A reformless reform?
This "reform" is very unusual in that nobody save a dozen of HMO execs who are now quitely drinking champagne, and some of the less bright HMO shareholders still hoping for a few crumbs from the CEOs' table, can call himself a beneficiary.
The consumers? They will be buying a service that is so popular that even parteigenosse Baucus doesn't believe it can be sold on a volunatry basis.
The already insured? I have yet to see a propagandist making the claim that HMOs will lower their premiums after the reform. This claim is so widely understood to be incredulous that Baucus doesn't even have the guts to use that lie to try to sell his "reform".
The employers? Same thing. Not a chance to negotiate better rates. If anything, they will have even less bargaining power than before. HMOs are not afraid that employers would get up from the table and leave. They know they will get their employees one way or the other.
The uninsured? Those who pay out of pocket will be forced to buy coverage that even with all these tax credits is likely to cost them more than out-of-pocket costs. Make no mistake: the fines for refusing to buy coverage are there for a reason.
The free riders? They will get the same emergency room service as before except now they will be forced to pay the premiums. And to add insult to injury, it's not even expected to lower costs for everyone else. To HMOs go the spoils.
The uninsured that choose to remain uninsured? Nothing will change for them either except that $3200 fine. Think of it as a new tax for the lower middle class, and a nasty one at that because it's regressive.
The government? While 900 billion spread over 10 years is not a lot compared to the Paulson-Bernanke bailout of 10 top banksters this year, it's not chump change either.
Maybe at least the doctors will be happy with this "reform"? But no, even the doctors would have nothing to do with this plan before they were bought with a $228 billion concession.
It appears that we would be much better off if we just paid this $900 billion directly to insurance CEOs so that would quit their business and get off our necks. At least that would put insurance lawyers to a more productive use than writing and rewriting the boilerplate in your contract. http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20091004/ap_on_go_co/us_health_care_affordability;_ylt=AvaKhF3uXShk4cijEc73YEmyFz4D;_ylu=X3oDMTMxZWpnNWtiBGFzc2V0A2FwLzIwMDkxMDA0L3VzX2hlYWx0aF9jYXJlX2FmZm9yZGFiaWxpdHkEcG9zAzMEc2VjA3luX2FydGljbGVfc3VtbWFyeV9saXN0BHNsawNoZWFsdGhpbnN1cmE-