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