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Thursday, December 17, 2009

Don't piss off the doctor, Rahm...you won't like him when he's angry
Posted by Jill | 5:53 AM
Dr. Howard Dean has been a good soldier for the Democratic Party, and for the Wrong-About-Everything hack he had to fight in order to implement the 50-state strategy while he was chairman of the DNC. Howard Dean has always been about what works and what's right, and while he's been a good soldier for the Obama Administration thus far, he's not going to let them, and the Democrats in Congress, drive while intoxicated with insurance company cash, at least not without a fight. Today he expands on his appearances on MSNBC the other day with an op-ed in the Washington Post, in which he blows the lid off this massive act of fellatio being performed on the insurance industry:

Real health-care reform is supposed to eliminate discrimination based on preexisting conditions. But the legislation allows insurance companies to charge older Americans up to three times as much as younger Americans, pricing them out of coverage. The bill was supposed to give Americans choices about what kind of system they wanted to enroll in. Instead, it fines Americans if they do not sign up with an insurance company, which may take up to 30 percent of your premium dollars and spend it on CEO salaries -- in the range of $20 million a year -- and on return on equity for the company's shareholders. Few Americans will see any benefit until 2014, by which time premiums are likely to have doubled. In short, the winners in this bill are insurance companies; the American taxpayer is about to be fleeced with a bailout in a situation that dwarfs even what happened at AIG.

From the very beginning of this debate, progressives have argued that a public option or a Medicare buy-in would restore competition and hold the private health insurance industry accountable. Progressives understood that a public plan would give Americans real choices about what kind of system they wanted to be in and how they wanted to spend their money. Yet Washington has decided, once again, that the American people cannot be trusted to choose for themselves. Your money goes to insurers, whether or not you want it to.

To be clear, I'm not giving up on health-care reform. The legislation does have some good points, such as expanding Medicaid and permanently increasing the federal government's contribution to it. It invests critical dollars in public health, wellness and prevention programs; extends the life of the Medicare trust fund; and allows young Americans to stay on their parents' health-care plans until they turn 27. Small businesses struggling with rising health-care costs will receive a tax credit, and primary-care physicians will see increases in their Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement rates.

Improvements can still be made in the Senate, and I hope that Senate Democrats will work on this bill as it moves to conference. If lawmakers are interested in ensuring that government affordability credits are spent on health-care benefits rather than insurers' salaries, they need to require state-based exchanges, which act as prudent purchasers and select only the most efficient insurers. Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) offered this amendment during the Finance Committee markup, and Democrats should include it in the final legislation. A stripped-down version of the current bill that included these provisions would be worth passing.

In Washington, when major bills near final passage, an inside-the-Beltway mentality takes hold. Any bill becomes a victory. Clear thinking is thrown out the window for political calculus. In the heat of battle, decisions are being made that set an irreversible course for how future health reform is done. The result is legislation that has been crafted to get votes, not to reform health care.

And there it is, except that the above needs clarification that it's about getting votes for passage, not votes in elections. Because this travesty no longer has the support of the American people. But then, the people aren't the Senate's constituency; the corporations who stuff the pockets of Senators with campaign cash are. It has always been thus, except now they aren't even bothering to put on a show anymore.

It would be tempting to believe in a politica return for the good Doctor. But if this clip from Tweety is any indication, the idiocy of the punditocracy has changed not one iota since 2004:

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Anonymous mandt said...

Anonymous london said...
The Obama administration lost the Health care reform.