At this point it's all we've got

A funny thing happened to me the other day. I walked into a conversation at work about the health care reform bill, and without any provocation i got to hear an interesting view on the matter from a thoughtful, intelligent man who’s every bit a capitalist. He attends church regularly and describes himself as a right-leaning libertarian. He’s from a staunchly Republican family. He likes Rush Limbaugh. In other words, he’s a far cry from a bleeding heart, dirty-fucking-hippie liberal as you’re likely to find. You know what this man said? He said that he’s in favor of universal coverage, but that the bill being voted on looks like hell and that he can’t see how it will fix any of our health care problems.

Now tell me that this bill is the best we can hope for, and do it without blaming what we’re getting on evil conservatives. This bill is not the best we can get, but it is exactly what Obama and the DLC types wanted…because they’re not on your side.

This is a bill that the insurance industry, for-profit hospitals and pharmaceutical companies will accept. They’re willing to accept it because without the sorts of “reforms” contained in this bill they will experience catastrophic failure and massive amounts of popular ill will in the not too distant future. That’s why it’s accurate to call this a preemptive bailout rather than reform.

At this point, the bill does not regulate insurance rates. It stipulates that you can’t be denied coverage or limited in your use of insurance, but it does not regulate how much you’ll pay for that coverage. It only says that you’re required to purchase coverage. The end effect then is to entrench the current system so deeply that further reforms are unlikely to be successful…actual reform that is. Politicians may fiddle around the edges, but the system that delivers sub-optimal care at great cost is here to stay.

Theoretically, the federal government will subsidize those who cannot afford the insurance they’re mandated to purchase, but note that these subsidies will have a fair amount skimmed off the top before they pay for any actual health care.

Never mind the happy talk about how people without coverage will soon be transported to a magical land of possessing health insurance. This bill privatizes the profits and socializes the losses, funneling tax dollars to insurance companies rather than using them to provide health care.

Mr. Obama and his party have found a way to subsidize a value subtracting industry and do so on your dime, all while telling you that this is the best they can do and that it all comes from their great love for you, the peasants.

They’re liars, and they’ll continue putting the screws to you for as long as you keep believing their lies.

It takes a great deal of gullibility to swallow the idea that this is the very best possible. It requires willful ignorance of the proceedings. Did they mobilize the activist base to push hard for the best possible options with the knowledge that some compromise would be necessary? Nope. They took all that off the table before beginning negotiations. Did they look around the world for all the different ways to address this issue and present them to the American people for debate? Nope. They held secret meetings with the industry they’re supposedly reforming before the process started. (Shades of the Bush-Cheney energy policy, but we don’t want to draw those types of comparisons, do we?)

Did a new president with a strong mandate, a deep pool of eager activists and fine oratorical skills ever make a pitch to convince the majority of Americans – of all political affiliations – that we can…and we must…do something about this issue that will put us on a strong social and economic future for the long term. Nope. He pretty much crafted this bill behind the curtain and then pretends that his hands are tied by recalcitrant Congresspeople from the GOP and the necessity of bipartisan warm fuzzies. And please note that when it comes down to the actual action, he’s now willing to pass the bill on party lines…after twisting the arms of all the dissenters in his party, but only his party.

As my opening, anecdotal evidence suggests, Obama could have end run the GOP and appealed directly to the American people. With a good plan he probably could have gotten the support necessary for real reform. He didn’t because he never wanted anything that resembles real reform. He’d rather sell us a ramshackle “starter home” sitting on an unsound foundation with an APR mortgage that will probably be underwater before we can even make a dent in the principal. That’s right, the “richest country in the world” can only afford a shithole house in a crappy neighborhood. Be happy with it, America, because it’s the best we can get.

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Lex

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  • That means when the Republicans come into power in 2012 and before this HCR is fully enacted, that they will pass single payer universal health coverage.

    Sorry, but I’ve already heard that Republican talking point from an actual congressman. And this guy may really believe it just as he believes so much other stuff from the good ole RWNM.

    I’m not saying I’m a fan of the current bill. But Republicans bearing advice for Democrats; not going there.

  • He’s not average in his right-leaning political beliefs. He thinks the estate tax should be at around 90% and believes in strong, progressive taxation (note my description of “thoughtful and intelligent”).

    No, the GOP isn’t going to fix anything in this bill down the road. But neither are the Democrats.

    I notice that there’s no contention about my description of the process that brought this bill into being.

    And my point was not that conservatives are better than liberals or that we should listen to Republican advice. It was that a real, honest effort on the part of Obama probably could have produced a much better bill than this with significant support across the political spectrum.

  • Right wing opponents of HCR are fond of using the meme that the health care/insurance industry is responsible for 1/6 of our economy. I’m not in the industry, nor am I an economist, so I don’t know how accurate this statement is. I did have a thought about this however. If true, it seems to me that this is completely unsustainable. The Health care industry is not a value adding/value added industry. It is essentially maintenance. The point of it is to return people to productive capacity. In addition, it seems that this industry as a percentage of our economy is only going to grow. Is is healthy to have 1/6+ of our economy devoted solely to maintenance cost? Just wondering what the thoughts of some of the people on this site were who seem to be much smarter than myself.

    ‘Freedom without socialism is privilege and injustice…socialism without freedom is slavery and brutality’ – Mikhail Bakunin

  • Write on. Sorry I can’t say the same for your conclusion:

    Obama could have end run the GOP and appealed directly to the American people.

    Our politicians are run by the corporate capital of this country. It doesn’t matter one iota what “the people” want…, they will get what the industry wants to give them.

    And the lube won’t be a covered expense. A “pre-existing” condition you see…,

  • I figured your colleague was intelligent. But one doesn’t have to listen directly for authoritarian talking points to seep through. That’s all.

    I totally agree about Obama being able to produce a better bill. But that’s assuming that he wants a better bill.

    The Democrats are more likely to fix the bill down the road than the Republicans. Time will tell how likely. Even the best possible bill at this time that you and I could imagine passing would still need improving. But yeah it still would have been nice to have been farther down the road by now.

  • Mr. Obama and his party have found a way to subsidize a value subtracting industry and do so on your dime, all while telling you that this is the best they can do and that it all comes from their great love for you, the peasants.

    They’re liars, and they’ll continue putting the screws to you for as long as you keep believing their lies.

    This is the essential truth about Obama. And he is, at least for the foreseeable future, entirely safe from the people realizing it.

    I get emails from the WHNM but I’ve been ignoring them for several months now. What these emails say is so far from reality, they aren’t even worth responding to.

    They promise that with a saiomple letter of love and of course, money in it, I’ll get what I’ve always wanted from Obama. According to those emails they can beat those darn Republicans if we just keep sending them donations, which they urgently need now.

    (Runs to the john to wretch…)

  • Mark,
    Over of the last 12 months we have worked side-by-side in taking great strides towards making America a better place. I have held over 100 health care meetings and town halls and have been to all 137 towns in the district. I’m thankful for your input and support.

    I am proud to announce that I plan to vote YES on the President’s new Health Insurance Reform Bill. This is a truly historic vote for our nation; I want to make sure you hear exactly why.

    As most of you are aware, my original vote on the House health care bill was NO. This was not because I do not believe in health care reform or because I was making a stand against my party lines. I voted NO in November on the House health care bill, because it failed to take the steps necessary to fix the broken incentives in our health care system. The House bill placed unfair mandates on our small businesses that would have put a huge burden on our local economy.
    In the next few days, I will have the opportunity to vote on a new bill that I feel is fundamentally different; it will stop the out of control growth of health care costs, protect our local industries and jobs from unfair taxes, and help small businesses create jobs – while cracking down on waste, fraud and abuse.

    Because of these changes, I will be voting yes, and want to outline my reasons:
    From the beginning, I have said that I support meaningful health care reform that is fiscally responsible and stops the out of control growth of health care costs. This legislation will not only make coverage more affordable for New York families, but it will also reduce the federal deficit by $138 billion in the first ten years and $1.2 trillion over the next ten. This bill is serious about slowing the out of control growth of health care costs that are devastating our families and small businesses. I am pleased that the final legislation reflects many of my recommendations to encourage individuals to make healthy choices, reward doctors based on quality outcomes, and combat Medicare fraud and abuse.

    Small businesses are the economic engine for job creation in our economy. As a small businessman, I am also keenly aware of the impact rising health care costs have on small businesses and New York’s economy. The bill before us makes significant improvements over the House-passed legislation by eliminating the employer mandate for small businesses, providing meaningful tax incentives, as well as creating heath care exchanges that allow businesses to band together to negotiate better prices from insurance companies. Injecting this market competition into our system is critical to driving better outcomes and lower costs and is something that I wish had existed when I ran small businesses.

    The President’s health care bill will put health care choices back into the hands of patients and doctors and not insurance companies. Insurance companies will be banned from the predatory practices of excluding those with pre-existing conditions and put an end to lifetime caps on benefits, and it will forbid insurance companies from kicking people off their coverage once they get sick. The time to end these practices is now.
    All of this adds up to a bill that motivates me and encourages my belief in change. The status quo is broken. The time for reform is now.

    I am proud to vote YES.

    As my record in Congress has shown, I am an independent voice who makes decisions based on what I think is best for the 20th District and on instituting commonsense solutions. I want to thank you all again for your input and thoughts on this issue, and as always please contact me at scott@scottmurphyforcongress.com with any questions or concerns.

    Sincerely,
    Scott


    “I despise ideologues masquerading as objective journalists.” – Bill O’Reilly, March 30, 2007

  • Mark,
    Over of the last 12 months we have worked side-by-side in taking great strides towards making America a better place. I have held over 100 health care meetings and town halls and have been to all 137 towns in the district. I’m thankful for your input and support.

    I am proud to announce that I plan to vote YES on the President’s new Health Insurance Reform Bill. This is a truly historic vote for our nation; I want to make sure you hear exactly why.

    As most of you are aware, my original vote on the House health care bill was NO. This was not because I do not believe in health care reform or because I was making a stand against my party lines. I voted NO in November on the House health care bill, because it failed to take the steps necessary to fix the broken incentives in our health care system. The House bill placed unfair mandates on our small businesses that would have put a huge burden on our local economy.
    In the next few days, I will have the opportunity to vote on a new bill that I feel is fundamentally different; it will stop the out of control growth of health care costs, protect our local industries and jobs from unfair taxes, and help small businesses create jobs – while cracking down on waste, fraud and abuse.

    Because of these changes, I will be voting yes, and want to outline my reasons:
    From the beginning, I have said that I support meaningful health care reform that is fiscally responsible and stops the out of control growth of health care costs. This legislation will not only make coverage more affordable for New York families, but it will also reduce the federal deficit by $138 billion in the first ten years and $1.2 trillion over the next ten. This bill is serious about slowing the out of control growth of health care costs that are devastating our families and small businesses. I am pleased that the final legislation reflects many of my recommendations to encourage individuals to make healthy choices, reward doctors based on quality outcomes, and combat Medicare fraud and abuse.

    Small businesses are the economic engine for job creation in our economy. As a small businessman, I am also keenly aware of the impact rising health care costs have on small businesses and New York’s economy. The bill before us makes significant improvements over the House-passed legislation by eliminating the employer mandate for small businesses, providing meaningful tax incentives, as well as creating heath care exchanges that allow businesses to band together to negotiate better prices from insurance companies. Injecting this market competition into our system is critical to driving better outcomes and lower costs and is something that I wish had existed when I ran small businesses.

    The President’s health care bill will put health care choices back into the hands of patients and doctors and not insurance companies. Insurance companies will be banned from the predatory practices of excluding those with pre-existing conditions and put an end to lifetime caps on benefits, and it will forbid insurance companies from kicking people off their coverage once they get sick. The time to end these practices is now.
    All of this adds up to a bill that motivates me and encourages my belief in change. The status quo is broken. The time for reform is now.

    I am proud to vote YES.

    As my record in Congress has shown, I am an independent voice who makes decisions based on what I think is best for the 20th District and on instituting commonsense solutions. I want to thank you all again for your input and thoughts on this issue, and as always please contact me at scott@scottmurphyforcongress.com with any questions or concerns.

    Sincerely,
    Scott


    “I despise ideologues masquerading as objective journalists.” – Bill O’Reilly, March 30, 2007

  • he was suppose to chime in here with a “you are a blithering idiot because everyone knows that you can’t be denied coverage for a “pre-existing” condition”. Where upon I could retort that “pre-existing” was my interpretation of the condition prior to the screwing we are going to get with this bill. The insurance provider will interpret it as an “existing” condition and therefore not be required to provide any lubricant.

    The single biggest selling point for accepting this bill has been that it will provide health “care” to millions who don’t have it. I call bullshit. It is going to require millions who don’t need “health care” to buy “insurance“…, or require taxpayers to buy it for them…, from insurance companies. The number of people without insurance is 40 to 45 million. This bill will “cover” 30 million. What happened to the other 10 to 15 million? They are the ones who need “health care”…, but will be denied “insurance” (and “care”) because of “existing” conditions. I predict that there are going to be a lot of people paying for insurance with “pre-existing” conditions…, who find out when they really need “health care”…, they won’t have it because it was lawfully an “existing” condition in the eyes of the insurance provider.

    I agree with you scotjen61…, that this failure has been a bit unfairly laid at Obama’s feet. I blame the political system in it’s entirety for failing to deliver meaningful “healthcare reform”…, and instead giving us a screwing unlike any we have ever experienced before…, and failing to provide any lubricant via a giveaway to the health insurance industry (and Wall Street).

  • But as i’ve come to understand it, adults with pre-existing conditions have a solid four years to wait until they can’t be denied. And so far as i know, no rate regulations have been included in the bill yet. So while you can’t be denied, you can be charged rates you cannot afford. And there’s the bit that SPK brought up earlier this week: watch how fraud cases mushroom so that the insurance companies can get around the no pre-existing conditions clause.

    Aside: as per our conversation some time ago about when to buy a house, i’ve listened to your advice. We haven’t closed yet, but barring any hitches we will close soon. I seriously doubt that we’ll do better than 5% fixed over thirty years with no down payment and no PMI (rural development terms). I would have liked to put a payment down, but a serious one just wasn’t possible…or recommended by the bank under the rural development mortgage. Blessed it is to live in a city of just under 20,000 i guess.

  • How can anything precede existence? If it doesn’t exist…, how can anything precede it?

    Do you understand the bill to mean that folks with AIDS only have to survive for four years before the insurance company has to cover them and after that will pick up all the tabs? What I believe would happen is the insurance company will be able to opt out because they will say that is was not a “pre-existing” condition…, it was an “existing” condition. The insurance provider will sell insurance to obese folks who have high blood pressure…, but balk at paying any bills associated with heart disease (or weight loss) because it was an “existing” condition. They will pay for broken bones…, if you can afford to hire a lawyer to prove that it wasn’t a result of any “existing” conditions. I am thinking that the way the bill is worded, they cannot deny you “insurance” coverage for “pre-existing” conditions (whatever the hell that means)…, but they can deny you coverage and payment for bills resulting from “existing” conditions.

    That’s why I wanted to get Scotjen61 in here to explain this question. He seems to have actually studied the bill…, where I am mostly talking out my you know what about it.

    And…, congratulations…, almost…, on the new home. Hope it all works out for you. I don’t see “them” letting house prices fall much further. That would create a catastrophe as bad as Don envisions. It doesn’t look like that’s going to happen now. Fannie & Freddie have unlimited credit now. We will bump along pretty much like Japan has done for the last 10 years or so. Not bad…, when you consider the alternatives. You were wise to forego the down payment. Let’s hope you did that to hang on to a little cash. As I have said here before…, the storms you are prepared for…, usually don’t happen.

  • To some degree the no down payment was to save cash. Putting a decent one together would have pretty well wiped out my savings, and that’s not something i like to contemplate. And since we could go that route without PMI, it was pretty much a no-brainer.

    Oh yeah, i’m sure the insurance companies have it all figured out…after all, they pretty much wrote the bill, didn’t they?

  • Not to long ago I attended a healthcare inservice that was organized by the representative of a U.S. firm that produces products for the elderly. He was telling us that Alzheimers will be considered a pre-existing condition for Falls. For all you baby boomers out there you know what this means. Anyone suffering from this devastating disease will be, from the very early stage, tied into a wheelchair. No more freedom of movement for you. To maintain quality of life is going to be replaced with unnecessary suffering on behalf of the ‘escape-from obligation-artists’ that are the Health Insurance Companies.

    Like I keep telling my daughters, if I ever get Alzheimers don’t chase away my friend “Pneumonia” if she comes to pay a visit … instead, let her embrace take me gently into the eternal night.


    Tolerating prostitution is tolerating abuse and torture of women and children.

  • he has the tendency to get through my BS detectors; when I was listening to him in Ohio, I sort had the feelings I experienced while watching Avatar.

    my belief is that obama’s conditioning us to have individual policies; at some point, just like pensions went away, companies will stop paying for health insurance and congress will relax the penalties… “to create jobs.”

  • so he has the tendency to sneak through my BS detectors; when I was listening to him in Ohio, I sort had the feelings I experienced while watching Avatar.

    my belief is that obama is conditioning us to accept individual policies; at some point, just like pensions went away, companies will stop paying for health insurance and congress will relax the penalties… “to create jobs.”

  • Wonderful, to the point, short!

    “As my opening, anecdotal evidence suggests, Obama could have end run the GOP and appealed directly to the American people. With a good plan he probably could have gotten the support necessary for real reform.”

    This bill will live in infamy. You are so right in every sentence of every paragraph.

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