Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Health care reform: 676, 3200 and liberal revolt

The left is finally revolting.

(Don't make the obvious crack.)

Consrvatives, having won every other concession from Obama and the Democratic congressfolk, are now going after the "co-op" compromise. The progrs are finally starting to understand that they've been had: Their president either isn't ready for the game or is playing for the other team. See here:
This week, more than 50 House Democrats issued a letter saying: "Any bill that does not provide, at a minimum, for a public option with reimbursement rates based on Medicare rates — not negotiated rates — is unacceptable."

Some of them told House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., in a conference call Tuesday that discussions with Republicans are pointless.
Nevertheless, Obama continues to play ball with the Republicans. But Republicans don't play ball: They play hand grenades. FOX, Limbaugh and the tea-baggers continue to set the agenda and frame the debate. As William Greider says of Obama:
He caves to the conservative bias of the major media who insist only bipartisan consensus is acceptable for big reform (a standard they never invoked during the Bush years). Obama is deluded if he thinks this will win him any peace or respect or Republican votes. Weakness does not lead to consensus in Washington. It leads to more weakness. The Party of No intends to bring him down and will pile on.
Paul Krugman, recently spotted sipping Kool-Aid, has returned to a more bracing brew:
If progressives had real trust in Obama’s commitment to doing the right thing, the administration would have broad leeway to do deals. But the president doesn’t command that kind of trust.

Partly it’s a matter of style — as many people have noted, he has been weirdly reluctant to make the moral case for universal care, weirdly unable to show passion on the issue, weirdly diffident even about the blatant lies from the right. Partly it’s a spillover from his other policies: by appointing an economic team that’s Rubin redux, by taking such a kindly attitude to the banks, he has squandered a lot of progressive enthusiasm.

Add in the dealmaking as part of the health care process itself, and progressives can be forgiven for having the impression that Obama (a) takes them for granted (b) is way too easily rolled by the other side.
Ezra Klein:
The problem, I think, is that there is a tendency to understand heath-care reform as an equal negotiation in which all sides want a deal, and you can game out various bargaining stratagems. But health-care reform is not a negotiation. It's a campaign. Reformers wants a deal, even as some differ on its precise shape. The opposition wants to kill the deal entirely. And that gives the opponents a lot more power to say "no." "No" isn't their fallback position. It's their position.
Why did Obama become Mr. Compromise? Did he not understand his enemies? Or was he in secret sympathy with them? The health insurance and drug industries gave Obama roughly three times the amount of money that they gave to either Hillary or John McCain.

A group of left-leaning House Democrats tells POLITICO that a bill without a public option simply won’t win enough votes in their caucus — a sentiment that raises fresh questions about the prospects to enact sweeping health care reform this year.

“A bill without a public option won’t pass the House,” said Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.), a member of Energy & Commerce Health subcommittee. “Not only are they weakening their proposal, but they are also weakening their hand. This is legislative subtraction by subtraction.”
That's Weiner speaking on HR 3200, the plan favored by Obama. In spite of all, I think he would still vote for 3200 if it retains the public option. So would I, were I in his position -- although I would say aye under protest.

The alternative is, of course, Weiner's HR 676 -- single payer. (I would vote for that bill much more enthusiastically.) 676 has one big drawback: It won't pass. Even if it passed the House, how can we expect the Senate to go for 676 when it can't stomach 3200?

That said, here's the argument for going with 676 all the way, political consequences be damned. The following was written by Dennis Kucinich, who sounds many of the same themes which surfaced in earlier posts within this humble blog:
The masquerade is over! The "public option" is ... dead.

Health care reform is now a private option: WHICH FOR PROFIT INSURANCE COMPANY DO YOU WANT? You have to choose. And you have to pay. If you have a low income, under HR3200 government will subsidize the private insurance companies and you will still have to pay premiums, co-pays and deductibles.

The Administration plan requires that everyone must have health insurance, so it is delivering tens of millions of new "customers" to the insurance companies. Health care? Not really. Insurance care! Absolutely. Cost controls? No chance.

You will next hear talk about "co-ops." The truth is that insurance company campaign contributions have co-opted the public interest.

I need your help to spread the word and rally the nation around true health care reform which covers everyone and maintains fiscal integrity without breaking our nation's bank! Your contribution will empower our efforts to continue to fight for the single-payer, not-for-profit health care bill, HR676 "Medicare for All," which I co-authored with Rep. John Conyers. The bill now has 85 sponsors in the House.

The hotly-debated HR3200, the so-called "health care reform" bill, is nothing less than corporate welfare in the guise of social welfare and reform. It is a convoluted mess. The real debate which we should be having is not occurring.

Removing the "public option" from a public bill paid for by public money is not in the public interest. What is left is a "private option" paid for with public money. Why should public money be spent on a private option which does not guarantee 100% coverage nor have any cost controls? A true public option would provide 30% savings immediately which would then cover the 1/3rd of the population who presently have no health care.

Unfortunately, under HR3200, the Government is choosing winners and losers in the private sector; proposing to spend public funds on subsidizing insurance companies who make money not providing health care. This process will insure only the expansion of profits. Gone is the debate over cost.

As a result of current negotiations, the Medicare Part D rip-off will continue for another decade, further fleecing senior citizens. Drug importation has been dropped, so no inexpensive drugs can be accessed from other nations.

Instead we are told the pharmaceutical companies will accept a 2% cut in the growth rate of their profits - they call this cost control!

If the matter were not so serious, it would be farcical: The executive branch pretends that the proposed health care reforms are something they are not. The legislation is being attacked for something it is not. Congressional leadership and the White House defend the legislation, pretending it actually is the very proposal that is being attacked. But it is not.

A commonsense government health care reform policy would insure that every single American has full access to health care by expanding Medicare to cover everyone under a Single Payer System. We are already paying for a universal standard of care, it is just we are not getting it.

I need your help to spread the word and rally the nation around true health care reform which covers everyone and maintains fiscal integrity without subsidizing insurance and pharmaceutical companies and breaking our nation's bank!

My voice in Congress will continue to challenge the special interests who do not want "single-payer" to succeed. I need you to join me in combating the special and corporate interests who spend millions to try to win this Congressional seat. With your help WE will win again. With your help I will continue to represent your concerns, be YOUR VOICE in the United States Congress, and be the voice for health care for all Americans!

Please contribute $25, $50, $100 in support of my campaign. Please contribute now.

With your help, we can accomplish ANYTHING in America. Persistence, dedication, truth and courage will lead the way and win out in the end.


Anonymous said...

Health care reform is now a private option: WHICH FOR PROFIT INSURANCE COMPANY DO YOU WANT? You have to choose. And you have to pay. If you have a low income, under HR3200 government will subsidize the private insurance companies and you will still have to pay premiums, co-pays and deductibles.

According to this, the choice for those who can't afford it is to either not pay for it and not have it (and do what they have been doing, i.e. get by without it until they die for lack of treatment after some decades) or have it and pay so much for it that they end up dying of starvation or homelessness (or some other result of extreme poverty*).

That would mean that (676 aside) we're now at the point where NO reform is actually the better option. So yes, make it 676 or nothing. If it's 676, rejoice at a major step forward. If (almost certainly when) it's nothing, make it crystal clear over and over that it was conservatives and faux-progressives who killed REAL health care reform, and that they did it for the money.

Sergei Rostov

*will we then see hospitals full of people who can't afford to feed or house themselves, people quite literally living in hospital rooms until their coverage runs out? It's a possibility.

John Smart said...

I knew we'd be in for some appalling moments after Obama won. But the duplicity on health care is still breathtaking.

Obama is the worst thing to happen to the Left in 50 years.

b said...

Are you following the story of that Russian-crewed ship, the Arctic Sea?

Yulia Latynina, quoted by Reuters, reckons the cargo was anti-aircraft or nuclear stuff for a country "like" Syria.

The ship was boarded in Swedish waters. If Latynina's right, that would kind of change the odds on the various possible players who might have done that. They spoke English with an accent, apparently. How many of the Russian crew members are Henry Higginses, I don't know.

According to the EU, the ship was boarded again, off of Portugal. Weird.

I've been waiting for someone working for 'a certain person' to put his or her oar in. Yulia Latynina is with Garry Kasparov's outfit, who deny receiving such funding.

The question marks make it less rather than more likely that she's anywhere near telling the truth. Anything to damage Putin. But the involvement of the Russian navy is a fact. And nukes are what came to my mind from the beginning.

The ransom demand story is a decoy.

The Finnish authorities swept the departure pier for radiation...then said nah, that was just local firemen who were quickly told not to bother. Yeah, right.

The Russian crew have been 'granted visas' to 'recuperate' on a Cape Verdean island for three days. Uh??? Maybe they're contaminated and the frigate that 'rescued' them hasn't got the isolation and treatment facilities?

You know that bit about pirates? I looked up who has the right to seize a pirate ship. The flag state? The state where the owner is registered? Actually it's any state. Which may explain the role of the French navy and 'NATO' naval forces as well as the Russians... If it was a pirate ship, whoever got to it first had the right to seize it.

Unknown said...

The only effective solution to healthcare reform is preventative healthcare. Individuals must take control over their health and not leave it in the hands of the government. Luckily, there are several online tools, such as Holosfitness.com, that can help you get in shape, stay in shape, and lead a healthy life. Holosfitness.com and other tools are completely free, so there is no reason not use them and take control of your health.

Anonymous said...

Greg -

As a Doctor of Natural Healing, I agree that prevention (living a healthy lifestyle) is the best way to reduce costs (followed by using NH should disease or injury occur). However, given the system we have here in the US, single-payer-plus-a bragianing-provision would be a good start (as it would cut costs by 67% or more). Further, countries with single-payer do focus more on prevention and natural methods in order to cut costs without cutting quality, which gives those philosophies a "foot in the door," as it were.

Sergei Rostov

b said...

However much contempt I harbour for the medical industrial complex (including for those money-grabbing jerks who claim to be "doctors" but have never done any original research in their lives, let alone ever got qualified at doctoral level), of course people in America need a free-at-the-point-of-access health system funded by taxation.

Preferably funded by a progressive income tax. The more progressive, and the higher the top rates, the better.

That would be better than the 'national insurance contributions' in the UK which are actually regressive. Here NICs amount to 11% on the first £595 of weekly earnings, and 1% of earnings above that. So the rich pay a smaller proportion of their income for the NHS than the poor.

If the medics don't like the idea of a state health service, let 'em fuck off to Bermuda. Won't take long to train up some replacements, who'd be less cocky and therefore better. Maybe ask Cuba for advice on that.

Anne said...

Why did Obama become Mr. Compromise?

Like forever....at least when it comes to big business

Did he not understand his enemies?

Nothing new here, He's mister " Let us find common ground! "

Or was he in secret sympathy with them?

Again it's no secret . The guy loves him some Reagan!

The health insurance and drug industries gave Obama roughly three times the amount of money that they gave to either Hillary or John McCain.

Well they don't pay for non results do they? Why do we expect good governance when the envelop of dough as been delivered?