Tag Archives: health reform

Does the GOP think BI-partisanship means BI-sexual?

So.. I guess the Obama health plan is bipartisan and does include GOP ideas..


“It’s clear that the American people want health insurance reform.  They aren’t interested in Democratic ideas or Republican ideas.  They’re interested in the best ideas to reduce costs, guarantee choices and ensure the highest quality care.

They’re interested in ideas that will put them back in control of their own health care.

Throughout the debate on health insurance reform, Republican concepts and proposals have been included in legislation.  In fact, hundreds of Republican amendments were adopted during the committee mark-up process.  As a result, both the Senate and the House passed key Republican proposals that are incorporated into the President’s Proposal.”

A lot of GOP ideas… and that’s just Obama’s plan.. hell the Senate plan had 160 GOP amendments..


“Of the 788 amendments filed,67 came from Democrats and 721 from Republicans. (That disparity drew jeers that Republicans were trying to slow things down. Another explanation may be that they offered so many so they could later claim—as they are now, in fact, claiming—that most of their suggestions went unheeded.) Only 197 amendments were passed in the end—36 from Democrats and 161 from Republicans. And of those 161 GOP amendments, Senate Republicans classify 29 as substantive and 132 as technical.”

of course they still voted no..

Why is the only way to bipartisan cooperation is if the Democrats fully embrace the GOP plan?  Shouldn’t the losing party be happy to get a seat at the table.. a seat that gives them almost half of everything they want? Is a bill with 49% (R) input and 51%(D) input not bipartisan enough when the country elected the (D) to decide the majority?

I simply don’t get how the GOP can get away with lying that there’s been no effort to include them. But,even more than that, I can’t understand this demand that  they should have their way in total  if the country is to see any bipartisanship come out of congress.  Is it the prefix ‘Bi’ that throws them? Do they think if they do anything ‘Bi” then they are supporting the homo’s? (disclosure, I love the ‘mo’s.. and this one will back me up on that).

What?

Can you come up with a better reason why the GOP is so anti ‘BI-partisanship” even going so far as to deny it exists when  the bipartisan components are so flamboyantly displayed?

🙂

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Dear John…

JohnD from  www.armedrobbery.blogspot.com/ left this comment on my blog the other day..

Interesting post, EKG. It’s nice to see the left has found a new target for its vitriol now that George W. Bush is out of the picture.

“Mass movements can rise and spread without belief in a God, but never without belief in a devil.”

-Eric Hoffer, THE TRUE BELIEVER (1951)

I’m sure Palin-bashing is a pleasant distraction from President Obama’s serial failures. At the very least, hatred for her has provided the faithful with a rallying point.

I ignored his glossing over of President Obama being a target of vitriol himself and  asked him to enumerate Obama’s ‘serial failures’.  His reply was

Failure to get his health care bill and Waxman/Markey passed, even with total Democratic control of Congress; extraordinarily high unemployment rates; a rapidly rising deficit (over and above what was “inherited”); failure to close Guantanamo; take your pick. You can throw in failure to secure the Olympics for Chicago and declining poll numbers too.

as I started to answer him, I realized that these questions and answers deserve more space than the comments section of another blog-post. So I decided to answer them here….

First off, John.. I don’t know you. I don’t know if you are an extreme right winger, I don’t know if you are unbend-able in your opinions, I don’t know if you tow the party line no matter where it takes you. I know you are a friend of Mike’s, but I don’t know if you are as obstinately against looking at things from another perspective as he is or not. Because of this… uncertainty, I am answering with the assumption that you can see a different way of viewing things if shown, or explained.. I’m assuming that you are moderate and not hard-extreme like Mike.

No one likes to be blamed and no one likes their party to be blamed… but no one likes the other party to actually be at fault and share none of the blame and instead pile it all on one side. Of course I am going to place blame with the GOP on many issues, what I will wait to see from your reply to this is if you can see why I would blame them.. maybe not that you agree that they are to blame for alot of it, but maybe..hopefully.. you will admit that they do share, alot, in what is going on today. This is not a ‘well he did it first’ kind of blame. I believe I am laying out a valid argument. I hope to get more than “well you did it first” or the condescending  “LOL” and  “eyerolls” from you in your reply.

Now, on with the blog.

I agree with you John, it is Obama’s failure that Health reform has stagnated. He took it on faith that when Grassley, Snowe and other (R) said they were willing to work on a bi-partisan  solution,they meant it. The rest of us were hearing Grassley call it a ‘death panel’ and how people should fear Obama’s health reform and how he’d never vote for it when he was home on the weekends, but the ‘bubble’ Obama lives in, the same that all Presidents live in, prevented him from hearing that “weekend, rally the base” talk.

I don’t think it was until Lieberman’s extreme, blatant and almost joyful bragging of this ‘partisan ‘obstruction’ that Obama finally wised up. When Lieberman, who just a few years ago ran on his “medcare for 55” policy and was saying everywhere he could that this was the only solution he would support…immediately turned against it because, as he  said,  ‘well since liberals like my plan, I’m against it now’,  I think the President started seeing what he was up against, and what he was up against was illogical and unreasonable opposition. Do you atleast agree that Lieberman’s flip on his own idea and the reason he gave, prove this illogical and unreasonable position?

Even if you don’t think it was illogical or unreasonable, how can you fault President Obama for not getting things done in that kind of atmosphere? We aren’t talking about anything rational that can be explained or even expected. Republicans  and that includes Lieberman(I), were turning on their own plans, things they had campaigned on, the second after President Obama said “Hey, you know what.. your way does sound better so let’s include it”

Rising deficit

On Jan. 7, 2009, two weeks before Obama took office, the CBO reported the deficit was projected to be $1.2 trillion


At least  you gave blame to Bush for the 1.2 trillion of it..

The CBO – which provides the official estimates of the budgetary impact of legislation and events such as wars and recessions – cites the housing market collapse and the financial market turmoil as the main culprits for the shortfall. The federal government has tried to combat the crisis by so far committing $7.2 trillion in investments and loans primarily to financial institutions.

The current recession “will probably be the longest and the deepest since World War II,” the CBO said. The economic deterioration since September, which was the last time CBO made deficit projections, is the biggest contributor to a sharp decline in tax revenue projections. The CBO expects tax revenue in 2009 to fall by $166 billion, or 6.6%, from the previous year’s collection.

That revenue decline, in turn, is the biggest reason for the worsening outlook over the next decade, said Diane Lim Rogers, chief economist at the Concord Coalition, a deficit watchdog group. “The revenue effect is huge.”

and Obama does own his own share.. But we know that he does not ‘own’ the entire  problem. Why is it then that he is saddled with it? Where was this outcry of ‘budget deficits’ going back 3 years and more? How is this President Obama’s doing? He added to what was there yes, but what was the alternative when he stepped into the Oval on day one? You and I along with McCain and so so many others, know that had he won, McCain would have had to do the same exact things Obama did and would have had the same exact deficit today.. This really isn’t an Obama issue.. we all know this but since it’s going on under his watch-he gets the blame..Ok fine, but then we do have to put blame on the person who did create it.  No, this isn’t a “he did it so I can to” this is a ‘I really had nothing to do with all of it, so stop blaming it all on me argument and that is based in reality, not GOP partisan amnesia and fantasy.

When Obama stepped into office he had to deal with 2 unpaid wars, unpaid tax cuts, a wall street collapse, a housing market collapse, an infrastructure that had been neglected for 10 years. The Bush budget deficit projections never included the war price, when Obama put it into his, like it should have been done in the 1st place.. it didn’t help his numbers at all, but atleast it was honest. Unlike those who are supposed to give us ‘fair and balanced’ news..

During the April 3 edition of Fox News’ America’s Newsroom, on-screen text repeatedly falsely claimed that President Obama’s $3.6 trillion fiscal year 2010 budget is “4x bigger than Bush’s costliest plan.” However, President Bush submitted a $3.1 trillion budget for FY 2009. For FY 2008, Bush submitted a $2.9 trillion budget.

**Link to screen shot**

But Obama deserves the blame for all this hiding, collapse and the unpaid bills that all came due just a few short days before he came into office? Which turned out to be more than anyone.. anyone ever expected as more came to light in the coming days after his inauguration? If you truly feel this blames lays on President Obama’s lap, can you explain how you came to that decision?

High unemployment

Yes.. there is.. but you can’t look at 700,000 jobs lost per month when he got there to 11,000 in December 2009 and call that a failure.. and you can’t look at the numbers we were at, are still at now and expect it to change the next day.. or even the next year, not if you’re also not going to allow a larger stimulus bill/recovery act. So Obama was wrong on his optimism those 1st days that the unemployment numbers wouldn’t rise past a certain level, fine. But is he to blame that the numbers rose to that level or just to blame for not realizing just how bad things were a split second after he got there?

Is it the loss of jobs you blame him for or the bad prediction on jobs lost?

Like it, love it, hate it… when no one else is spending any money… the government has to. For the Government to also stop spending money is a catastrophe on a scale that we’ve never seen before. When no one, banks, businesses,people on the street are spending anything.. the government has to. It has to beg,borrow and yes, steal to spend money in order to get people spending money spending again. McCain,Romney,Huckabee.. Reagan.. all would have had no choice, given the exact same circumstance,  but to do the same. Or they would have watched while the country crumbled into oblivion the way Nero did. The ones like Mike, who argue that no, the government shouldn’t have spent a penny, can’t prove that their way would have been the right way or that we’d be any better off. They can’t prove it because there isn’t a time machine to take us back. So to me this argument is one of pure partisan fantasy. It cannot be proven and yet the GOP swears their way was the correct way. What’s worse is, they make 1/2 the country believe in this unprovable feary-tale. This is where the ‘faith’ and almost ‘religious like’ belief comes into play and it is the cornerstone of a lot of the GOP’s argument..

You can’t prove God doesn’t exist therefore he must be real.

They can’t prove no stimulus or Tarp would have worked better, therefore it must be true.

I call bullshit on both accounts… You want me to believe we shouldn’t have spent the money on the banks and on the recovery act, then prove it to me. Prove to me that not spending it would have worked better, that we would be in a better place, telling me  you are right only because you say so doesn’t work, I am not a believer in your religion I need more proof than that.

By the way, John.. Most of the “YOU” I use are not directed at YOU.. it is a general term used when speaking. I  hope you understand that.

Continuing on..

Failure to secure the Olympics?

Are you kidding? 1/2 the country didn’t want the Olympics

Forty-three percent (43%) of Americans say it’s a bad idea for President Obama to go overseas at this time to help Chicago make its final presentation to the International Olympic Committee

John Boehner blasted the President for trying to get them

“Listen I think it’s a great idea to promote Chicago but he’s the president of the United States, not the mayor of Chicago,” Boehner said. “And the problems we have here at home affect all Americans and that’s where his attention ought to be.”

and every night they were rewarded with their opinions by the likes of the GOP and Fox news telling them how bad it would crush us, how much money it would take, how horrible it would be. How dangerous Chicago is

Yes, Fox news is a factor when they have the massive viewer ratings they have, add them into Rush’s 20 million people a week rating and all of them chiming in on the evil that is the Olympics and why would we get it over a country literally begging to have to it because they want it?

But ok, Obama didn’t get the Olympics… that’s a failure on his part. But is that really something to hold against him? out of everything… is that an issue that truly pisses you off and just sticks in your craw?

Gitmo.

I’ve thought about this. Was Obama the naive one to think he could wave his ‘magic negro’ wand and close Gitmo? Or were we the naive ones to think he could wave his ‘magic negro’ wand and close Gitmo? I think it was both. I think a lot of us listened to his speeches and felt the inspiration and hope in that new era he talked about bringing. I think those of us who didn’t roll our eyes and didn’t decide that election night to do everything we possibly could to make his life hell and oppose everything.. everything he tried, actually believed this was the guy to change Rome back into the days of it’s purity,prosperity,glory and power. We (wrongly) assumed that Washington was also sick on the status quo, that Washington wanted to move on to a better place. That the country didn’t care if it was a Republican or Democrat, man or woman, black or white in office, we just wanted hope and change and not more of the same thing we had had for so long. We were all naive.

President Obama owns the failure to close Gitmo, but he doesn’t have sole ownership. Jesus, trust me I know it’s like a broken record to say the GOP also owns this since they stood in the way and did everything in the power to make sure 1/2 the country was against closing Gitmo and bringing the detainees here..but it is the truth. Through fear mongering and out right lies, GOP congressmen,governors,speakers,pundits went out to their communities , viewers, listeners and said “No way! Not in my yard, these guys are dangerous,these guys can’t be held in our prisons, these guys are super-powers that can only be controlled in Cuba” and we both know, hell we all know this is factually untrue. We are holding terrorists right now on our soil, we are holding terrorist right now in our prisons, we have been holding them for years. We are holding people who are worse! We, as Americans, have some of the most dangerous criminals in the world in our prisons right now. We have brain-eaters,baby-rapers,kidnappers,tortures,sex-slave traffickers ,abusers,bombers,pyromaniacs,serial killers, mass murders.. and we have extremely smart and devious   criminals like Madoff, Abramoff and hunderds of others. But somehow we’re ill equip to incarcerate men who have probably never had running water until they got to our prision camp?

That’s the most bogus of all feary-tales ever told. This idea that America is too weak, too incompetent and unable to imprison anyone is incredulous. If this is your belief, that we are just unable to rise to meet this ‘danger’ can you explain your reasoning to me, explain it without “Because they should be in a military tribunal”

All of this leads to a drop in polls.  You’ve seen the link to the numbers of Fox and just Rush, that doesn’t include Beck and all the other conservative radio. When  they are all, from top to bottom on the same line in the play book, all condemning,ridiculing, mocking, lying,inflating.. all giving out the worst of the wosrt bias,slanted partsian spin.. add that in with an entire section of Congress that doesn’t just stand in the way, but also makes up feary-tales and they believe it, polls are going to decline. How could they not?

And what about that anyway. Isn’t it normal for Presidential numbers to come back down to a reasonable level?

The other day I was reading the comments on a reputable news sources story about this Baradar capture, 75% of them were things like “Well, now that we can’t waterboard the guy the CIA will never get anything out him, Thanks Obama for ruining this country once again!” If the only tool in the CIA arsenal is waterboarding… then we really are fucked. Because it’s the opinion that begs the conclusion that the CIA has always and only water-boarded prisoners to get information and it was just the 2-3 years that they were legally allowed to that the were able to function at full capacity in the light of day. The point I’m making is, somehow people  think that CIA  doesn’t know how to get information from anyone without waterboarding them? Is this not the most insane thing you’ve ever seen? Why is this?Where did they get the idea that this was the only tool the CIA had? If  you can truthfully answer that, they you should be able to understand most, if not all of what it is I’m trying to show you.

Who is to blame for this? Not Obama.. but it is what he must fight against. The problem is you cannot argue with someone with that mindset. Their belief is again, religous like.. and cannot be changed,altered or enlightened.

Finally, I saved the best for last… “even with the democrats in control of congress”.. This is the most used response that I  see for pretty much everything. This idea that just because the Democrats had a filibuster  proof margine and didn’t use and some how it’s their fault is ridiculous . Listen, I’m going to tell you a secret that could get my liberal-card revoked ( 🙂 )  unlike the GOP, there are different levels of (D). We don’t all think with one brain, we don’t all follow the leader like a flock of birds, that is what makes us ‘liberal’ or the favorite slam of the GOP, ‘radical’ . We think for ourselves and decide accordingly and not according to party/leader doctrine. We are just not that  ‘religious-like’ in our faith and the following of party ‘dogma’. There are Democrats who don’t believe in abortion, there are some like me who believe in the death penalty and guns rights. To condem anyone.. any party  for not just towing the party-line is asinine  and to blindly follow the party-line used to be a bad thing.. but today, with the entire GOP saying “You can’t even get your party to all vote the same way and use that fillibuster proof majority” is so exquisitely  sad, but still not as sad  wanting and forcing any one party to act that way. I just can’t believe anyone, anywhere would want and encourage people to just blindly vote all (D) or all (R) depending on their party and then ridcule and condem anyone when they didn’t.

Besides any of that, this isn’t a one party system, the other side is supposed to help govern also!

This excuse…“Hey, you guys control congress.. it’s not our fault” and those using it are right though, the problem is the next thing they say to their audience,readers,constituents… and the next thing is invariably

“The Democrats need to listen to the country and work bi-partisanly”

In one hand there is a dare to use the majority, in the other.. a crying to all who will listen that if we don’t do something…have rallies, write letters, send in campaign money.. the Democrats will use their majority. It’s insane! They are literally damned  for not using it by the GOP and some of their own and damned  if the think about using it.

So John, what would you have them do? Which ‘evil’ do the Democrats pick?  Do they follow in the last administrations path and issue Executive Orders, recess appointements, signing statements and push through everything the President says to push through no matter the consequence and just hope that the GOP won’t cry about it too much? Do they forget their own values and beliefs and just vote (D) all the way down the ballot like the GOP does and is encouraging, or really, daring them to do? What is your solution to this? When one party refuses to even come to the table don’t they force the other party to act as a single mind? Force the other party to do it all on their own, with their own philosophies?

Maybe the GOP is comfortable using a single-mind, but this is not and has never been the “Democratic” (party or poltical system.) way..

The GOP has blanketed the world with this falsehood that they want bi-partsanship on every issue, and yet just last week when invited to a health care summit, an ‘exachange of ideas’.. quite a few high ranking GOP’ers said they might be willing to come to the table…. just come to the table now, not vote a certain way or concede a certain point,  but they might show up to the President’s bipartisan effort for health reform meeting but only if the  Democrats dropped their health reform idea and adopted the GOP version. Eric Cantor flat out said that the “only way to bipartisan cooperation is if the Democrats fully embrace the GOP plan!” What? How is that bipartisan? How is that anything other than a great big “Screw you, It’s my way or no way and that’s the only bipartisan I agree with.. do it yourself if you don’t like it! Just remember I will blame you for doing it yourself if you do”

You cannot, as the losing party give that kind of demand.. that kind of close-fist demand.. and then claim you are the bipartisan party, yet they do, and no one calls them on it.  So I ask you once again, is this really an OBama failure and where is any ire at the party that is actually holding bipartsianship hostage?

To me President Obama failures are..

He has moved away from a public option. He promised me a public option and I believed him. He has let the message on this and so many other issues get away from him. He had the advantage and he expected to find ‘Statesmen’  and ‘Adults’ in congress who wouldn’t bastardize everything they could to score a political point and while he’s finally decided to come out swingng and get the truth out.. he’s wasted vaulable time and his ‘capitol’ in the interim.

I see it as a failure that he is still giving contracts to the likes of Blackwater and doing it even though we know they are the evil of all evil. Why do we need to privately fund any war with a bunch of mercenaries? Why do we need them for private security? Why can’t we use the money and build up our military and pay our troops more? Atleast they have rules,laws and codes they must follow. Blackwater and the likes do things with our money and in our names that I do not think the majoirty of us want done in our name. I do not agree at all with their continued government funding. Bring the military back to do the jobs in our name with the honor and integrity that they will bring with them.

I see President  Obama’s lack of authority with Wall Street as another failure. He needs to force those CEO’s to either get their sweet-ass to the proverbial ‘come to Jesus’ meeting.. or risk immediate stripping of the ‘handout, even if that means selling off part of the company to get back the money given to them. I don’t know who these people think they are, but when the President of the United States tells you to come to a meeting.. your sorry ‘hand-out-taking’ ass better get there before the ink is dry on the invitations. I don’t care if it was ‘foggy’ or not, take the damn train.

I don’t care about GOP crying that “OBama hates capitalism .. Obama is an enemy to buisness” because it’s  a load of crap, what we had leading up to this meltdown was not capitalism .. it was rape pure and simple. It’s time Obama starts acting like the President he is and do something about these guys.

And finally.. He has failed at installing a new way of doing it, he has failed at starting a new era of bi-partsianship.  He hasn’t failed for the lack of trying, he’s failed for the lack of realism. He believed he could change the climate of hate that is the US congress. Not a single congressman from either house or either party can say or do anything without checking a poll 1st. They are not there to govern like Obama is, they are there for the power and the paycheck. It is President Obama’s failure to not see this that irks me the most. It is his failure to not see that, no matter which way he goes the entire Right side will be against him as proven time and time again, even by adopting their own policies.. they will go against him. They will and have cut off their noses to spite their face.

President Obama is already lambasted as a socialist even when he’s cut taxes and wasn’t the one to create the largest ‘socialist program’ in a generation or more. Well,  if they are going to call him one anyway, then why not use that and go more radical on his ideas. We just proved a lot of the country is pro-radical change, even our supreme court is. So it is a failure on Obama’s part not to use the gift he’s been given by the Right. He will be slaughtered and lied about by them no matter what he does.. so he might as well do as he wants.

John, thank you for your comments.. I hope I have addressed them in a way that maybe didn’t change your mind.. but atleast gave you a different point of view and a way to look at it

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Medicaid to Ian: Drop Dead!

I adore ekg.  For years she has been my liberal foil, challenging my assumptions and sharpening my arguments.  But lately, she has just seemed …off.  Like virtually every liberal worth his or her bureaucracy, she is wildly in favor of a “public option” in the current health care bill.  The more “publicky,” the better. Medicare for all is the dream, and VA care for all is the fantasy.  Yeah, I don’t get that one either.  But unfortunately, it’s a point that seems so evident to the liberal mind that any opposition seems either evil or crazy.

 

Or racist of course.  We can’t forget that one!

 

So her arguments in support of “health reform” have been of the self evident variety.  Hardly worth the title of “reasoned discussion” at all.  In discussing the case of Ian Pearl, she pulls out the familiar trope of the evil insurance company denying coverage for the wronged, ill, Christ figure.  Her blog on Ian’s plight is one part righteous anger and two parts accusatory anger.

 

But I do take her seriously and try to address her disagreements with my position:

 

Ekg, I don’t want to make you sad, so let me address your points one at a time.

 

Now, you are saying I don’t know what I am talking about because:

 

“1st.. Ian wouldn’t die from the ‘public option’… he would die from having to live in an assisted living home…”

 

So in order to live, Ian needs 24 hour home health care that is currently provided by his health insurance.  Now Ian is about to get the boot, the boot to Medicaid, which does not provide the sort of home health care that Ian needs, according to his parents to stay alive.  So once Ian is on Medicaid, his life will be nasty, brutish, and short.  Now assisted living is how Medicaid handles Muscular Dystrophy patients in Ian’s advanced condition.  So if Ian had never been covered under a private insurance plan, he would have been dead a while ago, correct?

 

But you say Medicaid is not a public option.  But the public option is government healthcare.  Do you think he would have a better deal under another government plan?

 

Which leads us to your second point…

 

”2nd medicaid isn’t the ‘public option’ .. that is what the poorest of the poor get. which no matter how bad(and it’s not), is still better than what millions have now..
The public option is low cost private insurance and it’s only low cost to the payer because the gov’t can purchase larger ‘blocks’ and get a better deal than a single person.”

 

If you’re correct, I’ve been following this issue for several months and have never heard that the public option is really private insurance.  In fact, I’m pretty sure you’re wrong on that, so I will call bullshit until you can show me.  What I think you are getting it confused with are the private plans that will be sold through the exchange.  Those will have standardized basic benefits, prices, and will be subsidized for lower income people.  That is not the” public option.”  The public option is a government plan, not really insurance, with benefits and prices designed by the government.  Now the public option might be administered by a private company, in the same way that Tricare is administered by private insurance companies in different Tricare regions of the country, but it’s not a private insurance plan.  If there is a public option and it is administered by private health insurance companies, which seems likely, the insurance companies still win!

 

So one if us is really, really wrong on our understanding of what the public option is.  As long as we have been going over this issue, that’s pretty damn funny.  I don’t care who ya are…

 

Now I couldn’t help but notice this: 

 

“…healthcare companies pass the buck and raise the price while you cheer them on.. whether it’s because they are exempted under anti-trust laws or any other law doesn’t matter..”

 

I have not been exactly “cheering on” the health insurance companies while they raise prices.  Seeing as I’ve been in the middle of open enrollment at work, I find any cheers quite muted.  I’m trying to recall the last time I cheered price increases by health insurance companies in general and my health insurance in particular… let’s see, there was that time… no…how about… oh no… 

 

I guess no.  No cheers from me.

 

As far as anti trust laws go in general, I find them foolish, since monopolies generally require either control of a particular resource or some sort of government grant that gives a legal monopoly to a company.  Baseball has an anti trust exemption since we don’t want multiple baseball leagues bouncing around the country.  We would rather the current owners suck up all the profits.  For health insurance companies, If Senator Leahy or the President wants to pull that trigger, I say, let ‘em.  Just about everything else in the bill is designed to increase health care costs, so what’s one more? 

 

But the issue isn’t anti trust, it’s ERISA.  The federal law governing health plans gives a specific exemption from common contract law.  Under normal (and by this I mean both common and various state laws, although they may differ in specifics) contract law, a contract entered in good faith, even if there are flaws in the actual contract, such as doting the i or crossing the t , is still a valid contract.  Not so for health plans under ERISA.  The insurance company can retroactively cancel the contract of any member for any sort of contractual error.  They certainly have an incentive to dump high cost (i.e. really sick) patients if they can legally get away with it, and thanks to federal law, they can!

 

I guess lobbying really does pay.

 

Inevitably, when these hard luck rescission cases become big news, like Ian Pearl’s case or others that have become a cause celebre  for big government types such as the cases of Robin Beaton and Otto Raddatz’s, the reason they lost their health care was because of rescission; because the law allows them to.  Big government liberals easily forget the real villains in those cases:  ERISA.

 

Health Insurance II:  This time it’s personal.

 

“the quote you used was the PC/CYA reply to being asked why the VP would call someone like Ian or Chuck a fucking “dog”… which is something else you know, but chose to ignore because it doesn’t further your cause..

seriously.. how can you continue to protect an industry that would treat your wife the same way if she was diagnosed with MS tomorrow is simply beyond me..she would just be their new ‘dog’ to rid themselves of..”

 

 

Although I find myself offended at the term “dog” being used for either my wife or Chuck ( Ian I don’t know.  Sorry Ian, I’m sure you’re a nice guy and all…), the context seems to refer to the accounts, rather than the individuals.  But lets assume the worse.  The health insurance execs are meanies, they hate Ian, Chuck, and my wife and think they are dogs, and of course, hope they all die before too much money is spent on the sickly, when it could be much better spent on fabulous executive bonuses.   THIS is one of the key differences between people who trust the free market (as opposed to individual companies or executives) and people who trust the good naturedness of big government (stand by, teachable moment here): 

 

I don’t care that companies may hate me, are greedy, or that they are looking out for their own self interest.  Of course they are!  They are in business to make a goddamn buck!  Not to wipe the tears from our eyes and give us a shoulder to cry on. 

 

But it’s an observation that predates Adam Smith’s invisible hand:  Businesses and individuals in business are conducting commerce for their own ends.  However the result of that is that everyone’s interests are satisfied.  You want a widget, and a greedy company wants to make money by selling widgets.  Money and Widgets are exchanged, and voila!  Everyone gets what they want!  Contracts?  Same thing.  There is a centuries old body of law governing, “lets make a deal” between people.  As a general rule, it works pretty well.  It would probably work pretty well with health insurance too if our government allowed it. 

 

But if your thinking on private enterprise and business is totally dependent on companies being filled with nice guys and gals who think providing profits to their shareholders is less important than holding your hand and skipping through the meadow on a spring day, then you are pretty much going to hate capitalism and the free market.

 

And of course, let’s really get personal:

 

“.. you are as much of an accomplice in this as the ones who do it knowingly.. you have a president who will work with you.. but instead the GOP shat in his hand and walk over to tongue-kiss the insurance companies because they have the money to rile up the rank and inbred and to fund their re-election bid…”

 

 

 

Wow!  Me!  Personally responsible for Ian Pearl’s unfortunate condition, or responsible for the Republicans in Congress sitting on their hands and not embracing the President’s wack-a-nut health plan?  Either way, it’s a lot of responsibility to rest on my shoulders.  In any case, it was the President who spent the summer playing “wash the molars” with the health insurance companies, not the Republicans.  All the poor health insurance companies wanted was forced, mandatory requirement that everyone in the country get health insurance, a windfall worth billions to them.  That’s why they kept their mouths shut all summer and generically praised “health reform.”  Particularly after it looked like the Public Option was off the table. 

 

But a funny thing happened on the way to negotiations; the individual mandate and the fines to enforce it got weakened.  Weakened enough that suddenly the other higher costs enclosed in the health plan suddenly seem to outweigh the lesser amount of new customers the health insurance companies were expected to have the federal government  herd their way.  It is about self interest after all.  That’s what makes the world go round.  As fun as it would be to blame the Republicans for all this, or any of this for that matter, it’s strictly an inter-party squabble.  It’s Democrats versus the President.  Republicans?  They’re just out in the bleachers, yelling, “You lie” occasionally.

 

 

As for Ian, I don’t have a solution for him.  In that way, I’m no different than ekg.  I would have supported eliminating the part of ERISA that allows these situations to happen in the first place.  He would have either not lost his insurance, or if he had, his parents would have been able to sue the company in court.  That’s not an option available to him under current law.  But even if the Congress were to magically take an interest in that, I doubt it would be done in time to help Ian. 

 

Other than that, I only have Ian’s parent’s word that care under Medicaid is a “death sentence.”  I don’t know if that is their take on their son’s situation or a doctor’s opinion, but in any case, I hope they are wrong.  He’s getting the liberal dream:  government healthcare.  No greedy health insurance companies involved.   It’s government healthcare for Ian soon, and government healthcare for all of us eventually if the President has his way.  But If both Medicaid and Medicare, would have Ian die, why should this be shoved down my throat?  It’s funny that the biggest supporters of government healthcare suddenly are frightened by the thought of someone actually getting it.