Democrats & Liberals Archives

Republicans: You Go Too Far! Public: Majority Says No.

Republicans justify the filibuster by saying that the Public thinks they’re going too far in their policymaking, that Democrats have outrun their political mandate for change. This is particularly true on healthcare. That they claim this is the justification, that is. Not that it is true. Follow me over the jump for some numbers.

The first question: Does HCR go too far, just far enough, or not far enough on getting Americans covered?
The second question: "" on controlling costs.
The third question: "" Regulating Insurance companies.

Going across, the too fars register at 32%, 24%, and 27%.
The not far enoughs register at 35%, 39%, and 43%.
The just rights register at 22%, 21%, and 18%.

So, in essence, 57% of Americans disagree with the premise that Democrats have gone to far in getting more Americans covered, 60% disagree that Democrats are going too far to control costs, and 61% disagree that Democrats are putting too much of a regulatory burden on insurance companies.

When asked whether they would approve a compromise that included a medicare buy-in the numbers were 58% percent for it. Another poll rated it at 63%. Too bad one Senator and every Republican disagreed. There was a majority to pass it, but majorities that do not have Republican approval cannot pass legislation without every Democrat voting for it, including those who hypocritically go back on their support for a proposal. Good news for Joe Lieberman: his courageous stand of voting against the Public Option and Medicare Buy-In but finally voting for Healthcare Reform in the Senate has made him unpopular with everyone!
Fifty-nine percent of Americans polled in favor of the Public option, by the way, with the four out of every five Democrats approving, and fifty-nine percent of independents. This after a full years worth of Teabagging, Tea-Partying, Heckling at Town Halls, and all that tumult.

If you look at where the Republicans have succeeded in the polls, its in subjective impressions. Scaring people. They still want Liberal policies, they're just convinced that letting them give them what they want will be bad. Paralysis. Not solutions.

They talk about Tort Reform , even waving around a recent positive CBO estimate.

However, in practice, the story is different.

A study by Bloomberg also found that the proportion of medical malpractice verdicts among the top jury awards in the U.S. declined over the last 20 years. “Of the top 25 awards so far this year, only one was a malpractice case.” Moreover, at least 30 states now cap damages in medical lawsuits.

The experience of Texas in capping damage awards is a good example. Contrary to Perry’s claims, a recent analysis by Atul Gawande in the New Yorker found that while Texas tort reforms led to a cap on pain-and-suffering awards at two hundred and fifty thousand dollars, which led to a dramatic decline in lawsuits, McAllen, Texas is one of the most expensive health care markets in the country. In 2006, “Medicare spent fifteen thousand dollars per person enrolled in McAllen, he finds, which is almost twice the national average — although the average town resident earns only $12,000 a year. “Medicare spends three thousand dollars more per person here than the average person earns.”

At maybe 2% of healthcare costs, it's not a big healthcare driver.

Even if we buy conservative estimates of 60 billion dollar costs from "defensive" medicine, that's dwarfed by the trillions of dollars in healthcare costs.

Here's the truth, and its what makes healthcare reform hard, and a something of a start to a long-term effort at reform necessary: to lower those costs, somebody's ox is going to have to get gored. Somebody's not going to make as much money as they want to.

Some are going to say, making as much money as you want to is capitalism, and nobody should put a limit on that. Government should not interfere in markets, they say. Trouble is, markets don't just magically produce efficiencies just because they are markets, or run in a libertarian fashion. People cheat, people act like Robber Barons, people take advantage of folk's need, and folk's fears. We should stop acting like any market is run by fully rational people. We should stop pretending like companies are oblivious to the fact that they aren't.

We should stop kidding ourselves that a market can run functionally without basic rules being put in place to make sure that cheating is curtailed. People know they're paying more for less with healthcare, but since many of the problems are system-wide, and their inelastic need for that healthcare weakens their ability to bargain for the best deal, and since many insurance companies are being run like protection rackets that go out of their way not to pay out, there's not much they can do.

Healthcare is one example among many things in this country that are suffering because of the modern tendency towards treating people and things as disposable. We take what we have, whether it's our health, our wealth, our infrastructure, or our liberties for granted, assuming that the world we were given by a generation of progressive, liberal forebears, would just hold up forever, that we could take all the risks we wanted without suffering for it.

We suffer now, and people are beginning to realize this. But if you listened to the Republicans, they'd tell you people want more of the same. The Republicans, though, lost twice on giving people more of the same, and have only managed to sour people on change by making sure as little of it is visible as possible, and then turning around and assaulting whatever does get through as dangerous and reckless.

But I will tell you this: paralysis and uncertainty, and disapproval of an insufficient policy are not the same thing as people coming back to the Republicans.

Posted by Stephen Daugherty at January 12, 2010 2:21 PM
Comments
Comment #293658

Stephen

$60 billion wasted on lawsuits and lawsuit defense is still a lot of money.

Re the polls, I agree the Democrats did not go far enough to control costs. I would answer that poll in exactly that way too. They didn’t really do ANYTHING to control cost. That is the major reason why their bill is bad.

The bottom line is that lots of people don’t like the Democrat’s bill for a variety of different reasons … but the majority of Americans don’t like the bill. I don’t know how you can take comfort in that when you are pushing the bill down the throats of Americans.

Going the wrong way faster just gets you farther from where you want to be.

Posted by: christine at January 12, 2010 3:55 PM
Comment #293660

Some believe that any bill is better than no bill. And, those are usually the ones who stand to gain the most. The truth is, I expect the factions within the dem party will destroy any chance of passing a bill at all. Big labor is not happy as they see a hefty percentage of their workers being slapped with the so-called Cadillac tax. Those who don’t wish to have abortion paid with taxpayer dollars are upset as are those who do wish to have abortion covered by taxpayer dollars. Big Pharma and big insurance are not pleased with either bill and mom and pop who pay most of the taxes only see themselves getting screwed.

Neither version of HC reform truly addresses cutting waste and even if passed, can only muster positive CBO numbers by delaying coverage for three years and beginning all the new taxes immediately. This bill is such a mess that few can even understand it and none really know all the glitches it may contain.

I believe that with, or without this bill the dems are going to lose huge numbers in the house and significant numbers in the senate in this year’s elections.

Posted by: Royal Flush at January 12, 2010 4:40 PM
Comment #293664

The AG of Texas is filing a suit claiming that mandatory coverage is unconstitutional. That should be interesting.

I understand trade-offs and the sausage making of congress but what I have seen is nothing but graft and corruption. Buying votes of senators and congresspersons with tax payer dollars is disgusting. This president and this congress is abominable and fortunately will soon be gone.

Posted by: Royal Flush at January 12, 2010 5:30 PM
Comment #293665

Posted by: Sarah at January 12, 2010 6:08 PM
Comment #293666

This Political Comic is basically all about this. I don’t care if it’s republicans or democrats (well, I do have my preference) but something when something needs to be done it needs to be done.

Posted by: Sarah at January 12, 2010 6:12 PM
Comment #293667

Christine-

$60 billion wasted on lawsuits and lawsuit defense is still a lot of money.

And the amount we’re overspending for healthcare is a hell of a lot more than that; therefore, a solution that mainly just addresses the lawsuits is a solution that mainly misses other, larger problems.

Republicans are complaining about less than a trillion dollars cost over ten years, paid for, and ignoring the potential for Americans to be paying trillions of dollars extra for healthcare in the future. It’s pennywise, and pound-foolish to approach things in this way, but approach them this way they must, because they are committed to the antithetical approach to healthcare- let the market take its course.

But there’s nothing pure about the market, and the folks who forced the changes to the Senate and House bills basically all have big insurance lobbies attached to them. What’s disgusting is that many of those who claimed to be fiscal conservatives essentially ignored the repeated predictions of programs paying for themselves, saving the taxpayer money, even as they self-righteously, and often erroneously complained about deficit busting programs.

If you’re going to bust our chops on something, bust it on the substance.

I wish we could do better, but as a student of history, I favor a lousy start over no start at all, because some of the best advances have come from mediocre starts. I mean, how else do you wedge the issue open to get it past the special interests. The mouse has to ask for a cookie to ask for the glass of milk next.

b7491-
No. Such claims neglect the fact that Republicans score even worse than Democrats on the issue. Even with approvals int the thirties, both Obama and the Democrats in Congress have higher approvals on the issues than Republicans.

Royal Flush-
The Excise Tax can be negotiated upwards, but it’s mainly there because people like you have been successful in calling the greater taxing of the rich “class warfare”. So, we’ll tax expensive healthcare plans, instead. Labor dislikes that because they negotiated that instead of wage hikes, which management opposed, and conservatives helped management prevent.

Abortion’s not being covered by taxpayer dollars- folks will have to purchase that coverage seperately; no federal dollars go to it. Your folks, though, tried to attach amendments that would have banned insurers who were part of the exchange from offering that on their policies. Democrats rightly voted that down in the Senate.

As far as big Pharma and Big insurance being displeased… Well, one reason they’re displeased is the fact that our HCR uses part of the money Republicans just handed them, by forbidding bargaining, by giving them subsidies independent of funding for benefits, and using it to establish the exchange and the new coverage.

Now consider the things that I’ve shown the public wants. Consider that your side blocked such efforts to the best of your ability. Then consider that a vast majority wants more than the Democrats offered.

Do you really think Republicans are in a position to take advantage of this situation, or are they just remembering the good old days without remembering what make them possible?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 12, 2010 6:13 PM
Comment #293668

SD wrote…”I favor a lousy start over no start at all, because some of the best advances have come from mediocre starts.”

Thank you very much for calling the bills floating around in congress…”lousy”. Right on! I agree. I would appreciate SD giving us a couple of examples of “best advances have come from mediocre starts.” Surely he isn’t talking about SS, Medicare or Medicaid. The GI Bill was a huge success but didn’t start poorly.

Abortion is covered in one version of the HCB. Some dems won’t vote if it’s in and others won’t vote if it’s out. Your party has accomplished what I though was impossible. They have managed to anger nearly everyone. I can’t wait until November when many of them are gone…and forgotten.

SD writes, “Now consider the things that I’ve shown the public wants.”

Sorry…I don’t believe what you wrote. I check various polls and don’t find that to be true.

Posted by: Royal Flush at January 12, 2010 6:42 PM
Comment #293677

Stephen,

You said, “At maybe 2% of healthcare costs, it’s not a big healthcare driver.”

CEO salaries don’t are usually much smaller than 2% of total costs for companies yet you have made quite a large deal out of it.

Posted by: Rob at January 12, 2010 9:36 PM
Comment #293678

Stephen,

So your premise is that somehow the American people actually want a MORE liberal solution?
I’m not sure that you can take numbers from a one set of questions, add them together and pretend that they answer a different question.

I don’t know how you can believe that two thirds of Americans essentially want Hugo Chavez for President. Because that’s what your position represents.


Posted by: Eric Simonson at January 12, 2010 9:43 PM
Comment #293683

Tort reform would help reduce health care costs, but the effect would be much more modest than those advocating such reform would lead you to believe. The CBO estimates that malpractice related expenses comprise about 2% of annual health costs. It is not the major contributor to health care costs, but it is also not insignificant. So, what would be the impact of full implementation of tort reform? The CBO estimates that it would result in annual savings of approximately .5% in malpractice related expenses. The bulk of malpractice related expenses would remain. Tort reform is not the silver bullet of health care reform. It can help, but it needs to be put in proper context.

Posted by: Rich at January 13, 2010 7:12 AM
Comment #293696

Royal Flush-
I agree it’s lousy. But it’s the kind of lousy you get when people stop screwing around after decades, and finally begin to confront an issue. If things end with this, I’ll consider it a tragedy.

It will not end with this, because the problem hasn’t been fully addressed. We will have to come back and deal with this issue, and that time we will not have 1993’s failure even to get a bill out of the House or Senate in the way. We will have a bill, passed successfully by Congress.

It won’t be the first time that something valuable to the American people has come out of a weak first-time reform. So I will take what I can get now, and work from there.

And the Republicans? If they had a strong, robust alternative, which could be practically implemented, they could perhaps benefited. Unfortunately, though, the Republican’s legislative practices are all take and no give, and because of that, they can’t do anything but fearmonger, and hope that people somehow come to despise the Democrats more than they despise the Republicans.

Is that any way to mount a comeback? Problem is, any victory from the Democrats sets you back. You don’t have anything to meet them in the middle with, much less set back the political equilibrium in your favor. You only have naysaying, which ultimately doesn’t constitute a long-term strategy.

Rob-
It’s not big, not in comparison to everything else. Should we ignore 98% of the spending, to deal with just one out of fifty dollars of our costs?

As far as CEO’s go, it’s not the cost, it’s the principle. They are rewarding themselves, despite the fact that their companies and profits have gone through the floor, and their companies are literally on corporate welfare.

If they aren’t accountable in that respect, how else would they be accountable? Capitalism means that people can build businesses in a free market. It doesn’t mean that the economic and corporate elite are entitled to reap the rewards regardless of whether their companies actually do well. That’s not capitalism, that’s economic aristocracy, and that’s not what American Capitalism is about.

Eric Simonson-
Yes, that is my premise. Underneath all that confusion sown by the Republicans, people want things, like a Public Option, a Medicare Buy-In, that Republicans oppose on principle. They want Obama and the Democrats to go further than they have to do things that Republicans denounce as anti-market goals: constraining healthcare costs, regulating insurance companies, covering all Americans.

I don’t know how you can believe that two thirds of Americans essentially want Hugo Chavez for President. Because that’s what your position represents.

I don’t know how I could believe that, nor how you come to that conclusion. I’m puzzled how little room you put between Hugo Chavez, and our positions. I mean, Democrats have not been as leftist in their policies as the folks in Europe, and the Europeans have not been so leftist as Hugo Chavez or Fidel Castro, so it puzzles me that everybody gets squished together.

At least if I’m looking at it logically. If I look at it rhetorically, I understand perfectly. You want to claim us as being akin to this bombastic, power-hungry socialist, so much the better to feed your side’s fear of the Reds and the movement’s general paranoia about the Democrats.

My position is to strive for policies that most Americans want, desires which the Republicans ignore so they can believe this country is truly Center Right, rather than just centered.

I think Americans tried your approach, and have lost their patience with it. You might have prevented that had you focused more on making your policies work, but your people chose to prioritize the politics, your movement’s agenda, over the results it brought in the real world.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 13, 2010 10:54 AM
Comment #293700

They want those things Stephen because they don’t know what they are. Put a price tag on any of these plans and watch the interest fade.

Would you like to buy in to Medicare? Sure. Would you like to buy in at $7,000 per year (the unsubsidized premium today)? How about if we subsidize you so that you only have to $4,000? Bet you still get a different answer than the generic questions you have linked.

And here is the real rub- the 50 mil (or is 60, or 34..) uninsured are going to get to choose between paying $4,000 for a subsidized insurance plan, whether it’s Medicare or a private plan, or a $1,000 fine per year. How many are really going to choose the former?

Both sides are playing disinformation Stephen. Instead of saying “I’m going to sell you government subsidized insurance plan for $4,000/yr” the Democrats instead say “we are going to provide you with affordable health care.” No wonder every time some real hard information comes out the poll numbers dive.

Posted by: George at January 13, 2010 12:01 PM
Comment #293701
It won’t be the first time that something valuable to the American people has come out of a weak first-time reform.

Except, when you are asked to provide a single example of one of these things, we hear crickets…

Posted by: Rhinehold at January 13, 2010 1:57 PM
Comment #293706


There is only one proven way to control healthcare costs and that is national healthcare.

Anyone who believes otherwise is only fooling themselves.

Socialized health programs in other countries have a track records that exceeds our efforts in the health of their citizens and at a substancially lower cost.

Our system beats the others in convience. We choose convience over better health and lower costs.

The Democrats have delivered up a Corpocracy healthcare bill. Did anyone think they wouldn’t?

Posted by: jlw at January 13, 2010 3:32 PM
Comment #293708

jlw,

Yes, and Mussolini is one of the few people who could ensure that the trains ran on time.

Socialized health programs in other countries have a track records that exceeds our efforts in the health of their citizens and at a substancially lower cost.

This is provable nonsense, do we really need to go over it again? The US is #1 is providing healthcare when actuall healthcare is discussed. It leads the world in advances in healthcare that are done through a free market system with rewards for companies who work on those advances and the rest of the world reaps the benefits. All that is about to come to a stop, I wonder how the world will view that?

People who want to stop talking about the mythos of ‘universal healthcare’ and want to talk about what it really means can have a good discussion on what to do to better the environment where individuals can make their own decisions on their healthcare. But nothing being discussed in the congress at this time takes any of that into consideration. As for lowering costs, I have some ‘oceanfront’ property to sell you as well if you REALLY believe that.

Posted by: Rhinehold at January 13, 2010 3:53 PM
Comment #293709

That may be true jlw, but is that the goal of American’s? It’s not about convenience as you write, but the delivery of the very best care in the world. Reams of pages have been written here on this blog by me and others that prove we have the best health care in the world.

I am not willing to settle for what the government decides I should have. I am a free person in a free land and am guaranteed the right to make my own decisions regarding my health care without worry about being penalized by my own government for my choice.

Many writers, including myself, have written about the substandard results when government takes control over a private sector of our economy. I suggest you read some newspapers from countries that have socialized medicine so you have a better understanding of what you erroneously believe to be the answer.

I am convinced that we can wring out much of the waste and fraud in our health care system. We can make more choices available to more people. We can make this industry more competitive. We can lower costs. We can help those who can’t afford or don’t qualify for insurance. We can not and will not have socialized medicine or anything that resembles it in the U.S.

While you perhaps would be pleased with government intrusion into your health care decisions, most American’s are not willing to give up even more of our precious freedom.

Big labor is fighting furiously to maintain their hard won “Cadillac” policies which were bargained for in lieu of wage increases in some cases. Why would they do this if they believed the plans in congress were good for their members? Is it the “convenience” of the Cadillac plan that they wish to retain…or the access to the best care in the world with costs covered by their plan?

Congress itself refuses to live under the health care they propose to foist upon the rest of us? Why is that if they truly believed the plans they hatch up were good for them? Is it just their “convenience” they wish to retain, or the best health care in the world paid for by their insurance plan?

The only way they could get favorable numbers from the CBO was by delaying benefits for 3 or 4 years while starting the higher taxes and penalties immediately. Do you consider this making any sense? We’re told we must do something immediately but then are told we must pay first and wait years for delivery. Any child knows this is just flim-flam.

Would you, or any other thinking person go to a car dealership and purchase a car with the payments beginning immediately but delivery of your car delayed for years? Is this really the program you want us to endorse?

Posted by: Royal Flush at January 13, 2010 4:14 PM
Comment #293714

George-
People expect that healthcare will cost them more, and that it will baloon the deficit, despite the facts on the matter. Yet the majorities still favor more being done than is already being done on those matters, and by the government.

The question you have to ask yourself is are we really seeing economic benefit from people being unable to manage their health?

I’m not saying the bill’s perfect, but I am saying that we need to start making the system work.

Rhinehold-
Well, there’s the forerunner to today’s anti-trust laws.

There’s also the fact that Medicare and Social Security were onced far more limited programs themselves.

Environmental policy was once more rudimentary:

Along with critiques of the misuse of technology from figures such as William Ophuls, Barry Commoner and Garrett Hardin, the ineffectiveness and criticism of the 1960s Clean Air and Clean Water acts gave a burgeoning momentum to the environmental movement.

In addition to growing public support, structural changes such as Congressional reform and new access to the courts gave environmentalists new power to enact change. The movement that formed held three key values: ecology, health, and sustainability. These values- that we depend and are interconnected with the environment, that insults to the environment can affect our health, and that we should limit our dependence on non-renewable resources- along with a uniquely sympathetic president and Congress, led to great environmental policy change in the 1970s.

And so on and so forth. Every major reform has had to break some sort of resistance on the matter. The first law is often riddle with compromises, especially when the folks captured by the industry are doing their best to stop it.

But then you go about the business of reforming the reform. Once we’ve gotten past the point of extending government policy in that direction, it becomes a more persistent issue; folks have a stake in something, and the reformers can push for purifications and improvements, with public opinion on their side.

As for what’s provable nonsense? Well, what are we getting for our greater costs? Are we really getting better healthcare and doing better research for all that money? We did the research in this country, and the markets that charge the most aren’t getting better outcomes for it.

The trick of using the market to push down costs for healthcare is that if you’ve got it, it’s pretty difficult to say no to getting treatment, even if its fairly costly. There’s a reason medical bankruptcies dominate bankruptcies in general. People do what they have to, and bear the consequences later. We bear the consequences, too, because those bankruptcies hobble people financially. We bear the consequences as the uncovered seek emergency care, and pay the price for having to wait so long.

Why do you think the numbers are the way they are? Liberal or conservative, people are sick of the current system by a wide margin.

jlw-
I don’t particularly enjoy declaring defeat. There’s a reason that the Healthcare Companies and Pharma have turned on the bill. They know that if it passes, not only do some of the new regulations constrain them, but it opens the door to even greater constraints.

Royal Flush-

I am convinced that we can wring out much of the waste and fraud in our health care system.

How?

We can make more choices available to more people.

How?

Let me sum up the rest of my response: how, how, how, how?

What are your policies? How do you expect the government to intervene in these matter without resorting to something that you see as socialistic?

The Republicans have excelled this year at ruling things out. But they have no alternatives of any comparable strength to the Democrats, and the best they’ve been able to contribute to the process is making it such a narrow matter that insurance company shills among the Democratic Senate and House Caucus have been able to write the law to suit thier masters.

The Republican contribution has been to get in the way of real cost-cutting, real reform. We are lucky to get what we have gotten. We could have done better if we didn’t have to please even the people in our party sticking the knives in our backs.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 13, 2010 5:37 PM
Comment #293716

I wrote, “I am convinced that we can wring out much of the waste and fraud in our health care system.”

SD asks “How?” May I remind SD that $480 or so billion to pay for the new health care is coming from cutting waste and fraud in Medicare according to his own favorite politicians. Is SD telling me they are lying?

In response to my statement, “We can make more choices available to more people.” SD once again asks “How?”

How many time and how many ways do we have to state that allowing insurance companies to do business everywhere in the nation will increase competition and increase choices while reducing premiums. This nation’s entire history records this as a fact. Competition works…government mandate doesn’t.

Before renewing my home and auto insurance this month I was able to obtain eleven quotes from companies all competing for my business. Since they all offered essentially the same product, and all were rated “A” or higher by A.M. Best, my decision was premium based. American’s should have the same choice with their health insurance.

I noticed the absence of SD addressing the fact that congress has exempted itself from being covered by anything they pass and foist upon the rest of us.

I noticed the absence of SD addressing the fact that big labor is forcing congress to exempt union members who have Cadillac plans from the plan they wish to foist upon the rest of us.

SD…we do not need to spend a trillion or more to cover those who either can’t afford or don’t qualify for health insurance. Surely you can do the arithmetic as well as me.

If SD and others who want health care reform are honest with themselves, I believe they too know that these bills in the house and senate are horribly flawed and don’t deserve their support. I am willing to put my political persuasion aside to work jointly with all American’s to forge a bill and the changes needed. Is support of your party or this congress more important than getting this done right? Whatever bill is passed and signed into law will be around for a very long time. Not only you, but your children and grandchildren will have to live under it.

Please agree with me that we can and must do better.

Posted by: Royal Flush at January 13, 2010 6:12 PM
Comment #293734

I bet it’s 40-60 stuff. 40 in his works and 60 in his pockets. well, that’s not surprising at all What do you expect? it’s politics.

Posted by: reyes ceo at January 13, 2010 8:36 PM
Comment #293735

Stephen-

Stephen-

There are plenty of polls like this one and this one that shows what happens when you put a price tag on the public option.

Voters Back Public Insurance 2-1, But Won’t Use It, Quinnipiac University National Poll Finds; 72% Won’t Pay More Than $500 A Year To Fix Health Care

The [CBS NY Times] poll reveals, however, the obstacles that remain in the way of the public option and broader reform efforts. Many Americans are concerned that their own health care may be compromised if the government is involved, and while they are generally willing to pay more in taxes for universal coverage, that support drops when dollar amounts are mentioned.

These were done last summer; I’m sure the Democrats have similar data in their back pockets. That’s why the cameras are off and doors are locked. And that’s when you use a $500/yr. number. Wait till they find out that they will be required, by law, to buy a $4,000-$7,000 (depending on income) per year policy.

Posted by: George at January 13, 2010 9:19 PM
Comment #293751

Royal Flush-
Yes, I know that a significant part is coming from Medicare, from what is basically waste. However, as I recall it, that’s been used by the Republicans to scare people that Obama’s healthcare plan is going to cut into Medicare benefits, though not a dollar of it comes out of benefits!

You talk about simply letting competition take its course. But who’s to say that what has happened at the state level, that is, the consolidation of the insurance market, won’t happen nationally. And how does this actually lower costs? I know Republicans promise every time they want to free up a market, that it will drive costs down, but the track record of simply letting the market determine which competitors stay or go is not that good.

The Republicans are unwilling to acknowledge the other side of Competition, the need to prohibit excessive market share.

Before renewing my home and auto insurance this month I was able to obtain eleven quotes from companies all competing for my business. Since they all offered essentially the same product, and all were rated “A” or higher by A.M. Best, my decision was premium based. American’s should have the same choice with their health insurance.

We have the Exchange, which is a critical part of our healthcare reform. Allows those without employer insurance to shop for it, with price and plan comparisons.

I noticed the absence of SD addressing the fact that congress has exempted itself from being covered by anything they pass and foist upon the rest of us.

Well, I can tell you many liberals support that, and we’ll get it soon enough.

I noticed the absence of SD addressing the fact that big labor is forcing congress to exempt union members who have Cadillac plans from the plan they wish to foist upon the rest of us.

Many union members accepted the “Caddilac” plans in lieu of better pay. The President promised that he wouldn’t raise taxes on the poor and middle class, so such negotiations like that are not evidence of corruption.

SD…we do not need to spend a trillion or more to cover those who either can’t afford or don’t qualify for health insurance. Surely you can do the arithmetic as well as me.

Are you aware of what we pay for healthcare in this country, as a percentage of our GDP. Before you do your arithmetic, why don’t you run the numbers. Besides, we’re committed to paying for this without raising the deficit.

Many Democrats don’t like the bill. But your people are so intent on keeping the status quo that it’s doubtful we could get this opportunity again for a long time. It doesn’t matter whether you are willing to put aside your partisan inclinations for the sake of a bill, your leaders are not, and have provided no true alternate plan that Democrats, the majority, can agree with.

I agree that we can do better. But I don’t think we’ll do better letting the Republicans dictate the process. They’ve already dragged it out, and watered it down quite enough in the course of their negotiations, negotiations they never responded to in good faith.

You know, don’t you, that filibustering is essentially extending the debate indefinitely, so that the question of passage is never reached in the course of the Senate’s procedure? Well, logically speaking, what the Republicans want is to force democrats to spend even more time debating it, compromising it, taking the heat for not being able to get things done.

My approach is to get things done, even if they are imperfect, but then, having gotten those things done, to admit the imperfection, and go back and refine it. I think this is the best we can do in the toxic environement that the Republicans have created.

George-
That’s the thing, isn’t it? If you got insurance, you keep it. If you don’t, you can go on an exchange and get it. We were going to put forward a public option, but that got- not voted down- but blocked from even getting a vote.

But you know something? What if we tell them that they’ll end up paying that much or more, if they don’t pay for healthcare reform? The truth of the matter is, that if our legislation passes, there will be a cap on out of pocket costs that that will save taxpayer billions of dollars, and prevent bankruptcies.

We could also tell them that they’d pay their taxes and higher premiums for other people to do emergency room healthcare instead of having coverage. We could tell them, and have told them that the reason for the mandate is so that nobody can game the system by acting as free riders, waiting to get coverage until they have to have it, and only then paying for it.

It’s not as simple as just a taxpayer bill. We’re going to require, in exchange for that mandate, that insurance companies take on everybody, deny nobody care for pre-existing conditions, charge no more than a set limit for out of pocket expenses, that there be no upper limit on lifetime expenditures, and so on and so forth.

In other words what one hand might take, the other will give back.

Plus, we pay something, in effect, for the loss of productivity, for the inability of people to get jobs because of the onerous costs of healthcare insurance.

It’s not the best bill, but even so, it will do a lot for people. I just want us to do more, once this has been done.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 14, 2010 7:45 AM
Comment #293759

S.D.
If you settle for a mediocer HC bill then you got the government you want. I WANT BETTER, if this is the best your party can come up with no wonder a majority of people don’t want it including me.

Posted by: KAP at January 14, 2010 10:20 AM
Comment #293785

If SD and others are honest with themselves they will admit that passing a flawed bill and then hoping for legislative improvements is nonsense.

I challenge anyone to give me an example of a government entitlement program that isn’t broken and deep in red ink. Social Security and Medicare are just two examples of entitlement programs that started small, with limited goals and grew into behemoths swallowing huge amounts of tax dollars and getting worse every day.

We have been waging war on poverty all my lifetime and can anyone tell us that we are winning? Do we have less poverty today or more poverty today than 50 years ago?

Congress has squandered trillions of dollars over many decades in pork funding to insure their reelection and our continued indebtedness. How many millions were squandered by Nancy Pelosi and her congressional contingent to attend the sham global warming conference recently? For what?

My friends, government has become our greatest threat to our self interest, peace and prosperity. Last month government announced that the bank bailout was so successful that $200 fewer billions needed to be spent. Most of the major banks have repaid their loans with interest. Today, our esteemed leader tells us that the bailout worked so well in helping the banks stay afloat and become prosperous once again that we need to levy new taxes upon them. My God…how preposterous can one get.

How can anyone understand government policy when it changes more often than anyone can follow. Bailout today…tax more tomorrow…if it stops moving subsidize it and if it starts moving again tax it to death.

If one wishes to understand the liberal politician one only needs to know that their answer to everything is more taxes. The liberal beasts appetite is never satiated and must take more and more from those who produce to give more and more to those who don’t produce.

Listen carefully to liberal politicians. Their stump speech always involves giving something to someone. Has anyone ever recorded a liberal politician asking for restraint in government spending? Can you find just one liberal politician who would admit to even one dollar of unnecessary or wasteful spending on social programs?

SD talks about Obama’s promise that any HC bill he signs must be revenue neutral. SD writes that removing $480 billion or so from Medicare won’t affect benefits. Apparently it’s all waste and fraud and is necessary to make the HC bill revenue neutral. It’s insane to believe one can take nearly 1/2 trillion from one government entitlement program already deep in red ink…and use it to partially fund another huge government entitlement. Would it be a great leap of logic to expect that one should use any savings from the elimination of waste and fraud to rescue Medicare rather than fund another program?

Posted by: Royal Flush at January 14, 2010 2:02 PM
Comment #293797

KAP-
I will support the best bill I can get, not settle for a mediocre one. All the Republicans have succeeded in doing is prolonging the situation, and most likely at their own expense, as the status quo becomes more intolerable.

Royal Flush-
Why wouldn’t Democrats in the House and Senate not run on a platform of improving healthcare reform? There’s a built-in constituency for it.

I challenge anyone to give me an example of a government entitlement program that isn’t broken and deep in red ink. Social Security and Medicare are just two examples of entitlement programs that started small, with limited goals and grew into behemoths swallowing huge amounts of tax dollars and getting worse every day.

Social Security doesn’t run out of money until forty years from now, and that’s if the worst economic predictions come true, which is questionable. Medicare is in more dire trouble, but when the Republicans had the chance, they dumped even more spending on it.

Truth is, the costs of these programs is bearable, if we’re willing to do it.
Unfortunately, Republicans have been making the easy sale of irresponsibility for the last thirty years. Wheres the last Republican President who left office with a smaller deficit than when they came in?

We have been waging war on poverty all my lifetime and can anyone tell us that we are winning? Do we have less poverty today or more poverty today than 50 years ago?

We cut it in half.

Congress has squandered trillions of dollars over many decades in pork funding to insure their reelection and our continued indebtedness. How many millions were squandered by Nancy Pelosi and her congressional contingent to attend the sham global warming conference recently? For what?

If you want a sham, try the science that tries to allege that Global Warming is not a problem. We’ve got a gulf stream current diverting up the Greenland coast, and Methane Hydrates are bubbling up much faster than expected from the boundaries of the Arctic Ocean permafrost.

My friends, government has become our greatest threat to our self interest, peace and prosperity. Last month government announced that the bank bailout was so successful that $200 fewer billions needed to be spent. Most of the major banks have repaid their loans with interest. Today, our esteemed leader tells us that the bailout worked so well in helping the banks stay afloat and become prosperous once again that we need to levy new taxes upon them. My God…how preposterous can one get.

My friends? Resist the hold of the evil Sith Lord McCain.

Seriously, though, exactly what was your alternative plan to the bailouts?

We’re doing the best we can with the mess your people left us. The bailout did work, to the degree that we didn’t go under as an economy. There wasn’t a second great depression as the major banks ceased to function at all.

But what’s really preposterous here is that despite their failure to either truly reform their practices or start loaning out money to get the economy going, the banks are still behaving as if they’re the ones making money. Well, guess what, folks? Taxpayers are going to get their money back, and You know something? I don’t think the average taxpayer’s going to object. Just a feeling I’ve got.

If one wishes to understand the liberal politician one only needs to know that their answer to everything is more taxes.

I’m glad you’re here to be so helpful and educational!

Jeez, man. What are the chances, you think, of me taking those charges seriously? Just read it out yourself. It’s so damn stereotypical, it should just raise the warning right then and there. If they were really that eager, they could propose a lot more than they’re proposing right now. Should be, too. Those deficits won’t pay for themselves. We’ll wait until the country’s definitely out of the recession, and then we’ll start trying to change America’s budget balance back to the positive.

Listen carefully to liberal politicians. Their stump speech always involves giving something to someone.

No, neither Bush nor McCain, nor any Republican ever promised anybody anything. They never bribed the American people with Chinese money, claiming that they were giving the American people money back in their wallets.

Has anyone ever recorded a liberal politician asking for restraint in government spending?

Yes.

Can you find just one liberal politician who would admit to even one dollar of unnecessary or wasteful spending on social programs?

The last two elected Democratic Presidents.

I mean, seriously, you’ve confused what the Republicans think and say with what they are.

Take this thing of the 480 billion concerning medicare. You do realize, don’t you, that this is coming 48 billion dollars a year out of what were once Medicare Subsidies given to companies, subsidies that had no relation to the benefits, which were paid in full.

Oh, yeah, waste! Oh no, Obama killed (or will kill) part of a subsidy! Hell of a thing for Republicans to admit, that he’s correcting the mistake they made with their legislation.

Let’s be clear on what the red ink is here: unfunded liaiblities. Ironically, what Obama’s tried to do, and what the Republicans have fought tooth and nail against has been a set of reforms meant to bend the cost curve down. That means taking care of the unfunded liabilities by making sure they never come to pass.

But hey, let’s just cut benefits and screw people out of their entitlements!

If healthcare in general doesn’t get cheaper, not much you do to take care of medicare will really work or do any good. You’ll have to absorb costs in emergency room visits, economic destitution, etc.

The federal balance sheet is not the whole picture. It’s time Republicans realize that.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 14, 2010 5:43 PM
Comment #293801

SD asks…,”Why wouldn’t Democrats in the House and Senate not run on a platform of improving healthcare reform? There’s a built-in constituency for it.”

Is that the reason to spend trillions? What about fiscal responsibility. Is governing just about throwing money at the electorate? Hell, we can program a computer to do that. Soon…there won’t be anything left to govern.

SD claims we have cut poverty in half over the last 50 years. Care to provide some proof for that? If we’re winning the war on poverty why do we spend billions more each year combating the ever increasing numbers?

SD wrote; “But what’s really preposterous here is that despite their failure to either truly reform their practices or start loaning out money to get the economy going, the banks are still behaving as if they’re the ones making money. Well, guess what, folks? Taxpayers are going to get their money back…” I don’t really understand SD’s statement about the banks behaving like they’re making money. Please restate.

That’s just silly. All the major banks have repaid their loans with interest. Where did that money come from if not from profits? That part of the stimulus worked…the banks survived and are now showing profits. Months ago we bailed them out…it worked…now obama wants to punish them for not failing by taxing them even more? Please, that makes no sense to me. Can you help me understand?

If banks are not lending money I would ask where are those profits that obama wants to tax coming from?

SD wrote; “We’ll wait until the country’s definitely out of the recession, and then we’ll start trying to change America’s budget balance back to the positive.”

Very interesting…isn’t this the same strategy you propose about passing a lousy and flawed bill, which you admitted above, and fixing it later. Now you would have us believe we must spend ourselves into oblivion before we can recover. As usual…a liberal would have me believe that spending more money is the answer.

I have saved the best for last. SD wrote; “Let’s be clear on what the red ink is here: unfunded liaiblities. Ironically, what Obama’s tried to do, and what the Republicans have fought tooth and nail against has been a set of reforms meant to bend the cost curve down. That means taking care of the unfunded liabilities by making sure they never come to pass.”

In the liberal world the bill never comes due. A liability that is unfunded is called a “DEBT”. How does one make a debt never “come to pass”? I wonder if anyone, including SD, can explain this political jargon about “bend(ing) the cost curve down”? Is it too simple to say reduce cost? No…that wouldn’t confuse enough folks so liberals talk about bending curves and magically disappearing debt.

Posted by: Royal Flush at January 14, 2010 7:00 PM
Comment #293802

S.D.
It’s a BS bill that Reid had to buy votes for to get it through the Senate. It’s a Piss poor hastily put together piece of garbage. BHO had to buy off the unions so their Caddy plans don’t get taxed and guess whose going to have to pay, The non union Caddy plans, now that’s really going to go over big with them. If that’s the kind of garbage you are willing to accept YOU CAN HAVE IT. I DON’T WANT IT.

Posted by: KAP at January 14, 2010 7:42 PM
Comment #293814

Stephen,

You said, “It’s not big, not in comparison to everything else. Should we ignore 98% of the spending, to deal with just one out of fifty dollars of our costs?”

Abosulely not; however, we shouldn’t ignore the 2% either just especially when it can be dealt with right now. Your party can solve 2% of the Health Care problem right now with full bi-partisan support. Why not do it?

As for CEO pay, in all fairness you were shrill on this subject before the problems of the past two years. I will agree that those companies that have taken taxpayer money in the bailout should be subject to restrictions until the debt is repaid.

However, you have made arguments that executive pay should be “controlled” irrespective of their companies reliance on government money. In those cases, the pay makes up much less than 2% of the total costs, but Democrats have run on this issue for years.

Even before the bail-outs, Obama ran ads lambasting CEO’s that make in 10 minutes what the average worker makes in a year. Never mind that said CEO would have to make $83,200,000 a year to make what the average worker makes in a day. Not too many of those out there; far fewer than 2% of the CEO’s. I believe that fewer than 2% of the executives in the Fortune 500 along make that much.

So, the Democrats have no problem focusing on the 2% when it is in the millions, but not when it is in the billions. I’m not sure that I get the math.

Posted by: Rob at January 15, 2010 2:12 AM
Comment #293827

The NY Times reported today that the dems and obama caved into big labor demands that their health care plans not be exposed to the Cadillac tax. No surprise there…with liberals it has always been about reward and punishment.

Never mind that non-union workers with good plans will bear the brunt of the excess generosity given to their fellow workers.

omaba said that the lost revenue from this sweetheart deal will be made up elsewhere. Well…isn’t that just sweet. Give something to big labor to get them on board and pass the misery to some poor group that isn’t in lockstep with this liberal agenda to bankrupt our country.

I wonder how long before some liberal congressperson suggests taxing the gold fillings in our teeth. After all…only the rich have gold in their mouths. Next will be a tax on our memories.

Posted by: Royal Flush at January 15, 2010 4:08 PM
Comment #293830

Here’s a quote from the NY Times today that really spells out the gibberish coming from obama and his administration…

“Big banks object that most of them already have repaid the government with interest. The administration, anticipating that argument, called its tax a “financial crisis responsibility fee” aimed at those institutions whose risk-taking caused the problem in the first place.

Now, we have government punishing today what it perceives may be future bad behavior. Isn’t that just dandy? No presumption of innocence here…you’re just judged guilty as it is believed you may exhibit bad behavior in the future.

It will be just a short journey to prejudging any industry and assessing a “sin tax” in anticipation of bad business judgment.

Folks…common sense and even a passing nod to our constitution has left the halls of congress and the whitehouse.

Posted by: Royal Flush at January 15, 2010 4:40 PM
Comment #293989

Royal Flush-
For there to be a problem, this has to be a bill of attainder. For it to be a bill of attainder, it has to basically say, so and so gets taxed, but nobody else.

This tax, though, is applied broadly across the industry. In fact, that’s why it’s not focused on just the companies that still owe money.

Interesting that the Republicans and folks on the Right Wing are jumping to defend the banks. Kind of puts the lie to all that populist rhetoric, right?

As for anticipating future bad behavior with laws and taxes? That’s government. Government is all about shaping what you will do. But I guess the anarchists on the right care little for any shaping of behavior, especially when it comes to financial matters, and that’s where Democrats are going to take the advantage, thanks to Republican rigidity.

It’s not as if this will be the first time Republicans doubled down on political losers.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 18, 2010 10:02 AM
Comment #293998

SD wrote; “As for anticipating future bad behavior with laws and taxes? That’s government. Government is all about shaping what you will do.”

Wow…that’s quite a statement about the reason for government. I am stunned to think that anyone would believe that government should “shape” what I will do. I don’t believe our founders established a system whereby we elected leaders to shape our lives. I think SD has some other form of government in mind…certainly not a democratic republic.

Posted by: Royal Flush at January 18, 2010 12:57 PM
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