Your Thoughts on Health Care Passage?

As an experiment, this is a place to discuss hot topics in the news.  What think you folks of the coming HCR passage?  Here are three quick posts (one, two, three) that I agree with.

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16 responses

  1. 8am cloture vote on Xmas eve? Clauses which can never be repealed by any future Senate? Tort reform – nah ! Insurance across state lines – nah ! Mandates to cover all sorts of treatment not required by many ? Cadillac plans taxed except for “longshoremen” ? Nebraska gets fed money in perpetuity ? Taxes raised in Dec 2010 but benefits paid out only from 2014 (done presumably to “fool” the CBO ten year window?)

    Are these significant assault Constitutional ? Unlikely, but then who cares about the Constitution any more?

    Can anyone present data showing either House or Senate Bill will improve access to health care ? Or reduce its cost ? Or improve its quality ? Or even reduce the number of those currently uncovered.

  2. We are not out of the woods yet. What emerges from conference committee–if there is one–will be far from perfect. It still will need 60 votes in the Senate.
    But it’s all we are going to get.

  3. As an exercise, it might be interesting to look up comments on passage of the Social Security Bill in 1935.
    Did Republicans forecast collapse of the country? Imminent socialism? Bankruptcy?

    Might be a useful exercise.

  4. All the data we have show that the answer to all of your questions is, “yes.” The CBO says it will reduce costs even though it will provide HC insurance to 30 million more people. It does this by improving quality and removing some of the perverse incentives in the private medical system, which is going to be lightly regulated but otherwise left completely intact.

    If costs do not fall, relative to the baseline growth without the law, it will be because of too little government regulation, not too much. The changes to try to fix the incentives can only be implemented in Medicare and Medicaid, because, without single payer, they are all the USG has direct control over.

    The ideas was to have a small public option that roughly 10% of the public could access and let it transmit best practices to its private conmpetitors through competition with them. That’s why the CBO analyses found that the law will save less money over the 10-20 year windows now that the public option has been removed. But, thanks to “fiscally conservative” Democrats, that won’t happen now.

    BTW, it was the Republicans that stalled and stalled so that–by their design–the thing was delayed to Christmas eve at 7am. The Democrats tried to arrange votes before the holidays and during normal business hours. The GOP did that just so they could tell their loyal base that it was part of the Dems’ nefarious plot to hide what has been the most public and open process for major legislation that I have ever seen.

    I’m afraid the people you’re listening to and reading don’t really care what the truth is. 🙂

    Forgot to say Merry Christmas, too. 🙂 🙂

  5. Senate Bill starts taxing us (AND medicare budget) right after 2010 mid terms but does not deliver any payouts or benefits until 2014: hence CBO saving over 10-year saving. Is this in dispute ?

    The restrictions on private insurers are so intense, none can survive. Is this in dispute ?

    Obviously US health care needs BIG fix – I personally know growing numbers who are “uninsureable” and many people (including me) hate the insurer’s big profits.

    HOWEVER these Bills do nothing to address key issues:
    Tort reform, Drug prices, Pricing of medical services (obviously should be on the net), supply of doctors/nurses, more family practioners, etc etc.

    My opinion: This bill has nothing to do with improving our access to affordable health care but everything to do with increasing size of government and its control over our lives. Not sure why a majority would be in favor of this.

    And hoping you enjoyed Merry Christmas too 🙂 Chris

    BUT: Any chance we (you) can leave out the uncivilised sideswipes about the “people (I’m) listening to” because you have zero idea what my data sources are. All data backed challenges to my assertions above welcome any time.

  6. I have a suggestion for you guys:
    The bill has now passed, or will soon pass both Houses.
    Why not hold off with the predictions, and look at the actual results?
    Save copies of your messages, so you can have the pleasure of saying “I told you so”

  7. I agree with Jim Z’s comments. First, I did see several archival clips of the debates on Social Security and Medicare (I think it was on Bill Moyers’ program) and the similarities are eerie. The same old Republican doom and gloom arguments which, as usual, put them consistently on the wrong side of history. Second, I would go further and say that we should put our money where our mouth is. Let Chris write down his gloomy predictions for the end of Obama’s first term and see if we are willing to bet 100 bucks whether all or specific ones will be proven right or wrong.

  8. Chris, fair enough. Sorry. I am still, however, baffled by the absolute blanket assertions about the future. To pick just one, the notion that HC reform will destro the health insurance industry in a few years. Well…

    1. The industry has supported the watered-down-from-the-beginning reforms from the beginning. Obama cut a very widely-publicized deal with HIPA very early on to protect insurer profits. Liberals were furious. He did the same with the hospital, pharma, and other big players.

    HIPA’s main objection to the bill now seems to be that taxpayer subsidies are too low; i.e., that the govt is not going to shove enough subsidies up their butts in exchange for their politely agreeing to take on 30 million new customers with mimimal new regulations.

    2. Health insurance company stocks have not fallen during this whole process. If investors feared for the industry’s life–especially in the next 5 years–we would expect their share prices to already be taking a major hit. Here’s an article that gets into the subject: http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/2009/12/insurance-stocks-rise-on-news-of-health.html

    3. Again, 30m new, mostly-subsidized customers. Also, the hospital lobby is on board, as is big pharma. Would they be if the private insurance industry that pays their bills faced imminent ruin?

    I can’t rebut every charge made against the reforms. There are too many. But here’s just one riposte, to the charge that “the bill can’t be repealed:” http://voices.washingtonpost.com/ezra-klein/2009/12/strange_health_care_rumors.html

  9. I like Ron’s suggestion. Except that the conservative media and politicians will just blame Obama and the Dems reforms for anything bad that happens in the future to the HC system regardless of cause-effect.

    Remember, the whole reason the Dems are doing this is because our current system is unsustainable and in slow motion collapse anyway. Employers will continue to drop coverage. Costs will continue to soar, etc. The future of HC in America will suck, just slightly less than it does now.

  10. Why no review of Massachusetts, Hawaii etc to see what works and what doesn’t ? I continue surprised at enthusiasm for yet more federal government control over our lives yet no similar concern over constitutional authority for either of the two VERY different Bills.

    I never gamble for money so decline Ron’s challenge. I refer him only to my Social Security statement which advises the benefits will not be as published because the money is simply not there, whatever side of history you choose to be on.

  11. A gamble is not a bet, but never mind. I still think Chris should write down his gloomy predictions for the record. When we judge whether Social Security and Medicare are on the right side of history we shouldn’t just look forward to their debatable future, but to their tremendous achievements in the past. One has only to compare statistics of elder poverty rates before and after SS enactment and to examine its impressive 70 year track record. Same with elder morbidity and mortality statistics before and after MC.

  12. Since you guys didn’t take my advice, but are still continuing to debate hypotheticals, I am putting you on notice that I for one will not forget your prophecies.

    I think Ron’s suggestion of $100 penalty for false prophecy is reasonable and should keep the debate honest.

    I will be looking to collect in a year or so LOL.

  13. Well since this Orwellian idea to tax thoughts and opinions is gathering steam – and absurdly so in my view – should surely be sent to congress for them to add to their huge list of extra taxes they have lined up for us. Without a dramatic change of course, the good ship USA looks set to continue sinking.

  14. “Extra taxes”? Do you mean restoring the situation in 2000 when Bush gave a tax cut to the wealthiest individuals in the country, thereby stopping the reduction of the deficit in its tracks?

    But wait a minute…Republicans don’t care about deficits, do they? Not unless they
    are proposed by Democrats?

    If anything will sink the ship–and I don’t think it will–it’s more likely to be
    the vicious, spiteful, and vindictive tone
    of our political dialogue.

  15. Vicious, spiteful and vindictive ? Here’s just one example of many failed attempts at course correction:

    The deficit increase by Republicans passing all sorts of unfunded spending + Iraq/Afghan was horrible but it has already been dwarfed by Team Obama and is set to go ways worse. It cannot go on.

  16. I find Rep. Rogers comments extraordinary.
    We aren’t “allowing the private sector” to fix the problem? Exactly how much time do they need? Another century?
    We are “punishing” the people who have health care now? Come on.
    But I suppose trying to convince him otherwise might be a bit like trying to convince Catholics the Pope is just an ordinary guy in Rome.

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