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KarateKid On December - 9 - 2009

800px-Lyndon_Johnson_signing_Medicare_bill,_with_Harry_Truman,_30_July,_1965

As you all know, I was a participant in the first debate held here, and I had plenty to say about the abysmal House healthcare reform bill, particularly the Stupak Amendment, the mandate and the very weak public option that gave no one with existing healthcare through employers a chance to opt out.

I was against this bill, not because I did not want reform, but I felt we deserved a better one.  Who would have thought the Senate would actually begin to get it right, and head us in the right direction.

I know it’s not over yet, there is one more hurdle cloture vote, but then, Harry Reid has pretty clear sailing, comparativel,y to what we might have thought a month ago.

I was, and continue to be, an advocate for single payer.  It makes the most sense in a number of ways, among them an existing bureaucracy rather than the creation of a new one.  It also offers several other major benefits:  lower cost, more freedom in choosing physicians and hospitals, greater coverage in post surgical therapy, greater coverage, period.

This compromise is something I can accept, even more than the original public option that covered so few of us, with restrictions on low income women, which is non negotiable for me.

First, it sets us on a path to single payer coverage for everyone, and on the path of least resistance.  By simply incorporating additional age brackets, say at one year intervals for the next bracket, 45-55 year olds, in 2011 and move downward in one year increments, we could have universal single payer healthcare by the end of President Obama’s second term.  It would increase the chances of seat gain in both houses of Congress in 2010, which will make the changes even easier.

Additionally, the plan would have the elimination of denial of coverage for pre-existing conditions, a cap on out of pocket expenses and non cancellable policies if one becomes seriously ill.  The Nelson amendment was shot down, thankfully.  No one is saying the government should pay for abortions, but that the coverage be available.  Who in their right minds plans for an abortion, anyway?

Though the public option will be watered down or eliminated by trigger, President Obama never promised us a public option, only that we deserved the same kind of coverage that federal government workers have, through the private, non profit boards similar to the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program.  Personally, being a single payer advocate, anything but a robust  public option made little sense, the creation of a new bureaucracy made even less sense.

Now, this is on the right track.  It is not a perfect plan, but I can now buy into the concept of improving it because it can now be done in a less complicated manner.

Let’s keep our fingers crossed.  We’re close, I hope Reid can get it done.

Categories: Featured, News & Politics

17 Responses so far.

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  1. javaz says:

    http://www.abc-7.com/Global/story.asp?S=11660202

    “”WASHINGTON (AP) -- A loophole in the Senate health care bill would let insurers place annual dollar limits on medical care for people struggling with costly illnesses such as cancer, prompting a rebuke from patient advocates.””

  2. javaz says:

    http://thinkprogress.org/2009/12/10/gop-debate-weekend/

    “”After voting against debating health reform, Republicans demand Senate

  3. Emerald1943 says:

    I am late in responding to this post…had too many irons in the fire yesterday.

    I have been a rabid supporter of the Public Option. When the news came down that it had essentially been killed, I felt like someone had given me a hard kick in the gut. I felt that the public option was the best way to provide the competition we needed to drive prices down, and I believed that it was a good first step towards a single payer plan for everyone.

    From what I can tell about this very complex bill, there is little in cost controls. The insurance companies have won…and they are saying so in a leaked email from one of them.

    Perhaps opening Medicare to 55 yr. old people will do it, but I have serious doubts. From the numbers that have been presented, it is going to cost more than private insurance…some $7,600 per year or $634 per month for individuals. My personal insurance was $440 per month before I lost it. Not very helpful, IMHO.

    We have been sold out by our Senators. That’s the bottom line. I have lost faith in the people’s ability to have their voices heard by Congress. The “powers that be” are just too powerful.

  4. KQuark says:

    KK I agree. Opening up Medicare is the biggest step towards single payer and I applaud the Senate for not caving like the House and voting down the anti-choice amendment.

    Also like you said this plan is the closest to what the president promised during the campaign.

    I still like a couple of things in the House plan better like the more generous subsidies so maybe they can take the best ideas from both plans for once.

  5. KevenSeven says:

    So, here’s my question:

    The Senate votes out a bill w/o PO, the House has a bill w/ PO.

    What happens in reconciliation?

    • KarateKid says:

      I’d prefer the Senate version. As you know I abhor the House bill and still do. No way do I support any bill with a Stupak attached to it. I haven’t change my mind one bit since the debate. Some thing sre non negotiable for me.

  6. KarateKid says:

    Let’s keep our fingers crossed, guys, I want reform.

  7. Chernynkaya says:

    I am also tentatively thrilled, KK. If this is as it appears to be I will bring the champagne, but I read some disturbing comments by fire Dog Lake warning that it may not be. Since it is only their speculation, I won’t repeat them, and see no reason to rain on the parade.

    One of the things that concerns me though is that if the PO is scuttled, what provided competition to the private gangs called insurance cos? I am trying to find this out.

    And one final quibble, but only sort of: In principle, I do believe abortions should be covered by Medicare-- and screw the Hyde Amendment. If abortions are a legal, necessary medical procedure then they should be covered. But in reality, I would give up the coverage to pass the bill, as long as they are still available out-of-pocket.

  8. nellie says:

    Could the dems have been smart enough to create an alternative to Medicare for All that would rile up the Republicans so much that the GOP would become the vocal advocates for Medicare? Could the dems have tricked republicans into objecting to Medicare cuts and standing up for Medicare as essential for seniors? Could they have tricked the republicans into laying the groundwork for expanded Medicare — something republicans NEVER would have done if the dems had introduced Medicare for All?

    Could they have been that smart from the start? Could this have been the end game all along….????

    Just wondering.

  9. PepeLepew says:

    Thank you, KK, for summing this up. I can only handle so much of the roller-coaster ride of health care anymore. :)

  10. FrankenPC says:

    I agree. I finally felt a tinge of hope about this iteration of the plan. The weight of creating a new bureaucracy always brought to mind the cluster-f*** of the homeland security transition. I’ll pass.

  11. whatthel says:

    I agree KK. It looks like a good plan.

  12. escribacat says:

    I agree, KK. I looked over the details of the latest plan on Talking Points Memo, but of course that’s still unofficial. What I saw there looked really promising to me. What’s really encouraging is that both Jay Rockefeller and Howard Dean have said it looks really good.


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