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Obama OK with ditching public option

Health Care Public Option 2009

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#121 Julianus

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Posted 05 September 2009 - 10:00 AM

View PostNick, on Sep 5 2009, 12:57 PM, said:

^The government manages to run the VA efficiently and cost effectively.
Do you remember the Washington Post stories about Walter Reed?
http://www.washingto...7021701172.html
I know people who swear by the VA and others who swear at the VA.
Compared to the examples I cited the VA is probably not bad, especially since the Walter Reed scandal.

#122 Spectacles

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Posted 05 September 2009 - 01:58 PM

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Julianus: The one thing that concerns me about the public option is that they might get the same type of "quality" people that run Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, or the SEC.

A more apt comparison would be Medicare, and Medicare recipients are far more satisfied with their insurance than are those of us with private insurance. It seems that a big portion of the people protesting at the town halls are older folks who've been lied to and believe that their Medicare is threatened by health care reform. Administrative costs of Medicare are far less than those of private insurers, and there is no profit margin to maintain or increase, and no advertising costs.

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Rhea: It should be interesting to see if the percentages [of those in favor of a public option] change after the President's speech (which is way late in coming, IMO).

Well, for that to happen, Obama will have to try to sell the public option in the speech. He won't do that. I'll be surprised if he even mentions it. Check Firedoglake and digby. According to progressive members of Congress, Obama seems more concerned about the plight of blue dogs in 2010 than about passing an affordable, reliable public option. In other words, the politics matter more than the policy. Welcome to the same old crap.

http://digbysblog.bl...by-cnn-has.html

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According to Mike Viqueira on MSNBC, Obama told the progressives in congress on a conference call this morning that on health care, they need to worry about their fellow members in districts that voted with McCain in '08. I guess he figures that those conservative districts are going to be appeased by some sort of "trigger" or a plan without the public option and that those guys in tough districts will be rewarded for making that happen.

I think that's about as delusional as the teabaggers, frankly. If those McCain voters are upset about health care reform, the only thing that will appease them is total defeat. The right has got these people so worked up that talk of "triggers" is likely to result in people thinking Obama's got gun control hidden in his plan for Death Panels. Defeating the public option will be totally forgotten once the right starts demagoguing the mandates and the "welfare subsidies" and the forced abortion and god know what else. They should know by now that they will always find something.


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If they think that they have a real problem in those McCain districts and they believe that they cannot afford to lose them, then they should logically scrap Health Care reform altogether. Watering it down to nothing will gain them nothing in those districts and will create a huge amount of bad feeling on the left. Or they could pass real health care reform and let the chips fall where they are going to fall anyway and at least have a chance of having it actually work.

Setting up a system that will force people by law to give large amounts of money each month to private corporations they hate, while the Republicans run against them saying they've nationalized the health care sector just doesn't seem like a good plan to me.

Of course, that's assuming they want to pass comprehensive health care at all. It's just as likely that they want to pass something that's called health care reform that just tweaks around the edges and maintains the status quo, which isn't the same thing at all. There is an awful lot of money at stake in all this.

I will be deliriously happy if I'm wrong and he does come out swinging for the public option Wednesday evening. But if I'm right and he does not, it will take Obama a long time to win me over again--for the umpteenth time if ever. Worse for him, he will alienate most of what remains of his base. There will be some who buy into the line that the public option wasn't necessary anyway, but a lot of his supporters are going to fall off the bandwagon when they finally see that, no, he really is governing primarily to please those with the deepest pockets, just like most politicians do.

Edited by Spectacles, 05 September 2009 - 02:04 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

#123 offworlder

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Posted 05 September 2009 - 02:40 PM

an extra monkey in the wrench? a complication in our convoluted health-care? any part of the reform bill lookin at this?
http://www.slate.com/id/2227333?nav=wp
"Long-term-care hospitals like LifeCare were created to take advantage..."

>take advantage of Medicare payouts< >scratch each others' backs< >profit margins< oh my
"(Do you read what they say online?) I check out all these scandalous rumours about me and Elijah Wood having beautiful sex with each other ... (are they true?) About Elijah and me being boyfriend and boyfriend? Absolutely true. We've been together for about nine years. I wooed him. No I just like a lot of stuff - I like that someone says one thing and it becomes fact. It's kind of fun." --Dominic Monaghan in a phone interview with Newsweek while buying DVDs at the store. :D

#124 Palisades

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Posted 05 September 2009 - 03:01 PM

Spectacles, I figure Obama's mentor, the Rev. Wright,  knows Obama better than just about anyone else. As his mentor says, "He's a politician... He does what politicians do."

And Congress does what one would expect Congress to do: 'crazy math'
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#125 Rhea

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Posted 05 September 2009 - 06:18 PM

View PostJulianus, on Sep 5 2009, 08:00 AM, said:

View PostNick, on Sep 5 2009, 12:57 PM, said:

^The government manages to run the VA efficiently and cost effectively.
Do you remember the Washington Post stories about Walter Reed?
http://www.washingto...7021701172.html
I know people who swear by the VA and others who swear at the VA.
Compared to the examples I cited the VA is probably not bad, especially since the Walter Reed scandal.

Sometimes the VA system works well; OTOH, I've visited VA hospitals where I wouldn't want to lean against the wall and felt like taking a shower when I got home.

Being a Navy brat, the VA system (seen secondhand) seems much like the military hospital system - some mediocre, some good, some great, and some dismal.

Edited by Rhea, 05 September 2009 - 06:28 PM.

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#126 Nittany Lioness

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Posted 06 September 2009 - 09:03 AM

The Medicare comparable is dismal if we're looking for proof that the gov't can sustain funding of our medical needs.
The public option is supposed to pay for itself in premium payments with no regard for profit?    
If gov't takes on a significantly larger portion of the population, Uncle Sam better hope people don't live longer, better not invest in the latest and greatest medical technologies, drugs, treatments ...

But really - citizens would be taxed.  Bet your bottom dollar.  Literally.  :bored:

I'm cold Howard.jpg


#127 Spectacles

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Posted 06 September 2009 - 09:50 AM

Without Medicare, people over 65 would have to pay an absolute fortune for insurance. Most would go without, further driving up the costs of everyone else's premiums as the elderly ill streamed into emergency rooms minus insurance.

Without Medicare, people who are disabled and cannot work would have no insurance. They haven't the income to afford premiums that would be outrageous considering their health--if they could get insurance at all.

Medicare is in trouble because it provides insurance to people who use it most often--and because the costs of medical care have risen sharply across the board in recent years. Without Medicare, the system would collapse under the burden of the uninsured. Furthermore, without Medicare, we'd see more and more middle-aged people bankrupted and stressed beyond belief as they attempted to help their elderly parents with their medical costs.

The public option would be government-provided insurance, like Medicare, paid for by premiums made lower with subsidies. If the insurers are successful in killing off the public option, THEY will provide insurance to the population that would be served by the public option: the self-employed, employees of small businesses, the unemployed. Here's the rub: the taxpayer subsidies will still be there--going to Blue Cross, Aetna, Cigna, etc. So taxpayers will be subsidizing private companies. Personally, I'd rather we subsidize ourselves.

And speaking of the costs of insurance and small business owners, this is interesting:

http://www.dailykos....13-year-old-son

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My best friend just received his insurance renewal. He has a small business (the um, backbone of the American economy), his renewal was 22%. So now he's at $1865.00 a month....

So what's my friend going to do?

I laid out his really bad options.

I told him to increase the deductible, increase the co-pays, and lower the reimbursement for out-of-network providers, and he could probably reduce the premium increase from 22% to around 10-12%. I also explained that by doing this, he’d be moving deeply into the land of the dangerously underinsured.

He laughed. "Only a 10% increase, how lucky, but business is down 30% this year".

When the dreaded annual premium renewal arrives, scaling way back on health insurance, and going to what amounts to a bare bones policy, has become the only path most Americans can take. The choice is to become dangerously underinsured or drop insurance entirely.

People who think that they do not have a looming problem with health insurance are naive. We all do. It is becoming increasingly unaffordable for businesses and for individuals. This is why about 40% of people declaring bankruptcy today do so because of health care bills. Many of them HAVE insurance, but they've either cut it to the bare bones, like the people will likely have to do in the example above, or the insurer simply refused to pay their claims. This is how they make money.

If the opponents of health care reform win, one day they, too, will regret it.

In addition to being pissed off at the people who either want to keep the status quo or who think that private insurers really care about our health more than making $$$, my worry is that the Obama administration is going to make a deal that is a blessing for the private insurers--mandated coverage and no competition from a Medicare-like option. The government will be herding vast numbers of new customers toward private insurers, particularly the young and healthy, who usually do not cost insurers anything in claims. (This is somehow socialism to those who are woefully ill-informed.) And if the new customers have limited incomes, the insurers don't have to compete for their business by lowering the costs of their premiums because the government will help pay for their premiums. See? In the public option, we're subsidizing those who otherwise would not be able to afford insurance. Without it, we're subsidizing those who otherwise would not be able to afford insurance AND the insurance companies, who only have to spend 65% of their income on claims. The rest can go to administration and CEO pay and advertising. In a government-run program, there is much less fat in the paid-outs: the money goes to paying health care claims, not astronomical profits and ads and layers of expensive management.

In return for an influx of new, cost-effective customers, the insurers will agree to stop denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions. I've also read that the insurers will stop denying claims (rescission), but I'll believe that when I see it.
"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

#128 Nittany Lioness

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Posted 06 September 2009 - 11:42 AM

I'm not arguing that Medicare should be axed.  The posit is- The public option will be designed similarly to Medicare.
The gov't's planning on funding Medicare was ... off.  And they can't catch fraud to the tune of billions.  This then creates doubt that a much larger program would be in the black.
And people who are concerned about the legimacy of a public option are not therefore necessarily of the impression we don't have a problem.  Nor do they pitch for the status quo.  Can you give us a break?  :)  Alot of us want other aspects addressed in an attempt to get other solutions on the table.  Good questions are being asked, really.  

Anyway.  If a majority of citizens truly want this, then I'm wondering why enough democr
ats are conveying they're not on board with voting for this, (presumably because they are feeling their constituents leanings on the HR3200 so clearly and want to be voted in again), and have signaled to Obama that he'd better start shuffling the deck.

Edited by Nittany Lioness, 06 September 2009 - 01:39 PM.

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