UNDERNEWS

Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who covered Washington during all or part of one quarter of America's presidencies and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review, which has been on the web since 1995, is now published from Freeport, Maine. See main page for full contents

September 18, 2009

HEALTHCARE BILL

Huffington Post - Fox News host Bill O'Reilly made a rather notable policy pronouncement on Wednesday's show: he supports the creation of a government-managed health care plan if it provides working Americans with an affordable option to other private insurance plans. In other words, he supports the public option now being hotly debated in Congress.
O'Reilly had the following exchange with the Heritage Foundation's Nina Owcharenko:

O'REILLY: The public option now is done. We discussed this, it's not going to happen. But you say that this little marketplace that they're going to set up, whereby the federal government would subsidize insurance for some Americans, that is, in your opinion, a public option?

OWCHARENKO: Well, it has massive new federal regulation. So you don't necessarily need a public option if the federal government is going to control and regulate the type of health insurance that Americans can buy.

O'REILLY: But you know, I want that, Ms. Owcharenko. I want that. I want, not for personally for me, but for working Americans, to have a option, that if they don't like their health insurance, if it's too expensive, they can't afford it, if the government can cobble together a cheaper insurance policy that gives the same benefits, I see that as a plus for the folks.


Dirt Diggers Digest - It is true that the proposals for an individual mandate come with provisions for subsidies, yet as the plan issued by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus illustrates, those subsidies would not extend to many middle-income families, who might find themselves in the absurd position of having to pay penalties to the federal government for failing to buy coverage they cannot afford.

What's wrong with the imposition of an individual mandate without a public option is more than that of inadequate subsidies. It would amount to an unprecedented move by government to compel residents to become customers of a particular set of corporations. States currently require drivers to obtain insurance for their vehicles from private carriers, but automobile ownership is not compulsory. Adoption of an individual mandate sans public option would make it a condition of being alive for the uninsured to start paying premiums to a private insurance company.

What next? Will the federal government allow the likes of Well Point and Cigna to put private bill collectors to work harassing "deadbeats" who don't make their mandatory payments? Since the carriers could not drop these non-paying customers, would the companies be allowed to lock them up in healthcare debtor prisons until a relative takes care of the bill?

Maybe not. But there's a strong possibility that the furor over unaffordable mandatory coverage would prompt Congress to bring down rates by allowing insurers to offer lower-quality plans. If the public option is jettisoned along with single payer, "reform" may turn out to be nothing more than a way of making millions of Americans pay for the dubious privilege of shifting from the ranks of the uninsured into a captive market of the woefully underinsured.

US News - Howard Dean, former Democratic National Committee chairman, minced no words about Sen. Max Baucus's healthcare proposal, unveiled to the public this morning. "The Baucus bill is the worst piece of healthcare legislation I've seen in 30 years," Dean said at a healthcare town hall and book signing in Washington. "In fact, it's a $60 billion giveaway to the health insurance industry every year," he said. "It was written by healthcare lobbyists, so that's not a surprise. It's an outrage.". . . "I'm glad Senator Rockefeller is not going to vote for it. I wouldn't vote for it at all under any circumstances," Dean added. Instead, Dean said Senate Democrats should and would end up using the reconciliation process to pass a plan with the public option. "It can be done, and that's how it will be done," Dean said, pointing out that a majority of Senate Democrats still support a more robust bill.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

O'Reilly's support will give enough Republicans the cover they need to vote for Obamacare, which, incidentally, will not have the public option. Politics.

September 19, 2009 10:40 AM  

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