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Take 2 Tax Breaks and Call Me in the Morning November 7, 2009

Posted by Admin in Diary, Health Insurance, Health Quote of the Week.
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So said Rep. McGovern (D-Mass.) moments ago in the floor debate on HR 3692 in the House of Representatives. That was his characterization of the health care reform that the Republicans would prefer.

[picapp src=”6/9/6/2/Hillary_Clinton_Campaigns_fe19.jpg?adImageId=7201356&imageId=3717859″ width=”234″ height=”318″ /]

The R’s have a new tactic this morning. After the increase in the unemployment rate was announced yesterday, they are now calling HR 3692:

a job-killing (4 million free-enterprise jobs), debt-piling, small business tax increasing, major overhaul of health care delivery in this country.

Meanwhile, the D’s are reminding constituents that:

the bill invests in prevention, wellness and public health, according to Rep. Doris Matsui (D-CA). She also reminded us that this bill will prevent medical bankruptcies and close the “donut hole” of Medicare Part D.

[picapp src=”a/c/5/5/Sen_John_McCain_e5e6.jpg?adImageId=7201443&imageId=6922532″ width=”234″ height=”351″ /]Other Representatives from the majority party have alluded to our poor infant mortality statistics, the bills mandate to not deny people care based on  pre-existing conditions such as being female, having had a C-section, being a victim of domestic violence or being a cancer survivor, and the 100 year debate on this issue.

Rep. Mary Jo Kilroy (D-Ohio) fights back by saying,

It’s time to make coverage accessible and affordable. We’ve waited too long…..

Presiding over the House debate today is Rep. Charles Dingell (D-MI), who presided over the debate on the Medicare legislation in 1965.

Watch the debate live on C-SPAN or cspan.org now!

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Expect Better from Finance Committee Vote Today! October 13, 2009

Posted by Admin in Health Insurance, Healthonymous.
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The Senate Finance committee will vote on the bill called America’s Healthy Future Act today. I expected better from this group. Let’s hope the title doesn’t become a huge oxymoron, as so many of the previous administration’s bill titles were.

The CBO scored it last week, as well as they could at least and pronounced that it was more than budget-neutral, it would save some money-about 10% of the total cost.

Does it matter much what is in the bill now? Only for the short term so that as many Dem’s as possible will vote to pass it out of committee. We don’t even know if Sen. Blanche Lincoln-AR will vote yes with her fellow Democrats. Because even though the Dem’s have a majority on the committee, they have, to quote Jon Stewart,

“gutted health care reform and not gotten a single Republican vote in return”.

What’s in the bill? (more…)

First, Do No Harm October 4, 2009

Posted by Admin in Health Insurance, Money.
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I was hoping that the Senate health care reform bill would at the very least, “Do No Harm”. We all think of that as part of the Hippocratic Oath, but it is not. The phrase that references harm is actually the promise “to abstain from doing harm”, according to Wikipedia.

While some might wish that Congress would “abstain from doing harm” more often, I don’t agree. I am a fan of government-albeit a transparent one. To quote the Public Disclosure Act of Washington State: (RCW 42.17.010)

(1)That political campaign and lobbying contributions and expenditures be fully disclosed to the public and that secrecy is to be avoided. (emphasis added)

(2) That the people have the right to expect from their elected representatives at all levels of government the utmost of integrity, honesty, and fairness (emphasis added) in their dealings.

Those statements apply to our members of Congress too. Did the members and the Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee accept too many contributions from the insurance industry? (See Baucus’s fundraising in 2008 here) How does the bill  about to be voted on help the public interest with no public option in it? And why do the insurance companies (whose stock values went up the day after the President made the public option sound well, “optional”) need a ten year subsidy to support all of their new customers?

Even people who work for Group Health Cooperative, one of the Co-op success stories bandied about as a new national strategy don’t believe that co-ops are the answer. Next alternative is “the exchange”- a marketplace.

Who has not been paying attention? Many states do not have a marketplace, but a near monopoly. Last I checked a “marketplace” has more than one seller and prices are not all the same.

I respect the President’s statement that we are 80% of the way there and that bills have never been generated out of five committees before. But he promised to go farther than this! As cancer survivor who has not worked  for companies with 100% coverage for a few years, I am not sure that this bill will be enough. If I am guaranteed coverage, what will the price be, without a worthy competitor such as a public option with millions of participants?

Will I be better off? I think so-and it’s better than the R’s “do nothing/start over” non-alternatives. But, oh what could have been? Wait, some of you still need to get involved. Call your MC and tell them you expect better, and soon!

Is The Public Option Really Dead? September 29, 2009

Posted by Admin in Health Insurance.
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It is up to you. Today, two amendments with the public option failed to make it out of the Senate Finance Committee. You remember the public option, right? As Senator Rockefeller described it, this optional plan would avoid placing profits before the American people. remember, this is a voluntary choice, open to the public. What about the word optional don’t people understand?

Please call your Senators tomorrow-it is not too late.

The public option would provide a public plan as competition for the current plans offered by the insurance companies. It would have the same (or better) benefits at a more affordable price-due in part to lower administrative costs.Why are they afraid of competition? Because this might drive our premium costs down. Right now, if the bill passes with co-ops only, prices will not go down due to the smaller number of people in each plan. With a national plan as a public option, there would be millions of people in the plan, which would be fabulous-lots of healthy people included and the risk from the heavy users will be spread out over a bigger population. This is more complicated that this summary, but let’s face it, as Senator Stabenow just said, “If the current system was actually working, we wouldn’t need change…”

In addition, the insurance companies will currently receive a half trillion dollar subsidy over ten years with Sen. Baucus’ bill, plus millions of new customers. What did they sacrifice to get this? $20 billion, one time. Those are great gambling odds. 25 to 1. I guess all that lobbying money paid off.

To see if your Senator is on the Finance Committee

visit this site or for another perspective,

visit Rock the Vote and watch their video, posted today after the amendments failed to pass.

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