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Public Option Headed for Senate Death

Posted on Jul 29, 2009

Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, left, chats up ranking member Chuck Grassley. Both have taken millions in donations from the health care industry and are trying to cut a health care reform bill that won’t include a public option.

Looks like the insurance companies are getting what they’ve paid for in the U.S. Congress. The Senate Finance Committee is closer to a deal with Republicans, which means no public health care option. The Blue Dogs, meanwhile, are still nipping at the heels of House Democrats.

Reuters via New York Times:

The Senate Finance negotiations have zeroed in on a plan that would use non-profit cooperatives to compete with private insurers to drive down costs, members say, not the public plan favoured by Obama and many Democrats.

The panel also is likely to back a tax on high-cost insurance policies to try to raise revenue and keep costs down.

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By glider, July 30, 2009 at 5:34 am Link to this comment

Gmonst, that is a great summary of our condition.  We are of like minds.

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By MarthaA, July 29, 2009 at 9:39 pm Link to this comment

We need to VOTE OUT during the PRIMARY ELECTIONS as many CONSERVATIVES as possible. 

CONSERVATIVES do not represent common people.  CONSERVATIVES only represent big private business, insurance, elite, industry, etc.  CONSERVATIVES in no way actually represent the common man of the majority population. 

We can’t get all CONSERVATIVES out of the Democratic Party in one election, but we can get all we can.  It is of utmost importance come the PRIMARIES next year that there is a big turn out of Democrats to clean up the Democratic Party that is suppose to represent the common man and small business.  Let’s vote out all CONSERVATIVES and MODERATES, as these moderates are actually CONSERVATIVES in the Democratic Party. 

The Republican Party is suppose to be CONSERVATIVES.  The problem is too many political CONSERVATIVE EXTREMISTS in the Democratic Party.

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By MarthaA, July 29, 2009 at 9:38 pm Link to this comment

We need to VOTE OUT during the 2010 PRIMARY ELECTIONS as many CONSERVATIVES as possible, everywhere.  CONSERVATIVES are the problem. 

CONSERVATIVES do not represent common people and the majority of the people are common people.  CONSERVATIVES only represent big private business, insurance, elite, industry, etc.  CONSERVATIVES in no way actually represent the common man of the majority population. 

We can’t get all CONSERVATIVES out of the Democratic Party in one election, but we can get as many as we can.  It is of utmost importance come the 2010 PRIMARIES next year that there is a big turn out of Democrats to clean up the Democratic Party that is suppose to represent the common man and small business.  Let’s vote out all CONSERVATIVES and MODERATES, as these moderates are actually CONSERVATIVES in the Democratic Party.  We must not give up.  We have to keep trying.

The Republican Party is suppose to be CONSERVATIVES and they are CONSERVATIVES, but the problem is too many political CONSERVATIVE EXTREMISTS in the Democratic Party, that have to be removed at every available chance.

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By catlady628, July 29, 2009 at 7:37 pm Link to this comment

Liars, cheats and thieves….

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By Gmonst, July 29, 2009 at 5:44 pm Link to this comment

Our government is a joke, and I am most certainly not laughing.  Its broke beyond repair.  The only way it can ever be repaired is to get the money out of it completely. That’s not likely!

We need elections to be totally publicly funded without question, if you get on the ballot you get the same amount of money, the same air-time, and are included in all debates by law.  There has to be strict oversight on politicians receiving any perks from any groups, no vacations, no gifts, no contributions.  It requires a cultural shift in our moral compass so that such behavior is seen with the same repugnance as sexual misconduct.  So that taking a trip on an executive’s plane to the Bahamas could end your career.  We need to make being a politician a difficult career that isn’t very profitable, a far cry from today.  Unfortunately dialog, debate, and change is framed by media, corporations, and politicians who all have a big stake in keeping things as they are.

People are easy to manipulate and manipulated we are, public healthcare options become government control of freedom, and fiscally irresponsible giveaways to lazy people (ie poor). Endless wars, give-aways to corporations, locking up our citizens in ever increasing numbers, spying on citizens, and torturing people is considered necessary and barely debated while the health care of this country is touted as optional, possibly unnecessary, perhaps too expensive and heavily debated.  They debate and pontificate, make the appearance of caring, and all the while the majority people of the country loose out to the benefit of very few.  The few even convince ordinary people that they are part of the privileged few so they vote against their own interests.  Brilliant, but evil.  I am absolutely disgusted by our elected officials.  They couldn’t care less about Americans, they are selfish people corrupted by greed!  If we can wake up and stop voting for these people it may change, but I am not very hopeful.

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By ChaoticGood, July 29, 2009 at 5:26 pm Link to this comment

I am in the tween years again, I guess.  I am 61 years old, a little overweight, but otherwise in good health.  My wife is 57 and is a 5 year cancer survivor. Statistically however, we are uninsurable at any reasonable price.  The lowest premium I can find for “real” health insurance for me and my wife is over 1500.00 a month.  We are now uninsured and I have been laid off and cannot find any work.  I am too young for Medicare and too old to get reasonably priced health insurance.  There are no jobs for me at my age, so what are my options?

Just another “horror story”.  Another statistic, yes, that is true until it happens to you.

I watch in amazement at the posturing politicians milking the healthcare issue for all it is worth. 

If we truly want to make this healthcare system work, we either have to make it single-payer and scrap the old employer based system or we need to let the private system remain and allow all those who cannot get reasonable private coverage to enroll in Medicare. 

The way you pay for it, is first allow a person to be put in a bidding pool and let all the insurance companies bid for that person.  If no insurance company wants them or if the price is too high, then that person can enroll in Medicare and the insurance companies taxes increase for the cost to medicare for that new enrollee.  This will incentivize the insurance companies to come up with a good price, so that their taxes won’t go up.  If this is the pool idea, I’m not sure, then the Blue Dogs are close to the truth, but I haven’t heard the details so I don’t know.

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By ardee, July 29, 2009 at 5:06 pm Link to this comment

Mark, July 29 at 4:05 pm #

Today, the 58-year-old Dr. McGuire is chief executive officer of UnitedHealth Group Inc., one of the nation’s largest health-care companies. He draws $8 million a year in salary plus bonus, enjoying perks such as personal use of the company jet. He also has amassed one of the largest stock-options fortunes of all time.

Unrealized gains on Dr. McGuire’s options totaled $1.6 billion, according to United Health’s proxy statement released this month. Even celebrated CEOs such as General Electric Co.‘s Jack Welch or International Business Machines Corp.‘s Louis Gerstner never were granted so much during their time at the top.

Read more:

....and he looks like a dead ringer for “Fat Bastard” too.

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By Mark, July 29, 2009 at 1:05 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Read somewhere that William McGuire, the former Chairman of UnitedHealth, the health insurer of some 70 million Americans, may have made as much as $1.7 billion in total compensation, including stock options, in a single year!

That kind of money will buy lots of influence in Congress. There will be no healthcare reform.

BTW, I don’t recall Congress debating the war in Iraq with this much “deliberation”. We’ve spent nearly a trillion Dollars there with no end in sight. Oh yeah, and another thing, the Fed bailout of Bear Sterns was announced OVER A WEEKEND as a fait accompli, even though the Fed had NEVER intervened on behalf of an INVESTMENT bank before and its charter DID NOT AUTHORIZE it to do so. The Chrysler and GM bankruptcies were pushed thru the system in 45 to 90 days. That required cramming a resolution down the throats of creditors large and small. My hunch tells me the small creditors and the rank and file workers took it the hardest.

This government works when it wants to, for the right people.

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By Alejandro, July 29, 2009 at 12:30 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The people are not heard because we have no voice. Governments that do not fear the people always become tyrannical; and that’s whats happened to our Country. Elected officals that take money from pac’s, corprate interests and narrow constituencies will not vote for what is right, but for what is politically expedient(always). The only alternitive as I see it is to ask 20 million or more like minded citizens to surround Capital Hill and demand accountability and real change you can see and feel.

Letters get thrown in the trash, e-mails are a joke and phone calls are screened. So, how do we take our country back and get these Jackals from both parties out of Washington?

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By Dan Campbell, July 29, 2009 at 11:25 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Establishing a minimum level of “health care” in this country is necessary not just to those who are in dire need but to the country’s security and wealth.

The congressmen and senators (who accept political contributions and other “perks” from the health insurance lobbyists (directly or indirectly) are acting in their own political and personal self interest at the expense of the country.
Anyone who says, private insurers will do the “right thing” when it is in their financial interest not to, must live in another dimension of time and space.
Insurance companies only act to make more money and many times that means fighting claims (in some circumstances; care) that they define as not covered. This ploy allows them to effectively save money at the expense of health and welfare of people who believe they are fully covered by their policy (this belief is fostered at the time the policy is sold).

It has been a long time coming that our government impose sanctions against insurers who see their primary responsibility as, improving the “bottom line” for their stockholders (even if they must defraud their clients to do so).. In general, the insurance business, banks and multinational corporations have a policy history of serving their interests over those of their clients.
It is hard to believe that anyone can or will believe insurers will do anything but cloud the issues concerning Obama’s reform efforts. Also, it is obvious that insurers and their political associates are pulling out all stops in trying to confuse the general public, using all media at their disposal. Disinformation is the “rule of the day”. “If you can’t dazzle them with you’re brilliance, baffle them with your bull——!

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By AlanR, July 29, 2009 at 11:19 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Write to Obama: Tell him to show leadership and threaten to veto any bill that does not include a public option. Any “reform’ without that option (or single payer) would be bad for the country as it would prolong the insurance company’s extortive practices and further enshrine them. That was the main problem with Hillary’s proposed reform.

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By joe, July 29, 2009 at 10:32 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The fundamentals of the Healthcare system in the US are built on the profits of the Insurance, Care providers and Pharm Companies. This makes the entire system Ethically and Morally unable to serve the public efficiently and without prejudice.
Unless our politicialns can divorce themselves from their wealthy lobbyists and address the basic fundamentals of the issue, we will be fooled into more years of massive gains for the private industires at the expense of the middleclass. The most efficient health providers in this country today are the “government” run Vetrans health system and Medicare and of course the government run system that all of our elected officials have. How stupid do they think we are? They probably are counting on the apethy of the greater population to do nothing to stop them from rippin us off for the hundredth time.

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By tmullins, July 29, 2009 at 9:47 am Link to this comment

The acceptable standards of health care in southwest Virginia and East Tennessee.
Clearly in TN & VA profit care comes ahead of patient care.

We thought my father had good insurance and was going to the best health care provider.  His care was rationed.  He died.

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By P. T., July 29, 2009 at 9:16 am Link to this comment

Progressives should work to oppose any health care change that does not include a public option.  Sticking with the current system and letting it eventually collapse is better than an insurance company bailout that mandates that people buy overpriced private insurance.

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By G.Anderson, July 29, 2009 at 8:15 am Link to this comment

In order to live in this society and survive, one needs to have some of the skills of an attorney, to understand the complicated legal contracts, of mortgages, credit cards, and other financial instruments, along with ones liabilites in marriage or divorce.

One also needs to have the skills of a tax attorney, in order to protect oneself from the never ending predatory practises of the IRS.

One also needs to have the skills of a psychologist a psychiatrist, a mechanic, a plumber, a teacher, a computer scientist, a body guard, a detective, nutritionist, and a journalist.

Soon to be added to this ever growing list of necessary core competancies for survival in this society will be medical doctor.

For without a public option, your only real option for survival will be your ability to diagnosis your own illness, look up your treatment in the Merck, be able to sutture yourself with available home materials, and purchase tests at your pharmacy to identify your current medical state.

It’s also proably a good idea to have your own stethascope, and blood pressure kit.

This bill means the end of medicine, and your life will depend on how well you can care for yourself.

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By Rodger Lemonde, July 29, 2009 at 7:52 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Essentially the republicans want us all to die in poverty. While they reap the benefit of Socialized medicine for themselves. We should all write all of our representatives and demand a nationalized system like the notably successful VA model.

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By Big Wes, July 29, 2009 at 7:52 am Link to this comment

What makes me so angry is that when you listen to the principal lawmakers on both sides of this issue, it becomes obvious that they care more about the partisan ideologies of their parties than the constituents that sent them to Washington.  When you couple in the overwhelming influence of campaign contributions, it becomes a lose-lose situation for the everyday American.

I have good health care provided through my employer, but my share of the premiums equal about 40% of my monthly take home pay.  I will offer my support and be willing to pay more for a health care system that provides good care to everyone.  However, I’m not willing to pay more of my hard earned money for any of the proposals currently on the table, because they don’t make enough difference.  It’s just more money after bad ideas.

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By Louise, July 29, 2009 at 7:04 am Link to this comment

There’s an old adage that say’s, never trust men who whisper in each others ears.

(Or woman for that matter.)

Also beware the pointy elbow and the hook nose. Behaviours and physical features that indicate a need for control and deception.

Have you examined your Senator lately?

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By RobertinWestbury, July 29, 2009 at 6:57 am Link to this comment

What Obama needs to do is call the Blue Dogs in and tell them if they don’t support and fight for the public option, he will authorize the DNC to withhold all funds for their re-election, and offer funds to their primary challengers who will support the public option. 

Then he needs to give a public speech and declare that he will veto any bill reaching his desk that does not include the public option, and send it back for them to re-do with it.  And if they drag their feet or don’t do it, he will make it a campaign issue in 2010.  Enough Mr. Nice guy.  Enough Mr. Compromiser. 

This is absurd when 70% of the population supports a public option and a powerless Republican party says ‘no’ and a bunch of Blue Dogs are going to give them whatever they want for the ‘sake of bipartisanship.’  Let’s be clear.  The Blue Dogs are bought and paid for by the Insurance companies.  THAT is why they are doing this… 

When Prop 8 passed in California, a gay rights blogger set up coordinated protests nationwide in every state and major city - within a day or two.  So that kind of national protest can be planned and executed in a short period of time.  During this month that the Republicans and Blue Dogs have bought for the Insurance companies to run ads scaring stupid people, why is there no effort to plan and execute massive public rallies nationwide against the Insurance companies, the Blue Dogs, and the Republicans. 

I barely know how to log in and comment.  But there has to be some computer savvy people out there that can get coordinated natiowide protests… 

It may surprise everyone how many people turn out….

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By NYCartist, July 29, 2009 at 5:47 am Link to this comment

Fight for Single Payer?  Why not?

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By NC-Tom, July 29, 2009 at 5:43 am Link to this comment

We at B.R.I.B.E (Bipartisan, Representation, for, Insurance, Business, Entitlements), would like to take a moment to thank all the congressmen that our money bought, for giving us everything we wanted in this health care bill.

In case you little folks haven’t figured it out yet OUR congressmen will create a bill where you will be forced to purchase health insurance from us in the same way that most of you already are forced to buy car insurance from our counterparts in the auto industry.  This is making us at B.R.I.B.E positively giddy!

We won you lost.  That’s the way things are going to be from now on so get over it!

Just to demonstrate our absolute power over congress are considering having Senator Baucus dance across the senate hearing desk wearing nothing but a jesters cap, a pair of Depends diapers, and fishnet stockings.  And let there be no doubt in your mind.  If B.R.I.B.E tells him to do it, his only question will be; “For how long should I dance?”

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By ardee, July 29, 2009 at 4:54 am Link to this comment

The legislators who enjoy ‘govt run health care’, and for life, deny the same options to the rest of us. The words ‘hypocrites’ and ‘bought and paid for’ come to mind.

Odd that , with a filibuster proof majority in the Senate, with the GOP down to its last few supporters nationwide and losing those as well as they descend into erratic and propagandized falsehoods about most everything, the Democrats fail to capitalize…..Or are they merely being exposed themselves?

The next time you folks are in a voting booth, perhaps you might think about your choices…...Voting third party as a “spoiler” seems less than truth at this moment. Voting for either major party is a serious waste of time.

There appears to be no real health care reform on the horizon, only a few cosmetic alterations that leave the enormous profits and inefficiencies firmly in place. The real goal will succeed however, the millions in contributions from the insurance industry will continue to flow into the coffers of the Duopoly Party.

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