Hillary Clinton’s Health Care Diva

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laurie rubiner.jpg
(Laurie Rubiner, Legislative Director in the Office of Senator Hillary Clinton)
Hillary’s foreign policy team has some of the mega-stars in the national security business. She has Madeleine Albright, Richard Holbrooke, Sandy Berger, Wesley Clark, William Perry, and a good number of their acolytes — but her counselors are about as top-heavy as George W. Bush’s team was with Dick Cheney, Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, Donald Rumsfeld, Richard Armitage, Paul Wolfowitz and others on board.
Having a lot of big guns as advisers doesn’t mean that they will all shoot the same direction. In fact, rumors continue to slip out of the Clinton camp that there are substantial tensions between Holbrooke, Albright, and Berger who all are trying to define the key features of Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy persona. To give Hillary some credit that John Kerry’s campaign doesn’t deserve, I think she has more a sense of her own views than Kerry might have — and is willing to knock back the counsel of her advisers and is willing to tell them to cease the bickering, elbowing, and theatrics between these competitive camps.
But in health care — there is one voice who dominates the policy work in “Hillary Land” and that is Laurie Rubiner. (and yes I know, Hillary knows a lot about health care policy but I’m not counting her.)
Imagine a diva who was not haughty and spoiled — but just emanated total confidence and knowledge of some skill or issue — like quantum mechanics, or magazine editing, or health care. That is Laurie Rubiner.
Yesterday, the New York Times profiled Rubiner and her significant contributions to Hillary’s much talked about health care proposal. The Washington Note profiled Laurie Rubiner’s work this past January — and today John Fund at the Wall Street Journal takes on Rubiner (and of course, Hillary).
Rubiner doesn’t only do health care policy; she runs Hillary Clinton’s entire policy shop in her Senate office. In fact, in my view some of the major power brokers in Hillary Clinton’s political machine sometime forget that the actual Senate staff Hillary has hired are mostly better in their ability to project tomorrow’s policy needs than the White House-hungry policy advisers she has brought in to the campaign.
I should probably disclose that Rubiner and I had one serious argument that had to do with communication, honor, and who said what to whom — but her husband told me later that what I saw was a mild breeze compared to what was possible. But I have learned from several sources that Hillary Clinton and Rubiner have the kind of gritty give-and-take relationship that few have with the Senator and would-be President of the United States. They can argue about some serious policy difference, tell each other to go to hell, and then laugh it off.
Rubiner headed the health care policy program of the New America Foundation where I have worked for the last nine years. Before joining New America, Rubiner worked in a number of key policy and advocacy roles — but it was her work for the late Senator John Chafee (R-RI) where she conceived under the Senator’s name and at his direction a health care plan that would maintain private sector deployment of health care services as the backbone of America’s health system, avoid the single payer debate that divides that policy community, and be universal.
Rubiner brought her work to New America — and the DNA of her efforts exists in all of the significant “test efforts” of comprehensive health care coverage — including in Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger’s proposal for California, Democrat Gavin Newsom’s in San Francisco, and Republican Mitt Romney’s in Massachusetts.
Now, Hillary Clinton has brought the sensibility of the Chafee/Rubiner health care proposals into her own plan for the country and demonstrated considerable political bravery and sensitivity in doing so. I think it takes a lot for someone like Hillary Clinton to abandon her former approach on health care coverage in which she drilled down into the fine and messy details — and change course, rather than doing what many people who acquire power do — and that is just yell more loudly or force more strongly a posiition they previously held.
Rubiner does a killer impersonation of Senator John Chafee, and it’s so compelling that on one occasion when I was quite upset with the vote of his son, the no-longer-Republican former Senator Lincoln Chafee, on John Bolton’s UN confirmation, I advised the younger Chafee to go spend time with his dad via Laurie Rubiner. I can just imagine Rubiner channeling John Chafee for Hillary Clinton and giving the Senator the secrets to making this universal health care coverage work.
Interestingly, John Fund today hardly scrapes the policy framework or nuts-and-bolts of the Hillary/Chafee/Rubiner health care plan — but rather the optics and the politics of it. He slams Clinton’s plan for being like Schwarzenegger’s — and then asserts that this plan will lead to new bureaucracies, open up tensions on coverage for illegal aliens, and fail to generate needed bipartisan support.
The fundamental, underlying problem that exists in America’s health care sector is getting people with financial means who elect not to get health care to do so. If a mandate were generated that everyone needed to be in health care, not only would the nation as a whole become healthier but the costs of subsidizing those in real need or without financial means declines on a relative basis. I hope John Fund and other critics of Hillary Clinton’s new proposal don’t believe that the less well off should just stay that way and should get nothing at all from America’s health care system.
Clinton’s (and Rubiner’s) proposal maintains a vibrant private sector backbone for the provision of health services; there is no “socialization” of providers and no single payer requirement.
John Fund may revisit this issue of how to get to a healthier health care system in the United States, so let me share with him and others what conservative libertarian Ronald Bailey wrote in 2003 in Reason Magazine about the New America Foundation’s health care proposal (as hatched and incubated by Laurie Rubiner). This from Bailey’s “Mandatory Universal Health Insurance? Perhaps It’s a Better Idea Than You Think It Is“:
Since it’s unlikely that Americans will allow their improvident neighbors to expire without medical care in the streets, is there a politically palatable alternative that can preserve and expand private medicine in the United States? Yes: mandatory private health insurance.

Should the federal government require all Americans to buy private health insurance? This intriguing proposal is being pushed by the New America Foundation, a liberal policy shop in Washington, D.C. “Universal coverage in exchange for universal responsibility,” is how the NAF characterizes it.
Before rejecting the proposal out of hand, stop and consider that it may be a second-best alternative for relieving the growing political pressure to create some sort of nationalized single-payer health care system modeled on the nearly bankrupt and increasingly shabby health care schemes in Canada and Western Europe. Make no mistake about it—private health care is imperiled in the United States, given that all of the Democratic presidential hopefuls want to expand existing government health care programs and/or create some sort of universal government-run system. The NAF proposal could derail this pernicious political dynamic.
The devil is in the details, of course. Still, the NAF plan offers some interesting possibilities. For example, mandatory health insurance coverage might be combined with desirable features such as medical savings accounts, which would encourage people to save and invest for future medical emergencies.
The NAF proposal preserves private insurance and allows consumers to choose among competing insurance plans and coverage options. Most intriguingly, NAF offers a way out of the dysfunctional employer-financed third-party-payer system that is so grievously distorting our current health insurance system. Employers would eventually devolve responsibility for health insurance to their employees by giving them the money the companies currently pay out to insurance agents. Employees would then have a strong incentive to shop around for the best health care deals, putting pressure on insurance companies to keep costs low.

While I think the New America Foundation is more “radical centrist” than “liberal”, I completely agree with Bailey’s general take on how to get Americans covered by health insurance without tipping towards inefficient socialized bureaucracies or the alternative, manic market provision of health care which assures humanitarian nightmares for the tens of millions and growing in the United States who have little prospect of securing health insurance.
If the libertarians in addition to Democrats like Gavin Newsom and Hillary Clinton and Republicans like Mitt Romney and Arnold Schwarzenegger can sign up for what John Chafee launched some years ago — then this deserves serious national scrutiny at all levels of government. Next to America’s deteriorated national security and foreign policy standing in the world, the absence of strategy to credibly broaden health care in this country is our largest problem.
Kudos to Hillary Clinton for having the confidence of self to allow a “Senate staffer” in her employ to get some of the media credit for her proposal. This alone says something about Clinton that I haven’t noted before. Staffers aren’t supposed to get credit, and they certainly can’t angle for it.
Rubiner is getting credit not because she wanted any of this — but because to connect the dots in the political history of what is the most likely universal health care plan to come into being — one must tell the story of Laurie Rubiner.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

37 comments on “Hillary Clinton’s Health Care Diva

  1. Carroll says:

    Also on c-span this am…Lieberman and Kyle with their resolution to declare the Iranian Rev Guard a terrorist organization….
    Now this is how dumb they think we are:
    “No, no, this doesn’t mean we will attack Iran”..they say….’but of course the government of Iran supports the Rev’ Guard so naturally what we have here is Iran as a terrorist state”. “And they are killing Aumerkins in Iraq!!!” So we have a terrorist army of a terrorist state killing Amurkins. “But this is not an authorization for military action so there is no excuse for anyone to not support it”. Really? Gag me, that’s what you all said about Iraq.
    Of course no mention of the Israeli arms supplied to the terrorist PPK and the Kurds, no mention of the Saudis supplying the Sunnis with arms, which btw, the Sunnis have killed more US troops then the Shiites have
    Why no mention of Israeli and Saudi supplied weapons killing Amurkins? Hell declare them terrorist too.
    I don’t care what Bush is thinking, Bush can be flipped like a pancake on any given day…this CONGRESS is determined to attack Iran…and that determination is AIPAC and Israel inspired. Period.
    Just listen to all their floor speeches…it’s so transparent it’s enough to make you throw up.
    I declare CONGRESS a terrorist entity.

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  2. Dwight Mc says:

    The real problem:
    The private U.S. health care care system actually costs 31% in overhead, when you include extra admin costs for doctors and hospitals dealing with insurance company rules. Almost one third of all our health care spending doesn’t go to those providing health care to us, but to administrators managing the money and payments. That 31% compares to 3% for the VA or Medicare. Ten times as much. Why???
    Insurance companies don’t have to cover everybody, they can pick and chose. So our system creates a great financial incentive for insurance companies to exclude people who might need a lot of expensive health care (like your kid with cancer, or your husband with a heart problem). Since just 5% of people drive 50% of all health care costs in any year, it makes sense for each insurance company to spend a lot of money to avoid this cost (those of us who might get severely ill). But together, all the insurance companies create a nightmare of rules and red tape and complexity for consumers and doctors. It makes financial sense to each company but adds a huge amount of cost to the system, without adding any overall value. Plus isn’t the reason for an insurance system to cover us if we need costly care, not to avoid those who might really need it?
    We all pay for one Fire Department, even though most of us will never have a fire, because we’ve agreed it’s a shared need of our community. Don’t we want to share the cost of health care so we are all covered and protected too?
    We need a fair system that replaces the wasteful bureaucracy of insurance companies with a single payment system that offers everyone guaranteed coverage of a standard health care plan, with doctors and hospitals still private, and with the choice to have extra insurance for additional coverage if you want. AKA single payer.

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  3. Carroll says:

    I think Edwards just kicked NAF’s mandatory “private” insurance plan right in the ass.
    I heard Edwards this morning in a forum held by Families USA explaining his insurance and health care ideas and how it would be implemented at the begining.
    To be brief, without including all of it, he suggest we go ahead and create a non profit insurance system similar to Medicare while the for profits continue to operate. He also said to level the propaganda playing field that he would be using the WH office to talk to Americans when the lobbies start their ad campaigns against this plan and point out who is paying for these Harry and Louise ads and why.
    THEN….ALL american consumers can make their “choice” of insurance between the two.
    Very smart….a face off for the “free market” groupies who claim “private enterprize” competition is the answer to health care. Of course the lobbies will claim it is government subsidized and therefore unfair competition. They won’t mention the gov has “subsidized” private enterprise like airlines and disaster insurance and drug research. They like the taxpayers subsidizing the for profit sector just fine. And I am sure Edwards will point that also. LOL.
    If the not for profit Medicare version proves to be most popular and effecient for the public then it will capture the bulk of the market. The For Profits will then die a natural death or else clean up their act.
    I think it is a cunning plan.
    Every objection to a non profit gov subed plan can be proved hypocritical by examples of private enterprize gove’s subs.
    Every objection to giving the public a trial run and “choice” between non or for profit can be show to be hypocritical on the “competition” factor on it’s face.
    I would like to see anyone oppose this without exposing the fact they are whoring for the insurance industry.

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  4. David N says:

    Too much to comment on, except to say that Carroll shows her usual good sense.
    The fundamental issue is simply the complete misunderstanding of economics on the part of politicians, journalists, talking heads, and the occasional Washington foundation policy wonk.
    As many of you have pointed out, the standard wisdom saying that private sector, because it has “competition,” is more efficient than the public sector, is simply wrong.
    Until we get over that overarching misconception, the rest of the debate is nonsense.
    Until we stop believing that restrictions on free enterprise and capitalism are “sacrifices” that we make for the sake of justice or social welfare, we will continue to make the wrong arguments about the wrong issues.
    The fact is, many people — not just the smart ones in fora like this — have already made that leap. But don’t hold your breath waiting for corporate-owned politicians or the corporate-owned media to reflect this. For them, anything that prevents corporations from earning maximum profits, at any cost to real people, is socialism and un-American.
    Having thousands die each year for the sake of bad ideas and profits, that’s all right . . . .

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  5. Kathleen says:

    Actually, the only candidate who did accomplish something significant in the Senate was Mike Gravel, who got the Pentagon Papers into the public record and who ended the draft, more than can be said for ANY of the candidates, and look how he is treated. So much for experience and accomplishments.

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  6. Kathleen says:

    Homer…. Kerry was TANKING in the polls before the Iowa caucus. Then Teddy, who can only support losers from Mass, took over Kerry’s campaign and packed the caususes with party operatives, effectively stealing the election from Dean.
    Dean’s big problem was that he wanted to change the party. All the little bosses freaked. If you recall, Dean and Joe Trippi parted company on the heals of that defeat. If you read Trippi’s biography, you’ll see he’s been a Kennedy man from 1968. Now Trippi’s working for John Edwards and I can’t help but wonder if that’s how the footage of Edwards primping his hair made it to the press. I’ve been watching Teddy ever since the Dem convention in Chicago in 1968 and I don’t trust him. He can’t run for President because of Chappaquiddick and it is my theory, based on reading the fine print in stories of exposes of other candidates, that he works behind the scenes to undermine potential Dem leaders. It was Kennedy who challenged Jimmy Carter to a primary, dividing Dems and Kennedy staffers who exposed Gary Hart and Donna Rice, Kennedy staffers who exposed Joe Biden’s “plagiarism”, etc. I could go on, but you get the picture. Why? Because when RepubliKlans hold the Oval Office, he’s the darling of the liberals, but when a Dem is in that office, he’s just another drunken Senator. Better to hold onto the party leadership. Bill Clinton made it past Teddy because of the Willie Smith rape trial which caught Teddy with his pants down on Good Friday, yet. You recall that at the outset of this election cycle, Teddy was urging Kerry to hurry up and make up his mind about running again because he wanted to be free to support another candidate. Well, has anyone heard who he is backing? No, but Ted Sorenson is backing Obama, or as Teddy has said Osama,er Obama. No accident there. I’d say he’s got his moles spread around.
    Dynasties are bad for Democracy, whichever party.

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  7. kyle says:

    This illusion that you get more presidential experience from the Senate is sheer nonsense. How many Senators have become President of America? Does Laura Bush have the experience to be President? Sitting in the front seat beside the driver for 8 years will never make you an experienced driver.
    John Edwards spent six years in the Senate and had only 1 sponsored bill passed. Hillary has 2 insignificant bills passed in all her 9 years, while Obama has had 2 bills with his name passed in just over 2 years. And very important legislation he co-sponsored with Republican colleagues.
    GovTrack describes Hillary’s sponsorship as “VERY POOR” and Obama’s as “AVERAGE”
    In the State legislature he also passed significant healthcare, ethics reform, crime and poverty bills. Take a look at Senator Obama’s bills in the State legislature:
    http://www.nytimes.com/imagepages/2007/07/29/us/politics/20070730_OBAMA_GRAPHIC.html
    Compare that with Hillary’s record on her website. Even her ads make no reference to any tangible accomplishments of hers. Hiding behind Bill Clinton will not make her an experienced candidate. Only fools are deceived by her campaign’s marketing skills.

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  8. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Following is some comments Hillary made in 2002. It is a shame that she has not exhibited the same loyalty towards the rule of law here at home that she exhibits towards Israel. One can only marvel at this bitch’s complete failure to oppose the Bush Administration in any manner, yet still consider herself worthy of consideration for the Presidency. Can anyone at this blog name one positive thing this woman has done in the last seven years? Selling out to Israel doesn’t count.
    March 24, 2002
    Remarks of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton at the “We Stand With Israel Now and Forever” Rally at the 92nd Street Y in New York City
    As Delivered
    Thank you very much, Mort. I would like to thank all of you here today for convening this important show of solidarity and support on behalf of Israel, the people of Israel, and freedom-loving people and democracies everywhere.
    I would like to thank the Conference of Presidents, UJC—Israel Now and Forever, UJA, JCRC, the 92nd Street Y and those of you who are here with us at the Y and others who are with us throughout our country and, indeed, throughout the world.
    You know, just one month ago I traveled to Israel in order to convey the support and solidarity that New Yorkers and Americans feel toward Israel—not just at this moment, but support we felt long before, and support that we will continue to feel in the future. I traveled to Israel to demonstrate that we stand with Israel now and forever.
    When I met with people on the streets, outside Sbarro’s pizzeria, at Hadassah Hospital, and in a variety of settings throughout Jerusalem, I conveyed the same support and solidarity that we are demonstrating here today. Similarly, when I met with the Prime Minister, the Defense Minister, the Foreign Minister, and with other military and government officials, I made clear that we in the United States count on our government– the American government—to stand with Israel now and forever, just as the people of America stand with the people of Israel.
    Today I am here not only as a United States Senator, not only as someone who has been to Israel seven times, who has supported the government and people of Israel for over twenty-plus years, but as an American citizen with one singular message – the United States and Israel face a common threat. Make no mistake about it, the attack on the United States here in New York and at the Pentagon on September 11th comes from the same well of hatred and evil that stalks Israel. It is not possible for us to imagine confronting and winning the war against terrorism here and abroad, without our helping Israel win it at home.
    Many of you know that during my husband’s administration I did everything I could to support four successive governments of Israel. I believed then as I believe now that it is not for the United States to dictate to Israel the best way for Israel to defend herself and her people. Just as we expect our friends and allies to support the decisions of our elected governments, we stand with the government of Israel.
    Make no mistake about it, as Israel defends herself, it does so because it is clear she has no alternative. The collapse of any effort to try to achieve a safe and secure resolution of the disputes the Palestinians have with Israel and the ensuing violence rests solely on the shoulders of Yasir Arafat. I want to be very clear about this, the responsibility for the violence and the collapse of the Camp David and the Taba discussions rests only with Yasir Arafat. He has failed as a leader. He has been unable and unwilling to reign in the forces of violence and terrorism, and he leaves a trail of violated vows and deaths along a path that should have and could have led to peace and life.
    We know that he continues to exploit children in pursuit of his own aims. Whether it is through textbooks that he permits to be used in the classrooms of the Palestinian Authority or the encouragement of young suicide bombers. The use of children to further violence and political aims is absolutely unforgivable and needs to be condemned as such.
    And we know something else don’t we? We know the violence encouraged and permitted by Arafat, can still be ended by Arafat. If he were to choose today to renounce terrorism and other acts of violence, he could demonstrate in both English and Arabic that it is not just rhetorical support, but it is actions that count. Arafat can and must apprehend, prosecute and imprison—and keep in prison—known terrorists.
    Most important, because of what has happened during the last several weeks, he must be held responsible for those groups who act in his name—that means, Force-17, his own special security force. It also means Tanzim, the armed wing of Fatah. He failed to dissolve the Al-Asqa Brigades but this week we learned what the consequences for that failure was. I believe Arafat must be made to understand that the United States and all civilized nations stand with Israel in having zero tolerance for terrorism. And if he fails to do it himself, it will be done for him—with or without his agreement.
    Let me add a word about the latest development concerning Iran and Arafat. When I was in Jerusalem I spoke about my deep concern that the relationship between the Palestinians and the Iranian government was deepening. At that time the evidence that I had came, of course, as we all know from the interception of the Karine A—the discovery of the boatload of weapons on its way to the Palestinian Authority—and from intelligence reports concerning Iranian involvement with the Palestinians. Well we know today, from the front page of the New York Times, that Iran and Arafat have forged a secret connection. The arms shipment aboard the Karine A loaded with 50 tons of illegal weapons mostly manufactured in Iran, is unfortunately, is just one part of the problem that we now face with respect to Iranian sponsorship of terrorism and its even greater involvement on behalf of the Palestinians.
    The Palestinians’ effort to forge an alliance with a patron-state of terror is something that deeply concerns us. Arafat’s alliance with Iran represents a dangerous collaboration, not only for Israel, but for all of us. It is true that the axis of evil that includes Iran, is something that directly impacts our security. Now we know more clearly than ever that it is directly aimed at the heart of Israel as well. Despite the efforts of some in Iran to make reform in the government and despite everything we know about the desire of young people in Iran to rid themselves of the yolk of religious tyranny, the fact remains that Iran is the most active state sponsor of terrorism in the world. Therefore this latest news must be taken seriously, not only in the American capital, not only in Israel, but also in Europe. The Europeans must recognize that Iran poses a threat to all of us.
    The hard-truth is that we are now engaged in a global effort against terrorism that is aimed at any democracy and aimed at any freedom-loving people. It is a dangerous time for Israel, but I would add, my friends, it is also a dangerous time for the United States. We need to recognize that our support for Israel—our friendships and the relationships that many of us have with family and others in Israel—is an important commitment because of what Israel represents and because of what we have in common with Israel. Our support for Israel is instrumental to our global effort to try to combat terrorism.
    The other day, I signed a letter to the President and Vice President Cheney, along with Senator Schumer, saying that we do not believe that Vice President Cheney should meet with Yasir Arafat at this time. The reason I signed that letter is we have seen no movement whatsoever from Arafat. We have not seen the kind of action from Arafat that sends any message or signal that we can expect a resumption of efforts, on his part, to try to implement Tenet or Mitchell. Just as we never do anything to encourage terrorism, we cannot reward the status quo. We cannot agree to meet with Arafat and then get nothing in return for that meeting. Therefore, I hope that the President and the Vice President will think long and hard before they have such a meeting, unless or until there is a definite movement that everyone can agree represents a change of direction on behalf of Arafat.
    I hope all of us, as we stand together with Israel and as we defend our democracies, will do so with the spirit of, not only the resolve I saw in Israel, but also with hope. Speaking of hope at a time like this may seem naive, it may seem out of place, but I know later in the program you’ll hear from my wonderful friend Elie Wiesel who has said on numerous occasions, “There is no alternative for a free people, other than hope.” We cannot give in to fatalism and pessimism. If we do, we would simply be handing a victory over to our adversaries. We have to be smart, hard-headed, tough-minded and focused. We must also believe we will see our way clear to a better future.
    When I was in Jerusalem I had many experiences that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. I would like to share with you two of those experiences, in particular. I think we in America can do an even better job of telling Israel’s story to the world. If you go to Hadassah Hospital, what do you see? You see people being taken care of no matter who they are or where they come from. I visited two young soldiers, both victims of the most horrific suicide bombings, bombs filled with nails and nuts and bolts designed to inflict the maximum injury upon these young people. One of the soldiers was still in very serious condition. His mother had invited me to come visit with her son. His mother was on one side of the bed and his father on the other, holding up a picture of his son prior to the bombing. He was a handsome, bright-eyed, young man doing his service, not only for his country, but for freedom. Before I said goodbye, one of the patient’s surgeons said, “I’m sorry you did not get to meet the doctor who’s taking care of this young soldier. His doctor is a Palestinian.”
    Then I visited with some other victims, one of whom was also a young soldier. He was Ethiopian and had been brought to Israel years ago for safety. He grew up loving Israel and loving to be reunited with his Jewish traditions and beliefs. He was on duty when he saw a suicide bomber. Just as our brave fire fighters did here in New York, he ran toward that bomber—toward danger not away from it—and he threw himself on him and absorbed the shock of the bomb.
    Now what does that tell us about this country we stand with and defend? There is no place else in that region where you would have refugees from Ethiopia taken in and assimilated and made part of the society. There is no place else where you would have a hospital, largely supported by Americans, where Israeli and Arab doctors work side-by-side caring for victims both Arab and Israeli. Whenever someone asks me about Israel, I ask him or her, “Where else can you find a democracy in that part of the world that believes in freedom, human dignity and human rights, as Israel does? Where else can you find those ideals exemplified in the way I saw it at Hadassah Hospital?” That typifies what we are fighting for.
    The perpetrators of the evil that stalks Israel and stalks the world, believe they own the truth and simply dismiss the rights and dignity of fellow human beings. They must be stopped.
    I hope all of us will do everything we can to make sure that, not just the people who are in this auditorium, but people throughout America – Jew and non-Jew alike—understand that when we stand up for Israel we are standing up for the fundamental human beliefs of democracy and freedom and we are standing up for America.
    Thank you all very much.

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  9. Homer says:

    Re: John Kerry
    According to Howard Dean, it was the Kerry Campaign that ruined Dean’s chances by falsely and maliciously mis-representing Dean in what became known as Dean’s `I Have a Scream Speech’.
    Kerry can go to hell!!
    Selfish bastard!

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  10. serial catowner says:

    This is a disappointing but not surprising post by Steve. People who work for senators- and consider themselves underpaid compared with other people they know- simply can’t see the problem the rest of us see.
    The Clinton proposals would have several major effects. First, hundreds of billions would be paid to private insurers, who of course would invest some of this largesse in making sure the gravy train never stopped.
    Meanwhile, the means test for mandatory insurance would be set too low. Adding $3000 or $5000 in annual costs to the load on a guy making $18k will surely drive some of them to bankruptcy and others to their death.
    The whole thing would be accompanied by a phalanx of tiny programs to serve niche audiences (all to be means tested, of course!), and most of these programs providing, not treatment, but “education” in the name of “prevention”.
    Notably absent from the roster of auxiliary programs would be any serious attempt to enforce OSHA laws, reduce pollution, or really invest in the housing, nutrition, and education of our citizens. Don’t expect to see any funding for legal aid lawyers who might sue hospitals, nursing homes, or doctors. And there wouldn’t be any single agency aggressively using purchasing clout to get the best prices on drugs and treatments from the big vendors.
    In short, the Clinton plan is an amalgamation of every really bad idea from the past 50 years assembled in a breathtaking machine of healthcare crunching doom. Kinda like the inevitable process that carried McNamara from his approval of the Edsel project to his stewardship of the Vietnam War.
    Frankly, it would be what we deserve if we let the insurance companies run Hillary for president, and the people turn her down, because she’s a woman. The Lord works in mysterious ways.

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  11. Donna Z says:

    There are plenty of statements to agree with here. I’ve been thinking about Steve’s diary, and the more I think, the angrier I become.
    Since one of the plans goals is to get health care “off the backs of corporations,” it made me think of sitting at the negotiating table when this idea was dumped. First they offered us a one-time buy out that would make money heretofore not taxable taxable. And since this would only enter the negotiations during that session, any rise in cost, which would surely come, would be solely charged to the lowly worker without any additional remuneration. The lone worker shopping for their family would have no clout to affect pricing. None. Zip. (see current response to average Americans by their government.) In my case with family coverage, everyone but me is simply dumped all together. So the all new Hillcare would do is actually make me poorer. Why am I not surprised?
    There is a great deal more to my thinking. You see, I actually worked in the industry on research, statistics, and pricing. Much of what goes on is tied to contemplating huge reserves and investments. Reserves on losses that will never be paid are carried thus making the case for increased premiums. How does this plan address the problem of denial of coverage for what would seem to the consumer to be something that they’d paid for? Ah…read the fine print. Read the exclusions. Why do you think the industry pays teams of lawyers and lobbyist?
    I’m not calming down. I’m furious that anyone would foist this lie on our people. We need to privatize a few people in Washington currently collecting our tax-payer funded checks. Ms Rubiner would be high on the list considering her complete negation of the needs of “We the People.”

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  12. Kathleen says:

    Liz… I remember when doctors came to your house too, so you didn’t get exposed to other germs waiting around in their office.
    K Ols… yes, if you are fully “covered” you have tons of tests, whether you need them or not.

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  13. konopelli/wgg says:

    Any so-called health plan for the US which does NOT eliminate ALL the private, for-profit insurers from the initial picture is nothing but a sell-out to the guys with the big bucks.
    I figger i’ve got mebbe 15 years left. I do NOT expect to have Universal, single-payer health coverage in my life-time.
    And that is fucking unconscionable.
    There is no cost to those who obstruct this, and there NEEDS to be. Cost the sumbitches for blocking the provision of Universal Health Care–beeg money, mebbe–and they’ll come around.

    Reply

  14. Richard W. Crews says:

    I was surprised and disappointed in your casual use of the word “inefficient”, when the MediCare bureaucracy really is quite efficient. The following has sources : Our present medical care system spends more, per person, and just plain total, than any other country, yet we have 47 million people with no health care at all. We are not number one in health care, not even close, and we are not the healthiest either. Sure, the top of the top care is here, but your HMO is in business to keep that care away from you. America has a huge profit making parasitic organization of medical insurance companies and HMOs that stand in between the people and the health care. This is morally wrong. This is economically wrong. It costs us jobs when Toyota builds a factory in Canada because they didn’t want to get involved in our health insurance mess. And why should they? Why should health care insurance be a part of the cost of making products and doing business? Why should you be dependent on some company for your health care? None of these conditions should be the norm, and they aren’t in EVERY OTHER western industrialized country. It shouldn’t be this way here; we should have single-payer health care. NOT insurance, but care. The hospitals are the same, perhaps run on the very effective VA model. That’s not the same as the Army hospital mess, so everyone calm down. The current system we have has 30% overhead, making millionaires off our health concerns. Compare that to the much lower Medicare rates of 1.8% and 2.1%. That’s a huge amount of money, that 30%, that should be spent on care, not profit. *** Here is my proof, from government reports, at site : http://www.cms.hhs.gov/MedicareProgramRatesStats/downloads/MedicareMedicaidSummaries2005.pdf

    Reply

  15. K Ols says:

    Hillary’s plan sounds far too much like Medicare Part D because it relies on private insurers instead of nonprofit.
    Michael Moore was right about one thing. We don’t have for profit police or fire departments so why do we have for profit insurers?
    Sadly, any plan is likely to rely on for profit insurance because otherwise what would happen if they shut them all down & we had nonprofit only? Insurance & drug companies are some of the largest contributors to campaigns so politicians will refuse to take them out of the picture.
    Also not that Hillary’s plan is universal insurance, not universal health care. Big difference.
    As long as any plan doesn’t control the cost of health care the cost will keep rising.
    I think there are many problems including people without insurance who don’t get preventive care or don’t go to a doctor when the need arise. By the time they do it’s too late or they are so ill it is just too expensive.
    The other side of the coin is people who have ample insurance who try to get every test possible run whether needed or not.
    Right now I believe that people’s medical needs are doled out on the basis of their ability to pay. If you have no insurance or very little insurance they dispense health care very miserly.
    If you have plenty of insurance they do every test imaginable.
    If we had universal health care where all patients were treated equally we’d be far better off.
    Just look at how efficiently Social Security and Medicare operate compared to many private companies and at less cost. Overall I think the government could do a better job than private entities.
    Health care costs and insurance premiums and drug costs are way out of hand. Until something is done to contain the cost of delivery to the individual every cost will continue to rise. Someone has to put the brakes on somehow, some way.
    Sure, there may be people who can afford to buy insurance and don’t do it. On the other hand there are people like myself who can afford only if we deny ourselves other things. We pay over $8,000 a year for a plan that doesn’t even include dental or eyecare. It’s a huge proportion of our income and the cost keeps rising every year.
    Also consider that the itemized deduction for health care costs is a pittance. You can’t deduct a dime until you pay out an amount over 7.5% of your income and then you still can’t deduct it if your costs aren’t high enough or you don’t have enough other deductions on Schedule A to beat the personal deduction. Largely because of our health insurance premium and out-of-pocket health care expenses we are able to beat the personal deduction so far, but the deduction still isn’t enough when you have to spend over 7.5% of your income.
    Something needs to be done and fast.

    Reply

  16. K Ols says:

    Hillary’s plan sounds far too much like Medicare Part D because it relies on private insurers instead of nonprofit.
    Michael Moore was right about one thing. We don’t have for profit police or fire departments so why do we have for profit insurers?
    Sadly, any plan is likely to rely on for profit insurance because otherwise what would happen if they shut them all down & we had nonprofit only? Insurance & drug companies are some of the largest contributors to campaigns so politicians will refuse to take them out of the picture.
    Also not that Hillary’s plan is universal insurance, not universal health care. Big difference.
    As long as any plan doesn’t control the cost of health care the cost will keep rising.
    I think there are many problems including people without insurance who don’t get preventive care or don’t go to a doctor when the need arise. By the time they do it’s too late or they are so ill it is just too expensive.
    The other side of the coin is people who have ample insurance who try to get every test possible run whether needed or not.
    Right now I believe that people’s medical needs are doled out on the basis of their ability to pay. If you have no insurance or very little insurance they dispense health care very miserly.
    If you have plenty of insurance they do every test imaginable.
    If we had universal health care where all patients were treated equally we’d be far better off.
    Just look at how efficiently Social Security and Medicare operate compared to many private companies and at less cost. Overall I think the government could do a better job than private entities.
    Health care costs and insurance premiums and drug costs are way out of hand. Until something is done to contain the cost of delivery to the individual every cost will continue to rise. Someone has to put the brakes on somehow, some way.
    Sure, there may be people who can afford to buy insurance and don’t do it. On the other hand there are people like myself who can afford only if we deny ourselves other things. We pay over $8,000 a year for a plan that doesn’t even include dental or eyecare. It’s a huge proportion of our income and the cost keeps rising every year.
    Also consider that the itemized deduction for health care costs is a pittance. You can’t deduct a dime until you pay out an amount over 7.5% of your income and then you still can’t deduct it if your costs aren’t high enough or you don’t have enough other deductions on Schedule A to beat the personal deduction. Largely because of our health insurance premium and out-of-pocket health care expenses we are able to beat the personal deduction so far, but the deduction still isn’t enough when you have to spend over 7.5% of your income.
    Something needs to be done and fast.

    Reply

  17. Carroll says:

    Posted by markL at September 22, 2007 08:30 PM
    >>>>>>>>>>
    I agree with what you say about it not being the sole reason. But it is the most obvious place to start. You forget that not for profit co-ops operated way before the for profits entered the scene.
    Research and innnovation on new eqipment and such, as well as drugs has to be counted, and although the gov finances a large amount of research and med equip makers get their expenses back plus a profit there is probably not a way to control those cost as easily if at all.
    And yea insurers do rip off doctors, one of our friends is a OBGYN and his mal practice insurance has gone up,up,up every year and thru the roof even though he has never had a claim or suit against him.

    Reply

  18. PrahaPartizan says:

    Hillary’s health policy wonk might clank when she walks, but her policy can’t and won’t work. For starters, the whole pipe dream is predicated on cost savings, which are not detailed. If they think that they’ll recover most of their costs in the first year (or even first few years) by preventative procedures, they’re smoking the finest product on the planet. They’ll find that lots of those previously uncovered folks had serious undiagnosed illnesses which will absorb resources like a sponge. That’s what happened when Medicare kicked in back in the 1960s and it surprised everyone involved (don’t ask me why, it just did).
    Keeping the “for profit” sector in the loop adds no value to the program. Isn’t that the raison d’etre for the free market – value added? Doesn’t exist here. Does Hillary’s program expect that the “for profit” insurers are going to be adding benefits while competing for some fixed capitation? That hasn’t happened before, unless the insurance companies knew beforehand that the starting payment was higher than the expected capitation cost. As the costs rose, the insurance companies either dropped coverage or subscibers. Hillary’s program doesn’t explain how she plans on preventing this or penalizing the insurers who decide to participate in the beginning but bail out when the gravy train ends. And, by penalize, I mean something like treble damages for the profits they made during the gravy train. We’ve seen this program before and it doesn’t work

    Reply

  19. Ben Rosengart says:

    “Inefficient socialized bureaucracies”? Steve, I expect better from you. If you didn’t know that socially-provided health care is significantly more efficient than the current U.S. system, then you have no business at all posting about health care.
    Really … that’s the kind of language I expect from right-wing ideologues, not self-professed “radical centrists”.

    Reply

  20. deodand says:

    ” nearly bankrupt and increasingly shabby health care schemes in Canada and Western Europe.”
    C’mon guys. This kind of statement is fatuous nonsense. The US has the best medical technology in the history of the human race delivered to an absurdly small fraction of the population. The rest of you are sick and worried about the very possibility of being sick and worried. And you really are very ignorant about what happens in the rest of the world.

    Reply

  21. MarkL says:

    Carroll, you’ve probably seen this site, but on the page below, there is information about the cost of treating the uninsured. It’s about $100 billion. This is a very large amount, but it is still only about 5% of annual medical costs.
    http://www.nchc.org/facts/coverage.shtml

    Reply

  22. markL says:

    Carroll,
    Health care costs in this country have about doubled since in the early 90’s, while staying relatively flat in Europe.
    The reason simply cannot be the difference between having private insurance here versus nationalized care there. One big factor is drug costs, and I think the decision to allow advertising of drugs is relevant.
    You can claim that the uninsured are part of the problem, and I’ll agree with you. But how much?
    Also, isn’t there a reverse effect also? People without health insurance—especially younger people—will seek less care, and so be less of a burden.
    I’m not trying to pick a fight here. I just don’t see how private insurance is the sole or even majority cause of our health care debacle, unless the = some change of regulations is involved also. which is quite plausible. Granted that the uninsured are part of the problem, then an effect of Hillary’s plan should be to reduce costs. I’m sure this is part of the intent of her plan.
    One last thing: We are not going to have UHC next year, or the year after. It’s going to take sevearl years to come up with the right plan, and then implement it. The transition costs will probably be large as well.
    By the way, you mention the cost of malpractice insurance. I note you did not make the mistake of claiming that malpractice costs themselves are huge, because they are not. I find high malpractice insurance rates mysterious. I think the insurance companies are just taking doctors for a ride.

    Reply

  23. nick says:

    Wasn’t mandatory car insurance supposed to lower rates?
    Still waiting…

    Reply

  24. liz says:

    Once upon a time, about thirty years ago in a place called America, sick people could get off work and go to a ” general practitioner”, who knew just about everything in the world. When the sick person finished seeing the doctor, he went to the counter and paid for the visit. It didn’t break his budget either. Then the sick person walked over to the drug store and got a bottle or two of pills.
    The sick person’s family never lacked food. There was never a question of making decisions about medications or heat. The sick person could get what they needed at an affordable price.
    Then, along came insurance. It had been around for a while but only for catastrophic things, like heart attacks and strokes. If I am not mistaken around the time of the presidency of Nixon, insurance became a big deal. And by the time Carter held office, health insurance was getting to be a standard benefit……
    On the provider side, in the early 80’s everything changed in healthcare. Insurance companies started getting the upper hand…
    They still have the upper hand today.
    Insurance companies no longer provide honest services. And we really don’t want federalized healthcare, trust me. I can tell you the story about the man driving I 95 from Canada , who ended up in a little rinky dink hospital and the CanCare company sent a private plane for him a week later instead of opting for the ” curative” angioplasty..
    But wait…. before we all go getting insured, and remember way back….. because doctors were still rich then…..
    It is time for doctors to reclaim practicing medicine and for insurance companies to purely exist to pay claims.
    Any healthcare plan from candidates that includes mandatory insurance is the death of quality care in America…. end of story.

    Reply

  25. Chris hannah says:

    The reason Hillary shouldn’t run is because of the same stupid people that voted for bush will vote against her, which, because of who is in office, is the reason she’ll lose(which means we’ll lose).
    Just too many dumb humans in this country.

    Reply

  26. Carroll says:

    I do not believe that the overhead costs of private care are the reason our health care costs are so out of whack. By the numbers, it could only make up about 20% of the extra amount we pay, compared to Europe.
    I’m non-ideological about health care. I think UHC makes the most sense, but if Hillary’s plan will reduce costs, I’ll support it.
    However, I think that the attention on the problem of uninsured Americans should not detract from searching for ways to reduce health care expenditures.
    Posted by MarkL at September 22, 2007 01:28 PM
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Not to insult but I think you need more coffee this morning.
    What do you not get about how the uninsured are part the “circular cause” of increasing medical and insurance cost that I described above?
    I don’t know what state you are in, but go down to your local hospital and ask to see the financial manager. He can tell you which entity in your state is certified to determine the amount of markup his hospital is allowed to charge for services to cover the losses for treating uninsured and non paying patients. In my state it is Blue Cross.
    When you are charged $5.00 for one asprin, 80% of which your insurer pays and 20% of which you pay, it is not because it cost the hospital $5.00 for it or to administer it, it is because they have to mark up all their cost to cover other expenses, of which the unpaying, uninsured are a large part of.
    There are other factors also, such as the high cost of drugs, mal practice insurance for the hospital and emergency room services but the uninsured are a large part of it.
    But if you have any ideas about reducing the cost without removing the for profit factor I am all ears. To me removing profit and stockholders is the most obvious first step. As a taxpayer I am willing to fund health care, I am willing pay interest on the financing it would take for as long as it takes the government to provide the start up capital reserves for non profits.
    I am not willing to subsidize for profits and CEO’s and stockholders and Wall Street in their health care “bizness”. That will not increase the level of care and it will not reduce cost.
    There are many solid, fiscally sound ways to provide universal care but you wil not hear them within Washington because they are such no brainers that if the public ever heard them they would wipe out the for profit insurance world and the insurance lobbies.

    Reply

  27. Carroll says:

    Posted by Kathleen at September 22, 2007 01:46 PM
    >>>>>>>>>>>>
    Yep, ..I know and he is right.

    Reply

  28. Kathleen says:

    Carroll, you probably know that Kucinich is in favor of a not for profit health care system.

    Reply

  29. MarkL says:

    I do not believe that the overhead costs of private care are the reason our health care costs are so out of whack. By the numbers, it could only make up about 20% of the extra amount we pay, compared to Europe.
    I’m non-ideological about health care. I think UHC makes the most sense, but if Hillary’s plan will reduce costs, I’ll support it.
    However, I think that the attention on the problem of uninsured Americans should not detract from searching for ways to reduce health care expenditures.

    Reply

  30. Carroll says:

    Hey..shop around everybody…you can always get lower rates with an HMO. And I guarentee you with this plan you will have 1000’s of new ones to “chose” from.
    Aetna Loses
    Jury Rules Against Aetna with $120 Million Verdict in Cancer Case
    David Goodrich died from cancer. The question a California jury faced in January was whether his health maintenance organization (HMO) was hesitant in approving care that might have saved his life, and whether the HMO left the man and his family with unpaid medical bills.
    Nearly four years after his death, Goodrich has become a symbol of what critics say is wrong with heaqlth care in America. Attorneys representing his widow, Teresa Goodrich, painted the Goodrichs’ HMO, Aetna Health Plans of California, a subsidiary of Aetna US HealthCare, as a corporation more concerned with its profits than its patients.
    The jury fined the country’s largest for-profit HMO more than $120 million for damages. It was the largest amount awarded by a jury against an HMO since managed care became popular in the late 1980s.
    Teresa Goodrich, a school teacher, was awarded $116 million in punitive damages on January 20, 1999, four days after the same jury found Aetna liable for compensatory damages of $4.5 million. Goodrich sued Aetna in 1996 for breach of contract and wrongful death, claiming the insurance company refused to approve payment of his treatment. The jury verdict came three years and eight months after David Goodrich, a deputy district attorney in San Bernardino, died in 1995 from a rare form of stomach cancer.
    The Appeals Process
    Aetna has vowed to appeal, saying the jury was not allowed to hear key evidence that would have shown the company covered what it was obligated to provide, and that David Goodrich was also covered by a second health plan which provided coverage for cancer treatment.
    The fact that Goodrich died of cancer is about the only thing on which the two sides agree. A week after the verdict, both sides continue to dispute facts of the case.
    Goodrich’s Disease Progresses
    According to Teresa Goodrich’s attorney Michael Bidart, David Goodrich’s physicians had told him in June 1992 that he was a good candidate for high-dose chemotherapy and bone marrow transplant, but Aetna did not approve payment of the out-of-network treatment until October.
    Typically, HMOs have set fees with hospitals and physicians that provide care to their beneficiaries. Out-of-network treatment is generally not covered by an HMO unless prior approval is granted by the health plan.
    “He was told by the surgical oncologist inside his health plan that no one within the plan had experience in treating his form of cancer,” Bidart said. “He felt Goodrich needed to go outside, either to City of Hope or to UCLA Medical Center. His request traveled through a maze of utilization review, and it wasn’t until October 5 that he was approved for out-of-town hospitalization.”
    Aetna officials said David Goodrich was actually approved for out-of-network consultation with a City of Hope oncologist in September, at which time his physicians evaluated whether he was a candidate for high-dose chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant. Their initial evaluation indicated he was a candidate for this treatment and was scheduled to begin in late October. A CT scan done three weeks before the scheduled treatment revealed his cancer had spread to his liver, said Arthur Liebowitz, MD, chief medical officer for Aetna US HealthCare.
    Goodrich’s doctors changed their initial assessment after the metastasis (spread of the disease to other organs) was discovered, and told him they no longer believed he was a candidate for the procedures, Aetna claimed. An outside panel of experts hired by Aetna also concluded that the experimental treatment was not appropriate. Aetna was poised to deny coverage on David Goodrich’s request when his doctors canceled his scheduled treatment, Dr. Liebowitz said.
    “By the time we had reached that conclusion, so did his doctors,” Dr. Liebowitz said.
    Instead, Goodrich underwent traditional chemotherapy in hopes the treatment would reduce his cancer by 50 percent and allow for high-dose chemotherapy in the future. The treatment, however, only prevented the cancer from spreading any further.
    Goodrich did not receive cancer treatment until September 1993. After seeing his primary care physician, as required by his health plan, he was recommended for cryosurgery, an experimental treatment that freezes the tumor and area surrounding it in an attempt to shut off blood nourishing the tumor. He underwent the surgery in September at St. John’s Hospital, an out-of-network facility, despite the fact that Aetna had not granted coverage. Late the following month Aetna agreed to pay for that surgery.
    Dr. Liebowitz said the late approval was the result of Goodrich first seeking coverage from his wife’s health insurance company. The treatment was initially approved, but later denied because the second insurer was unable to process the claim with Aetna listed as the primary insurer.
    A Lengthy Process
    A request for coverage was sent to Aetna, but was misplaced, Dr. Liebowitz said. But Goodrich was also covered by a second health plan and was using both plan’s benefits to cover his mounting expenses.
    “The jury never heard about the second insurance plan,” said Dr. Liebowitz. “They looked at it as if there was no second insurer and that we denied coverage.”
    By December 1994, Goodrich’s condition was grave and his doctors recommended one more surgery to remove the tumor still in his stomach. “He could hardly eat or drink,” Bidart said.
    The surgery was performed in mid-January 1995 at St. John’s Hospital, but coverage for the surgery and hospitalization was denied, Bidart said.
    According to Dr. Liebowitz, Goodrich requested the second health insurance policy, provided through his wife’s employer, cover the expense of his latest surgery and hospital stay. But because Aetna was listed as the primary insurer, the second health plan was unable to approve coverage until Aetna denied coverage.
    “At no point was treatment not carried out,” Dr. Liebowitz said. “Mr. Goodrich’s care was directed by his physicians.”
    Aetna maintains that Goodrich did not maximize his benefits by accepting a nurse case manager to help coordinate his care, which is disputed by Bidart. Aetna officials also vehemently deny contributing to the shortening of Goodrich’s life, citing high-dose chemotherapy is not an appropriate treatment for someone whose disease had progressed as far as his.
    copyrighted by the American Cancer Society, Inc
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    For Profit will ALWAYS be for “the profit” and the profit is in denying service in favor of stockholders returns and favorable WS stock prices.
    F*** the politicans. Take away THEIR taxpayer subsidzed health coverage.

    Reply

  31. Sharon says:

    What Carroll said.

    Reply

  32. Carroll says:

    I hardly know where to begin. This is standard boiler plate crap for the insurance industry.
    The over head cost for medicare is 3%.
    The over head cost for private insurers is 18% to 22%.
    One of the reasons employer insurance is generally lower overall is because an insurer can capture an entire group with one fell swoop and the employer can throw that group weight around in shopping for coverage.
    I guess Bailey’s reason for having employees be on their own is that then yet another “private enterprise middle man” can be created to round them up again under some Employees R’ Us “group” organization that can take another slice of the premium pie, leaving once again less of the dollars directed toward actual medical care. There were 1200 new enrollment “organizations” for drug coverage created by the Medicare Drug program..expect the same with this scheme.
    Employees shopping around would pressure insurers to keep their cost low? Really? Here’s how that works…just like cable companies and car insurance you will have teaser rates to capture large number of customers…then the cost will go up. If some upstart should make lower cost work and get to much of the market then you will have that great industry innovation know as “collusion” and he will be undercut until he is forced out or if he is lucky, bought out for his enrollment.
    Tax deductions for insurance cost and medical saving accounts don’t work for the little girl behind the checkout counter or the janitor. They are the people who end up in the emergency room and whose tab gets added to hospital services, thus higher hospital cost to paying customers, thus higher cost to the insurers, thus higher cost in the insured’s premiums.
    You want all people insured in this country you have to take out the “for profit”. Then you have to have a large enough risk pool. And then for lower incomes you base their premiums on their income so they are at least paying something into the system. If we are going to have coverage and health care or everyone and taxpayers are going to subsidize it let us do it by subsidizing a “private non profit” system like the original Blue Cross, not by subsidizing the for profit insurers whose bottom line is stockholders and not services
    I could go on but suffice it to say this is just more capitalist crapola, another half assed plan to make the public think they are getting a solution for the uninsured and health care while protecting, and in the end, enlarging the private sector.
    So Wall Street won’t like it, so what? They have had a long enough run. Let them invest in old folks condos or solar energy or bridges or shcool bonds. Let them have to think up some way to make money beside creating strips and rips and derivatives.
    If all the little “free enterprize” mouthpieces were the entrepreneurs they claim to be they would be out there setting up not for profits and creating a real job for themselves instead of sitting around in think tanks coming up with more drivel for the “industry”.
    This is exactly what I said Hillary would do. Protect the corp industry first and foremost and give the public a piece of cardboard pie and tell them is it bananna creme.
    It’s corrupt politics at it’s prime, designed to protect capitalist health care. If you can’t see thru this you need glasses.

    Reply

  33. Kathleen says:

    With Mandatory Health Care, who would keep the prices down? Would that mean that all businesses would mandatorilly have to provide it, or would individual taxpayers have to purchase their own? Would the cost be tax deductible? What happens if you fail to buy health care?
    I think the “can’t afford health coverage” problem would be better alleviated if the tax structure were changed and tax cuts were from the bottom up.
    The standard deduction hasn’t been raised since 1980 and is $5,500 for a single individual. No one can make it on $5,500 let alone pay for health care.
    This gov’t should not take any taxes from anyone, unless and until they have earned a livable income, which sure as hell is a great deal more than $5,500.
    And, like Congress, taxpayers should enjoy an automatic annual cost of living increase in the Standard Deduction.
    Further, when the Gipper dismantled FDR’s graduated income tax, he reduced the top bracket from 97% to 38% and was hailed as a tax cutter. No such break was given the bottom bracket., in fact, their percentage was RAISED from 10% to 15%. It’s high time to correct that and lower the bottom bracket to 1%. It still would not equal the break the rich got. Dopey’s fond of saying he wants to keep tax dollars in taxpayers’ pockets. I guess he means only if you’re in the same country club.
    Is Congress’ health care coverage Socialized medicine? If it works for them. it’ll work for thee and me.

    Reply

  34. Steve Clemons says:

    Thanks JohnH…I generally agree, though as I intimated in my piece, Hillary has some great support on her staff in the foreign policy area — and I think they do as good or better than the bigger gun campaign advisers.
    POA — I know that you are cranky about most things Hillary, but my point about Laurie Rubiner is that her work is where most reasonable Democrats and Republicans are finding themselves. . .and I think that’s real progress on the health care policy debate.
    Best regards,
    Steve Clemons

    Reply

  35. JohnH says:

    Sad that Hillary taps the old boy network of foreign policy advisors. She could use some fresh faces who could provide the public with some candor about what America’s goals in the Middle East are. Looks like we’ll have to put up with years more of coverup and dissembling. Of course, they may have been lying to the public for so long now, that even they have forgotten what it’s all about.
    “You have to be careful if you don’t know where you’re going, because you just might not get there.”

    Reply

  36. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Next to America’s deteriorated national security and foreign policy standing in the world, the absence of strategy to credibly broaden health care in this country is our largest problem.”
    No Steve, America’s “largest problem” is the sons of bitches in Washington that now hold themselves above the law, are not held accountable, and will say whatever the hell they wanna say, whether its the truth or not, to get elected. Why in God’s name should we trust ANY of these posturing fraud’s “campaign promises” in light of the last seven years? Hillary can kiss my disgusted disillussioned pissed off ass.
    And I’m not too fond, at this point, of their salesmen either.

    Reply

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