience in national politics was insufficient. He's a very intelligent man, and I think a good man, but we needed an LBJ with lots of arm-twisting, chit-calling experience to pass meaningful health care reform.

And it's not over yet. Possibly we'll end up with a bill that gets us affordable and reliable health care regardless of our employment and financial and pre-existing health status yet. There are some changes that will happen that will surely be welcome. But I have no idea how cost can be controlled and accessibility can be guaranteed without a public option. So I'm pessimistic--but I hope I'm wrong.

Edited by Spectacles, 16 August 2009 - 05:49 PM.

"Facts are stupid things." -Ronald Reagan at the 1988 Republican National Convention, attempting to quote John Adams, who said, "Facts are stubborn things"

"Although health care enrollment is actually going pretty well at this point, thousands and maybe millions of Americans have failed to sign up for coverage because they believe the false horror stories they keep hearing." -- Paul Krugman

#8 Lin731

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Posted 16 August 2009 - 06:20 PM

CNN had a former spokesman for Signet insurance on this morning talking about how the insurance industry has funded and promoted this anti-reform movement (what a shock). So we Americans can be free to continue to go bankrupt from medical bills. we'll continue to have the freedom to work sick as well as the freedom to die if we have a life threatening disease and no coverage...Ain't America grande?
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#9 Nick

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Posted 16 August 2009 - 06:31 PM

I'm not getting to the same conclusion that they've given up on the public option.  It ain't over till a bill's been signed.

What I don't understand is why Obama keeps insisting on working with Congressional Republicans and bending over for them.  We have the votes to ram the bill through WITH a public options, and WITHOUT the bluedogs if Reid would grow a fscking pair and use reconciliation.

#10 Omega

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Posted 16 August 2009 - 06:34 PM

So what exactly ARE we looking at getting, then?

I've never liked the idea that public-option healthcare is a good solution at this point.  It alone does nothing to lower overall costs, and increases the administrative overhead that's already killing us.  All it does is move the insanely high costs to someone else, which is in fact socialism.  While a bit of socialism here and there may not be a bad thing, it in this case would be completely stupid.  As I've proposed before, we need to reform prescription drug patents, make sure doctors don't profit from unnecessary procedures, and pass a useful malpractice reform.  That will significantly lower overall costs, which would make discussion of universal healthcare much more fiscally sane than it is at this juncture.  But I'm sure the bill being discussed will do none of these things, because that would just make too darned much sense, and hurt the people with deep pockets.

#11 Spectacles

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Posted 16 August 2009 - 07:24 PM

That's backwards, Omega. A public option would cost less to administer and would save money:

http://marketplace.p...h_care_options/

Furthermore, since the goal would be to cover cost and not to turn a profit, people opting for it would worry less about being denied claims--something that private insurers do to increase their profits. This is why so many people who had to declare bankruptcy due to astronomical medical bills actually had insurance; they were simply underinsured and didn't know it until it was too late.  

If we want to claim that any government-run insurance is socialistic, and therefore condemn it for being a scary-sounding word to most Americans, then "patriots" should give up their Medicare. But that won't happen because most Americans on Medicare and SSI Disability are grateful for it. And as Shal says, we paid into it; why not get it back?

Private insurance operates the same way: there is a pool that all pay into, but not everyone needs the medical services the insurance will cover. Insurers make money when they collect in premiums more than they pay out in claims. So it's in their interest to deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions, and to deny claims on fine-print technicalities whenever possible.

But do we argue that this is socialism because our medical bills are paid by other people's premiums? No. Why? Well, because the insurer still makes a profit off of us all. And the insurer may in fact increase his profit by denying payment of some of our claims.

Am I supposed to be filled with patriotic fervor because I help Blue Cross make money? If so, perhaps I should be really moved if they deny my claims.

Fear of the socialist bogeyman is hurting us in this issue. As a consumer, I want the cheaper, more reliable insurance. That appears to be insurance provided by the government, paid for by my taxes.
"Facts are stupid things." -Ronald Reagan at the 1988 Republican National Convention, attempting to quote John Adams, who said, "Facts are stubborn things"

"Although health care enrollment is actually going pretty well at this point, thousands and maybe millions of Americans have failed to sign up for coverage because they believe the false horror stories they keep hearing." -- Paul Krugman

#12 Chipper

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Posted 16 August 2009 - 07:28 PM

I read this on another site, and it just sums up my disgust with both the GOP and, more than that, with an American public that supposedly rejected it but now just continues bending its back for it with the aid of the media's failures (IMO) and an administration that is way too eager to please everyone and not forceful enough.


Quote

From former Reagan and George H.W. Bush official Bruce Bartlett, during an e-mail conversation with the Political Animal's Steve Benen:

"I believe that political parties should do penance for their mistakes and just losing power is not enough. Part of that involves understanding why those mistakes were made and how to prevent them from happening again. Republicans, however, have done no penance. They just pretend that they did nothing wrong. But until they do penance they don't deserve any credibility and should be ignored until they do. That's what my attacks on Bush are all about. I want Republicans to admit they were wrong about him, accept blame for his mistakes, and take some meaningful action to keep them from happening again. Bush should be treated as a pariah, as Richard Nixon was for many years until he rebuilt his credibility by more or less coming clean about Watergate with David Frost and writing a number of thoughtful books.

One reason this isn't happening is because the media don't treat Republicans as if they are discredited. On the contrary, they often seem to be treated as if they have more credibility than the administration. Just look at the silly issue of death panels. The media should have laughed it out the window, ridiculed it or at least ignored it once it was determined that there was no basis to the charge. Instead, those making the most outlandish charges are treated with deference and respect, while those that actually have credibility on the subject are treated as equals at best and often with deep skepticism, as if they are the ones with an ax to grind.

I am truly baffled by this situation, as I'm sure you are."

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#13 Spectacles

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Posted 16 August 2009 - 07:32 PM

Quote

Nick: I'm not getting to the same conclusion that they've given up on the public option.

Really? You don't get that from Obama's, Gibbs', and Sebelius's statements this weekend?

Quote

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said that government alternative to private health insurance is "not the essential element" of the administration's health care overhaul. The White House would be open to co-ops, she said, a sign that Democrats want a compromise so they can declare a victory.

Under a proposal by Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., consumer-owned nonprofit cooperatives would sell insurance in competition with private industry, not unlike the way electric and agriculture co-ops operate, especially in rural states such as his own.

With $3 billion to $4 billion in initial support from the government, the co-ops would operate under a national structure with state affiliates, but independent of the government. They would be required to maintain the type of financial reserves that private companies are required to keep in case of unexpectedly high claims.

"I think there will be a competitor to private insurers," Sebelius said. "That's really the essential part, is you don't turn over the whole new marketplace to private insurance companies and trust them to do the right thing."

Obama's spokesman refused to say a public option was a make-or-break choice.

"What I am saying is the bottom line for this for the president is, what we have to have is choice and competition in the insurance market," White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Sunday.

A day before, Obama appeared to hedge his bets.

"All I'm saying is, though, that the public option, whether we have it or we don't have it, is not the entirety of health care reform," Obama said at a town hall meeting in Grand Junction, Colo. "This is just one sliver of it, one aspect of it."

It's hardly the same rhetoric Obama employed during a constant, personal campaign for legislation.

"I am pleased by the progress we're making on health care reform and still believe, as I've said before, that one of the best ways to bring down costs, provide more choices and assure quality is a public option that will force the insurance companies to compete and keep them honest," Obama said in July.

"Facts are stupid things." -Ronald Reagan at the 1988 Republican National Convention, attempting to quote John Adams, who said, "Facts are stubborn things"

"Although health care enrollment is actually going pretty well at this point, thousands and maybe millions of Americans have failed to sign up for coverage because they believe the false horror stories they keep hearing." -- Paul Krugman

#14 Nick

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Posted 16 August 2009 - 07:40 PM

^Those comments don't strike me as ditching the public option, though.  And it sounds similar to what the administration has been saying all along . . . I believe President Obama said himself that he'll consider other proposals that don't include a public option, but they must lower costs, cover the uninsured and be budget neutral.

#15 Spectacles

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Posted 16 August 2009 - 07:50 PM

Yes, but just last month he was still asserting that the public option was necessary, according to the quote at the end of the excerpt I posted above. It seems to me that his tune has changed.

Actually, there has been concern about his commitment to the public option since May or June, when concerns were met with assurances that, yes, he was still for it. Was he or was the assurance an attempt to keep more supporters from becoming disillusioned at a crucial time? I'm betting on the latter--but I hope I'm wrong.
"Facts are stupid things." -Ronald Reagan at the 1988 Republican National Convention, attempting to quote John Adams, who said, "Facts are stubborn things"

"Although health care enrollment is actually going pretty well at this point, thousands and maybe millions of Americans have failed to sign up for coverage because they believe the false horror stories they keep hearing." -- Paul Krugman

#16 Cheile

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Posted 16 August 2009 - 07:54 PM

well everyone can thank the uber-right-wingers and "Obama-is-a-Communist" believers for this one. :sarcasm:

too bad we can't ship all that ilk to some other planet and let them survive on their own there and then we can actually get a REAL health care system in this country.

news flash to the above morons - the UK has it.  most of Europe has it.  have you seen them fall apart yet?! NO.

:grr:

makes me wonder how many other reforms Obama wants to make that would actually benefit America will be thrown out because of morons like this who care about no one but themselves.

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#17 Spectacles

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Posted 16 August 2009 - 08:11 PM

Obama is losing his media support, mainly, because as Chipper says above, people are increasingly "WTF?" about his apparent eagerness to capitulate to opponents of the public option and to those opposed to negotiating for lower Medicare drug prices (that would be the big pharmaceutical companies).

Frank Rich, a huge Obama supporter in the primaries and the campaign, wrote a column last week essentially wondering if the public wasn't, as one woman said, "punked" by the whole "change you can believe in" spiel. Rich points out that contrary to outlandish claims of the tinfoil brigade of birthers, deathers, and screamers, Obama is more likely (and disappointingly) just more of the same: a politician in bed with the moneyed interests.

But take a look at this piece I just now found on HuffPo by Arianna Huffington, another major Obama-booster during the primaries and the campaign. She's written this in response to the gathering sense that there will be no public option, no negotiating lower script costs for Medicare, etc. Be sure to follow the links, too. It's obviously an opinion piece, but it's informative too:

http://www.huffingto...o_b_256127.html

Edited by Spectacles, 16 August 2009 - 08:13 PM.

"Facts are stupid things." -Ronald Reagan at the 1988 Republican National Convention, attempting to quote John Adams, who said, "Facts are stubborn things"

"Although health care enrollment is actually going pretty well at this point, thousands and maybe millions of Americans have failed to sign up for coverage because they believe the false horror stories they keep hearing." -- Paul Krugman

#18 Palisades

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Posted 16 August 2009 - 08:30 PM

I'm glad my health insurance is safe and that we can be sure we won't have a public option that engages in cost-shifting.
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#19 Spectacles

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Posted 16 August 2009 - 08:54 PM

^And you'd better hope your health insurance premiums remain affordable, that your employer doesn't decide to switch plans to a less expensive one, and you don't lose your job.

I have good insurance, too. For now.

Of course, I would retire soon and open up a job for some young teacher if only I could. And the only reason I will continue to work--despite chronic pain--is my good health insurance. I will be relieved when I'm 65 and can retire thanks to Medicare. Otherwise, if I decide I simply can no longer push myself, I will take early retirement and pay around $600-$800 a month for health insurance, which will take a big monthly bite out of my budget--so much so that it would be financially stupid to do it. But my health may dictate that I be financially stupid. And then, I will hope that my insurance plan will actually be there when I need it the most.

And my own situation aside, it sickens me to think that there are so many people in this country who paid for insurance that refused their claims--and they are now bankrupt. There is something terribly wrong when people play by the rules, buy insurance, and still end up losing everything in when a major illness or accident strikes.

Edited by Spectacles, 16 August 2009 - 08:55 PM.

"Facts are stupid things." -Ronald Reagan at the 1988 Republican National Convention, attempting to quote John Adams, who said, "Facts are stubborn things"

"Although health care enrollment is actually going pretty well at this point, thousands and maybe millions of Americans have failed to sign up for coverage because they believe the false horror stories they keep hearing." -- Paul Krugman

#20 Vapor Trails

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Posted 16 August 2009 - 09:10 PM

So...to sum up-

Watch your own arse, and don't expect anyone else to.  It doesn't matter how legitimate and urgent your health needs are. If you can't get adequate health care? Oh well. Too bad, so sad. At least, your decomposing corpse will be good for the flowers. You'll serve SOME purpose.

In other words-same sh!t, different day.  :headshake:

Once, my parents told me, "Your best-and oftentimes only-friend is the dollar in your pocket." When I grew older, I responded, "And not  even the dollar is your friend, because that dollar isn't always there when you need it."

I never trusted politicians-not even as a teen-ager. George Carlin summed it up perfectly (post 2).

Am I pissed off and bitter? F**k yeah. :angry:
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