The great pianist and songwriter Billy Preston once sang, “nothing from nothing leaves nothing.” Although over 15 to 16 months I have seen the promise of health care reform start with single-payer and then morph into some sort of public option which, were it robust, should be able to contain health-care costs. This is kind of what the House passed. The Senate, on the other hand, is one confusing mess. Senator Max Baucus was given the keys to the city. I’m not sure what exactly he came up with. As chairman of the finance committee, he was in charge of coming up with a health care bill that was attractive to at least a couple of Republicans. Olympia Snowe and others were courted with sweeteners which seem to have eaten away at the core of health care reform. Senator Kent Conrad decided that he would introduce his own health-care legislation which was some sort of co-op. Although he sold this idea on the Sunday talk shows and pushed it hard for 6-8 weeks, thankfully (hopefully), it is died a quick death.
The public option is been tossed around like a medicine ball. In junior high school, we were asked to throw a medicine ball in order to build up muscle strength and coordination. Every other throw, the ball was dropped, kicked and then picked up and thrown again. This is exactly what has happened with the public option. What was once a robust counterweight to private health insurance has turned into something that states can opt in or opt out of, depending upon the whims of their legislature. Oh, and it seems that opposing healthcare is a great way to get on TV and increase your image/status… as in the case of Bart Stupak.
I have stated both on my radio show and on this blog that health-care reform must include something that is cost-effective, portable and increases access to healthcare. Currently, we are looking at a health-care bill that seems to do none of this. Many progressives have decided that they cannot support this bill. They want something else done. I understand the sentiment. I find this whole process extremely frustrating. Democrats seem to be completely unable to stick to their principles and stand up for the middle class. It seems like the only difference between Republicans and Democrats is that Democrats know what is right but can’t do it. Republicans have no idea what is right and won’t do it. BTW, President Barack Obama is a leader-come-lately. Look, I love this man, but I’m telling the truth. Where was he in the middle of the heat of the summer when healthcare was taking the big hits? He needed to be out of front stating that we HAD to have a robust public option. Alas, he wasn’t there.
Here’s my problem. Washington seems to be controlled by big business. Lobbyists from K St. seem to surround the Capital like locusts. If we scrapped the health-care bill and start all over, how are we going to come up with a different outcome? We’re going to have the same politicians, the same White House and the same lobbyists. As a matter of fact, the lobbyists will be better armed to combat arguments they’ve already heard. They will probably be armed with more money. I’m afraid that starting over will leave us with a bill that’s even worse than what we’re looking at now — if that is possible.
We’re spending $2.4 trillion on health care every year (we spent that much in 2008). Isn’t that enough money? Why do we need to pay any more? Everyone agrees that insurance does not add any value to healthcare. Why is Washington coddling the insurance companies? The whole reason for their existence is not to improve health care, to help doctors deliver better care or to help increase access to doctors by patients. Instead, their whole deal is to simply make money. They make money by not paying claims.
$2.4 trillion is enough money to take care of all 300 million Americans. Combine Medicare and Medicaid and SCHiP and all of the state-run programs into one program. Medicare for All! The government will set up a system to negotiate prices with pharmaceutical companies and medical device/product manufacturers. Premiums are paid out of our taxes in a graduated fashion. The more you make, the more you pay. Let’s extend patent protection for pharmaceutical companies by 2-5 years. Since the government is negotiating drug prices, pharmaceutical companies can recoup some of their losses through this mechanism. Doctors will be awarded for opening early and staying open late and on the weekends. This way, Americans can go to their physicians without having to take off from work. This increases access. Anyway, Medicare for All, at least for now, is a pipe dream. Right now, I’m good to try to work with my congressional representatives to try to get the best bill possible.
Billy Preston was right. Nothing from Nothing leaves nothing. The Senate is trying to sell us nothing and tell us it is something. They need to do better.
I have no faith in congress coming up with anything worth while. Not to the citizens, anyway.
The really only serve lobbyists, big business, etc like you said.
A cartoon in today's paper showed and indignant policy holder exclaiming about the outrageous premium increase. The fat cat insurance industry says, “We have to pay for our fight against reform somehow.” or something like that.
Like pharmaceuticals advertising their product so much that it probably doubles the cost. We have to pay for them to advertise to us. Even though we need a doctor's script anyway.
One of the things that I have been thinking about is no drug TV ads. Also stop this prescription stuff for everything expect for narcs. Would that decrease or increase overall costs?
Thanks for your comments. 🙂
0 from 0bomber leaves bomber, his other fatal (foreign WARS) flaw! It's Middle East RETREAT and SINGLE-PAYER OR ELSE Single TERMination for ALL DEMiserepubilkans!! OUTRAGEOUS Enough?!!
I'm not sure where to go with your comments. I would just like to say that it is important to stay on your medications.
Gregory – The most notable reason for inflated drug costs has very little to do with advertising and very much to do with paying for research required to push the medicine through to market. By the time a drug reaches the market there is very little patent life left for said drug. That means that the pharmaceutical manufacturer has to try and make back as much of research cost as it can while it is still in charge of all manufacturing of said drug.
Healthcare reform has been needed, but not like this. Not drawn up in little over a year. Not having to be pushed through by ONE party. Our government was established on “For the people by the people” not on “For some and not for some.” Healthcare reform would require more time and devotion than it has been given and, as a result, this so called reform is going to be borderline disastrous.
I appreciate you coming by. Thanks for your comments.
BTW, you might want to take a look at this article in Science Daily. Big Pharma spends about twice as much on ads as they do on research and development. Wow.