health insurance

The Healthcare Discussion We Could Still Be Having

But we won't.

There are those that cling to or have given in to some mythic "inevitabilty" that we're doomed to be fed the toxic soup-salad-sandwich that is called healthcare reform by the elites in D.C. and crafted for the benefit of Wall Street and the rich. But we know this to be another transfer of wealth from the middle class to the corporate welfare sycophants in finance. And not to the the benefit of any of the people that do need help. This is not even a debate anymore. Just what is right and what is continuing, from preceding decades, to be wrong.

So, now we're debating an excise tax? How far we have fallen

So, now we're arguing about an excise tax. Apparently, the unions don't
understand. Apparently, the unions are anti-Democrat, and promulgate
right wing memes. Such is the death spiral of political discourse.

We never got to argue about single payer. It was seen as impossible, so
aiming for it was seen as pointless. Even though doing so might have
reframed the entire debate, by allowing us to negotiate down from it to
a public option, which would have been seen, from the start, as the
compromise it was.


There is so much wrong with the bill, and there has been so much
wrong with the process. But it really can be summarized thusly: once
upon a time, we were debating the will to pass a public option; now,
we're debating the efficacy and fairness of an excise tax.

We're going to get a health insurance bill. We're not going to get a
health care bill. The difference between the two defines what has gone

The discussion has broken down into two basic groups.

And what he said: AFL-CIO's Richard Trumka, "the Senate bill remains inadequate. Substantial changes must be made"

After passage of the Senate health care reform bill today, Richard Trumka of the AFL-CIO echos Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY) with in his statement of the need for more work in order to align its key measures with those retained in the House bill.  Full quote, as per FDL's David Dayen. is quoted in full:

What she said: Louise Slaughter - "Senate bill isn't health reform"

Rep. Louise M. Slaughter, a Democrat, represents the 28th Congressional District of New York.

I agree with Congresswoman Slaughter and she says it pretty simply so I just want you to see her editorial, at CNN.

A Democrat's view from the House: Senate bill isn't health reform:

Health Care Help Request: Healing Hearts and Minds Preferred -- Help a Fellow Kossack

I'm writing this diary for a fellow Kossack who is well known in this community; his wife is in excruciating pain and getting worse. They are both friends of mine who I have known online for years but never had the pleasure to meet in person.

The long and short of it: if anyone can help them identify a teaching facility or program where they could get an MRI for her, in the NC area, it would be greatly appreciated.

The slightly longer short version: she suffered an injury at work; and workmans comp was canceled when it could be claimed that the new injury site conflicted with an older existing one.

My friends do not have insurance -- welcome to the new (ongoing) good old American health insurance nightmare.

More info and specifics over the fold, but I will not reveal the Kossack's identity. I have emailed a front-pager with identifying information in case management is curious.

The Irony of Seattle's Group Health Coop as Conservative Compromise

Cross-posted DKos, Tue Aug 25, 2009 at 11:59:33 AM PDT

Like most single payer activists, I would LOVE for Seattle's Group Health Cooperative to become the model for the United States health care. And like anybody who actually knows what they are talking about, fell out of my chair laughing when it was proposed as the conservative's disingenuous compromise.

Randall Terry Ejected From Howard Dean's Healthcare Town Hall - video

Frank Schaeffer was one of the founders of the evangelical movement. With his father, the author of "The Christian Manifesto", and C. Everett Koop and their focus on issues related to abortion, they galvanized the Christian Right.

Schaeffer believes very differently now and the author of "Crazy for God" has tried to impart to the rest of us some of the important lessons learned as an insider of the movement.

He appeared with Rachel Maddow recently to argue the actual physical danger presented by segments of the movement he helped to create.

Operation Rescue's Randall Terry wasn't named but I recalled Schaeffer's recently expressed and ominous conclusions as I watched this video.

Randall Terry Forcibly Ejected From Healthcare Town Hall With Howard Dean

John King Pitches "Gotcha" Questions to Sebelius

I listened to John King (a Republican shill) interview Kathleen Sebelius on State of the Union. He was playing "gotcha" and Sebelius rolls over to let him scratch her belly. I have to paraphase this because there isn't  a transcript yet. John King asked:

Secretary Sebelius, according to President Obama in this NYT op-ed; he says if you like your doctor you can keep your doctor. Is it true in the coming market after reform that you can guarantee you will be able to keep your doctor? I mean if your employer changes plans or goes to the Public Option will you be able to guarantee you can keep your doctor?

Taunter shreds health insurers' claims that rescission is rare

Cross-posted from The Economic Populist

A big tip'o the hat to okanogen at CorrenteWire for picking up this one: Death by Math.

Taunter analyzes the statement by Assurant CEO Don Hamm’s that "Rescission is rare." Rescission is when a health insurer cancels a policy, usually because the insured "lied" on the original application, usually by failing to disclose a previous condition. If you haven't heard the horror stories of people who required costly medical care only to be dropped by their health insurer, you haven't been paying attention to the world around you. In fact, the insurers have computer programs that screen their policy holders for a list of diseases and illnesses in order to drop those policy holders. Here is what Hamm told Congress in his prepared remarks to the Hearing of the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee on June 16 this year:


Health Bills Debate


In a scathing critique of health care coverage by America’s news media, the current issue of the Columbia Journalism Review contends that “this year’s health-care debate sounds like the one in 1993.” That debate produced the Clinton administration’s proposed reforms that were politically dead on arrival.


“With few exceptions … the press has done little to challenge this reality or help to broaden the health-care debate,” wrote Trudy Lieberman, a Columbia Journalism Review contributing editor who monitors this issue. “Rather, it has mostly passed along the pronouncements of politicians and the major stakeholders who have the most to lose from wholesale reform. By not challenging the status quo, the press has so far foreclosed a vibrant discussion of the full range of options, and also has not dug deeply into the few that are being discussed, thereby leaving citizens largely uninformed about an issue that will affect us all.”

Who Believes the $80B Pharma Pholly?

A couple weeks ago pharmaceutical companies pledged to "voluntarily" reduce their revenues by $80 Billion over 10 years. Forgive me for not standing up to salute that initiative.

Maybe it's because I can... like, do the math in my head.

$80 Billion / 10 years = too damn little $8 billion per year.

That won't stop the spinmeisters who are brazenly pushing this as a great sacrifice, however, some people see this offer for what it is.

To be sure, $80 billion is less than one-tenth the projected cost of healthcare reform. But by striking this cost-sharing deal with one of the reform effort's leaders--Sen. Max Baucus--and the White House, drugmakers could shame other providers into cutting their prices, too.

Nancy Snyderman's Fluffy Health Care News Show

Crossposted from DailyKos.

It yanks my chain whenever I see a show like MSNBC is putting on at noon Monday through Friday. Health care is at a tipping point, so what does MSNBC do? They put on fluff. She gets meaty guests, then flubs it. This interview with Tom Daschale is all broad strokes and no nitty gritty. She asks some tough questions, but lets Daschale skate without answering them.

Dr. Snyderman has been around tv for years. She was on ABC regularly. Now she's got her own spot on MSNBC at noon. The problem is she relies too much on her "authority" as an MD and she doesn't do what it takes to back up what she says.

Dr. Snyderman, trying to win an argument by saying, "Because I said so" or "I've read the research and it says I'm right on this" (without citing the source) doesn't do it for me. Take a page from Ross Perot's book and do the charts and show them to your audience. Cite your sources, don't use suspect sources. Spend less time grinding your ax and spend more time exploring ideas different than your own.

What Health Care "Choices" Are They Talking About?

Cross-posted from dKos with permission of author, JDWolverton.

It happened again this morning. Some talking head on CNN was talking about making sure consumers had adequate choice in health care. What the heck was he talking about? I don't have a lot of choices when it comes to "choosing" my health insurance. ...and I don't have a lot to say about what my doctor recommends for me.

My choice for health insurance is either

  • Take my company's plan
  • Take my spouse's company's plan
  • Go out on the individual market which offers less coverage at a higher price
  • Go bare and pray we don't get sick

Similarly, my choice of health care treatment is

  • Select and pay the balance (after my insurance pays) for the treatment my physician orders.
  • Cajole my physician into ordering a treatment my insurance company allows that will most likely be less effective or the doctor would have ordered it in the first place.
  • Go against physician advice and skimp on care or skip care.
  • Pay the mortgage, car payment, electric bill or skip on food or get health care.

This "choice" meme is particularly irritating to anyone who has faced these "choices".

Progressive Case to Eliminate Health Insurance Tax Credit

Although it has been mostly promoted in the political sphere by right wing free market fundamentalists as part of their proposals to throw everybody into an individual insurance market (a horrible idea), and by some in congress in disingenuous plans (Wyden-Bennett) to save the federal budget part of health care costs (but increasing total costs and costs to both individuals and states; thanks a lot), there is a progressive policy