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AdLib On December - 16 - 2009

800px-RNC_04_protest_89The Senate bill is worse than you may think. A few upsetting facts:

1. Insurance companies can charge people up to 50% more for having any condition the insurance companies determine to be a relevant pre-existing condition, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, anything at all as they decide.

2. Insurance companies can set whatever maximum annual limit they wish on providing benefits, as low as they choose.

3. Older people can be forced to pay up to 4x more than young people.

4. Insurance companies will continue to enjoy an exemption to antitrust laws.

5. Insurance companies will be able to sell across state lines and thus can base themselves in states with the weakest consumer protection laws that other states couldn’t override.

6. A middle class family of four making $54,000 will be paying 17% of gross annual household income (before taxes)  for insurance, in the case of severe health issues, that could rise to 22% of annual household income.

7. There are no cost controls, insurance companies can raise premiums and deductibles whenever and to whatever they choose.

As Howard Dean said and as KO expressed in his Special Comment tonight, this bill represents an enormous, ongoing and permanent  transfer of wealth from taxpayers to insurance companies, out of their own pockets and from the U.S. Treasury.

Since there are no cost controls, insurance companies can eventually raise rates so that the government subsidy portion is absorbed and you could be paying out of pocket as much or more than you’re paying right now.

And we still don’t know specifically how much of a premium the government will cover though we do know if your household income is above $60,000, it will be $0.

And the most appalling part of this is that without any public option, citizens of this nation would be forced to pay whatever unregulated prices the insurance companies demand or they would be breaking the law of the United States and be fined.

I don’t find this an easy decision to make, considering all the people who can’t afford health insurance who would gain it. On the other hand, can we support a democratic process that legislates the serfdom of Americans to a cold, greed-ridden industry?

Keeping in mind that any bill that passes the Senate will go into conference with the House bill and could change, if the mandate is kept in the bill for every American to bow before insurance corporations and give a tithing of 17% of all they earn to them, I will oppose it and lobby all of my representatives to oppose this bill. It represents a very real danger to maintaining a middle class in this nation and would be heavy burden that would become overwhelming as rates go up year after year.

If the bill passes, there must be and there will be civil disobedience of such an unjust law until or unless it is repealed.

It is disgusting that we are forced into a Sophie’s Choice of either opposing health care for many of the poorest among us or sanction a form of slavery to insurance companies for ourselves, our children and future generations.

Previous generations made much harder sacrifices for the future of this nation, we can’t willingly saddle future generations with such corporate oppression and domination for their entire lives.

Here is KO’s Special Comment on opposing any bill or law containing a mandate for all Americans to purchase insurance from the Insurance corporations. I think you’ll find it very effective:

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Written by AdLib

My motto is, "It is better to have blogged and lost hours of your day, than never to have blogged at all."

197 Responses so far.

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  1. Scheherazade says:

    May I ask about the VOX POPULI countdown? I know that would imply a countdown till the voice of the people, but in what sense exactly?

    • nellie says:

      It’s our Friday evening chat session. It’s very fast and a lot of fun. I hope you’ll be able to join us.

      I’m posting something right now that will explain all!

      • Scheherazade says:

        Ah, thank you. :) I’m not sure that I will be able to do so. :( The reason for this is that I have a house full of people who are hungry, but we shall see.

  2. javaz says:

    Wow!
    Is it snowing in hell today or is it a Christmas Miracle???

    “Maine state legislator leaves GOP over health care reform obstructionism.”

    http://thinkprogress.org/2009/12/18/main-legislator-health-care/

    • bitohistory says:

      j’avaz, From the story: “Nobody has all the answers, but the Republican Party has none when it comes to health care reform.”

      “This move is about the working people and our seniors who need action. I became a Republican because I believed the party stood for something. I hope to send a message to the Republican Party

      • javaz says:

        Hee-hee-hee-hee.

        Thanks!
        That makes my day!

        Hey, can you believe that a week from today is Christmas?
        Have you plans?
        We have our good friend coming over for ribs and movies, and then maybe Trivial Pursuit later or 3-handed Euchre.
        You don’t play pinochle, by chance, do you?

        • bitohistory says:

          j’vaz, protesting against the war and all night pinochle did not make me a good student. :-)

          • javaz says:

            Oh, now you’ve done it.
            We have been looking for a 4th for pinochle, as 3-handed is okay, but 4 handed is better.
            Do you play single or double deck or both?
            We can do either, but I prefer double deck.

            If you’ve no plans for Christmas, you could come to our house and spend the night, even.
            We’re not that far away, and we’re not ax murderers or anything.

            YIKES
            Wouldn’t that be a trip?

            I can’t eat the ribs, even though I prepare them, but as a diabetic, I don’t eat sugar, so I’m having a steak or sirloin burger -- fancy name for low-fat hamburger -- and yeah, yeah, the methane and global warming thing, but hey, it’s Christmas, and I’m making the boys pork ribs covered in sugar sauce.

            If not Christmas, but gosh darnit all, Doug, my husband and I used to play pinochle all the time with my mom, and then she passed in 1990, so now we play 3-handed euchre.
            Unless we get very drunk, and then we play Yahtzee.
            LMAO

            You never know, b’ito.
            We’re good people.

            (if you hold a magnifying glass up to my pic here, that’s my husband, me and our little dog from 2 years ago.)

    • bitohistory says:

      J’avaz. Would you stay off my site???? 😆

      • javaz says:

        Did I scoop you again?
        You’re the person that turned me onto that site, so it’s all your fault!

        (do people still say that? you “turned me on” to whatever?)
        It’s cool.

      • Scheherazade says:

        Your site? That’s my old stomping ground back before my reign as Queen Bitch to the reichwingers at Huffy. 😉

        How are you over there if you don’t mind my asking?

        • bitohistory says:

          Sche, I don’t go there! “On a dark and stormy day” I was there try to explain that a story was completely un-sourced and bogus. It was futile.Nichole gave me cryptic message to here, and I have not been back since.

          (It may have helped that I had to go to my oncologists that day and felt that that site was not worth my time!)

  3. javaz says:

    “”VOTERS REVOLT AGAINST MANDATES WITHOUT PUBLIC OPTION

    Public option: 59% to 31%.

    Mandates without public option: 33% to 56%.

    Voters overwhelmingly say Obama didn’t fight Lieberman hard enough: 63% to 29%.””

    http://act.boldprogressives.org/cms/sign/natpollresults121809?source=dkos_st1218

  4. KarateKid says:

    A while ago, I stated that the mandate stunk to high heaven. This is still the odious part of this or ANY healthcare bill (I will not call it reform any longer). And now Nelson wants even more restrictive measures against low income women pertaining to abortion. I actually hope he DOES filibuster and this bill fails. At least then we can start over and try to pass it piecemeal by piecemeal rather than overreaching and trying for the whole ball of wax.

    Never in the history of the United States has a government tried to MAKE it’s citizens buy something from a private industry or face a fine and even imprisonment. This is tyranny of the highest order and an affront to all freedom loving citizens.

    This entire effort, while laudable in its desires, has turned into a total defeat of the legislators and a better than now solution for the insurance companies.

    This bill, if it passes, will turn me away from the Democratic party. With friends like these people, who needs enemies?

    • Emerald1943 says:

      Hello, KK! Nice to see you and hope you are well!

      Your last sentence really concerned me. While I understand your feelings, I would remind you of what alternative we may face in the next election…Sarah Palin and her cabal of religious right-wing zealots. That nightmare would certainly be the end of the United States of America as we know it!

      I can’t say right now how I would vote in three years, but you can bet your sweet [email protected]@ that it won’t be for Ms. Mooseburger or any of the other corporate-owned republicans.

    • AdLib says:

      As long as there was a Public Option, I was not as bothered about the mandate…because it didn’t mean the government was acting as the enforcer for a corporate entity.

      Now that the PO is gone, I’m PO’d. And I can’t support this huge step deeper into a plutocracy.

      I don’t expect the Dems to be this clever anymore but using judo right now would make a lot of sense. The conservatives want to gut this bill, keep gutting it until it contains just the decent provisions, covering the 30 million, adding to Medicare, ending pre-existing conditions, etc.

      Then come back next year through Reconciliation or use the Nuclear option to implement a Public Option and go ahead and mandate insurance then.

      • Emerald1943 says:

        Hi, Adlib…and of course, all the rest of you beautiful people of the Planet!

        I completely concur with you! I had no problem with the mandate as long as an affordable alternative in the form of public option was made available to everyone. But as this bill got stripped down, I began to see just how bad it was.

        In my humble opinion, this “mandate” does not pass the Constitutionality smell test. As you wrote, never have the American people been forced to support a for-profit industry. Some have used the analogy of auto insurance that is required. But you have the option of NOT owning or driving a car. In this health care regard, you will not have any option.

        This bill is a travesty and a slap in the fact of every working American. I am personally so sick of the rhetoric coming out of Washington with our elected representatives trying to convince how good this Senate bill is. It is NOT a good bill, and although I do not wish a failure for the President, I hope it goes down in flames!

  5. bitohistory says:

    Time for me to do the meds and bed thing.
    Good night all. :-)

  6. sharonh says:

    Ad Lib, I thought the antitrust was a done deal and separate from the bill. Forcing seniors to pay more goes right through the heart of this supposed reform. I am with you and Dr. Dean, there is too much wrong with it. What is the hurry Mr. President, and why don’t you throw your weight around a little on the Medicare buy-in? He said he wanted it done right so nobody had to do it again, but this is not the way.

    The only bad part of voting down the bill is the republicans will claim victory and have teaparties.

    • boomer1949 says:

      sharonh,

      Just sent a “Contact Us” message to the WH asking the same questions. Whether he actually sees my email is another story. However, I’ve thought of contacting Michelle. Pillow talk is much more effective than any adviser or aide. :-)

    • AdLib says:

      I think it may be in the House Bill but it’s been removed from the Senate Bill which means it will be gone from the final bill.

      I too would hate to give Republicans reason to celebrate, I want a HC reform bill passed.

      But I don’t want a citizen slavery to Insurance corporations bill passed.

      If they could at least remove the mandatory buy-in language I might be able to get around some of the other horrible stuff.

        • AdLib says:

          Thanks. It seems to say that we can’t expect any improvements to the final bill, that the final bill will pretty much be whatever comes out of The Senate.

          That would be very troubling.

          • nellie says:

            That’s not my reading, but we’ll have to see what happens.

            • AdLib says:

              Here’s the quote I was referring to:

              If the conference committee drew up a compromise between the more progressive House bill and the more conservative Senate bill, it simply would not get the 60 votes it would need in the Senate.

            • nellie says:

              That’s a fair point. The process is what I was referring to, that the process allows for improvements.

              I’m beginning to think they should split the bill.

        • kesmarn says:

          nellie, am I reading this correctly? If I am, there’s a possibility this bill may never even get to conference to be improved upon. As I understand it, this “ping-ponging” process means that the bill would be passed by the Senate, pretty much as is, then go directly to the House without alteration and after it’s passed there, to the Prez for his signature. I don’t think I like the sound of this…

          • nellie says:

            It’s hard to say. I’m hearing that the bill could be split, so that the budget portions — like medicare for all — could be handled in reconciliation, where only 51 votes would be needed. And the rest — the insurance reform — could be handled separately.

            I don’t know why they need to rush to meet a December deadline. Maybe they’re afraid any more delay will mean no bill at all.

            What a drama …

            • AdLib says:

              First, did you get my email?

              Second, there was a lengthy discussion about reconciliation with Bernie Sanders and another guest on KO tonight. Apparently the Dems would need Committee Chairmen to go along with it and some like Baucus wouldn’t be likely to. So, the read I got is that it would be a difficult thing to get to.

              Damn right wing Dems, sabotaging everything worthwhile!

            • kesmarn says:

              OK. Now we’re all incredibly curious……

              😮

            • nellie says:

              I just read the email, and okay, but it won’t be the same. :-(

              And may I just say, Damn that Baucus.

        • sharonh says:

          I read about the ping pong a bit ago. Would the house agree to the senate’s version with no changes? Why should they? Any way I look at this it doesn’t look good. We need a stronger bill.

          • nellie says:

            The way I read it, it’s totally up in the air what happens in conference. Provisions from either bill could stay in or go out. All this work on both sides and we’re still in the dark, essentially.

            One bit of good news — it’s important who sits on the conference committee, and the rumored senate members look pretty good. But people need to keep contacting congress through that process.

            • AdLib says:

              I read it very differently. It expresses that any changes to the Senate bill could doom the bill in the Senate.

            • nellie says:

              Well … I feel like I CAN’T get discouraged, because then the obstructionists win, and that’s unacceptable. If it’s not right this time, we have to make sure there’s a next time.

            • AdLib says:

              nellie, the sad thing is that the Progressives in the House may be flexible if it’s this or nothing whereas the Senate asses like Nelson and Lieberman would be just as happy if the bill failed.

              For a bill to have any chance of passing, it can only lean to the right and the Senate’s bill.

              Then the House liberals would have to swallow hard and sign on.

              I don’t know, this is all disintegrating Dem solidarity and enthusiasm.

              If only Reid had a spine and started off by threatening the Nuclear Option if Repubs and Blue Dogs wouldn’t collaborate.

            • nellie says:

              The same is true on the house side. They’ve said they won’t vote unless there IS a public option.

              So they’ve got to figure out something.

            • sharonh says:

              You can’t have the house say they want the public option back in and expect it to pass a vote in the senate. We are screwed.

    • KevenSeven says:

      That bad part is going to be very bad.

      And I think that there is a lot of wind no longer in the sails of the progressives. So that is a bad thing as well. Two bad things.

      Adding up to the Rethugs having a much better prospect in the next cycle.

  7. Kalima says:

    After reading nellie mentioning C-Span, I tried to take a peek but the server is busy. So much for that.

  8. javaz says:

    I can’t stop wondering why Gore ever chose Lieberman as a running mate.

    • KevenSeven says:

      Because Lieberman had been out front chastising Bill for his happy zipper, and Al felt the need for some moral holy water to clean off the tawdriness of Bill and his shocking lack of self control.

      Have you ever wondered how things would have been different if Bill had looked for his strange nookie from some Georgetown socialite of about 38 years of age?

      I mean. How much could anyone have griped about him getting jollies with a woman old enough to not be perceived a victim?

      • kesmarn says:

        Call me cynical, but I believe Lewinsky was coached (and probably rewarded) to entrap Clinton. She was no innocent child, but a very--shall we say “experienced”?--twenty something social climber. And to hang on to a dress with “evidence” on it for MONTHS? Either her standards of hygiene left much to be desired, or she knew she’d be able to capitalize very handsomely on that little bit of blackmail material. The most sophisticated, late 30’s Georgetown socialite could hardly have pulled off a slicker bit of extortion. Not even the Repubs believed that “victim” stuff.

        • KevenSeven says:

          So what if she was coached? Bill fell for it like a pile of bricks.

          And he had a well known reputation as a cad. He betrayed the party for his johnson.

          • kesmarn says:

            In a weird sort of way, Bill was naive. I think he had no idea it would play out the way it did. He believed in a sort of a “what happens in the oval office stays in the oval office” deal. He probably thought--at worst--it would be a he-said-she-said situation. The fact that a “sweet young thang” could be calculating enough to have his DNA months after the events didn’t dawn on him…silly thing that he is/was. I’m not saying what he did was right, but she was no injured minor…not by a long shot.

    • bitohistory says:

      J’avaz speaking of Palin ~ I heard today that she may come to AZ to campaign for McNasty. I will let you know where to get tickets. 😆

    • Chernynkaya says:

      Even yesterday, I heard him defended by Amy Klobucher, and she’s a good senator. What I’ve heard from her and Barbara Boxer and several Libs is that his voting record on liberal issues is good. He’s pro-union, pro-choice, pro-cap and trade and over the years was considered a liberal stalwart. Something very bad happened and I don’t know what. My guess? It had something to do with his ego. I believe he is so petty, sometime, someone in power on the Left hurt his vanity, and he went off the rails. He found an admirer on McCain, and needed that admiration more than he needed his principles.

      • escribacat says:

        That would explain his apparently erratic behavior.

      • javaz says:

        I think it had to do with Ned Lamont winning the primary and the DNC and Dems throwing their support behind Lamont.
        Lieberman felt betrayed by the Democratic Party, so he switched sides out of spite.

        • KevenSeven says:

          I’m pretty sure that is it.

          He was pissed that the Dems of Connecticut did not re-nominate him.

        • nellie says:

          That’s what I think, too.

          BTW, he and McCain have been best buds for years. McCain wanted Lieberman as his running mate, but the RNC wouldn’t have it.

          • kesmarn says:

            nellie, I was joking when I mentioned that, below! I didn’t realize it was a serious proposal--the McCain/Lieberman ticket, I mean. That’s funny!

          • Kalima says:

            “Sloppy Joe” needs to run but not as anyone’s mate, despicable man in every way.

            • kesmarn says:

              LOL, Good morning, Kalima! If the Senate goes on much longer, they’ll be debating during your daytime!

            • nellie says:

              We do have the same taste in movies, e!

            • escribacat says:

              Nellie….love that movie! Saw it a couple months ago again.

            • kesmarn says:

              He says he thinks the current bill will be improved in conference and he plans to vote for it. Now it looks as though he’s done, and the Senate is in recess until MIDNIGHT(!) when it will resume… Wow…

            • nellie says:

              Good for Arlen. All in vain, but nice to have it on the record.

            • kesmarn says:

              nellie, right now it’s Arlen Specter pleading for bipartisanship and an end to the mean spiritedness that prevails currently…

            • Kalima says:

              Evening kesmarn. That serves them right, they need to get something done for the American people, something worth having.

              Load of scallywags!

            • nellie says:

              kes, are they saying anything worth tuning in for? I’m watching The Man Who Came to Dinner, but I feel a little guilty about ignoring C-SPAN.

    • nellie says:

      He was trying to capture the center. Too bad he didn’t pick a running mate from Florida.

    • bitohistory says:

      j’avaz, McCain and Sister S’arah?

    • kesmarn says:

      A mystery for the ages, right, j’avaz? What was he thinking?? In Gore’s wildest dreams, I’ll bet he never imagined his former running mate campaigning for the Repub candidate in ’08.

  9. FeedUp says:

    It looks that maybe this bill should be killed. They have got us totally spinning. How many balls in the air can they keep going?

    I know some are going to get upset with what I say but here goes..

    Just several weeks ago a mass shooting at Fort Hood by a disgruntled Muslim. Is this coincidence or convenience — Obama rolls out his new war plan to further the war in Afghanistan. This all happens while many Americans are focused on Health Care Reform.

    I just heard today on Washington Journal (sorry I am a WJ junkie)
    General Motors received billions of tarp money. Now army tanks and
    humvees are being manufactured in Germany, I guess at the Opal plant. Why aren’t these products being manufactured here in the USA. The value of the euro to the dollar simply doesn’t make any economic sense to manufacture in Germany.

    No jobs, millions losing their health care, no real strategy and Obama’s poll numbers are plummeting.

    Now, McCain is agreeing with Dean. What’s next ?

  10. javaz says:

    “Major unions line up against Senate health bill”

    http://rawstory.com/2009/12/unions-oppose-senate-bill/

    “”Two of the nation’s largest, most influential unions expressed serious reservations Thursday about the Senate health care bill, with the AFL-CIO coalition calling it “inadequate and too tilted toward the insurance industry.”

    “The absolute refusal of Republicans in the Senate to support health care reform and the hijacking of the bill by defenders of the insurance industry have brought us a Senate bill that is inadequate: It is too kind to the insurance industry,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka.

    Union opposition presents a political problem for the White House, as Barack Obama relied on the unions’ ability to organize and influence voters to build his presidential campaign last year.

    In a statement released Thursday, Trumka listed what he saw as the fundamental problem with the Senate version of the health care bill, now that it has been stripped of a public option and a proposed expansion of Medicare benefits.

    — It lacks a public health insurance option, to offer real competition to insurance companies to bring down costs.
    — It fails to make sure employers take responsibility and pay their fair share.
    — It

    • bitohistory says:

      And Think Progress reports this:
      “Liberal groups and labor unions

    • nellie says:

      They make really strong points. The cost-containment aspect of reform has really taken a beating in the senate bill. It’s a good thing the unions are speaking out, because that’s a solid voting block expressing their disappointment. And they’re speaking out at just the right time.

  11. javaz says:

    http://www.salon.com/news/healthcare_reform/index.html?story=/opinion/feature/2009/12/17/healthcare_concessions

    “”Is the effort worth still worth it? Yes, but just. Private insurers will have to take anyone, regardless of preconditions. And some 30 million people who don’t now have health insurance will get it. But because Big Insurance, Big Pharma, and the AMA will come out way ahead, the legislation will cost taxpayers and premium-payers far more than it would otherwise. Cost controls are inadequate; in fact, they barely exist. If Wall Street’s top brass are “fat cats,” as the President described them last weekend, the top brass of Big Insurance, Big Pharma, and the AMA are even fatter. While they don’t earn as much, they’re squeezing the public for even more.””

  12. bitohistory says:

    From CQ: The Senate may be in session on Christmas Eve and during the week leading up to News Years.

    Is the new target date the Sate of the Union speech?

  13. kesmarn says:

    To add further to the confusion, Bill Clinton weighs in: (and I’m a great fan of Clinton’s)

    “America stands at a historic crossroads. At last, we are close to making real health insurance reform a reality. We face one critical, final choice, between action and inaction. We know where the path of inaction leads to: more uninsured Americans, more families struggling to keep up with skyrocketing premiums, higher federal budget deficits, and health costs so much higher than any other country’s they will cripple us economically.

    Our only responsible choice is the path of action. Does this bill read exactly how I would write it? No. Does it contain everything everyone wants? Of course not. But America can’t afford to let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

    And this is a good bill: it increases the security of those who already have insurance and gives every American access to affordable coverage; and contains comprehensive efforts to control costs and improve quality, with more information on best practices, and comparative costs and results. The bill will shift the power away from the insurance companies and into the hands of consumers.

    Take it from someone who knows: these chances don’t come around every day. Allowing this effort to fall short now would be a colossal blunder — both politically for our party and, far more important, for the physical, fiscal, and economic health of our country.”

  14. javaz says:

    Interesting take on the situation and in-fighting, which the author believes is the main goal of GOP -- to cause a rift in the Democratic Party so nothing can get done.

    http://www.boomantribune.com/story/2009/12/17/115750/69

    “”That’s just what people on the left do. We splinter. The Republicans stick together no matter how disastrous their course. We fly apart and attack each other. You can’t change a leopard’s spots, but you can take account of its teeth. If the Obama administration wants to avoid a disastrous meltdown in the big-tent Democratic Party, they need to do a much better job figuring out how to give the left some victories. We’ve eaten too much shit, and now you have a big problem.””

    • AdLib says:

      I wouldn’t go so far as giving the GOP credit for Lieberman being a douche.

      I’ve known douches, douches aren’t friends of mine and Senator Lieberman, you are a douche.

    • Marion says:

      Got it in one! And this is exactly what we’re doing. Already the dittoes ‘elsewhere’ are calling for a primary challenge in 2012.

      Dean, in speaking out, has opened a real can of worms, and the media are stoking it, lapping it up, with him on umpteen numbers of programs. (You know, if he wanted to, he could have declined interviews).

      We, as a party, have just got to learn to grow up and stick together over something as important as this. My dad used to always say, ‘The Democrats fall in love, the Republicans fall in line.’ And he was a lifelong Democrat.


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