Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Health Care Wednesday

Via Daily Kos' Abbreviated Pundit Round-up

Speaking of polling...

That said, I think these results tend to confirm that the Washington debate over health care reform remains distant from the rich, personal experiences that Americans have with the health care system and health insurance. On this score, that TNR editorial gets it exactly right:

[S]omething strange, and not entirely welcome, has happened in the last few weeks: The focus on policy minutiae has crowded out part of the big picture. Health care has become almost entirely a technical discussion, rather than a personal one. It's all about deficit neutrality and bending the curve, instead of making sure every American can get affordable medical care.

See also:

For example, many people like their health care plan but support a public option just in case they lose their job. So when people say they're "satisfied," argues Mark Blumenthal of, "It's, I'm satisfied, please dear God don't take it away."

Friend BobK has the solution to rescission, the practice that medical insurance companies use to deny coverage based on errors in the original application (It’s particularly nasty in practice because the insurer does not immediately investigate your application to determine if it is accurate before selling you the policy (that would be impractically expensive); instead, the insurer waits – years, in many cases – until you actually need expensive health care, and then does the investigation, which at that point is worth it because of the payments the insurer could potentially avoid. ) Here's Bob:
This is SO EASY to fix! All we need is a law that says upon successful rescission the insurance co. owes you your past paid premiums plus interest at the LIBOR rate, or the prime rate, or the credit card rate, or whatever.

I could write it in an afternoon, and I can justify it in a New York Minute: It's THEIR negligence that they're attempting to profit from, and that ain't allowed!

'Course, the way to make MORE money would be to get a friend in the Democratic side of the aisle to propose it, and then take the lead in fighting it! I'd rake in money all the way to DeMint...

Krugman: Speechless

Bill O’Reilly explaining that of course America has lower life expectancy than Canada — we have 10 times as many people, so we have 10 times as many deaths.

I need a drink.

Hey, we can do this

Yglesias points out that the Gang of Six negotiating the Senate Finance version of health reform all represent very small states — in fact, the combined population of their states is less than that of New Jersey.

So hey, why not let New Jersey do this instead? We can get a committee of, say, three corrupt mayors and three money-laundering rabbis to draw up a plan; it could hardly be worse than what Max Baucus has come up with.*

As we say here in the Garden State, “You got a problem with that?”

*People in the know say not to worry too much about the awfulness of the Finance proposal; the important thing is getting it out of committee, so that it can be fixed in later negotiations. I hope they’re right.

Support a Public Option
With nearly 50 million Americans lacking health insurance, and premiums rapidly rising, it's time to address the health care crisis in our country. All Americans deserve access to affordable, quality health care -- and today, nearly one-in-six of us don't have it.

I join Senators Durbin, Leahy, and Schumer in their efforts to pass strong health care reform legislation this year. In particular, I support the creation of a public health insurance option that would foster greater competition in the marketplace, create more choices for consumers, and lead to lower costs and better quality for all.

GOP sees death in health care July 28: Republicans are trying to rally opposition to President Obama's health care plan by suggesting it will literally kill people. One GOP legislator said the reform plan is a way to advance assisted suicide. Can scare tactics like this prevent Congress from voting on the health care bill? Rachel Maddow is joined by Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-VT.
Krugman on Irresponsible punditry

Pundits don’t have to be right about everything — in fact, if you write a newspaper column and you never make a prediction that turns out wrong, you’re not taking enough risks. They do, however, owe it to the public to make enough effort to get basic facts right. (Note to readers: having a different theory about how the economy works than the one you prefer is not an error of fact.)

So Jonathan Chait directs me to this doozy from, alas, Martin Feldstein:

Obama has said that he would favor a British-style “single payer” system in which the government owns the hospitals and the doctors are salaried but that he recognizes that such a shift would be too disruptive to the health-care industry.

Single-payer, as anyone who has paid the least bit of attention to the health care debate knows, means a system like Medicare, in which the government pays the bills. It absolutely does not mean a British-style system — and Obama definitely didn’t advocate anything of the sort.

One possibility is that Feldstein really is that ignorant of the health-care basics; if so, he has no business writing an op-ed on the subject, just as he had no business writing an op-ed on climate change policy. (Yes, I write about subjects on which I’m not an expert — but I do my homework first.)

The alternative possibility is that Feldstein knew that he was saying something false, but did it anyway in the hope of scaring his readers.

I don’t know which is worse.

I do know that if I misstated the facts like this in the Times, I’d be required to publish a correction. Will the Post require that Feldstein retract his claim?
Sudbay: Rahm built the Blue Dog caucus, now he can't control the Blue Dogs
Via the Campaign Silo at FDL, we get a clear explanation of the Blue Dogs from Rep. Maxine Waters. Basically, Rahm can't rein in the Blue Dogs.

And, you'll see the guest co-host is our good pal, Kerry Eleveld, who is the D.C. correspondent for The Advocate.
C&L: Kristol admits to Stewart that government run health care is THE BEST!

Kristol does TDS again. I'm not thrilled that this conservative hatchet man gets valuable air time on CC as much as he has, but Stewart does kick him around. Jon gets Bill Kristol to admit that the government run health care for the military is the best care on earth and then tells us that ordinary Americans aren't deserving of the best health care available. See, Bloody Bill does believe in rationing health care after all. So Kristolthat admits that government run health care is the best, but Americans should only have shitty health care plans with insurance companies making huge profits. (It starts around the eleven minute mark) rough transcript.

Stewart: Why no health care, Why no health care reform for Americans because the military fighting for us, gave it up. Why do you hate America?

Stewart: Why not? Why shouldn't the government provide some sort of care to the 50 million that are uninsured?

Kristol: No, well the military has a different health system than the rest of Americans.

Stewart: It's a public system, no?

Kristol: Yea, they don't have an option they're all in the military.

Stewart: Why don't we go with that?

Kristol: (Stupid look comes across his face.) I don't know. Is military health care what you really...first of all it's really expensive, they deserve it, the military...

Stewart: But people in public do not?

Kristol: No, the American public do not deserve the same...

Stewart: Are you saying Americans shouldn't have access to the same plan health care that we give the soldiers?

Kristol: Yes, to our soldiers? Absolutely.

Stewart: Really?

Kristol: I think the one thing if you become a soldier...

Stewart: So you just said, Bill Kristol just said that the government can run a first class health care system.

Kristol: Sure it can.

Stewart: A government run health care system is better than the private health care system. You just said that...

Kristol: I don't know if it's better.

Stewart: No, you just said it was better.

Kristol: I didn't say it was better all around.

Stewart: No, you said it was better. You said it's the best, it's a little more expensive, but it's better. I just want to write this down. The government runs the best health care...

Stewart: I understand that so what you are suggesting is that the government could run the best health care system for Americans, but it's a little too costly so we should have the shitty insurance companies health care.

Kristol: I'm suggesting our soldiers deserve better health care...

Stewart: They deserve the best. They have the best government run health care money can buy.

Nobody is denying that solders should have the best care available because they should, but why aren't Americans allowed to have the same benefits? I know Kristol has all that blood on his hands because he helped send the country into Iraq and so many innocents and soldiers have died or been injured because of that travesty. C&Ler Michael writes in via email:

When Stewart asked why the rest of the country couldn't have that, Kristol responded very quickly by suggesting that ordinary Americans didn't deserve it. I'm guessing that's in reference to the fact that the rest of us didn't serve in uniform.

While the statement itself is a little cringe-worthy, it struck me. Kristol seemed to float a notion that there's a tier system as far as American life is concerned. What's more, I realized that this is not a new notion.

Conservatives do seem to put forth a Social Darwinist attitude; but I usually see that coming out of hawks referring to the lives of the people who live in countries other than ours. Usually right before (or during) bombing, but that's beside the point.

Yes, it's easy to miss this point because Kristol blathers on so much. COnservatives want to choose who is deserving of what at all times.

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