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KQµårk 死神 On October - 29 - 2009

Healthcare 91The House has announced that it has a healthcare reform bill with a public option that it will release to the floor next week.  The bill will not reimburse providers at Medicare rates +5% which is a big disappointment but it will contain a public option where reimbursement rates will be negotiated instead.  The hypocritical part is that the corporate blue dog Democrats who claim they are fiscally conservative favor a plan that is just the opposite because consumers and taxpayers will spend more then they would under a robust public option.  This being said the public option in the healthcare bill is still worth supporting because it is still a big first step.

Though details of the legislation have not been released yet one of the good parts of the House’s plan is that it will put some real guidelines on the horrible behavior of insurance companies.  Like I stated in a previous article on the Planet, if congress just legislates and limits the profits that healthcare insurance companies can make it would go a long way toward real healthcare reform.  One key part of the House bill has a provision where where 85% of premiums must be directed towards claims.  Since healthcare profits and overheads are around 20-30% that is a major improvement.  Following are some excerpts from the wire story describing parts of the House plan’s efforts to legislate.

“Thursday’s bill includes an array of new restrictions on the private insurance industry, in addition to forcing insurers to compete with the federal government for business.

Firms would be banned from denying coverage on the basis of pre-existing medical conditions and limited in their ability to charge higher premiums on the basis of age.

They would be required to spend 85 percent of their income from premiums on coverage, effectively limiting their ability to advertise or pay bonuses. Additionally, the industry would be stripped of immunity from antitrust regulations covering price fixing, bid rigging and market allocation. And in a late addition to the bill, 30-year-old restrictions on the Federal Trade Commission’s ability to look into the insurance industry would be erased.”

In the Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has expressed confidence that he can get the 60 votes need to pass his version of healthcare reform which includes a public option with the “opt out” clause.  Moreover he has asked for our help in the following YouTube video that he published to have supporters of the public option contact member of congress.

Following are all the links you will need to contact congress and the white house to support the public option.

Contact the White House and tell them the public option is essential.


You can also call or write to the President:

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW

Washington, DC 20500

Please include your e-mail address

Phone Numbers

Comments: 202-456-1111

Switchboard: 202-456-1414

FAX: 202-456-2461


Comments: 202-456-6213

Visitors Office: 202-456-2121

House and Senate Democratic Leadership

Contact Senate Majority Leader Reid

Contact Senate Majority Whip Durbin

Contact House Speaker Pelosi

Contact House Majority Leader Hoyer

Contact Senators undecided about the public option

US Capitol switchboard: (202) 224-3121. A switchboard operator will connect you directly with the Senate office you request.














Bill Nelson/http://billnelson.senate.gov/contact/email.cfm

Benjamin Nelson/http://bennelson.senate.gov/email-issues.cfm








Contact the Blue Dog Coalition in the House

[email protected]

Written by KQµårk 死神

My PlanetPOV contact is [email protected] Proud Dem whose favorite hobby is cat herding. The GOP is not a political party, it's a personality disorder. Cancer, Heart Failure and Bush Survivor.

72 Responses so far.

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  1. KQuark says:

    Wow some great discussion on this topic. I think most progressives would rather have single payer and so would I. But one thing I have learned studying other healthcare systems around the world for a year is that you need a healthcare system that fits the culture to succeed. I hate to say it but polls still indicated conservatives outnumber liberals and most voters are moderates. The fact that they are conservatives because they are ignorant does that matter because that’s their beliefs. I do have a bone of conservative principles inside me as well. I do understand why some people would not want single payer forced upon them right away from that standpoint.

    A hybrid system at first is the best way to go for that reason as well. Hopefully the public option will change the culture and we will be heading for single payer. But time and time again I think progressives really overestimate our numbers. We need to start changing the political center in this country and the first step is to prove that some progressive principles can be put into action.

    I was born in NJ but moved down south for my career. Living in the South for 18 years I’ve actually associated with more conservatives than progressives. While we seldomly agree on politics I do understand some of their mindsets.

    BTW anyone who wants to learn about healthcare systems around the world should link to these blogs by a med student, actually he already has his psych MD, they are the best summaries I’ve seen by far.


    He taught me most that culture should be a huge consideration with good healthcare systems.

  2. PepeLepew says:

    Just for the record, I really enjoy the discussion here so far. It’s nice to actually do it and learn a few things without all the trolls getting in the way…

  3. SueInCa says:


    Here is a Washington Post article that the original blog I posted was taken from. Funny, the republictards in congress are screaming about abortions being funded by the gov, but it is ok to fund abstinence only training? Especially when you look around and see this training is totally ineffective? Geez louise we have a screwed up congress.

  4. PepeLepew says:

    I wonder if anyone had any thoughts on this.
    On HuffPost yesterday morning, there were many, many angry and bitter comments from certain Progressives about the House health care plan — i.e., it was worthless, it was trash, it wasn’t single payer, Obama and the Democrats let us down, etc., etc.

    I felt bad that they were so bitter, but I also can’t help feeling they are also being unrealistic. I hate to come off defeatist — I prefer to see it as realistic — but there simply aren’t the votes at this time for single-payer … and there’s *barely* enough votes for a less-than-fully robust public option.

    I really, honestly thought health care reform was dead — completely, utterly dead in the water — in August and September. I thought it had no chance. It was HillaryCare all over again. It became so apparent just how powerful the insurance and Big Pharma lobbies really are. Then throw in the fact that the Republicans have absolutely zero interest in participating in reform in any, way shape or form. There are *huge* forces at play that will fight reform to the death.

    Now in October, the worm has turned, and it is obvious we are getting *some* reform and have reason to be optimistic that there will be *some* form of public option. Are the House and Senate plans ideal? Absolutely not. Not even close. I frankly am not sure they will help me personally at all, but I think they will help poorer people. Would I prefer single-payer? Absolutely. So, maybe I’m Pollyannish, but I see this as a good thing. It’s a beginning. You can build on it. Build a more robust public option, and hopefully build toward single-payer. (That being said, I don’t think single-payer is going to happen for at least another decade.)

    I don’t know. Am I being too positive about this?

    • escribacat says:

      I have mixed feelings about this. I’m one of those self-employed with a pre-existing condition (albeit relatively minor but I still can’t get insurance). This reform will hopefully give me some real options — even without the public option. A lot of others are in my situation. On the other hand, it’s good to keep the pressure up for single-payer.

      What bothers me is the “colluding criminal” accusations against Obama. I think he’s doing a good job with the basically corrupt system he’s got to work with. The guy really is an outsider. Maybe it’s because I just finished reading his autobiography and I have stars in my eyes. The man is for real. He’s not corrupt. I had basically gotten fed up with politics for a good number of years and couldn’t stand to watch for the most part. Obama has re-politicized me and given me … dare I say it … hope! So I can’t stand it when people piss on that — and it bothers me much more when it comes from the left. I resent being called an “Obamabot” because it implies it’s mindless devotion. It’s not mindless, but it is a matter of patience and loyalty. I’ll give him the full four years and then decide.

      • FeloniousMonk says:

        I don’t agree with the President on everything, and certainly have some disagreements on some key areas. But being the CEO of America doesn’t mean you’re an expert on everything, and his personal advisors directed him to their favorite advisors, ect., and I feel like he isn’t always getting the best advice, but they sure can sell it to him in the boardroom. For example, the “let’s not look back but forward” thing. Or the refusal to renounce some of the Bush administrations more questionable practices. I realize when you’re at the top it’s hard to give up the keys to the car someone else stole, but you’ve got to to maintain the high ground.

        But I believe the President can learn and adapt and that he is not going to put us at risk, but try to improve our place here and in the world. I chose to become an Obama supporter early last year because 1) I knew that another Clinton in the White House would mean at least 4 years of Republican sabotage (I didn’t even think it was just going to be an attack the democrat thing) and 2) I knew that with the economic conditions of the country a person who could help lead through effective words was what we were going to need. And honestly, I thought we were past the race thing.

        But by keeping the faith and holding those who are responsible to the flame, we can keep going forward.

      • PepeLepew says:

        Oh, the “Obamabot” and “Obama cheerleaders” stuff bugs me. What I see is a guy genuinely trying, and at times compromising, and at times compromising more than *I* would like, but still trying… he’s up against a staggeringly corrupt system — how many millions have Big Pharma and insurance co.’s contributed to those in Congress? — and making the effort to get something done. That’s all I asked when I voted for him. Just make the effort and give a damn. I knew we weren’t going to get everything we wanted. It’s not possible.

    • SueInCa says:

      No, sometimes I curtail my comments on HuffPo for fear of being attacked. People should feel free to voice their independant thoughts without being bombarded…….

      • escribacat says:

        I’ve been piled on a few times, either because I deviated from the “true” progressive group-think or because I wasn’t clear enough and people misinterpreted what I said. And Gawd help you if you veer off the political into the philosophical. And then there are a few folks you are simply not allowed to disagree with or their “minders” will jump on you.

        Ya know, I think I have some built up resentments. Sorry to dump!

      • PepeLepew says:

        I feel there’s room for debate, discussion and even disagreement without being ripped. I feel bad when I see people who are essentially on the same side on most issues just tearing into one another on HuffPost … and they were doing that over the House health care bill yesterday. I think so many people are in such a “we’re goin’ to war!” mentality on HuffPost they don’t know how to turn down the dial.

        Again, if you’re frustrated with the House health care plan, that’s a valid position; I just don’t honestly think single payer is realistic at this time.

        It’s one thing to disagree, it’s another thing altogether to be a troll just looking to instigate and get a reaction so you get attention.

      • FeloniousMonk says:

        I curtailed my sincerity and depth for that fear of being attacked. No one likes to put their actual selves on the line when you know so many are going to throw stones. I watched several of “us” the other day getting stoned by others of “us” for expressing concepts that were contrary to the “accepted” line of thinking. I felt very bad for them.

        • SueInCa says:

          I know. I never really got attacked but I saw how others did when they ventured out of the norm. Now on a non huffno day I might just go back and irritate a few LOL

          • LITU says:

            IMHO those persons are better suited to the Daily Kos, whose purpose in life is to promote the Democratic Party, and NOT a progressive ideal.

    • FeloniousMonk says:

      Yes/No. Forward Movement is good. But not all of this is forward movement either. This something is better than nothing. But I’m still not sure it was the best we could do in the circumstances, but what was the most expeditious path. I’m being kind to politicians with that one. I’m more and more believing that having corporate reform this year should have been the priority, and insurance companies should have been included in that. Then next year after we had removed some of their teeth, the human aspect of reform could have been more easily accomplished.

      If there is anything positive to be said about the recession and the healthcare arena, it’s that Americans are again becoming sensitized to the fact that these companies aren’t there to help us, only themselves.

      But aren’t you one of them there Canadians? You should have a less biased view than we do looking at us from “a distance”.

      • LITU says:

        This is my first posted comment on this site, and may I say that I am SO-O-O glad someone on HuffPo suggested it. I note that many of the contributors are people I fanned. How can that be other than a good thing?!

        Anyway, instead of reinventing the wheel, I thought I’d just paste my previous comment in hopes that it will generate some dialogue.

        At the risk of flogging a dead horse, Jon Stewart had it exactly right the other night. We , that would be progressives not willing to acquiesce, want a government/Medicare-style Single Payer healthcare system, and view the public option as a compromised work-in-progress.

        If a public option does manage to pass, those provisions that prevent coverage abuses won’t have much weight if targeted individuals, the uninsured millions, can’t afford the blinkin’ coverage.

        This, to me, appears to be part of the crux of the matter. No matter how many protections are written into the Bill, from the perspective of the lower-middle-class and below, they remain unattainable by virtue of the cost of subscription to a “forced” employer-based plan. The proposed penalty of 2.5% for the non-compliant would seem to apply to this demographic.

        Inevitably, Medicaid will absorb the people on the bubble as this Bill doesn’t seem to leave many alternatives. There are a lot of people, though, who don’t want to be government-managed but are caught in the trap. Maybe this is a surreptitious, indirect way of moving the country towards single payer. I’d go along with that.

        On the other hand, and to complicate my viewpoint, those protections in the proposed Bill represent critical advances in coverage protection for the existing base. There’s no denying that. This is the only part of the bill that makes the something-is-better-than-nothing argument meaningful IMHO.

        • kesmarn says:

          Welcome LITU! I’m amazed at how the numbers here are growing by the hour.

          This health care reform issue is still a work in progress, no doubt about it. I think there are still more twists and turns before we get the final product. Sure am hoping for single payer down the road--sooner rather than later.

      • SueInCa says:

        Do either of you think the pieces of this legislation on anti-trust is at least a start.

        • PepeLepew says:

          Yes. It’s a start, although again, it’s frustrating that they keep dancing around single payer, which is the real solution. It’s amazing that the only two industries with anti-trust exemptions are insurance … and Major League Baseball.

          • SueInCa says:

            I believe it was extended back in the 40’s when people were either much more naive or the industries were much more honest. However, it’s time has come to end.

            • bluejoni2525 says:

              Hi all, I thought I read yesterday that Reid wasn’t going to push the anti-trust issue !! I was very upset to read this because I think it is a vital part of any health care bill !! Hopefully it is just another ploy to get to Cloture I don’t know !!——Anyway glad to be here today.The withdrawals are manageable.Talk later Bluejoni2525

      • PepeLepew says:

        I can tell you Canadians with their single payer system that works perfectly well scratch their heads at the Teabaggers and say, “Why wouldn’t you want better health care? You Americans are crazy…”

        • escribacat says:

          Americans and Canadians are so similar — I’d like to know why Americans developed this teabagger-brain when the Canadians didn’t.

          • FeloniousMonk says:

            Pepe’s controversial opinion can’t be any stranger than mine. Think about the fact that a large number of post Revolutionary War Tories migrated to Canada from the new United States. These were the “conservatives”, and yet Canada for the most part has what I would call moderate points of view. Perhaps they just got the “wild west” out of their blood where we didn’t.

            • PepeLepew says:

              I really think Canada just doesn’t have the level of fundamentalist fervor that America has — especially in the South and the Midwest — and I think you’d find a big percentage of those Teabaggers are fundamentalist Christians. Canada has those folks, but not as many, and they don’t have a political party that has given them a disproportionate voice the way Republicans have.

            • PepeLepew says:

              That’s true, KQuark, Canada didn’t *officially* become its own country until 1931 (not 1867 which is the date of confederation) … and Newfoundland didn’t *officially* break off from the UK until 1949, so there is a heavy British presence in its governance. I also think Canada has more respect for the separation of church and state than the U.S.
              I don’t really have a hard and fast answer for why there is less violence in Canada. One preconception many Canadians have of Americans is that all Americans are obsessed with handguns, and I’ve had to tell numerous Canadians not *all* Americans are like that. Ironically, a lot of people don’t realize Canada actually has a higher ratio of guns to people than America. But, Canadians tend to own mostly rifles and shotguns because there are controls on handgun ownership.

            • KQuark says:

              You got that right. Also Canada being a British Commonwealth and Quebec province having French influence makes them much more progressive thinking than Americans that flat broke away from Europe.

            • kesmarn says:

              Do you think there’s any connection between what you’ve observed and the much lower level of violence in Canada?

              That has always mystified me, too…how we can be so close yet so very different.

          • PepeLepew says:

            Ummm, I have an opinion about that, but it’s controversial…

  5. xavieer says:

    Well AdLib……..
    Here am I……..

    What no parade…:smile:

  6. SueInCa says:

    Well, I gotta go for tonight, looking forward to HuffNO Friday LOL

  7. KevenSeven says:


    I just wanted to say thank you for your many thoughtful and informative posts on health care. We may not agree 100%, but my respect for your opinion is 100%.

    • KQuark says:

      Thanks K7 that means allot coming from you. I tend to look at the whole healthcare issue from an entirely pragmatic point of view. As one of the people that does not have healthcare and needs, I don’t have much time for Candide’s “best of all possible worlds” idealism that some have.

  8. Bitsko says:

    This is the greatest idea for a web site of all time. Thank you, my old HuffNo friends, thank you!

  9. Kalima says:

    As always, a splendid piece of research KQ and now it’s up to the American people to do what the President asked them to do when he said countless times during his campaign that he couldn’t do this alone. I hope that people haven’t forgotten this, after all they wanted change.

    • SueInCa says:

      I worry about the young ones. They were so good in the campaigning cycle but it seems like they have dropped off since. I know healthcare is not sexy to them, but they need to stay involved. I know our rep here for Organizing for America is not very good at all, i mainly go through the national site. I talk it up all the time and have a great email base so am always in the loop. I just hope these kids come back on board. I was so impressed with their endless energy during the campaign

      • Kalima says:

        It does seem that the initial “grassroots” enthusiasm has turned into an unkept, unruly garden lately. With all those wonderful people chanting in unity for change last year, it was overwhelming to witness. I remember feeling so much a part of what was happening in your country, it bought me to tears more often than not and now?

        When the nutty teabaggers converged on Washington on 9/12, my first thought was why doesn’t someone on the Dem side organize something even bigger and more meaningful to the over 70% of the American people who want healthcare reform and the public option?

        A million strong march on Washington, bus in the people in wheelchairs who are to weak to walk, heck bus in the sick in ambulances if necessary but take a stand for what is rightfully yours. I mentioned this on another blog and was dismissed, why?

        I’m sure that someone somewhere has the clout and means to do this, why don’t they organize it and put the looney right wing to shame?

        • SueInCa says:

          We think alike, my friend. I would take a road trip on a budget to do something like that, but no one seems to really want to do it. I thought MoveOn would be a good partner but I think they are more in to their needs and making a name for themselves.

          • Kalima says:

            I was thinking of MoveOn when I wrote it, it would be the “mother’ of all marches. MLK did it.

            Is it really that in the 8 years of Bush/Cheney people lost all hope, if that’s the case it would be the ultimate way to fight back and not sit at home in front of the TV criticizing the President who inherited “hell on wheels” from the last bunch of clowns and has a lot of cleaning up to do.

      • FeloniousMonk says:

        Keeping young people involved sometimes requires doing things like life experiences. Take some of the promising ones out and show them what the grit of the world, whether it be from lack of healthcare or public shelter or hunger, really looks like close up and work on their compassion side. If we merely go for the logical side, we either may lose them or they just look on others as “objects” to work for, not real human beings with needs you can experience yourself. I remember my first campaign, and the letdown afterwards, but then again, Richard Nixon was elected that year.

  10. SueInCa says:

    Great information. Tonight Howard Dean was on Olberman/Lawrence O’Donnell and he is ok with the bill as Pelosi has proposed. If he is good with it, then I am hoping my friends and fellow Americans will have the opportunity for healthcare insurance that they do not now. I have mine, I just want everyone else to have the same.

    • KQuark says:

      Dr. Dean is my measuring stick in allot of ways. He’s so knowledgeable about the healthcare issue and he knows what compromises are acceptable and which are deal breakers.

      • escribacat says:

        Me too. Dean has been involved in this for a long time and seems to know what he’s talking about. I trust his judgment. I’m assuming we’ll get some kind of interim deal for those of us (like me) with pre-existing conditions…a high risk pool. I only hope it’s better than the piece of shit offered by the State of Colorado — which was high premiums and a 10K deductible with six months wait and blah blah blah. Not even worth bothering over.

      • FeloniousMonk says:

        I’m not disagreeing with the Washington facts of life, I just don’t have to be thrilled by what we’re being told they are.

        Dr. Dean is a good and admirable man, and I understand where he’s coming from. But me, I liked the Dennis Kucinich speech today.

    • FeloniousMonk says:

      Dean kept impressing the point that we need some of the public option stuff to take effect now in order to prove to the American public by election 2010 that the system will work. Which is very true. However, I don’t see that as happening. Just like reading Jane Hamsher’s piece at FireDog Lake on the pharmacuetical deal and what it will cost us. (You can read it at HP but I’d rather click FDL)
      I don’t want another decade of compromises to finally get something that is truly reasonable but still juryrigged because of the politics of it.

      • SueInCa says:

        I know, and I hate to say it but it is a start. It is easy for me to say knowing I have coverage, but my premiums went up too. What really needs attention is the anti trust laws. Get rid of them and alot will change.

        • FeloniousMonk says:

          Considering that since December 2005 I’ve either been paying COBRA coverage prices or individual policy prices for coverage, and will soon (end of November) run out of coverage and am a pre-existing condition type, this is important to me on many levels.
          Going from an $87 copay to a nearly $250 full price cost for a single drug without insurance isn’t going to be fun (90 day supply)

          • escribacat says:

            Hey, Fel. Since I’ve been off insurance, I used to buy my allergy drugs from a Canadian pharmacy. Then I discovered the state drug card. I’ve been able to get really good prices on several different prescriptions for allergies and back problems (cheaper than buying from Canada). Check it out:

            I found a website where I was able to look up all the prices, the available drugs, and who accepted the drug card. My local Walgreen’s didn’t but the King Soopers (supermarket) did.

          • SueInCa says:

            Which is why I worked and wrote and made calls, for people like you. They say a portion could go in to effect in 2010. I will have to read the bill to see if I can make heads or tails of it. I sure hope it comes earlier than 2013. This country cannot afford to wait. What we need is a long line of people who do not have health care to walk the halls of the capitol. Wonder if Reid would make one of his ignorant comments like he did about tourists

            • escribacat says:

              My understanding is there will be a temporary ‘high risk pool’ for the pre-existing condition people like me. This will serve in the interim until the exchange is up and running in 2013.

  11. nicole473 says:

    KQ, you are GREAT! A wonderful resource for this info…….thank you very much!!

  12. Grabamop says:

    Great post K. It’s so refreshing to jump over here and look at what’s going on. It’s about all trolls at HP right now. Fewer interesting comments, more nonsense……….

    • SueInCa says:

      The thing is now we have this sight, it is easier to just play with the little trollies. They think they are helping the RNC but what they are really doing is destroying the HuffPo, with a little help from the Indomitable Miss A

      • FeloniousMonk says:

        Those on the far right, including the Trolls and the Tea Party followers and birthers, are doing more for the progressive movement than they can ever know or appreciate. Acting like cave people doesn’t ingratiate yourselves to the American public, as the far left of the 1960s learned. (but we had fun) We’re still trying to overcome that stigma. May the far right have a half century of trying to do the same.

        • escribacat says:

          I agree. I wish Grayson would tone it down a bit. I love the guy but he’s sounding a bit to Beckish for me lately. I’ve posted this a couple times on HP and got beat up for it.

          • AdLib says:

            Yep, I saw him overreach and cringed. Hate to say it but he is playing this for all it’s worth and then some.

            I saw him on Bill Maher and KO last week and he had a glib put down for Repubs in every response…but was tossing them off as preplanned gags and not responding directly to many questions.

            I would caution against putting too much weight into Grayson, he’s already pushing the “I’m a tough talking Dem” past the point of effectiveness and into showboating mode.

            I’m sure it’s done wonders for his fund raising but he’s become too much of a performer lately IMO.

            Just talk tough but with substance, cheap shots are just that and are more the Republican way.

            I am rooting for Grayson, want him to sustain a backbone against Repubs without looking patronizing to Dems but when he hurls out one premeditated put down after another, it does seem that he’s too focused on patronizing his base.

            • bluejoni2525 says:

              Hi all I will not visit Huff Po from midnight to midnight!! The Grayson comments caught my eye. I too have cringed a bit lately. I really like the guy. But he should dial it back a little. I would hate for him to be thought of as a joke. Glad to be with all of you !! Bluejoni2525

          • FeloniousMonk says:

            I know he made a comment on the President I thought was in poor taste and cost him some of my respect. It’s easy in politics to get drunk on the attention and forget to connect brain before engaging mouth.

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