Health Insurance: Reformed

26 Mar

The Republican party chose a deliberate strategy to vote no on any health insurance reform from day one. The strategy was a plank of an overall “Obama must fail” platform; it became more important to score cheap political points than to participate in representative democracy. Had they engaged and behaved like a legislative opposition (with real power, in the Senate) ought to behave, a lot of what they wanted changed could have been changed. Maybe not all the way, but part of legislative leadership is the art of negotiation and compromise.

They did, however, have conservative Democrats participating, which resulted in about 200 Republican-backed changes to the law.

But compromise and negotiation isn’t what the Republicans wanted. They wanted Obama defeated. They wanted Pelosi defeated. They wanted – and fully expected – a massive, epic defeat not unlike Clinton’s in the early 90s. A defeat that led within months to Newt Gingrich’s failed “Contract with America”.

But it didn’t work out that way. Even despite Scott Brown’s election to the Senate, what everyone missed is that the Senate had already voted. The already-passed Senate and House bills just needed to be reconciled.

That was accomplished, finally, last night.

So, while the Republicans continue their attacks on this bill as being unconstitutional totalitarianism, know that it’s neither. When they say that this is a complete government takeover of the health care industry, you can laugh in their faces. Because it’s not. When they call it socialized medicine, ask them that they have a clue what that term means. Because it’s not. When they say that this will bankrupt the country, or that the cost is untenable, just say, “let’s wait and see.” Because it won’t.

When they say it will destroy America, turn and walk away. Because life’s too short to pay attention to that kind of dumb talk.

Those who suggest repealing this historic law are the ones who should be vulnerable. The opponents of this law should be worried about November.

  • You want to re-instate discrimination against pre-existing conditions?
  • You want to re-instate rescission?
  • You want to re-instate lifetime policy limits?
  • You want to keep ~40 million Americans uninsured, almost all of them in middle class?
  • You want to drop 21 – 26 year olds who are underemployed or still in school and on their parents’ insurance?

Well, then you run with that.


55 Responses to “Health Insurance: Reformed”

  1. jesse March 26, 2010 at 8:49 am #

    I think you grossly ‘misunderestimate’ the anger of those who oppose this law. I know you’re trying to pimp your peeps which is fine, but the endless denigration of those who oppose the law on any number of solid grounds are deeply offended by the endless march of government spending, and I might be a little more humble about the current success if I were you.

    Playing the “in you face, bitches” card is only playing the other side of the same childish card that the “Obama R Hitler” people are playing.

    One specific question: You seem pretty sure it won’t blow out the Federal budget – care to suggest what information you have that leads you to be so confident? Because I can point you to endless studies and real-world demonstrations where rosy budget predictions have been short by 2 or 3 times….

    • Jon Splett March 26, 2010 at 9:31 am #

      If Tea Baggers were half as upset about the Federal budget as they say they are, you’d all be picketing military bases….

      • Mike in WNY March 26, 2010 at 9:45 am #

        Jon, I have been advocating closing ALL overseas military bases for years.

      • Brooks March 26, 2010 at 9:48 am #

        Code Pink style?

      • Jon Splett March 26, 2010 at 10:47 am #

        @Mike- And which one is your movement more vocal about? I didn’t see too many ‘End the War’ signs at any of those tea parties but I sure as fuck saw a lot of misused and misspelled instances of ‘socialism’.

      • Mike in WNY March 26, 2010 at 10:54 am #

        Jon, it’s a package deal.  It all falls under big government, taxation, over-spending and freedom.

    • Eric Saldanha March 26, 2010 at 9:48 am #

      I can assure you that Obama will not be standing in front of any “Mission Accomplished” banners…

      Republicans (and their Tea Bag brethren) have focused on little else the past 14 months except defeating health care reform. They were delirious at the prospect of handing Obama and the Democrats a resounding political defeat, instead of accepting Obama’s good-faith invitation to contribute to the crafting of this landmark legislation. The Party of No went all-in on winning the political battle, not forging compromises and doing the hard work necessary to produce a truly bipartisan bill. And they lost….big time. Now, they’re compounding this epic FAIL by bleating that they will run on repeal of HCR in the November elections. And throwing a temper tantrum in the Senate, blocking any meaningful work from getting done. And whipping up unhinged nutjobs to intimidate and threaten lawmakers simply because they cast a vote. I will never feel sorry for the Republican party and I will not be one to concern troll, but Jeebus….they have got to get their act together.

      • Jon Splett March 26, 2010 at 10:59 am #

        Let’s not pretend the Republicans didn’t score some points in all this.

        They’ve managed to convince a significant part of the poor population to irrationally oppose something that would great help them. They’ve managed to drag a single issue out for the majority of the last year and a half so a Democratic majority in both houses hasn’t had any time to tackle anything else.

        With how popular Obama was when he took office and the fact he was replacing Texas McClusterfucker, the Democrats pretty much had the perfect political storm working for them and could have pushed through sweeping reform. Instead, they let the Republicans gang rape their bill for a year and are now trying to pass off the Republican health plan of the 90’s as giant achievement in progressivism.

        If you think the left won anything this week, you’re crazy. The lesser of two evils prevailed but lets not pretend the right got served.

    • STEEL March 26, 2010 at 10:40 am #

      No one wants to answer this question but why did the teabaggers wait so long to get upset. GWB took us from surpluses to record deficits in 8 years and not one teabag protest happened, not one death threat, not one town hall yelling match, no Hitler mustached Bush posters. No protests over Bush’s massive unpaid for expansion of socialized health care.

      The teabaggers only became concerned with these kinds of issues once a Black Democratic (oops I am sorry Democrat) president took office. It might be noted that the Republican congress did not filibuster any of the massive massive spending packages proposed under bush so we know that they also had no concerns about record deficit spending.

      So can someone tell me for real what these people are angry about?

      • Mike in WNY March 26, 2010 at 10:50 am #

        Steel, your question has been answered many times, you just refuse accept the truth.  Hundreds of people, including myself, protested when Cheney came to town.  We were headed into 2 confined areas by the BPD and the Secret Service.  BTW, it’s nice to see you’re promoting racism.  You can now go back to framing everything in terms of your partisan ideals.

      • jesse March 26, 2010 at 12:25 pm #

        The FACT is that most of the tea party crew (of which I am not one, but a fellow traveler in this excitement) are not Republicans.

        They surely are not Democrats, they surely prefer right-wing politics and policies, but are not Republicans.

        The Republicans failed miserably in the Cheney-Bush years, which is why Dr Paul nearly got the nomination.

        It’s also not as if McCain was just a straight continuation of the Bush nonsense either.

      • STEEL March 26, 2010 at 12:31 pm #

        So during Bush hundreds of people were upset with big government spending and NOW Oh My God! The majority of 350M Americans are preparing to take up arms and take back their liberty!

        Hundreds to supposedly hundreds of millions??? Give me a break and stop pretending these people have anything but a racist agenda and a poor sport attitude that they don’t get to have everything their own way. At least be honest with yourself. These people that are “oh so concerned about big government” will be the first with their hand out when it comes time for their piece of the pork. the only thing they know about big government is what Limbaugh and Beck tell them, which isn’t “knowing” anything.

  2. Mike in WNY March 26, 2010 at 9:44 am #

    Perhaps the Republicans did want Obama to fail, that ignores the fact that Americans were against the bill because it is bad.  A handful of beneficial “reforms” does not justify a basket full of fail.

    What is as plain as day is that Democrats wanted the bill, any bill, passed just so they could claim a victory.  Inconvenient truths were ignored with the passage of this legislation.
    1.  There is already a shortage of doctors and many of the current ones will not take new patients.
    2.  The most cost effective way to deliver goods and services is through real competition.
    3.  The cost savings estimate is preliminary and based on pie-in-the-sky assumptions.
    4.  The government is not in a financial position that is conducive to taking on a huge new entitlement program.
    5.  It is un-American to punish people for success to provide for people who fail to produce.
    6.  Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid are already facing huge deficit increases in the coming years.
    7.  Grandiose Utopian government programs never come in at or under budget estimates.
    8.  Representative democracy principles do not allow for passing legislation outside of the powers delegated to the government.
    9.  Even the current overly generous reading of the Commerce Clause does not permit the government to force individuals to purchase goods and services.
    10.  Many of the uninsured are that way by choice because their financial goals include accepting the risk of no insurance, especially while they are young.
    11.  There will be a negative affect on employment.
    12.  Cost control measures will lead to a decrease in research and new cutting-edge medical treatments.
    13. More people will die as a result of government restrictions on the health care industry.

    • Stan P March 26, 2010 at 12:29 pm #

      10. Many of the uninsured are that way by choice because their financial goals include accepting the risk of no insurance, especially while they are young.?

      Another way of saying they can’t afford it. Currently, even if you don’t have insurance, you can get coverage in the emergency room for free.

      • Mike In WNY March 26, 2010 at 1:18 pm #

        All resources are scarce, even government provided resources. People should have the ability to allocate their own resources in the manner they feel is best. Obamacare will result in the government allocating those resources without you having a say. “Best practices” is a deceptive code phrase for what the government can afford to give you.

  3. Hapklein March 26, 2010 at 10:56 am #

    Good lord at the beginning of the debate we had that gawdawful ersatz bill that was penned by Fleckenstein that clearly demonstrated that the day the bill passed would bring immediate Armegadden. Now after the Bill passed and is law I am treated by my conservative friends to Kitty Werthman and Phyllis Schafly both of whom assure us that Obama is the new Hitler. They weave in a crazy narrative that supposedly shows parallels of Nazi Germany and this country this year. The comparison does not work since many of the factors are not equal and the conditions are ridiculous to try to match up. It is pure propaganda, worthy of Goebbels.
    Now we have lists being circulated that supposedly demonstrate what is wrong with the health reform bill.
    In the list preceding this, for example, I am amused that the shortage of doctors is an item. But the reform bill actually encourages funds the training of new medical personnel, especially General Practitioners that the current system has discouraged by virtue of marketplace actions.
    All this energy is wasted. The facts are in the bill and instead of burning crosses and throwing bricks maybe the country should take a breath and sit down and figure the best way to accept the rule of law how to share the wealth with equity and abandon of inaccurate theories of what the founding fathers really meant in Article 8.

    • Mike in WNY March 26, 2010 at 11:18 am #

      Inaccurate theories about Section VIII, what a joke.  Article I, Section VIII is written in plain English and means exactly what it says.  Anyone who believes that months were taken to write a document with specific enumerated powers, and then claim those powers are subject to interpretation, are just plain crazy or evil.  There are plenty of contemporaneous writings from the authors explaining that.  The whole purpose of the Constitution is to protect individual rights against the encroachment of big government.

    • Eric Saldanha March 26, 2010 at 11:24 am #

      re: shortage of doctors – thanks to the real Socialist in Congress (Sen. Bernie Sanders), the reform bill provides $9.5 billion in funding for federally-qualified community health centers, expanding the number of clinics from 1,200 to 10,000 over the next five years.

      • jesse March 26, 2010 at 12:26 pm #

        And I suppose you’ll just staff these centers by willing new doctors out of thin air?

      • Eric Saldanha March 26, 2010 at 12:45 pm #

        see Hapklein’s point above about funding for training for new medical personnel, including general practitioners.

      • Mike In WNY March 26, 2010 at 1:31 pm #

        More folly. Government regulations have contributed to the lack of physicians by placing caps on residency opportunities for doctors. Now we will have more regulations, which control which states are eligible for increased residency slots. It is beyond comprehension that people view a problem created by the government is best solved by more government. Fool me once, shame on you – fool me twice, shame on me.

  4. STEEL March 26, 2010 at 2:46 pm #

    The newest right wing goofiness – the richest country in the world cannot provide enough doctors to take care of all of its people.

    I wonder how all of the other countries have enough doctors to take care of ALL of their people. And how are they are doing this at no more than half the cost of how we do just SOME of the people. I have an idea. We should look at how other countries are finding the doctors to treat ALL of their people at less than half the cost.

    • Alan Bedenko March 26, 2010 at 2:55 pm #

      “Look Lois, the two symbols of the Republican Party: an elephant, and a fat white guy who is threatened by change.” – Peter Griffin, while riding an elephant

      • Carl Gauss March 26, 2010 at 3:13 pm #

        That’s funny (and true). If Republicans were right insofar as social programs hurting the economy, all they would have to do is produce a study that shows a statistically significant decline in economic output when social programs are enacted, and a statistically significant improvement in economic output when social programs are eliminated. They can’t because such a study because the evidence in support of their position does not exist. In light of this fact, Republicans try to obfuscate the debate with vague “economic principles” that don’t mean anything because they can’t be quantified. The far right’s adoption of Austrian economics has totally dispensed with economic mathematics because all those tough equations cramp their style, man. Bottom line: they lost and they know it.

      • RvrSide March 26, 2010 at 3:31 pm #

        what you call “change” we call tyranny.

      • Brooks March 26, 2010 at 3:35 pm #

        Cartoon logic is more your speed, eh?

      • Eric Saldanha March 26, 2010 at 3:40 pm #

        says the guy with the Michael Ramirez cartoon on his site depicting a donkey-as-suicide-bomber saying “Obama Akbar!”

        Dumb, inflammatory and completely wrong….par for the course for the Republicans/TeaBaggers this month.

      • Brooks March 26, 2010 at 3:43 pm #

        I know Eric, Michael Ramirez is a racist, you already told us…

      • Carl Gauss March 27, 2010 at 10:25 am #


        Care to respond to my argument or would you rather continue waxing your carrot at Sarah Palin?

      • Brooks March 27, 2010 at 5:50 pm #


        I am not a Republican…

    • Brooks March 26, 2010 at 3:53 pm #

      Steel, The problem with that supposition is that talking points are not facts… truth gets in the way.

      • STEEL March 26, 2010 at 5:36 pm #

        What supposition did I make? The FACT is that all the other developed countries ( I will say that again [ALL] of the other developed countries) provide health care to ALL of their people and they have enough doctors and they get better results and they do not force people into bankruptcy and they do it for less than half the cost or even cheaper and people do not die because of insurance company death panels.

        This is not even a controversy. It is a made up controversy by the right.

        Wouldn’t it be interesting if more people die from inadequate health care than from abortions in America?

      • Brooks March 26, 2010 at 5:57 pm #

        This HcR Bill does not guarantee adequate care.
        As for your comment on abortions… Which race of Americans has the most Planned Parenthood procedures?

      • STEEL March 26, 2010 at 7:15 pm #

        I did not say it did but it is a step forward. You are defending the crap system in place not me.

      • Brooks March 26, 2010 at 7:20 pm #

        I am criticizing the Senate HCR Bill that was forced through Congress… The Bill is a step in the wrong direction and will be replaced.

      • Mike in WNY March 26, 2010 at 7:34 pm #

        Steel, Canada has an acute shortage of doctors more serious than ours.

      • STEEL March 26, 2010 at 9:31 pm #

        How about Switzerland?
        How about Japan
        How about Germany
        How about France
        How about etc.

      • Mike in WNY March 27, 2010 at 10:10 am #

        Steel, you are the one who said [ALL] other developed countries.  An easily disputed claim.  The fact is, most of your statements are purely philosophical ideology.  

      • Carl Gauss March 27, 2010 at 10:46 am #

        @ Mike: Skills shortages in the medical field are a result of structural limitations in the education field. The United States has a skills shortage of nurses. Shortages are combated by removing the barriers to admission in schools and giving people incentive to get training in a field. This has got nothing to do with who pays for healthcare.

      • Mike in WNY March 27, 2010 at 11:00 am #

        @Carl, medical schools have limited admissions because of government imposed caps on residency slots.  So, what we have is the government creating the problem and proposing more government to solve the problem.  That is completely insane self-serving bullshit.  Anytime the government starts playing with supply and demand, the consumer suffers.  That is one of the main problems with the health care legislation.

      • Carl Gauss March 27, 2010 at 11:34 am #

        @ Mike: Admissions restrictions are imposed by self regulating agencies i.e. physicians associations. The American Medical Association has the biggest say in how many students can be admitted to medical schools. Sometimes these organizations ask to be further regulated but in any case the regulation begins with private organizations to keep the supply of their trade limited. Self regulating agencies may be a new concept for you but they aren’t for the “free market”. And once again, it’s got nothing to do with how healthcare gets funded so throwing up skills shortages as an argument against universal healthcare is a totally bullshit tactic. We were able to get a mandate to get enough doctors for WWII – a totally government generated initiative.

      • Mike in WNY March 27, 2010 at 12:07 pm #

        @Carl, perhaps you didn’t understand my previous comment.  The “voluntary” restrictions on medical schools admissions are a direct result of government imposed caps on residency slots.  Essentially you are saying the we will get the amount of doctors the government is willing to approve.  Actual demand for medical services will not be the deciding factor.  The fact that many potential doctors are anathema to practicing under a strict government system is being overlooked.  Funding for medical care will be competing with funding for bridges, potholes, food stamps, welfare, warfare, etc . . .  The system is already broke, monetarily and functionally.  

      • Carl Gauss March 27, 2010 at 9:26 pm #

        mike medical skills shortages are a separate issue fromuniversal healthcare. this stale red herring of yours is stinking up your’re like a wind up monkey with brass symbols. your answer to everything is “the government”. if there’s a problem “the government did it” the government this, the government that, blah blah blah. you’ve got no answers and no original thought, just blame “the government”. how simpleminded and out of touch with reality. well it’s time you grow up and learn what really goes on. professional organizations like physician’s organizations/lawyer organizations/engineer’s organizations/etc. are “self regulating entities”. they limit the amount of people practicing in their field to prevent their pay from being diluted by too much competition. part of the way they keep their number limited is by asking the government to regulate them, but they have other ways of controlling the amount of professionals in circulation. one way is to limit professional school admissions. this a practice that is independent from “the government”. schools want their accreditation so they agree to admission stipulations. this includes slots available, entrance exams, prerequisite training/experience, etc. this practice is totally indisputable, totally independent of government regulation, and totally free market so cry me a friggin river. accept it and move on. and if you retort with “well that doesn’t happen” we’ll know that you’re totally full of crap.

  5. Brooks March 26, 2010 at 3:41 pm #

    Interesting that the left thinks (or should I say feels) creating doctors out of thin air is a minor glitch. Rationing is on the horizon… screaming “terrorist” will not fix this problem.

    • Carl March 26, 2010 at 5:21 pm #

      Oh, you mean the way the insurance companies have done it?

      • Brooks March 26, 2010 at 5:32 pm #

        No, terrorist doctors from Ypsilanti…

      • Carl March 28, 2010 at 5:53 am #

        So you’re going to take the word of one doctor and assume he speaks for all? One doctor, mind you, who’s down with the GOP talking point of Obamacare?

        Sorry, not good enough.

      • Brooks March 28, 2010 at 1:14 pm #

        One of many, many more orthopedic surgeons to come forth…
        “We will to have to jump through hoops in order to get their patients the care that they need. The HCR Bill requires authorization from a government board with decision to be based on age and life-expectancy. So government is in a position to decide whether it’s cost effective to repair your grandmom’s hip fracture, for example — just one aspect of this plan — one aspect.”
        -Hate speech from a NY Orthopedic surgeon.

  6. BrianS March 26, 2010 at 7:07 pm #

    How sadly ironic that those warning of rationing haven’t any idea that rationing by heartless insurance beaurocrats has been going on for ages.

    • Brooks March 26, 2010 at 8:38 pm #

      Now your Gov’t will be taxing you to do the same thing… that is sadly ironic.
      Learn your QALY it is your worth.

    • STEEL March 26, 2010 at 9:29 pm #

      They realize it. They just don’t care until it happens to them.

      • Single Payer March 28, 2010 at 1:05 am #

        How true. It’s important to mention that life expectancy is always higher in countries with single payer/universal health care. Conservatives will never argue with that. When you confront a conservative with solid statistics they change the subject. Big for profit corporations are in business to make a profit – not ensure you quality health care. The incentives are structured for health insurers to maximize profits by signing up the healthiest people and tossing out the sickest people. What’s that you say? You have leukemia? Fuck you, we’re not paying for it. That’s the American way.

      • Brooks March 28, 2010 at 1:20 pm #

        Single Payer,
        You are grossly misinformed… Take a look at cancer death rates in this country vs countries with single payer systems.
        What’s that you say? You have cancer? Bleep you, the country is not paying for it. That’s the socialist way.

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