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As Good as It Gets? Talking points on the Democrats' health care bills and single payer

Since the House bill, HR3200, is the best on offer from the Democratic leadership right now, I'll use it as a baseline. No doubt Baucus, Schumer, and the rest will make the final bill even worse. I've been out on the "progressive" blogs, lately, fighting for single payer, and this post condenses the talking points I've developed. Feel free to copy and paste this post everywhere (but link back to Corrente, please). Share and enjoy!

Ten talking points:

1. 10 million people will not be covered. That's not universal coverage.

2. Only 9 million people will be in public option by 2019. That's not enough to keep the insurance companies honest (if that were even possible).

3. Public option does not begin until 2013. That's not "from Day One."

4. Public option is means-tested and fire-walled, so even if you don't like your insurance, you could still be forced to keep it.

5. The bills now have HMO-style care controls, supposedly as a cost control device. These were tried in the 80s, and didn't work. Remember Helen Hunt in "As Good As It Gets"? The audiences cheered. And for good reason.

6. There is no effective appeals mechanism. The three ombudsmen in the House bill do not have conflict resolution authority, as ombudsmen typically do.

7. You could be forced to buy junk insurance. If the minimum standards for coverage are set too low (which the insurance companies will do everything they can to make happen) and the subsidies for public option are chipped away at (and since they're framed as welfare, they will be), you could end up paying for insurance and still not getting care. Right now, you pay nothing and get nothing. That's better than paying, and still getting nothing.

8. The entire plan is complex, untested, and unproven. In fact, the Democrats are performing a large experiment on the health of the American people without their informed consent. In medicine, that's unethical.

9. Contrary to the assertions of some advocates, the public option will not evolve into single payer. HHS Secretary Kathleen Sibelius has said that the legislation will be crafted to avoid this; Obama now agrees (as opposed to the Obama of 2003, of course).

10. All these factors taken together might explain why Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi calls her own plan the "next best" solution for health care reform after single payer.

Don't the American people deserve the best health care system, and not the second best one? Not only will single payer save 18,000 lives a year, it will save $350 billion a year, at least.

NOTE Here's a helpful graphic that shows the operation of the public plan in detail.


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coyotecreek's picture
Submitted by coyotecreek on cut and paste these in other locations? And how do you want us to attribute it to you? (The site; a link; or just your posting name?)

Sarah's picture
Submitted by Sarah on

Dennis the K has an amendment (it passed in the House today, too!) that'll allow states to go the single-payer route without ERISA challenges.

If that's too inside baseball for you what it means is the Feds can't use ERISA to stop states from going single-payer (e.g. California, Colorado, Illinois, Minnesota, Montana, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Washington as of today) -- a waiver from ERISA will automatically be granted on petition by any state with an enacted single-payer statute. Give credit to Kucinich!

That could open things up for a fair number more folks (I wonder if any states will use it to lower their Medicaid/equivalent administrative costs?) if it's kept in the final version of the bill.

There's more:

The state single payer option was one of five major amendments which I obtained support to get included in HR3200. One amendment brings into standard coverage for the first time complementary and alternative medicine, (integrative medicine). Another amendment drives down the cost of prescription drugs by ending pharmaceutical industry's sharp practices manipulating physician prescribing habits. An amendment stops the insurance industry from increasing premiums at the time when people are not permitted to change health plans; and finally an amendment imposing a requirement on insurance companies that they disclose the cost of advertising, marketing and executive compensation expenses (which generally divert money from patient care).

Submitted by lambert on

Worth a post, in fact.

If Bernie doesn't run, I'm voting for Dennis!

NOTE However, if Kucinich can get this done, it means we really do have some leverage, and so we need to push harder.

UPDATE Then again... Nice framing by this commenter: Making single payer a crime.

Submitted by lambert on

... do we want everybody to be able to get injections, or not, if a pandemic comes?