What a field day for the heat
A thousand people in the street
Singing songs and carrying signs
Mostly saying, "hooray for our side"

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Heathcare Memo

Project for a Healthy American Future by Steve Benen

Probably the best argument for the House to pass the Senate version of the Healthcare Reform Bill that I've read. (warning, somewhat long)

What he said.

"It is imperative for the country, the economy, the party, and the Obama presidency that Democrats resist the temptation to let this rare opportunity slip by."

And he has a polite way of telling the Democratic Party to grow a pair already. Once the news goes from "ZOMG! Palin still says there's death panels in there" to "What the new law means to you..." it's only plus side to the party (and the country as a whole, the recovery of business AND an engine to start hiring again). If you haven't read the Kaiser Family Foundation poll that basically says once people know what's actually in the bill, instead of the fear mongering, a large majority support the bill.

I would write my congressman with the arguments, but he never got back to me on where I could read his version of Healthcare Reform that he alluded to in his reply email to my first contact of wanting him to support reform. (He said it was in the Thomas system - Library of Congress - but even after searching on his name, the number he gave me, and the title I came up with bumpkiss). So I think it would be a no vote form him anyway.


Anonymous said...

Obama promised open discussion. He said that the bill would be available online for 72 hours before the vote. He said the Congressional debate would be on CSPAN.

Let me know when that happens, will ya? I'm willing to be pro-government health care if someone can honestly explain to me how we're going to fund it, manage it and not screw it up.

Anonymous Cassie

Steve Buchheit said...

Here's the bill (if the House agrees to pass the Senate Bill as is). It's been available since 12-24-09. Way past 72 hours. If the House decides to get crazy and try something else, well, the bill isn't even introduced yet (or referred back to committee, so there is no other bill to actually post). And as I remember, the 72 hours is before he signs it (as the campaign promise, it was updated later for the congressional votes).

The congressional debate for both the House and Senate, including most of the committee work is available on CSPAN. What hasn't been on CSPAN was Democratic Caucus meetings discussing their way forward. That was never promised, nor is it normally fodder for CSPAN. Neither was the conference committee (which isn't the path the House has selected), and which, in any case, hasn't happened yet.

AARP has a good run down on your questions (for both the house and senate bills) Much of the Medicare cuts will come from reversing legislated overpayments for Medicare Advantage and Part D (both Republican bills aimed at privatization - both introduced "waste" by law - waste which can't be cut without changing the law).

As for the not screwing it up, well that will only be answered once we're into the program. Obviously no promises before hand will satisfy. And frankly, considering for my MRI I have an authorization number and just yesterday I received a letter about how my insurance company may or may not actually cover the costs, they haven't made up their mind. I don't think the government could screw it up more.

And for the now dead public option (although I still have hopes), it would have been paid for through a combination of redirection of direct payments to hospitals (which wouldn't been needed as people would have actual insurance, instead of needing charity, like happens now, oh, and your tax dollars support that charity, BTW) and insurance premiums (like other health insurance programs).

One thing I really love about both bills is that insurance companies will be forced to disclose "experience" (plus extra data). You might remember my earlier post on trying to get "experience" numbers for SCAD. For my own insurance company, I already know the numbers. Out of every dollar in the premium, only approximately $.72 goes to pay actual costs, about $.17 goes to actual costs for administrating, $.10 is profit, and $.01 goes directly to the CEO of the company for salary (this doesn't include bonus money). With most European insurance companies, $.95 goes toward actual costs (but then, by law, they have to be not-for-profit companies).

Steve Buchheit said...

And as to campaign promises, I think we both could list all the past presidents and the broken promises. The ground is practically littered with them.

As to the "This is all being done behind doors", um, yeah, that's why it's been on the news practically every day (or at least several times a week) since summer.