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Obama Inadvertently Explains Why Any Public Option Health Insurance Is Doomed

BDBlue's picture
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Here's how Obama described how the public option will affect private insurers:

He said an audience member raised a "legitimate concern" about how a government-run health-care program might affect private insurers.

"My answer is that if the private insurance companies are providing a good bargain, and if the public option has to be self-sustaining -- meaning taxpayers aren't subsidizing it, but it has to run on charging premiums and providing good services and a good network of doctors, just like any other private insurer would do -- then I think private insurers should be able to compete. They do it all the time."

Then he invoked the Postal Service:

"I mean, if you think about it, UPS and FedEx are doing just fine, right? No, they are. It's the post office that's always having problems."

That comment provoked laughter from the audience.

Oh, so the public option will be like the United States Postal Service. It will be constantly undermined by elected officials who insist it compete with private companies as an "equal" even as they ensure that the private companies get all the really lucrative customers and the postal service gets stuck with all the thankless, unprofitable work that requires them to drive every back road in this country to deliver a letter for less than 50 cents while also giving deep discounts to help mail-based business, regardless of whether such deliveries or discounts make sense from a business perspective.* And the Postal Service is expected to do all of this while the Government insists it do things that none of its private competitors have to do (such as prepay future retiree health benefits). Then when the public option, like the Postal Service, cannot win its race against private companies blindfolded with its legs tied together, it will be mocked by the President of the United States.** That does sound like a good plan.

What could go wrong? Well, for starters, this losing set up has led the Postal Service to repeatedly raise rates in recent years (since "deregulation" started under Carter) and threaten to cut back services to the poor people who can't afford to spend $25 dollars to FedEx a letter to their mother in Bumfuck, Idaho. That's what this public option competing against private carriers has gotten us - a service that costs more and provides less for the neediest among us.

And isn't all that hilarious? The government entity a lot of Americans rely on has been gutted to help private companies earn more money at the expense (literally, in terms of rate increases) of poor Americans. Ha, ha, ha! That is funny, Mr. President.

The Postal Service is not an example of why private companies are better than public ones or how they can compete with the government successfully when we're talking about a core government service. It's an example of how far the government is willing to go to hamstring itself from doing its job so that a handful of companies can make more money at the expense of Americans who depend on a government service.

That's exactly how I expect any public option to work, thank you Mr. President for being honest about that, which is why I won't support it.

* I don't think USPS should have to do things simply because it makes good business sense in the narrow terms private entities use. The Postal Service still provides an important service, even today (not everyone has email or access to a computer and internet hook up), and it should be judged on how well it provides that service and at what cost, not on whether it can break even in providing the service. Moreover, even if it doesn't make money (or loses money), it's a critical part of the infrastructure that allows other companies and people to make money. Netflix, for example, wouldn't exist without the USPS and its low bulk mail rates. So just by forcing it to "compete" on the terms of private companies, as opposed to public entities, its set up to ensure failure.

** Any time any public official mocks an agency that essentially works for him, he's really only damning himself. You can't be at the top of Government and mock how poorly Government operates and not implicitly be criticizing yourself. Not that that ever stopped any politician.

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a little night musing's picture
Submitted by a little night ... on

of how completely OFF Obama often seems when he speaks unscripted.

And, I mean, WTF? With all the problems the Postal Service has, the last time I had to send a small package (for a replacement under warranty), I wanted to go UPS... but it would have cost about four times as much as USPS. So, even though I dearly hate my local PO, I ended up with them.

a little night musing's picture
Submitted by a little night ... on

that the "public option" will exist only to absorb the (otherwise) uninsurables.

: sigh :

I seriously hope he's planning to come in with single-payer at the 11th hour to save us all. Because otherwise, my friends, ...

mass's picture
Submitted by mass on

We'll have to save ourselves. He is not gonna do it.

Also, post office is quasi-private, so co-ops? And, Congress is always telling the PO to "act like a business". So, is that what people who supported "trojan horse" single payer were looking for? Sad.

Medicare for All will take ruthless, ground up advocacy. It won't come easily. And, it won't come through Obama's chess playing skills. Does he even play chess?

Submitted by jawbone on

small enough that a bathtub won't be needed to drown it. Just flush it down the toilet.

How's that trust factor doing?

The idea of a last minute stealth turn to single payer has been running through my mind for almost two weeks now. But that's because to me the emerging plans are so bad. I figure he's got to see that. See, we've still got HOPE! For CHANGE!!

Then reality kicks in.

gqmartinez's picture
Submitted by gqmartinez on

This is one thing that really annoys me. There *should* come a point in time when the repeated acquiescence and "incompetence" of Obama/FKDP need to be questioned. Maybe these assholes aren't screwing up at all, just doing what they really believe in. After praising the "ideas" of the GOP, the Harry and Louise ads (how the fuck can anyone really forget about those ads), and rigging an election how can you think that this administration has liberal principles deep down?

The thing about these candid statements is that they often reflect what they constantly say or hear (and believe).

BDBlue's picture
Submitted by BDBlue on

it costs you less to mail something than it does to send it FedEx or UPS.

The reason for the losses is, in part, that FedEx and UPS are allowed to skim the most lucrative business off the top and leaves USPS with everything else, including discount rates for bulk mailing and mandates like pre-paying retiree health benefits (which no private company ever has to do).

But even if that weren't the case, the main problem is in thinking of the postal service (which is a public service) as something that's supposed to make money or break even. The cost of sending mail to rural, remote addresses is not something the people who live in those places could necessarily afford to pay. Or, for that matter, companies could not afford to send them their bills there.

Submitted by jawbone on

But I'm sure a work-around could be found to kill off the Post Office. Seemingly it would require a constitutional amendment, but, given the Unitary Executive stuff now accepted by Obama, who knows?

Just Grover it.

Samuel's picture
Submitted by Samuel on

government services are "free" as long as it's financed through a bond issuance rather than taxes. Without factoring in an annual loss of $7,000,000,000 to the price of a stamp, you're not comparing what's cheaper overall.

"The reason for the losses is, in part, that FedEx and UPS are allowed to skim the most lucrative business off the top and leaves USPS with everything else" Allowed to skim? You mean consumers CHOOSE FedEx and UPS over the subsidized USPS.

"leaves USPS with everything else, including discount rates for bulk mailing" Leaves? Is there a reason the Federal Government subsidizes college brochures, victoria's secret catalogues, credit card offers and perfume samples? Get rid of it and save a few trees. If the USPS did not exist it's not as though UPS and FedEx would have to subsidize bulk mailing so this point is actually an explanation as to why the post office is so inefficient - bad choices influenced by a blank check approach to business management.

To you last point, if that's the case then they need to optimize it for that - not subsidize bulk advertising costs for credit card companies. I mean - I would disagree regardless - but if you want to live on the top of a mountain then yea, maybe your mail should cost a little more to send. If society as a whole would benefit from you living atop of that mountain, the additional postage costs would be recovered through another means. If it weren't, then society doesn't want to subsidize you in the first place.

BDBlue's picture
Submitted by BDBlue on

It's a political decision by the government. It's ridiculous to think that the USPS doesn't operate under a lot of political pressure and government interference that FedEx and UPS don't have. USPS cannot simply raise rates and put all those mail order businesses out of business. That's unacceptable politically.

You seem to suggest that USPS just needs to operate like FedEx or UPS, but it can't. It doesn't have the luxury of turning down business that isn't lucrative or charging the true cost for those services. Congress and the President won't let it.

And that's my point. You can't operate a government concern like a business because IT ISN'T A BUSINESS. USPS is expected to compete as a business, it operates under a host of restrictions that don't apply to businesses.

And I would argue that's how it should be. Not everything should be provided for by private business. Some things - like an operating mail system - are crucial to the operation of the country and its business and so should be provided at public expense and not expected to "compete" with private entities who don't provide the same services or operate under the same restraints.

The expense of the USPS has gone up since "deregulation" despite all of this vaunted competition. That's because all the competition does is stick the taxpayer with subsidizing the low paying work, while permitting private industry to ciphon off the high paying work. And, yes, that's what FedEx and UPS do - they take the stuff you can make money on and leave the bulk mail and 50 cent letters to USPS. USPS has been set up to fail and that's why it's failing - so FedEx and UPS and all those mail order companies can make money while Obama makes jokes about the USPS.

Samuel's picture
Submitted by Samuel on

"It's ridiculous to think that the USPS doesn't operate under a lot of political pressure and government interference that FedEx and UPS don't have." - Yep

"You seem to suggest that USPS just needs to operate like FedEx or UPS, but it can't. It doesn't have the luxury of turning down business that isn't lucrative or charging the true cost for those services. Congress and the President won't let it." - Yep

I think it may be time to revisit the metrics on what the taxpayer gets in return for $7 billion lost by the USPS. You're arguing it's necessary - and I think you're agreeing it's doing a shit job at taking care of the "necessities" since it costs $7 billion. So what specifically is the necessary service here - for whom specifically. I'm not the one burning that cash annually, you're advocating it which means the burden of proof falls on you and that goes beyond stating "it's necessary".

As for that last paragraph... You agree - private industry is more efficient with the correspondence with which they are legally allowed to compete against the USPS for business. If that's true - should we not lift the remaining monopoly rights given to the USPS on small postage and see if private industry can cut costs there as well? The USPS can retain their "necessary" rates and allow private companies the opportunity to lower costs even more than USPS subsidization allows. Why give a monopoly to an entity run by a bureaucracy when allowing competition can ONLY hurt the bureaucrats, not the taxpayer and not the consumer.

Think. Think about what you're trying to do to me.

"USPS cannot simply raise rates and put all those mail order businesses out of business." - What???? Does that mean cash for clunkers must last forever too, lest an auto giant fall?

BDBlue's picture
Submitted by BDBlue on

And I don't think it's doing a shit job. I think it's doing an increasingly difficult job with not enough political support (and I don't mean money). It's been reduced to providing subsidized services for poor people and mostly lower-end businesses (mail order isn't glamorous). That's how this whole public-private stuff works and it's what they'll do with healthcare. They'll design a "public option" for poor people. Because it will be stuck with the poorest and sickest among us, it will be more expensive since insurance rates are all about pooling risk. Then costs will rise and people will resent paying so much money so other people can have health insurance and then the cuts in service and rise in co-pays will start. And not because that's the best way to design the system, but solely because it's the only way to keep the insurance companies' failing business model profitable.

BDBlue's picture
Submitted by BDBlue on

So even assuming your figure is right, it's not like getting rid of the postal service is going to result in some huge amount of money flowing to Americans. When you think about what the USPS does (delivers mail to your home, even on rural routes, holds mail, forwards mail, lets you mail a letter anywhere in the U.S. for less than 50 cents), $23 is a bargain. And it's still very popular with the public even with its rate hikes and having to cut back services.

cal1942's picture
Submitted by cal1942 on

you got that benefit to society thingy when you got your clock cleaned at TL. Now BDBlue has cleaned your clock.

Samuel's picture
Submitted by Samuel on

Basically everyone denies that the post office is not cheaper, then admits it while stating price-fixing destroys profitability but goes on to say that we need it as a public service. Which is all fine and dandy, but isn't a longterm solution - rather a time bomb as any solution being offered is just another ponzi scheme rife with future unfunded liabilities.

I can sort of relate to the NEED mentality with coverage - you can overlook economic principals and empirical evidence while caught up in the emotions of someones life in peril. But this shit with the post office be off the hook. How is this service so important that we burn 7 billion a year on it AND won't even allow private companies to compete in small - non urgent correspondence.

The Left. I know, you aren't religious and only sustain murderous wars - you must be correct about economics.

Aeryl's picture
Submitted by Aeryl on

AND won't even allow private companies to compete in small - non urgent correspondence.

Do you really read what you are saying???

The whole reason USPS loses money, is because there is no money to be made on small correspondence. Private companies CAN'T compete.

There is no there, there.

cal1942's picture
Submitted by cal1942 on

At TALKLEFT you claimed the Postal Service cost us an additional $2.5 billion and now you claim the number is $7 billion.

Which is it Sammy?

Inasmuch as cost is concerned you're still having a hell of a tough time with the math.

Samuel's picture
Submitted by Samuel on

how immature and irrational your approach is, right?

Table 1: USPS's Financial Results and Projections, Fiscal Years 2006–2010

YEAR NET LOSS * YEAR-END DEBT
2006 $0.9 $2.1
2007 $(5.1) $4.2
2008 $(2.8) $7.2
2009 $(7.0) $10.2
2010 $(7.0) $13.2
* All dollars are in billions.

Submitted by jawbone on

Off the Mark. (We could drop the last half if it seems snarky.)

I'd just come over to post about the post office dissing. (Watch out USPS!! Once the dissing comes out, often the metaphorical knives do as well. Plus, budget hassles and cuts?)

He also made another (Freudian?) slip which Eli at Left Eye on the News noted. I can't get into his site for opening links, commenting, even just copying sections below the top post. I had to copy the entire page to get this post. Firefox used to work for me; now it does the same thing EI does. For me, it's read only. Weird. Maybe a reader here can go to lefti.blogspot.com and see if the links are interesting. Actually, I'd love to know if anyone else has problems with the site....):

Obamacare

From President Obama's town hall today:

"This is not about putting the government in charge of your health insurance. I don't believe anyone should be in charge of your health insurance decisions but you and your doctor."

As for me, I want my doctor and myself making decisions about my health care, not about my health insurance. A slip of the tongue on the part of the President? Maybe, but it's telling that the name of the town hall was the "Health Insurance Reform Town Hall." That's the whole focus of what's going on. Not improving health care. Improving health insurance. Which is not what is needed.

Obama did mention the money question:

"By definition, if we're helping people who currently don't have health insurance, that's going to cost some money. It's been estimated to cost somewhere between, let's say, $800 billion and a trillion dollars over 10 years."

To which I take the opportunity to point out once again that the U.S. spends one trillion dollars every year on its military. Which means that a mere 10% cut in military spending would fund the entire increase in health care costs. And actually, according to Obama, most of that $800 billion to a trillion is going to be achieved by "savings," and only "$30 billion to $40 billion a year" is needed to fill the funding gap, for which he's proposing some tax increases. But $30 to $40 billion is only 3% of military spending. It's less than the U.S. will be spending on waging war in Afghanistan during the next 12 months, an expense about which there was exactly zero debate in the Congress (or in the media or anywhere). Just sayin'.

Update: For a sad picture of the current state of health care in the United States, note that an organization called "Remote Area Medical," which normally performs services in third-world countries, has recently conducted health fairs in Virginia, Tennessee, and Los Angeles, providing free health care to thousands of Americans with no other access to health care.

And for an interesting analysis about why the "public option" is not remotely comparable to a single-payer system in terms of savings, read the second letter on this page.
// posted @ 8/11/2009 03:39:00 PM // Comment (1)

Obama continually says that with his reforms people will be able to keep their own doctors, usually to reassure people who have insurance now that they won't be forced onto the public option. But he has to know that employers tend to change carriers when the costs go up, and with changes come, often, loss of access to current physicians. He has to know that. Why does he keep saying something which is misleading? This has to be a feature, not a bug.

CMike's picture
Submitted by CMike on

Sorry I tried to screw in that light bulb by myself.

Submitted by jawbone on

From the Wiki link:

In 2007, the U.S. spent $2.26 trillion on health care, or $7,439 per person, up from $2.1 trillion, or $7,026 per capita, the previous year.[25] Spending in 2006 represented 16% of GDP, an increase of 6.7% over 2004 spending. Growth in spending is projected to average 6.7% annually over the period 2007 through 2017. Health insurance costs are rising faster than wages or inflation, and medical causes were cited by about half of bankruptcy filers in the United States in 2001.[26]

However, a UN study has a lower figure:

Per capita health care costs by country, 2007.

The sum of public and private expenditure (in purchasing power parity terms in US dollars), divided by the population. Health expenditure includes the provision of health services (preventive and curative), family planning activities, nutrition activities, and emergency aid designated for health, but excludes the provision of water and sanitation.
~~~Source: Human Development Report, 2007, United Nations. Web: hdr.undp.org.

United States: $6096
Norway: $4080
Switzerland: $4011
Netherlands: $3092
France: $3040
Canada: $3173
Germany: $3171
Australia: $3123
Sweden: $2828
Denmark: $2780
Ireland: $2618
United Kingdom: $2560
Italy: $2414
Japan: $2293

It's possible Obama is getting the $6000 figure from this UN study; but nowhere does it say the US is spending $6000 more than X country -- unless you go to the side of the chart with lowest per capita expenditures (which is terrifying to read).

We do spend almost exactly double what France spends (where the ER comes to you!!!). but I don't get what Obama is talking about.

(Lambert, maybe we should update the figures on the right?)

Jeff W's picture
Submitted by Jeff W on

President Obama used the $6000 figure in his earlier news conference on July 22. In response to where that figure came from, FactCheck.org wrote the following:

We contacted the Office of Management and Budget, where an official told us that Obama's figure represents costs per family, not per person. Obama didn't specify that, and the authoritative OECD figures on which he relied don't offer a per-family cost. The OMB official said the administration multiplied the per-capita spending by 3.3 to get a family figure (roughly the average number of persons living in family households). This yields closer to an $8,000 difference than $6,000, however, so we're still unsure of how Obama got his figure. In any case, using a per-family figure without identifying it as such is misleading, since millions of Americans live alone, and per-capita spending is the standard used for making such comparisons.

I'm not keen about Obama slipping up repeatedly about that figure. It's one statistic. It's not that hard to get right.

CMike's picture
Submitted by CMike on

I was sure someone must have chased down what that figure was supposed to refer to but I never saw it. Of course, conservatives don't want to make too big of a deal out of the fact we're spending an extra $2500 more than the next highest spending country.

Submitted by jawbone on

country on health care. This highest amount I found for an "advanced" country was Norway, with $4080 per capita in 2007; the US figure was $6096. Multiplied by 3.3 to represent family spending, as FactCheck was told, the two countries have a sample family cost of $20,117 for the US and $13,464 for Norway, with the US paying $6,653 more than Norway. (Note this is from the UN's Human Development Report, HDR.)

$6,653 rounded up would be $7,000, better $6,500 -- but not usually rounded down to $6,000.

So, I think we haven't yet found the figures on which Obama is basing his statement that the US pays $6000 more on health care than any advanced nation.

He may have figures for 2008 not yet available to us...or he chose a different country...or...there are lies, damn lies, and statistics. All sorts of games can be played with stats.

mass's picture
Submitted by mass on

so I think that is where he gets the number, rounded down.

He thinks his proposals will bring it down to 4k more than comparable families(little evidence to support this). Which is funny. Why should we pay 4k more per family anymore than 6k more?

CMike's picture
Submitted by CMike on

All of us should know these numbers and they should be the basis for Talking Point #1* for anyone who has a chance to pitch health care reform on television or radio. Somerby says we should be explaining to our fellow Americans that we are being "ripped off." Of course, the beneficiaries of this rip off are not just the insurance companies. (And as you point out, even Somerby has been using dated numbers.)

Ideally, our side should agree to use numbers from the same source so the story we're telling comes across as solid.

Wikipedia is using this source. Here's the two page pdf with the breakdown. I think one of the charts Rep. Weiner is using comes from page 2 of this two page pdf.

Obviously the U.N. study you cite provides international comparisons so it is very useful source material for debate. Over at Wikipedia, it looks like they have per capita health care costs for most of the 50+ countries reviewed in this article -- but I haven't gone through them or looked at the sources being used; looks like it's World Health Organization information.

____________
*Actually, I think Talking Point #1 on most topics should be "The Corporate Media" is propagandizing the public.

Submitted by jawbone on

not result in any cuts to Medicare, but AARP has reserved any endorsement until it knows --get this!-- just what is in the legislation!!! As in knowing whether there were to cuts or not! Good move, AARP. You got good and burned by BushCo on Medicare prescription legislation. I'm no longer a member bcz of AARP's stand on that. Well, sell out on that.

On Bill Moyers' Journal tonight Kathleen Hall Jamison mentioned the above fact -- and she was rather strongly moved to call Obama out on it, while letting other things slide. Made me wonder why.

She was interviewed with Drew Altman about the media coverage of the health care debate (focus has been on conflict, not informing the public) and its effects (the public is badly served by the MCM*), about how the WH let the message get away from them.

BILL MOYERS: But how do you explain that he [Obama] has lost control of the message? I mean, he's got the biggest pulpit of all. And yet he's not determining this narrative right now, right? How did he drop the ball?

KATHLEEN HALL JAMIESON: He's lost the message in news. He didn't lose the message in his town hall earlier this week when he spent much of the time in the town hall explaining the legislation and arguing that the status quo is scarier. If we don't change, it's scarier than if we do change.

And he did it in detail and he did it very effectively. News then comes in and plays that town hall as Obama on the defensive, trying to explain his message.

And so what happens is the few who watch the town hall get the whole context. That was an effective town hall for President Obama. He made one serious error when he suggested AARP had certified the legislation, that the legislation would not produce cuts in Medicare, when in fact it has not endorsed any legislation. [Jamieson's tone said more than her words]

That also then is featured in news. But those who watched the whole town hall I think reasonably would have concluded a strong case was made that keeping the status quo, not putting change in place, was scarier. What was going to happen in the future is scarier for those with insurance than it would be if we made the change.

DREW ALTMAN: I think, in addition, what happened is for a time the experts' agenda and the policy makers' agenda on Capitol Hill hijacked the public's agenda.

BILL MOYERS: What do you mean?

DREW ALTMAN: Because the focus became about bending the curve and health information technology and the policy makers' understandable interest in reducing the federal deficit in the future.

And now, as you may have noticed, they brought the discussion back to the concerns of the people, which brought us this debate in the first place. And so the language has changed. It's now about health insurance reform and not about health reform. [Both guests seem to think this is a good thing, as it is suppoed to assuage any concerns among those how have insurance.... Gleep, Et tu, Kathleen?]

Oh, please, FSM--

Medicare for All,,,with a Robust Private Option

*MCM--Mainstream Corporate Media

Submitted by jawbone on

subsidized by the federal government?

I ask bcz from reading Kip's analysis, it looks like HMO Redux.

The requirement that the contracting insurers be able to “promote high quality clinical care” is a tip-off that the HELP Committee wants the insurance companies that will run the “community options” to use managed care cost-control tactics. A second tip-off is that Section 3106 does not guarantee patients the right to choose their own clinic and hospital. Instead the bill only requires that a ”community” insurer will be one that “offers a wide choice of providers.” In short, an entity that meets the MAC standards plus the additional criteria in Section 3106 amounts to your basic, non-profit managed care insurance company. The big ones these days include many Blue Cross Blue Shield companies and the nonprofit HMOs such as Kaiser Permanente, Group Heath of Puget Sound, and HealthPartners. (My bolding throughout quotes)

So, it sounds like some of the problems which plague HMO's (limited choice of doctors and facilities, higher costs to go out of plan, perhaps no coverage or very limited coverage out of plan or out of geographic area, etc....HMO's of the 80's?) will be the "public option." It's one way to hold down costs. It won't save what single payer does since the care providers will still face the horrendous paperwork, regulations, gotchas, etc. -- unless they only work with the "public option" "HMO." I think. The Blues seem to be big on denial of care, btw.

It appears only established insurance companies will have the wherewithal and knowledge to establish these "public option" "HMO's" -- meaning the Big Insurance Parasites will be competing with themselves! That will be vibrant "competition," eh?

But if public employees are not going to be directly responsible for creating the “community options” – if the nonprofit wing of the insurance industry is going to be doing that – then the entire “community option” project of the Senate HELP Committee amounts to a cruel joke on the public. Should the public trust corporations like Blue Cross and Kaiser Permanente to make a good faith effort to build competing insurance companies?

If the Senate bill writers were honest with the public, they would title it the Health Insurance Companies' Profitability Assurance Act. HICPAA. Goes well with BOHICA.

Section 3106 is a mess, but its meaning becomes clear after several readings. Section 3106 does not create the “Medicare-like” program promised by Jacob Hacker, HCAN, Howard Dean, and other “option” advocates. Instead it proposes a program that authorizes DHHS to create numerous health insurance companies tied to geographic areas, and to contract with members of the existing insurance industry to create and possibly run those companies.

This may explain why the bill has not yet been made available for the public to review and read (Kip makes clear the mark-up portion seems deliberately vague and ambiguous). It may explain why Obama will not really explain what's being considered in Congress, especially the Senate: Public understanding of what's proposed would not help him get anything passed.

Leaders of the “public option” movement have an obligation to advertise the HELP Committee bill truthfully. It is not accurate to say the HELP Committee bill creates a “robust” or “strong” public option. It is not even accurate to say the HELP Committee bill creates one “option.” The truth is the “option” is balkanized and very weak. In fact, HCAN, Andy Stern, Howard Dean and other “option” advocates who have praised the HELP Committee bill should do more than cease to praise it. They should tell Congress they oppose it.

We've all been told that the perfect is the enemy of the good: What is the role of the execrable?

And, do Dems really want their party to be identified for decades with...FSM help us...HMO's???

In short, I would not tarnish the name of Medicare by applying it to this legislation. I'm pretty foggy on what Medicare Plus is, so I wouldn't use it to criticize the proposal. HMO says it all. And everyone would be up in arms to know that's what Obama has in mind for the nation.

Whatever happened to selecting the doctor of your choice? Facilities of your choice?

So, please, correct me if I'm wrong on this.

Medicare for All...the bailout for the rest of us!

mass's picture
Submitted by mass on

That was what Jacob Hacker's original pub. opt. conception was dubbed, "Medicare Plus". If I supported this rather than Medicare for All, I would call it that and not a public option that is such a vague term it could be completely removed from the parameters of Medicare, as it has been.

Submitted by jawbone on

no idea that was Hacker's orignal term for his proposal.

What's coming down the pike is not what Hacker intended, and it's not what people really want. Sheesh. We are a mobile nation (somewhat less so with the ecnomic meltdown, but still mobile) and this kind of plan means people will pay through the nose for CARE out of area. It's something seniors who travel have run into on those Medicare HMO's. Crikey. !

I think calling the "public option" lots of little community HMO's would do the trick. HMO's have loosened up some strictures, but they are not cherished by their captive insurees. Then again, what is meant by "serve communities"?

These little HMO's will not be permitted to negotiate drug prices with any clout, they'll negotiate services how? At Medicare rates? That I wasn't clear about. But, can tney be state wide? Regional for those run by the biggest of the Big Insurance Parasites?

sane unaffiliated voter's picture
Submitted by sane unaffiliat... on

For your inspiring defense of the US postal service. As far as the public option, your radicalism hurts your case. The reason the public option is being defeated is because, people do not want to go on the public option. Your argument in itself, pretty much makes the case that the public option is something that nobody would want unless they had no other choice. If anything it should be sold as insuring the uninsured and the uninsured only. That would be a winning argument for it. But you just don't want to hear it. The bottom line that you are missing is the inherent mistrust in government. People don't want to have the government dictating their healthcare options. If you look at everything the government runs is ineffectual and costly.

Look at the past year alone. Bailouts for the banks. Nobody knows who even got this money. When congress asks this question of Ben Bernanke or anybody else at the fed, they can't provide an answer. The Cash for Clunkers Program is a gigantic giveaway to more corporations with the US taxpayers footing the bill. And the program is being mismanaged on top of that, as only 2 percent of the funds have been reimbursed because of red tape bs. And of course the stimulus passed before spring that was so desperately needed, but a majority of funds have still been unspent. And the first stimulus from Bush, supported by the Dems, where again, nobody knows where the money went. And on top of that, the endless wars supported by the NeoCons and the Dems which never end and are a drain on the federal deficit.

How long is the country going to keep printing money and essentially stealing from the people that save and rewarding the people that spend recklessly and live beyond their means? With all this corruption and hypocrisy in the government, you know want to trust them with administering healthcare? And you think the American people, who a majority don't want this are wrong? Nobody likes the current system, but the suggested alternative currently on the docket scares the sh t out of people. And I don't blame them. And to make this mistrust perfectly warranted is the continual lies. The last 6 years, we had to listen to "they hate us for our freedom" bs. Now Obama is lying by saying people can keep their existing insurance and don't have to be on the public option. The CBO has stated that this is not the case. Somebody is lying. And it is scary either way. The CBO a supposedly independent agency of government or the President. Pretty easy to see why the mistrust and on top of it, with everything else, nobody wants the country going broke.

The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.
Winston Churchill

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

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