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Healthcare recs



January 17, 2010 – Comments (15)

Usually it feels fine to see multiple recs for your post. But every once in a while I see some recs that make me quite uncomfortable. 

Attacking the so-called healthcare "reform" has been a can't-lose proposition recently. In fact, it's been too much of a can't-lose proposition because the Illinois demagogue has a happy talent to make Caps players of all political persuasions come to the same opinion that he is a string puppet of special interest groups. But this does not invalidate the fact that we still need a real healthcare reform. 

For the life of me, I cannot see why Republicans would even want to block obamacare in the first place. The reform plan developed by parteigenosse Baucus is a Republican's dream. One would think the corporate welfare party can't but support the largest transfer of wealth in history from the American public to HMO executives. That GOP leadership would propose, and vote for the exact same plan the day they won a majority in Congress, is quite clear, but what the ordinary rank-and-file Republicans think about during their tea parties, is still a mystery. Their beloved healthcare executives are getting a trillion-dollar handout from the working poor, and these Republicans are still unhappy. I guess, they must have wanted a $2 trillion handout, but sadly, that amount of money doesn't exist yet.

Anyway, since the right-wing camp, for whatever reason known only to them, chooses to bite the hand that's feeding them, casting arrows at the so-called "reform" is now a cheap way to get undeserved recs.

I am still saying it would be a tragedy if Baucus' plan ever comes to pass, but it would be a tragedy for the opposite reasons than what these overly zealous Republicans have in mind. My issue with this plan is that it that it pours another $1 trillion into that black hole that will happily gobble up any amount that you give them, while failing to destroy HMOs, to crack down on hospitals, or to attack the corrupt and bloated cost structure. In other way, that it fails to actualize Republicans' worst nightmare and set up a fully socialized healthcare system. So how many recs should I mentally remove from the blogs in question? My guess is, about 50%.


15 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On January 17, 2010 at 3:47 PM, Option1307 (30.65) wrote:

That GOP leadership would propose, and vote for the exact same plan the day they won a majority in Congress...

Agree 100%, it's simply politicians being, well, politicians. They are just pandering to the sheeple. And most of us are too stupid to realize it.

Anyway, since the right-wing camp, for whatever reason known only to them, chooses to bite the hand that's feeding them...

Be careful in using "Republican" and "right-wing" interchangeably. Most Republicans do not represent the the values of conservatives. I consider myself a fiscal conservative/ social liberal mix and I don't support 99% of the crap that comes out of Republicans (or Democrats) mouths'. Just an fyi.

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#2) On January 17, 2010 at 4:47 PM, bigcat1969 (81.12) wrote:

It is interesting that this bill is being pushed by someone I tend to view as a Socialist, as it hammers the middle class and below while giving huge profits to insurance and healthcare companies.  It is the worst solution imaginable that not only will put everyone on a "pay to exist" plan, but also cuts huge political deals for the unions and other Democrats.  Outside of the folks standing to make a fortune selling mandated insurance and unions who represent less than 10% of workers, who wins here?  Taxs go up, insurance goes up and people are required to pay just to live in the country.

I could live with a Canadian system that is straight government support or with a straight pay to get care system.  Both have problems, but at least each system makes sense.  This system is the worst of both worlds, it adds a layer government to the healthcare process and doesn't solve the problem of expensive care.

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#3) On January 17, 2010 at 9:02 PM, devoish (65.42) wrote:

Zloj, you are spot on.

bigcat, where does straight pay work for 80% of a population? 

 Outside of the folks standing to make a fortune selling mandated insurance and unions who represent less than 10% of workers, who wins here?

I have no idea how the unions benefit from this plan, but I can name some other names for you besides the health insurers. How about investment banks as the insurers invest premiums against future payouts. Nobody gets a bigger paycheck than the insurance execs and the banks. Insurance company investors, 3-5 years at the outside before the investments fail and PIRG steps in to cover losses - financial crisis 2015. Private hospitals win as the insurers are encouraged to payout 85% of premiums into healthcare. Would you rather have 15% of a $100.00 mri or a $1000.00 mri? Drugs/materials etc as the insurers are encouraged to raise loss liabilities so they can get the same cut of a bigger payday.

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#4) On January 17, 2010 at 9:21 PM, ChrisGraley (28.48) wrote:

I recced this because I think you made some good points, but you have made some poor assumptions as well.

From the way I see it, there are plenty of people on the left trying to block it too! And for good reason! This bill is horrible and does nothing but make healthcare worse for everyone.

Why anyone even supports it at this point amazes me!

The best argument I see from the left is that "We still need healthcare reform!"


Is this healthcare reform?

Is it really?

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#5) On January 17, 2010 at 10:03 PM, bigcat1969 (81.12) wrote:

Devoish, Unions get a 5 year exemption as I understand it and access to lower cost plans.  Good points on who else would do well. 

Straight pay wouldn't work today, would be very painful involving people dying in the streets and would result in health care costs dropping like a rock as hospitals would empty except for the rich and drugs would be a glut on the market except for those Walmart generics.  Doctors and hospitals would be forced to choose between wealth and helping the needy.  Non profits would spring up to help the poor and the health care biz and related would lose 90% of their value on the market.  Let's see death, likely riots and a massive stock market fall, maybe my way isn't so good!

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#6) On January 17, 2010 at 10:11 PM, AbstractMotion (< 20) wrote:

A lot of people get way too caught up in this partisan crap all the time.  People define parties, parties don't define people.  The biggest problem we have is a total lack of competent leadership on each side of the issue.  I don't think the Republican party really has any platform at the moment, much like the Democrats during the Bush years there just is not a defining issue to the party currently other then socially conservative values.  The Democrats have plans, but they're almost always throughly compromised, inefficient and only benefit a very small group of people (if anyone at all).  Likewise I think the vision some of the higher ups have for America would not/will not pass well with the general public, which will likely cost them their majority this year.


As to why this legislation is structured the way it is, it's mainly because it'll smooth out premium payments for the real outliers of the system currently.  It's the perfect plan if you want to give the impression of doing something significant, but without the real change.  You won't hear as many horror stories, which will in turn lower overall outrage as things continue to creep up.  It also privatizes some practices that would very unpopular politically, mainly the transfer of money from young, healthy people to pay for older unhealthy people.  I'm sure the Democrats do expect it to fall apart in several years anyways, and they'll be able to point a finger directly at insurance companies and say "there's your devil".  Keep in mind most politicians don't win office by actually providing solutions, they do it by undermining their opponent a thoroughly as possible.  Insurance companies are going to gobble it up because like virtually every large entrenched industry they're more then willing to give up long term sustainability for short term gains.  There's nothing really reform related about it, it's meant not to fix the problem so in the long term the general public will be more willing to give a more extreme measure some consideration.  That could be government run healthcare, or a rapid wind down of regulation and public funding, depending on who's in office when it outrage sets in again.  Politicians have nothing to gain by comming forward and saying there's no easy, pain free solution and there will have to be some compromises somewhere in the system.


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#7) On January 17, 2010 at 10:15 PM, whereaminow (< 20) wrote:

Great blog zloj.

David in Qatar

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#8) On January 17, 2010 at 10:37 PM, russiangambit (28.67) wrote:

I stopped counting money wasted in the US  long time ago, there is so much waste everywhere it doesn't bear thinking. 1 more trillion on healthcare, it is not going to make any difference. The whole system is already collapsing under it is own weight while politicians keep bickering. It seems nothing has been done in the last 30 years in the US to address the structural imbalances in the government spending, and nothing is being done now either,  just wasting away whatever wealth is left and mortgaging the future.

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#9) On January 17, 2010 at 11:29 PM, starbucks4ever (79.83) wrote:


My impression is that America can still afford it. The amount of wealth in this country is so mind-boggling, it can survive an amount of waste that would ruin any other country. I just see no reason it should waste that trillion when it could easily SAVE five times as much by doing the sensible thing.

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#10) On January 17, 2010 at 11:39 PM, djkumquat (40.82) wrote:

dead on! mandated private health insurance has been a republican wet dream for years, and if they were the ones calling the shots, we'd be getting such a plan from the GOP (see nixon plan, romney in MA). everything imaginable has gone wrong with much needed health care reform. and it will continue to be this way. why? because the solutions needed would take a lot of money away from many greedy hands. tort reform, non-profit care, rewarding prevention instead of treatment of symptoms, etc... all cost saving solutions. but cost savings means shedding the waste that too many riff-raff profit from. in a year from now, we'll likely still have the same problem, just a different mess. best blog of the year, so far. thanks zloj! highly recommended post!

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#11) On January 17, 2010 at 11:40 PM, devoish (65.42) wrote:

The New York Post think their are no Republicans in unions! Pretty biased but typical for them.

The Reuters report you linked gives the facts. The Post is wasting your time.

The deal settles a major issue as Democrats try to merge healthcare bills passed by the Senate and House of Representatives.

Here are details of the agreement based on information provided in a telephone conference with labor union officials:

* The agreement aims to ensure that middle-class workers are not hit by a 40 percent tax on high-cost health plans.

* The effective date for the tax is 2013 and it would kick in at $24,000 for family plans and at $8,900 for individuals -- up from $23,000 for families and $8,500 for individuals in the Senate-passed plan.

* Plans negotiated on behalf of state and local government workers or as part of collective bargaining agreements would be exempt from the tax until 2018, giving those groups time to negotiate new contracts.

* The tax threshold will rise annually based on the increase in the Consumer Price Index plus 1 percent. The threshold could be raised even higher if healthcare costs grow faster than expected from 2010 to 2013.

* Dental and vision coverage would be exempted from the tax beginning in 2015.

* The tax threshold for plans that have significant numbers of women and older workers would be higher.

* Senate provisions allowing for a higher tax threshold for workers in high-risk professions, such as fighting fires, would be preserved. That could affect more than 9 million workers.

* Plans that include retirees age 55 and higher would also have a higher tax threshold.

* The tax threshold for plans in states with high-cost insurance would be temporarily higher.

* Insurance exchanges would be opened to collectively bargained health plans beginning in 2017.

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#12) On January 17, 2010 at 11:50 PM, bigcat1969 (81.12) wrote:

Yeah I thought you might get a kick out of the Post, that's why I linked it first.  Err still the unions got a pretty nice deal and there is enough fine print to make extra money for lawyers, we forgot them.  If it passes it will be going to the Courto Supremo at some point and that will be fun.  My state is allegedly saying it might not participate and many state head legal beagles are talking about 'options'. This could be another big opener for state's rights.  Imagine if some states opt-out.  It would be a huge incentive for getting biz to a state.  Come to our state we don't have fines and 40% taxes!  You think Cali emptied fast, wait until they have this bill enforced and Colorado doesn't!  I'm using ! points its time for bed.  Happy bloggin' everyone.

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#13) On January 18, 2010 at 7:23 AM, fmahnke (69.33) wrote:

Everyone seems to want to align this bill with a political party or an ideology  I still can't see how anyone could support it.

What seems to get too little attention is mistrust that americans have developed based on the blatant lies of the this administration.

CSPAN coverage, bipartisan negoitiations free of special interest politics, that is what was promised. Why shouldn't americans of both parties rebel against this bill or any other legislation which developed in direct conflict to the promises made by our leaders.

Shouldn't accountability and honesty trump politics ?  Isn't the best possibe outcome to send a messsage to political leaders that they need to do their best to fufill the promiseds they ran on or get voted out ??  I hope so.

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#14) On January 18, 2010 at 1:03 PM, drgroup (66.44) wrote:


"For the life of me, I cannot see why Republicans would even want to block obamacare in the first place."

You can not be serious with this statement. This obamacare is not about concern over the health of the uninsured. It is rediculous to asume that there is all this love out there for people who don't have healthcare. If that were the case, why doesn't obamacare just pay for their insurance out of taxing the healthcare insurers directly?

This movement is a socialist action whose true agenda is to seize more control over your rights and freedoms as an American citizen. You might look at this as some utopian love gift, but you will end up regreting the day you ever heard of obamacare if it passes. Be careful what you wish for. 


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#15) On January 18, 2010 at 1:49 PM, jesusfreakinco (28.11) wrote:

If the politicians wanted to reform health care, they'd take Medicare as well as it is on course to bankrupt our country sooner rather than later.

Although I am a conservative, I am still looking for the republicans to represent my interests.  The political system is broke.  Hopefully some statemen run for office and do what is right rather than what is policatically correct.

I hope the Mass senate race sends a wakeup call.  Repubs already got their butts whooped over the last four years.  The Dems look poised to get a butt-kicking soon.  It will be an interesting few years.  Revolution, a quiet one, is hopefully upon us.  We need a strong third party, IMO.  Although I don't agree with him on all accounts, Ron Paul, is one of my heros.


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