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7/17/2009
NO, AMERICA — YOU CAN’T KEEP THE HEALTH INSURANCE YOU HAVE NOW

When campaigning for president, Barack Obama went out of his way to reassure the American people that his health care plan wouldn’t require Americans who are happy with their insurance now, to give it up in favor of a government run insurance plan.

He was emphatic on this point, as his campaign website highlighted the promise: (PDF)

Q. I like my current insurance coverage. Will I have to change plans?

A. No, you will not have to change plans. For those who have insurance now, nothing will change under the Obama plan – except that you will pay less. Obama’s plan will save a typical family up to $2,500 on premiums by bringing the health care system into the 21st century: cutting waste, improving technology, expanding coverage to all Americans, and paying for some high-cost cases.

As recently as yesterday, he reiterated the promise:

At a rally in Holmdel, New Jersey, today, President Obama continued making a promise about health care reform that he has acknowledged isn’t literally true.

“Let me be exactly clear about what health care reform means to you,” the president told residents of the Garden State. “First of all, if you’ve got health insurance, you like your doctors, you like your plan, you can keep your doctor, you can keep your plan. Nobody is talking about taking that away from you.”

But last month, as the president acknowledged during a press conference, he doesn’t literally mean that you are guaranteed to be able to keep your health care plan, and your doctor, if and when health care reform passes.

“When I say ‘If you have your plan and you like it,… or you have a doctor and you like your doctor, that you don’t have to change plans,’” the president said after we asked him about this, “what I’m saying is the government is not going to make you change plans under health reform.”

Importantly, the government might create circumstances – say, a public health care option that is less expensive since profit is not a concern and overhead is lower – where you might find your business forcing you into that public plan.

This is not only misleading, it is an outright falsehood:

PRESIDENT Obama promises that “if you like your health plan, you can keep it,” even after he reforms our health-care system. That’s untrue. The bills now before Congress would force you to switch to a managed-care plan with limits on your access to specialists and tests.

Two main bills are being rushed through Congress with the goal of combining them into a finished product by August. Under either, a new government bureaucracy will select health plans that it considers in your best interest, and you will have to enroll in one of these “qualified plans.” If you now get your plan through work, your employer has a five-year “grace period” to switch you into a qualified plan. If you buy your own insurance, you’ll have less time.

And as soon as anything changes in your contract — such as a change in copays or deductibles, which many insurers change every year — you’ll have to move into a qualified plan instead (House bill, p. 16-17).

When you file your taxes, if you can’t prove to the IRS that you are in a qualified plan, you’ll be fined thousands of dollars — as much as the average cost of a health plan for your family size — and then automatically enrolled in a randomly selected plan (House bill, p. 167-168).

It’s one thing to require that people getting government assistance tolerate managed care, but the legislation limits you to a managed-care plan even if you and your employer are footing the bill (Senate bill, p. 57-58). The goal is to reduce everyone’s consumption of health care and to ensure that people have the same health-care experience, regardless of ability to pay.

One begins to wonder if the president and the Democrats are capable of telling the truth about anything. Their lies about cap and trade not costing jobs and not adding substantially to American’s energy bills is disproven by how the program works in Europe where thousands of dollars have been added to the household energy tab and millions of jobs have been lost with precious few “green jobs” created in their place.

And here we are being told that we shouldn’t even read this health care bill being crafted in secrecy (with precious little input from the White House), that we should just trust the Democrats and the president on this.

To Obama supporters, I have a question: If your man had run on the kind of health care bill emerging from Congress, do you think he would have been elected? If you think so, you are out of touch with ordinary Americans. Being forced into a government run insurance plan is not what the American people had in mind when they elected Barack Obama. They expected cheaper insurance with the same benefits - just as he promised. What they are going to get - much to their shock - is the prospect of losing benefits and paying more for their medical insurance once they are forced to choose among the several plans that will be offered by the government.

They also didn’t expect a massive addition to the federal budget. That CBO report will be ignored by Democrats despite the fact that it gives the lie to their claims that going the public route will save money.

The bills that are emerging from both the House and the Senate are too complex, too expensive, rely too much on pie in the sky forecasts of both participation and cost, and point the way to a system where the vast majority of Americans will have the bare minimum of coverage for as much or more money than they are spending now.

And despite what Obama and the Democrats say, this is not the only way to reform the health care industry. It is the most expensive, least efficient, and most liberal way to do it. But it is a lie to say there are no alternatives to these bills that are cheaper, more efficient in that they utilize resources more effectively (bigger bang for the buck), and would accomplish the same goals that Democrats claim they want to achieve.

After all, the Obama bill will not cover everyone. After 10 years there will still be 17 million people without health insurance. And certainly, there are better ways to pay for this than raising taxes on the middle class - which will be the only alternative once Democrats admit they were lying about the other revenue generators in the bill. Medicare savings of the size and scope being postulated have no realistic chance of being realized.

Soak the rich if you want. But that will only get you so far. To go the rest of the way and fund the entire measure, tax increases (they will be called “fees” and “surcharges”) will be necessary. Even that won’t be enough. The CBO estimate of a little over a trillion dollars may be wishful thinking. Others have figured the cost going over $1.5 trillion and beyond.

Name one entitlement program that has ever met budget expectations. There isn’t one - they have all been more expensive than anyone realized when they were created. Why should something as gargantuan as national health insurance be any different?

This is a disastrous measure that will suck the life out of our health care system while adding hundreds of billions to our deficit. And the helluva it is, the bill will pass based on lies and deceit of what it’s true costs are and what it will actually do for the average American.

By: Rick Moran at 8:39 am
32 Responses to “NO, AMERICA — YOU CAN’T KEEP THE HEALTH INSURANCE YOU HAVE NOW”
  1. 1
    Shaun Said:
    9:29 am 

    Rick:

    This post should have taken the “I’m a Liar — But Don’t Hold That Against Me.” It brings out the worst in a blogger who more often than not is deeply thoughtful and . . . well, accurate.

    You rely on a single source — a single freaking source — to go bonkers, and that source is none other than that pillar of malicious misinformation, the New York Post.

    I covered HillaryCare in 1993 and have closely followed ObamaCare in 2009. Simply put: You, like the Post, are making stuff up out of thin air.

    If you don’t have the guts to delete this demonstrably false pile of excrement, then I suggest you consider blogging on:

    * Pat Buchanan’s overarching racism and why people even listen to him anymore.

    * Why John Ensign and Mark Sanford should quit.

    * Anything about baseball. Please!

  2. 2
    Chuck Tucson Said:
    9:47 am 

    We should let the private insurance industry fix the nightmare created by, the private insurance industry. Capitalism’s ability to self regulate is the stuff of legends.

    Now, if you’ll excuse me I’m going to go read some gloom and doom flowcharts created by the health insurance industry that tell me how bad socialized medicine is.

    Then, when I’m done, I’m going to go study the Frank Luntz Republican health care talking points so I know what to say the next time some idiot Obama supporter tries to tell me single payer will be better.

  3. 3
    busboy33 Said:
    10:00 am 

    I had a more detailed comment, but it seems to have been eaten by the InterTubes.

    Short version — Betsy M., the author of the Post piece, is a demonstrable fraud. This is beneath you Mr. M.

  4. 4
    Postagoras Said:
    10:01 am 

    Pretty good analysis, Rick. I agree that Congress has been reluctant to deal with the enormous cost of the health plan. The CBO has been very good at their job, thank goodness.

    A few comments, though.

    Obama has been very clear all along that if nothing is done, there is little chance that you will have the same health plan in the near future. And most likely it will be a worse plan.

    Your post ignores the elephant in the room. The health care system is not working for the country as a whole. For example, the cost of providing emergency room care to the uninsured is expensive. We all end up footing the bill for that, but that does not appear on any balance sheet. It’s a hidden tax, one of many in the current system- the goal of health care reform is to reduce those taxes, and to bring them out into the open- not eliminate them, but reduce them.

    If we can agree that there’s a problem that needs to be fixed, that’s a start.

    How about a post where you discuss the competing plans that have been advanced by Douthat and any other conservatives? Then show how those plans has been adopted by the Republicans in Congress, and how they have tried to advance them, but been spurned by the Democrats.

    I’d be very interested in that.

  5. 5
    jackson1234 Said:
    10:25 am 

    The so-called “healthcare reform” has precious little to do with the uninsured and underinsured and everything to do with a naked power grab. The same applies to the cap and trade bill that barely slid through Congress and probably will die in the Senate. It was about power and doesn’t even merit the label of an environmental bill.

    Yes, Obama is a pathological liar, certainly the worst since Richard Nixon (but without the intellect). But Obama pales in comparison to the Congressional Democrats who have tried to ram these monstrosities down the throats of the American people. That Obama has thrown the congressional Dems under the bus and lined them up for utter slaughter in 2010 seems to have gone over their heads.

    As for the above posts, ignore the newspaper source. Focus on, as Rick wrote, the CBO report. Focus on Obama’s repeated lies about the ability to maintain present health insurance coverage. And as Rick wrote, consider how this will play with the American public.

    I thought the Democrats would over-reach fairly quickly, but never thought they would reach a tipping point this soon. Obama may have thrown his fellow Dems under the bus, but they still have their hands on his arm and will drag him there, too, in 2012.

  6. 6
    Shaun Said:
    10:32 am 

    Considering the atrociousness of this post, a little piling on is in order.

    Behind that phony Betsy McCaughey smile (you’re such a sucker for purdy conservatives, Rick) lurks a serial malevolence regarding anything to do with health-care reform masked as plain-out lying. Could this have anything to do with her ties to Big Pharama? (Cough, cough.)

    Incidentally, in 1993 Betsey was hard at work selling the same Kool Aid that you drank in a series of op-eds claiming that what Bill Clinton was saying about HillaryCare was markedly different than what the plan actually would do.

    Different decade, same old excrement.

  7. 7
    Aaron Said:
    10:53 am 

    The section in question defines the term “grandfathered” and absolutely does not prevent people from keeping the health care that they have.

    Judging from Mr. Moran’s normally high quality of work I suspect he’s composing an update discussing the perils of jumping to conclusions, not doing one’s homework, and trusting the NY Post about anything.

  8. 8
    Alarm1201 Said:
    10:55 am 

    Great post. You’ve shown two things. The idiocy of the Obama plan and his followers. They have nothing substantial to offer only attacking the character of the Mrs. McCaughey. The fact is she is not the only source of this info. The Wall Street Journal, Investor’s Business Daily and a host of other sources are reporting the same things, and worse.

    So Rick may have only listed one source but there are many others to back what he says (No, I will not link to them, learn to google.)

    One question: Why does Obama not want to wait until after the August recess before cramming this garbage down our throat? Answer: because he knows once Americans find out what is in this bill they will be up and arms.

  9. 9
    Travis Monitor Said:
    11:58 am 

    Wow. A lot of vicious, vile ad hominems, content-free of actual substance contra the Post and Rick Moran.

    Yet as #8 notes:
    “The fact is she is not the only source of this info. The Wall Street Journal, Investor’s Business Daily and a host of other sources are reporting the same things, and worse.”

    Indeed. The best source is the bill itself:

    “Except as provided in this paragraph, the individual health insurance issuer offering such coverage does not enroll any individual in such coverage if the first effective date of coverage is on or after the first day” of the year the legislation becomes law.

    You are herded from a free market in insurance into a rigged “Exchange system” where the Govt makes the rules, holds the cards, and tilts the playing field with subsidies and forbidding of risk management. It’s a pathetic charade to pretend these rules wont destroy private health insurance - that’s the POINT. The Waxman endgame always was Single Payer, this is just the ‘boiling the frog’ version of it.

    Ten Ways Obamacare will Kill You:
    http://travismonitor.blogspot.com/2009/07/ten-ways-obamacare-will-kill-you.html

  10. 10
    busboy33 Said:
    11:59 am 

    @Alarm (how appropriate):
    I love a challenge.
    First source you list – the WSJ. It’s a pay site, and proving you’re an idiot isn’t worth paying money to me.
    Next – Investors Buisness Daily. Plenty of Articles in their series “Government-Run Healthcare: A Prescription for Failure”, and they do in fact make the same claim:

    “It turns out we were right: The provision would indeed outlaw individual private coverage. Under the Orwellian header of “Protecting The Choice To Keep Current Coverage,” the “Limitation On New Enrollment” section of the bill clearly states:
    “Except as provided in this paragraph, the individual health insurance issuer offering such coverage does not enroll any individual in such coverage if the first effective date of coverage is on or after the first day” of the year the legislation becomes law.”
    http://www.ibdeditorials.com/IBDArticles.aspx?id=332548165656854

    Well, if IBD said it, it must be true. I mean, talking points don’t get repeated without someone checking them, right?

    Just for giggles, lets actually read the text BEFORE the paragraph quoted:

    (a) GRANDFATHERED HEALTH INSURANCE COVERAGE DEFINED.—Subject to the succeeding provisions of this section, for purposes of establishing acceptable coverage under this division, the term ‘‘grandfathered healthinsurance coverage’’ means individual health insurance coverage that is offered and in force and effect before the first day of Y1 if the following conditions are met:
    (1) LIMITATION ON NEW ENROLLMENT.—
    (A) IN GENERAL.—Except as provided in
    this paragraph, the individual health insurance issuer offering such coverage does not enroll any individual in such coverage if the first effective date of coverage is on or after the first
    day of Y1.
    (B) DEPENDENT COVERAGE PERMITTED.—Subparagraph (A) shall not affect
    the subsequent enrollment of a dependent of an individual who is covered as of such first day.
    http://waysandmeans.house.gov/media/pdf/111/AAHCA09001xml.pdf
    (page 16, lines 3-20 . . . see, providing links to your sources isn’t so hard)

    So the limitation on enrolling new members applies to insurance that is defined as “Grandfathered” insurance, meaning that it existed before the bill hypothetically passes. It does not say, at all, in any possible way, shape, or form, that you cannot get new private insurance – it just says that such new insurance will not be defined as “Grandfathered Health Insurance Coverage”.

    Which makes perfect sense. Maybe IBD missed those words sitting on the same page. I mean, otherwise they are deliberately mis-reading the text to promote a demonstrable lie presumably to promote their agenda. I’m sure they would never do that, so let’s just assume they don’t actually know how to read.

    “a host of other sources”
    Well, I certainly can’t refute that.

    You snidely suggest people learn to Google. Maybe you might want to consider doing the same to get facts instead of opinions that bolster your own paranoia.

  11. 11
    Travis Monitor Said:
    12:02 pm 

    “When you file your taxes, if you can’t prove to the IRS that you are in a qualified plan, you’ll be fined thousands of dollars — as much as the average cost of a health plan for your family size — and then automatically enrolled in a randomly selected plan (House bill, p. 167-168).”

    Correct. Basically the 10 million ‘uninsured’ who make over $50,000 a year but stay off of insurance because it is too expensive, will be … SCREWED. Peel the onion and you find that the ‘problem’ the Liberals are “solving” is free people making free choices that liberals find inconvenient. Hey presto, chain-gang them into forced individual mandate to but health insurance and the ‘problem’ of freedom is ’solved’.

    Keep your Mandates off my Prostates!

  12. 12
    Travis Monitor Said:
    12:10 pm 

    “The section in question defines the term “grandfathered” and absolutely does not prevent people from keeping the health care that they have.”

    The very fact that some choices are “grandfathered” is proof enough that the bill reduces choice for individuals in the future. You lose your job now and decide to be self-employed, you can get whatever bare-bones health insurance you want. You make the same decision after the bill is passed, then you are FORCED either to pay a huge fine or get onto an exchange-only plan, with 1,000 pages of legislation spawning phonebooks full of regulations mandating coverage.

    Oh, and one more thing - like Obama’s promises, the ‘grandfather’ thing has an expiration date - 2018 …

    http://www.redstate.com/ddstrain/2009/07/16/the-sec-102-promise-to-let-you-keep-your-existing-health-coverage-you-didnt-expect-them-to-let-you-keep-it-forever-do-you/

    So this is a bill that will via the massive Government mandates on both individuals and employers, and via Govt regulations and subsidies, herd all Americans not in BigEmployerHealthcare into the PublicOption/Medicaid-for-all/SinglePayer system.

    Keep your Mandates off my Prostates!

  13. 13
    Travis Monitor Said:
    12:13 pm 

    “The goal is to reduce everyone’s consumption of health care and to ensure that people have the same health-care experience, regardless of ability to pay.”

    The real problem is that the liberals are solving a ‘problem’ that isnt a problem here. Do we spend ‘too much’ on healthcare? This assumes that people are making ‘wrong’ choices. Maybe they are, but if they are choices freely made and not burdening others, it’s not Govt’s issue to address.

    Health care affordability is an issue but rationing or restricting the free choice to buy healthcare is not a solution to the affordability issue. As such, Obamacare is wrongly premised and it destined to do far more harm than good.

    http://travismonitor.blogspot.com/2009/07/ten-ways-obamacare-will-kill-you.html

  14. 14
    Travis Monitor Said:
    12:40 pm 

    #4:

    “Pretty good analysis, Rick. I agree that Congress has been reluctant to deal with the enormous cost of the health plan. The CBO has been very good at their job, thank goodness.”

    Well … the Devil is in the details, and huge cost of this is squeezing every aspect of the healthcare system dry. First, the 8% payroll tax on all business w/out health insurance; that’s a job killer right there. Second, the surtax that drives top-end income tax rates to levels not seen since Jimmy Carter days. Third, they strong-armed ’savings’ out of private insurers. Forth, they are raiding the State Budgets with a Medicaid expansion unfunded mandate. Fifth, cram-down on Medicare costs that will crimp granny’s healthcare. Last put not least, screwing the voluntarily uninsured for good measure.

    “Obama has been very clear all along that if nothing is done, there is little chance that you will have the same health plan in the near future.”

    Other than the well-known fact that Medicare is going bankrupt someday (a problem this bill only makes worse), his statement is bunk.

    ” And most likely it will be a worse plan.”

    Those are threats of a THUG. Basically Obama is saying ‘do it my way or we’ll break the whole system.”

    “The health care system is not working for the country as a whole. For example, the cost of providing emergency room care to the uninsured is expensive.”

    Whatever the cost, it’s $1 trillion LESS than the Obamacare plan. So the plan is like taking a Lexus that needs a brakejob, breaking the transmission, replacing the V-8 with a 4-cyl, and doing a cheap repainting job, NOT fixing the brakes and calling it “reform”.

    ” We all end up footing the bill for that, but that does not appear on any balance sheet. It’s a hidden tax,”

    It’s not hidden, you have Federal and state budget items for these things. In our town they have $80 million for local clinics. These were justified based on the argument that it was ‘cheaper’ than emergency care rooms. I’ve come to conclude that the whole line of argumentation is bogus. They add more and more free services, and naturally, people use them. Many of those people, at least here in Texas, are illegal aliens, who are counted as part of the uninsured. How much of the $1 trillion price tag is really about get more health care for that population, and/or preparing us for the social welfare cost explosion if/when this population gets amnesty? Quite a bit, if you peel back the numbers.

    ” one of many in the current system- the goal of health care reform is to reduce those taxes, and to bring them out into the open- not eliminate them, but reduce them.”

    ObamaCare clearly increasing Government costs, burdens, regulations, taxes and involvement in the healthcare sector.

    “How about a post where you discuss the competing plans that have been advanced by Douthat and any other conservatives?”

    The problem with talking about conservative plans is that they are right now academic. Such plans are out there with a quick google to Heritage, Cato, Republican Study Group, etc. Good ideas abound. But its irrelevent as the Democrats have a majority and will NOT consider them at all.

    The Democrats in Congress have ignored Republican input on issue after issue and are planning a partisan left-liberal cramdown of the biggest tax-spend-regulation bill they can get. They did it on stimulus, on waxman-markey, on budget, and now on obamacare. it’s a dreadful way to operate, but it does simplify the Republican response. All they can and should do is say NO to this awful left-liberal policy garbage coming out of the Democrat Congress, and explain to the American people in detail why these bills are bad for America. Which they are.

    “Then show how those plans has been adopted by the Republicans in Congress, and how they have tried to advance them, but been spurned by the Democrats.”
    Why dont you take your own advice, do the research/lookup and post it? The House GOP has been there, done that.

    Keep your mandates off my prostates!

  15. 15
    Nick Said:
    12:43 pm 

    I used to think Rick was smarter and more sensible than the hoopleheads that worship Malkin and Beck but apparently not. Whats next Rick? Gonna jump on the “birthers” wagon?

  16. 16
    Travis Monitor Said:
    1:14 pm 

    “I used to think Rick was smarter and more sensible than the hoopleheads that worship Malkin and Beck but apparently not. Whats next Rick? Gonna jump on the “birthers” wagon?”

    Ad hominems do not make for refutation. What next, a Hitler comparison? I used to think liberals had an actual agenda. Apparently not; all they have is incoherent rage against the right.

  17. 17
    Travis Monitor Said:
    1:23 pm 

    “I thought the Democrats would over-reach fairly quickly, but never thought they would reach a tipping point this soon. Obama may have thrown his fellow Dems under the bus, but they still have their hands on his arm and will drag him there, too, in 2012.”

    Rasmussen poll: Obamacare is opposed 50% to 35%. Those numbers will get worse as the freedom-destroying aspects of the Democrat House Destroy-health-freedom Act gets more widely known.

    The leftists cant help it. They will throw away non-leftist politicians like tissue paper in their irrational radical zeal to destroy private health insurance in America.

  18. 18
    busboy33 Said:
    1:24 pm 

    @ Travis:

    a) House Ways and Means has no authority to re-write the Tax Code, so at best this is a suggestion.

    b) Respectfully, that is not “Correct” in many respects. The Section DOES propose an Amendment to the IRS Code that would be essentially a penalty tax if you can’t show proof of “acceptable coverage”. http://waysandmeans.house.gov/media/pdf/111/AAHCA09001xml.pdf, page 167, l.18, et.al.)

    You have a right to be pissed about that. I am too.

    I could spin this by saying it should be “positioned” as imposing a fair cost on everybody. Rich or poor, there are no lazy Welfare-Wastin, Blood-Suckin’ deadwood of society, a bill that doesn’t discriminate against the rich – they don’t have to pay a cent more than the next guy. If its Universal Coverage, then its only fair that everybody pays a fair share. Get your own Insurance, use the Public Option, get an exemption (even an Exemption if you have a Faith-Based Conscientious Objection to buying Insurance) . . . your choice because God Bless Mom Apple Pie and America you have the Freedom of Choice to decide what’s best for your Family etc. etc. . . . but you’re gonna have to get some form of health coverage. That’s the whole point, to insure everybody. You don’t want a Socialist State spending money on supporting people, so then everybody has to pony into the kitty. John Wayne would.

    It’s a fair spin (in that’s all that is true), but it still sucks. Money don’t grow on trees, agreed. But the fact that its expensive as hell doesn’t make it a “bad” thing. Is Universal HealthCare worth doing? That’s a different question than Is this the Best Way To Pay For It? And it’s a damn sight different than “ObamaCare will Literally Enslave Your Family For Bolshevik Good – Floggings and Tatoos Begin Tuesday”.
    Literally, that tenor kills constructive criticism. You may bring up a brilliant, cogent criticism, something that should be corrected, but if you end it with “’cuz the aliens told me” you lose any credibility.

    That’s a rude metaphor, and for that I apologize. But you do raise legitimate issues, so when you say something like “and then automatically enrolled in a randomly selected plan (House bill, p. 167-168).”

    Is “Correct” . . . no, it’s not Correct.

    http://waysandmeans.house.gov/media/pdf/111/AAHCA09001xml.pdf
    Where? It’s not done specifying all the exemptions to the tax by the time it ends on page 175, and not once did I see any reference to involuntarily forcing a citizen to be enrolled in a randomly selected plan. There’s the link, give me page and line.

    It could well be there. I’ve missed language in Leglislative text before. Correct me and I’ll apologize. But I don’t see it.

    The only mention of random enrollment in the entire bill (do a search for the word “random”) is on page 98, line 2-7, and says that in some possible circumstances a person might get involved with a process, “Such process may involve a random assignment or some other form of assignment that takes into account the health care providers used by the individual involved or such other relevant factors as the Commissioner may specify.”

    Might involve under limited circumstances. If you refuse to pick, you have to be covered, then its possible you might have to be assigned a plan that best continues whatever healthcare you have been using. If I work in the private sector, and my employer has to cover me, and I don’t chose, they’re going to have to assign me to the default coverage. I can’t be left uninsured. That’s not unusual. Nothing says you can’t pick whatever you want, nothing says if you have to be assigned to something, and you object, you can’t change it. We gotta send the bill for your care somewhere.

    Fair to disagree with this . . . but it’s a damn sight different than “and then automatically enrolled in a randomly selected plan.”

    Its not Correct. Not by a long shot.

    a) House Ways and Means has no authority to re-write the Tax Code, so at best this is a suggestion.

    From WIkpedia: The Committee of Ways and Means is the chief tax-writing committee of the United States House of Representatives. Members of the Ways and Means Committee cannot serve on any other House Committees, though they can apply for a waiver from their party’s congressional leadership. The Committee has jurisdiction over all taxation, tariffs and other revenue-raising measures, as well as a number of other programs

    Um…just who do you think is responsible for initiating tax legislation? Maybe the Fisheries Committee? What do you think “Ways and Means” means?

    Of course the Ways and Means Committee oversees all changes to the tax code - ALL. Please don’t show how ignorant you are by making a high school civics class mistake like that.

    ed.

  19. 19
    Nick Said:
    1:26 pm 

    Ad hominems? I’ll give you ad hominems if you want but I have a question for you “Travis”…… I’m 62, just got laid off, no jobs available here, have had open heart surgery recently (cost: $247,000), and my insurance/COBRA runs out soon…..the GOP plan gives me a $3000 credit to buy my own insurance……. could you (or Rick) provide me with a list of the companies that will give me insurance?

    No one is saying reforms aren’t absolutely necessary. And no one is saying that only market driven solutions should be tried - at least I’m not.

    In cases like yours, the GOP plan establishes insurance pools in the states where people with pre-existing conditions can get insurance. And I think everyone realized that the tax credit wasn’t big enough, although the market solutions to bringing costs down have a helluva lot better chance at succeeding than cuts in Medicare which the CBO chief said yesterday weren’t good enough by far. Costs come down, premiums come down - even idiot liberals recognize that.

    The virulence of the attacks suggest to me that most of you know damn well that the point of this bill is to get to single payer health insurance - Waxman has said as much and its no use trying to obfuscate it by being insulting or trying to kill the messenger. When Ezra Klein actually goes out of his way to define parameters for comments by throwing up smoke screens that basically say “OK, buddy. How ya gonna fix this without spending money?” He doesn’t dispute the CBO report - he ignores it - just like all of you are doing.

    And the plain English translation of the bill is simple and straight forward. You cannot switch out your insurance. If you are unhappy with your policy, you either stick with it or go to the public option. No looking around for a better private insurance policy. You are forbidden free choice and forced onto the health insurance plantation.

    There’s not getting around that. No grandfather or grandmother clause. No ifs ands or buts.

    We welcome our new insurance overlords.

    ed.

  20. 20
    Nick Said:
    2:36 pm 

    I don’t think any sensible person on either side thinks we can come up with a PERFECT plan right away but we ALL know our current system is unsustainable. Does anyone really think a FOR-PROFIT industry is going to agree to make less money anytime soon…..voluntarily? I think I’d rather go with government waste instead of corporate greed (like our current economic mess)(how much gov’t waste would it take to match the dollars lost to corporate greed recently?).

    In England, the national health system provides a safety net which makes routine healthcare VERY available to everyone without any delays….. yes, some specialties can get delayed….. but its not that different here if you HAVE insurance and those that don’t have insurance (many millions)don’t even get the option of waiting. Also, in the English system you can purchase additional affordable private coverage that makes specialists more quickly available. My relatives that live there say it isn’t perfect by any means but it is better than what ALOT of Americans have. Maybe I should take Sen. Grassley’s advice and get a government job….and deal with being called a lazy, useless, inefficient maggot by the rightwingers because I work for the government.

    Now imagine if American companies didn’t have to pay/provide health insurance to their employees…..what could they do with all that extra money? How about some pay raises, expansion, more jobs, and even less paperwork. We’d probably have to repeal the “death tax” or include capital gains taxcuts to get any support from conservatives.

  21. 21
    jharp Said:
    4:38 pm 

    Just left a post above declining to donate to you because you lie about health care reform. Then I scroll down and see an out and out lie.

    You are slime buddy. Slime.

    Your post is a lie.

    A lie? You are incapable of identifying anything as a lie as it relates to the health care bill because you have never had one single independent thought in your entire life - your brain is hard wired with Democratic party talking points. I doubt you could understand the bill - perhaps you can’t even read it.

    As for your telling me that you are not going to donate, isn’t that a little childish? I mean, not juvenile - more like the actions of a two year old? You couldn’t afford to give me anything anyway because they don’t pay more than minimum wage at that mentally handicapped workshop you’re employed at and you need all your money to pay for that child porn you download from the net.

    ed.

  22. 22
    Alarm1201 Said:
    4:49 pm 

    “First source you list – the WSJ. It’s a pay site, and proving you’re an idiot isn’t worth paying money to me.”

    Never paid a penny for the articles I read on WSJ. The best content is free. Again, if would just learn to google, you would not make an idiot of yourself.

    “Now imagine if American companies didn’t have to pay/provide health insurance to their employees…..what could they do with all that extra money? ”

    Raises for employees? How about taxes to support another bloated, inefficient government program?

    Also, my user name has nothing to do with my state of mind. It was a computer error on Apollo 11 LEM that almost cause the mission to fail.

  23. 23
    Joe Said:
    5:54 pm 

    Won’t the Senate Democrats and Republicans hash out a compromise that will at least insure the uninsured? And again, the Limbaugh wing of the party uses scare tactics, its the only thing they have left.

  24. 24
    SShiell Said:
    6:13 am 

    “In England, the national health system provides a safety net which makes routine healthcare VERY available to everyone without any delays….. yes, some specialties can get delayed . . .”

    Unless you are unlucky enough to have a kidney problem.

    “An acute shortage of dialysis machines is causing numerous premature deaths in the UK, a study by the country’s National Kidney Research Fund indicates. More than 100,000 people have kidney disease but only 34,000 are receiving dialysis or have had a kidney transplant.

    Of the 71 UK kidney treatment units surveyed, 12 have been forced to turn away patients. Other units reported that they have been forced to take emergency measures to accommodate increasing numbers of patients. Some offer patients dialysis only 2 times a week instead of 3, while others hold overnight treatment sessions. Most units reported they were working at full capacity, with no appointment times for new patients. “Some providers acknowledged that the final options for such patients are conservative management and/or death,” the report said.”

    Source: Canadian Medical Association Journal, 29 April 2003

    The 12 UK kidney treatment centers mentioned above who were turning away patients developed a unique technique to fix the problem. All dialysis patients over the age of 50 were sent a letter that had the following statement regarding the lack of treatment available: “We recommend you put your affairs in order.”

    Not surprisingly the demand for dialysis soon “died”

  25. 25
    Nick Said:
    8:33 am 

    Just because England and Canada have some problems with their systems, does that mean we shouldn’t do it and IMPROVE or FIX those problems? Whats wrong with taking the basic premise and making it better?…. I think Americans can figure out how. This crap about having a government bureaucrat between you and your doctor is nothing but BULLSHIT!!! I repeat, BULLSHIT……I’ll take govt waste over corporate greed anytime….. I’d rather have that govt agent between me and my doctor instead of the corporate CEO worrying about his $20 million “package” for making decisions that make him more money at the expense of people’s health……like it happens now.

  26. 26
    Drongo Said:
    9:17 am 

    Ha, more anti-NHS nonsense.

    “The 12 UK kidney treatment centers mentioned above who were turning away patients developed a unique technique to fix the problem. All dialysis patients over the age of 50 were sent a letter that had the following statement regarding the lack of treatment available: “We recommend you put your affairs in order.”

    Not surprisingly the demand for dialysis soon “died””

    Rubbish, complete and utter rubbish, urban legending lies.

    Also, and I never understand why people can’t work this out, you are not prevented from having private health insurance in the UK, unless insurance companies don’t want to insure you.You want private treatment and you need kidney dialysis, go for it. Otherwise you are in a system that rations healthcare.

  27. 27
    Boilermaker Said:
    9:18 am 

    This is more of a commentary on the inner-workings of the Washington political machine. This is a perfect example of a program that was desperately needed and supported by the American public in it’s beginning, but by the time it made it’s way through the “process” it has only a vague resemblance to it’s original form. We have seen this time and time again on any number of issues.Is this how it works now? You start with a great idea and can only hope to get fragments implemented one piece at a time? Too much partisanship, too many lobbyists, too many people holding public office for far too long!!!

  28. 28
    kreiz Said:
    10:15 am 

    Rick wrote, can we trust the President and Dems on anything? In the case of health care, no. It’s pretty much well-intentioned ends justifying misguided means. Strong arm it through, worry about details later.

  29. 29
    SShiell Said:
    5:38 am 

    Yeah, Drongo. And here’s sopme more NHS nonsense. From the London Daily Mail, 11 May 2006:

    “THE Archbishop of Canterbury warned yesterday that financial pressures on the NHS are pushing doctors and nurses towards the practice of euthanasia.

    The culture of targets and of saving cash could ‘accelerate the most worrying trends’, said Dr Rowan Williams.

    He warned that ‘a target-obsessed NHS, managed with an eye to brisk traffic through its beds and reduction of expense doesn’t feel a very good place in which to have a reasoned and balanced discussion of assisted dying.’ The Archbishop said subtle pressures are at work in the Health Service, encouraging staff to get rid of ‘inconvenient’ patients.

    Dr Williams spoke as church leaders joined the campaign against a proposed new law on ‘assisted dying’ which would allow doctors to help terminally-ill patients end their lives.

    The Archbishop and Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, the leader of Roman Catholics in England and Wales, have both condemned the Bill, which was proposed by crossbench peer Lord Joffe.

    It comes at a time when the Mental Capacity Act - passed last year - has given legal force to a ‘living will’ by which patients can instruct doctors to let them die if they become incapacitated and have lost the power to speak.

    Some hospitals are running schemes to help patients indicate that they wish to be allowed to die - a system condemned by opponents as ‘tick the box to die’….”

    Yep, and the rubbish keeps piling higher and higher.

  30. 30
    Drongo Said:
    5:11 pm 

    “London Daily Mail” Ha, the Mail!

    “Yep, and the rubbish keeps piling higher and higher.”

    Yes, euthenasia and a lack of dialysis machines. Of course, they are the *exact* same thing.

    And, note, we are 3 years on and it is still illegal to travel abroad to commit suicide.

    I mean, honestly;

    “Some hospitals are running schemes to help patients indicate that they wish to be allowed to die - a system condemned by opponents as ‘tick the box to die’….””

    Name me one, just one, major country which does not have some sort of DNR register in hospitals.

    ou quite obviously have no idea what you are talking about, and bringing in the Daily Mail isn’t going to make it look like you do.

  31. 31
    busboy33 Said:
    8:29 pm 

    @Alarm:

    WSJ.com comes up with a subscription tag when you get search results. I’ve now gone to the WSJ site. Some content is fre, some is not. I read three
    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124398857510379561.html
    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122878091745389615.html
    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124640626749276595.html
    The last is the only one that discusses the current ideas, as the others are older. Even that piece acknowledges that the plan allows you to keep your current plan . . . it just opines that theoretically in the future the government could pass other rules that take away our options thru another avenue. I suppose that’s true, but it doesn’t have a damn thing to do with the text of the plan now.
    The government could pass a law that mandates the injection of radio tracking chips in all people, but that doesn’t mean the creation of the Social Security number calls for implanting chips.

    I appeal to your all-powerful Googling talent. I tried “Alarm’s totally awesome WSJ article that he won’t cite to”, but for some reason I came up short. Educate me. Please. I provided my links so that you might see the facts underlying my thoughts, because “I say so” is pretty weak. Link me an article.

    . . . and no comment on the other source? Well, that’s good enough for me to disregard the plain English text of the bill. The one I not only cited, but cut and pasted so you could see it.

    p.s.: a good origin for your handle — good “an interesting story”, not good “error codes are good”. Why that particular error? Was it the nature of the error itself, or did you just like the sound of it? **serious questions, no snark intended in this part**

  32. 32
    busboy33 Said:
    9:33 pm 

    @ Mr. M:
    “Of course the Ways and Means Committee oversees all changes to the tax code - ALL. Please don’t show how ignorant you are by making a high school civics class mistake like that.”

    You’re right. Dumb mistake, and clearly wrong. I take it back, disavow it, acknowledge its wrong, whatever you like.

    “And the plain English translation of the bill is simple and straight forward. You cannot switch out your insurance. If you are unhappy with your policy, you either stick with it or go to the public option. No looking around for a better private insurance policy. You are forbidden free choice and forced onto the health insurance plantation.”

    Prove it. I can’t find anything remotely like this in the text. I find no language at all banning future private insurance plans. Where do you get this in the “plain language” of the text? The plain language is clear, and it clearly doesn’t say that.

    The Health Insuuance Exchanges are supposed to be created:

    “[in] order to facilitate access of individuals and employers, through a transparent process, to a variety of choices of affordable, quality health insurance coverage, including a public health insurance option.”
    (page 72, ll.11-14)
    “Including” a public option means that a public option is only one choice. Does that include private insurance? Explicitly yes:

    “(3) INSURANCE REFORMS.—This division—
    (A) enacts strong insurance market reforms;
    (B) creates a new Health Insurance Exchange, with a public health insurance option alongside private plans;”
    (page 5, ll.3-8)

    “alongside private plans”, so the plan specifically does not outlaw private plans. The plans do seem to have to be part of an Exchange, but there is no language banning Exchanges from taking private plans.

    “You cannot switch out your insurance.”

    . . . except during the enrollment periods (page 75-76, page 95, l. 23 et. al.), or if there are special enrollment circumstances like losing your job coverage or a radical change in your income (same cites). Y’know, just like they did it at my employer. Just like most health care insurance works now.
    That’s the plain language I found. I also didn’t find a single word prohibiting private plans. Granted, it’s a 1,000+ pages, so I certainly could have missed it. But I didn’t find it, and I did find plain language stating clearly the exact opposite of your claim.

    “the plain English translation of the bill is simple and straight forward.”

    You’re damn right . . . it is pretty clear. And it pretty clearly does NOT say what you claim. Ignorant claims do cheapen the debate, so they should be corrected as soon as possible.

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