Archive | The Best Healthcare in the World

Waterloo

Former Bush speechwriter David Frum:

Could a deal have been reached? Who knows? But we do know that the gap between this plan and traditional Republican ideas is not very big. The Obama plan has a broad family resemblance to Mitt Romney’s Massachusetts plan. It builds on ideas developed at the Heritage Foundation in the early 1990s that formed the basis for Republican counter-proposals to Clintoncare in 1993-1994 …

No illusions please: This bill will not be repealed. Even if Republicans scored a 1994 style landslide in November, how many votes could we muster to re-open the “doughnut hole” and charge seniors more for prescription drugs? How many votes to re-allow insurers to rescind policies when they discover a pre-existing condition? How many votes to banish 25 year olds from their parents’ insurance coverage …

We followed the most radical voices in the party and the movement, and they led us to abject and irreversible defeat.

Will they learn? Nah. Now Frum will be on the shitlist.

Yes For An Answer

Yes, Democrats are fighting to pass a Republican version of health care reform. Wheee! E.J. Dionne:

Here is the ultimate paradox of the Great Health Care Showdown: Congress will divide along partisan lines to pass a Republican version of health care reform, and Republicans will vote against it. Yes, Democrats have rallied behind a bill that Republicans— or at least large numbers of them should love. It is built on a series of principles that Republicans espoused for years.

[. . .] Republicans always say they are against “socialized medicine.” Not only is this bill nothing like a “single-payer” health system along Canadian or British lines. It doesn’Â’t even include the “public option” that would have allowed people voluntarily to buy their insurance from the government. The single-payer idea fell by the wayside long ago, and supporters of the public option —sadly, from my point of view, —lost out last December. [. . .] Democrats, including President Obama, are so anxious to get everyone health insurance that they are more than willing to try a market-based system and hope it works. It’Â’s a shame the Republicans can no longer take “yes” for an answer.

Brinksmanship

The corporate sell-outs, the abandonment of core Democratic principles, the willingness to prop up the insurance industry – no, none of that weakened Obama’s presidency:

Last week alone, Mr. Obama called or met with 64 lawmakers. He scored the vote of one reluctant Democrat, Representative Dennis J. Kucinich of Ohio, after an Air Force One ride from Cleveland.

On Saturday he went to Capitol Hill to make a last-minute appeal to House Democrats, telling them: “We’re a day away. After a year of debate, after every argument has been made, by just about everybody, we’re 24 hours away.”

In his private sessions with lawmakers, the president has drawn the consequences for himself in the starkest terms. In a meeting with members of the House Progressive Caucus, who are angry that the bill lacks a government-backed insurance plan, the president warned that his other priorities — jobs and immigration — would be tougher to achieve if the health bill does not pass. There was silence, Mr. Grijalva said, when Mr. Obama laid out the risks.

“If we fail at this,” Mr. Grijalva recalled Mr. Obama saying, “it’s going to be harder for us to pull the line on this other stuff. It is going to weaken our presidency.”

A Big Clue

Just in case you still weren’t clear on what motivates so many members of the Tea Party:

Abusive, derogatory and even racist behavior directed at House Democrats by Tea Party protesters on Saturday left several lawmakers in shock.

Preceding the president’s speech to a gathering of House Democrats, thousands of protesters descended around the Capitol to protest the passage of health care reform. The gathering quickly turned into abusive heckling, as members of Congress passing through Longworth House office building were subjected to epithets and even mild physical abuse.

A staffer for Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.) told reporters that Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-M.D.) had been spit on by a protestor. Rep. John Lewis (D-G.A.), a hero of the civil rights movement, was called a ‘ni–er.’ And Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) was called a “faggot,” as protestors shouted at him with deliberately lisp-y screams. Frank, approached in the halls after the president’s speech, shrugged off the incident.

But Clyburn was downright incredulous, saying he had not witnessed such treatment since he was leading civil rights protests in South Carolina in the 1960s.

“It was absolutely shocking to me,” Clyburn told the Huffington Post. “Last Monday, this past Monday, I stayed home to meet on the campus of Claflin University where fifty years ago as of last Monday… I led the first demonstrations in South Carolina, the sit ins… And quite frankly I heard some things today I have not heard since that day. I heard people saying things that I have not heard since March 15, 1960 when I was marching to try and get off the back of the bus.”

“It doesn’t make me nervous as all,” the congressman said, when asked how the mob-like atmosphere made him feel. “In fact, as I said to one heckler, I am the hardest person in the world to intimidate, so they better go somewhere else.”

Asked if he wanted an apology from the group of Republican lawmakers who had addressed the crowd and, in many ways, played on their worst fears of health care legislation, the Democratic Party, and the president, Clyburn replied:

“A lot of us have been saying for a long time that much of this, much of this is not about health care a all. And I think a lot of those people today demonstrated that this is not about health care… it is about trying to extend a basic fundamental right to people who are less powerful.”

Horizon Hell

My health insurance is a PPO. This means I don’t need referrals. Now I’m getting bills from my dermatologist saying I have to pay — since I didn’t have a referrral.

This is too nice a day to spend on the phone with Horizon HMO. I’ll call Monday.

Fugettaboutit

No preexisting condition protection for you!

Q First, earlier this week — sorry, I have two questions. First, earlier this week, both Rush Limbaugh and Michael Moore pointed out that the preexisting condition provision of the legislation doesn’t take effect for another four years, and I’m wondering if you could tell us, was that a concession, and if so, who fought for that and what did they — what did you get in return?

MR. GIBBS: There is —

Q For adults, that is.

MR. GIBBS: Right. Well, again, the — as I described earlier and as the President has described, there are certain things that cannot be instituted until you have everyone in the system. Obviously this is a piece of legislation that phases in over the course of many years those changes. And as a result of that phasing in, when that’s done, preexisting conditions for adults will be outlawed. But understand this — when this becomes law, an insurance company will no longer be able to discriminate against a child that has — that they believe or says that has a preexisting condition.

Q That’s on day one.

MR. GIBBS: Right.

Q Children. And so it’s pegged to the mandate then, is that fair to say?

MR. GIBBS: Yes.

What a shitty, shitty bill. What do Democrats stand for, anyway?

Wellpoint

Whoever could have known?

Health insurance companies have always claimed that they support “affordable, high-quality health care for every American” and are supportive of health care reform efforts and not simply concerned with their profits. To try to project this image of compassion for the uninsured, WellPoint Inc. — which recently came under fire for planning double-digit rate hikes in at least eleven states — pledged three years ago to use its charitable foundation to spend $30 million to assist the uninsured receive care.

A new investigative report by the Los Angeles Times finds that WellPoint’s foundation has completely failed to meet its promise of spending $30 million to help the uninsured. Rather, the company spent $6.2 million — a paltry 11 percent of what the company promised:

WellPoint’s public records indicate that from 2007 to 2009 the foundationgave less than $6.2 million in grants targeted specifically at helping uninsured Americans get access to coverage and care — barely one-fifth of what was promised and just 11% of the charity’s total giving over the last three years.

“It was just not something that the company really wanted to do,” said one former executive, who, like others interviewed for this story, asked not to be identified out of concern that discussing WellPoint could have adverse career consequences. “So it went by the wayside.”

Site Meter