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Liberal Discontent Grows on Health Care

By Ben Pershing
For President Obama and his most liberal supporters, this week's health-care debate has delivered a sobering lesson on the limits of majority power in Washington.

Even with a popular president in place, 60 votes in the Senate and a huge margin in the House, the Left has been unable to control the trajectory of reform. In the Senate, moderate Democrats and Republicans are in the midst of cutting the only deal that will fly in the chamber, while in the House, the most conservative members of the Democratic caucus essentially are holding the majority's reform bill hostage to their demands. With conference negotiations still a long way off, most Democrats still believe almost any deal on health care now is better than no deal at all, but the tide of liberal discontent is rising.

On the Finance Committee, The Washington Post reports "an emerging consensus among a bipartisan group of senators" on a deal that "is bound to disappoint liberals" but "also could prove more difficult for Republicans to reject out of hand." The New York Times adds that liberals like Jay Rockefeller and Debbie Stabenow "expressed reservations about concessions being made by Democrats to keep a few Republicans on board." A leading House liberal, George Miller, said of the emerging Senate bill: "I don't think that adds up to health care reform. It doesn't add up to insurance reform. It doesn't add up to keeping costs down. I don't know what the hell that adds up to."

Continue reading at Political Browser »

By Ben Pershing  |  July 29, 2009; 8:33 AM ET
Categories:  The Rundown  
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Comments

The insurance companies are fighting for what they want. Progressives and Liberals have to do the same. Take to the streets, make our case. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lUATnWCmri4

Posted by: Victoria5 | July 30, 2009 9:00 AM | Report abuse

every nation in the developed world delivers quality care for 1/2 our cost, or less, with a national plan. what more do you need to know? is anyone naieve enough to fall for the insurance company propaganda about how horrible hings are in the rest of the world? all the euros and asians i know, and i travel a lot, are happy with their systems and regard ours with horror.

it's very sad that the corporations seem to run the USA, even with President Obama in the WH.

Posted by: keyes2 | July 30, 2009 9:00 AM | Report abuse

The insurance industry has been spending one and a half million dollars a day. If nothing is done does anyone believe they will not raise rates and drop people even worse then they have before? This is cutting into their profit and these are some very greedy people.
What makes you think that you will be able to afford the coverage you have now if nothing is done? They will cut coverage and raise rates. Your premiums will cost more and cover less and less. One way or another you will be priced out of the market.

Posted by: seemstome | July 30, 2009 3:00 AM | Report abuse

If we can't have single payer insurance then we DO need a government option. People have to get on their Reps and senators to do what is right for America. We are being held hostage by the insurance and drug companies--Wall St again. The product here is not paper--or soup--it is human life. Senators Bacus, Grassely,Conrad who head the senate finance committee are all paid of in millions by these companies. We need a listing published of who received -how much!!Support the president--we need this change::Bill Frist on Charlie Rose tonite--so upsetting convicted/ kicked out of congress/ probably being paid to lobby--why should this guy have an opinion--greed!!!!

Posted by: alicelmcgee | July 30, 2009 2:25 AM | Report abuse

Who do you suppose is feeding this public debate so much misinformation?

The profitablity of the health insurance industry has increased 400% in the last 15 years. The New York Times reports that the fight against health care reform is spearheaded by the physician owners of a private (read: without reponsibility to the general public) hospital in Texas. Seems to me we have a few suspects.

I particularly like the claim that reform would take away freedoms. Last I looked, I needed either a covered job or a private fortune to obtain health insurance in this country. and a lot of employers can no longer afford to offer insurance. Even if I have insurance, if I happened to forget something like acne treatment in my past when I signed up, the insurance company can keep all my premium payments and refuse to cover a new cancer I've developed. And of course, nobody else will now insure me.

Some freedom.

Posted by: thmas | July 30, 2009 12:55 AM | Report abuse

Who do you suppose is feeding this public debate so much misinformation?

The profitablity of the health insurance industry has increased 400% in the last 15 years. The New York Times reports that the fight against health care reform is spearheaded by the physician owners of a private (read: without reponsibility to the general public) hospital in Texas. Seems to me we have a few suspects.

I particularly like the claim that reform would take away freedoms. Last I looked, I needed either a covered job or a private fortune to obtain health insurance in this country. and a lot of employers can no longer afford to offer insurance. Even if I have insurance, if I happened to forget something like acne treatment in my past when I signed up, the insurance company can keep all my premium payments and refuse to cover a new cancer I've developed. And of course, nobody else will now insure me.

Some freedom.

Posted by: thmas | July 30, 2009 12:55 AM | Report abuse

dbw!:

I gave you a link to a well respected non-partisan organization indicating that 47 + million were uninsured in 2008. Why should I believe you?

2. As an old person I wouldn't be holding my breathe until a good conservative came to help me out with my health problems.

Heehee.

Give it a rest.

Posted by: toritto | July 29, 2009 9:37 PM | Report abuse

We should ask all those who want socialized medicine and a socialist/communist country to please move to Cuba or North Korea! We could start a collection to help them cover for a one-way ticket to Cuba. And they should take their Obama, a fan of Fidel Castro, with them. They have no right to transform the U.S. into a failed socialist country like Cuba just because they are "dumbed down," as per Pravda: http://english.pravda.ru/opinion/columnists/107459-american_capitalism-0

Posted by: AntonioSosa | July 29, 2009 9:14 PM | Report abuse

Obama and his accomplices speak Orwellian Newspeak, the language of lies and manipulation of the "socialists of the XXI century" (communists/Marxists). They want to force us to say "public option" rather than "government-controlled health care" (which is the truth). In the language of socialists of the XXI century like Castro, Chavez and Obama, "truth" means lies, "good" means bad, "freedom" means oppression, “fairness” means unfairness, "transparency" means absence of transparency. As we can see, Alan Keyes was right when he said, “Obama is a radical communist… He is going to destroy this country and we are either going to stop him or the United States of America is going to cease to exist.” http://frontpage.americandaughter.com/?p=2217

Posted by: AntonioSosa | July 29, 2009 9:09 PM | Report abuse

The more we learn about Obamacare, the scarier Obamacare looks. Imagine being MANDATED to receive end-of-life (death) counseling when we turn 65, as per the House version of the Health Care Bill (pages 425-430)! When we turn 65, we will be forced to receive death counseling at least every five years and more often if we are sick or in a nursing home.

Posted by: AntonioSosa | July 29, 2009 9:06 PM | Report abuse

How can anyone believe that paying for additional bureaucracy is going to improve anything? Adding billions of dollars to our deficit so Obama can pay thousands of additional ACORN-type government workers -- to provide us with “end-of-life” (death) counseling and to decide who lives or dies – is an ABOMINATION. Obamacare will only increase our deficit, further steal from our children and grandchildren, and further deteriorate health care.

To fix our health care problems, we need to go in the OPPOSITE direction in which Obama is taking us. A socialized health care system would be another step to destroy our country, our future and the future of our children and grandchildren!

Posted by: AntonioSosa | July 29, 2009 9:04 PM | Report abuse

Imitating Hugo Chavez, Obama wants to nationalize everything, including our health care system! "Hey, Obama has just nationalized nothing more and nothing less than General Motors. Comrade Obama!" Chavez cheered on Venezuelan TV a few days ago. He added that he and Cuba's Fidel Castro would now have to work harder just to keep up.
http://www.hacer.org/report/2009/06/us-obamas-red-chorus-investors-business.html

Posted by: AntonioSosa | July 29, 2009 9:03 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: YoungAtheart:

"Its time to get government policy to work for its citizens, not just Corporations. Its idiotic to simply argue that Government is the Problem."

Yes, if only we could reform the idiots then reforming health care would be a snap.

Posted by: seemstome | July 29, 2009 9:02 PM | Report abuse

Toritto, Who are you going to believe? Republican posters or your own damn lying eyes? Eyes that see bills from hospitals in the tens of thousands of dollars even though you have insurance? These Republican posters know best, it's their representatives who have put in place the excellent health care system we have now. The health for profit system may kill a few million but that's the free market for you and that's the American way.

Posted by: seemstome | July 29, 2009 8:47 PM | Report abuse

toritto:

I haven't seen enough of your posts yet to know if you are smart enough to know the 47 million number is a lie or not. The 47 million comes from a statistal method used by the Census Bureau that includes anyone who didn't have insurance for even 1 day in a calendar year. The Democrats love to jump on this falsely inflated number. Even the Congressional Budget Office, run by a Democrat and former Clinton Admin official, estimates that the number of people who are perpetually without insurance is around 20 million.

If 47 million is the number you want to use, though, then you need to answer how Obama's plan to 'save or create' 3 million jobs is going to do much to help the 45 million unemployed workers.

"Medicare is the best damn thing that ever happened to old people. If it wasn't for that "socialist liberal" program old people would be dying in the streets."

Maybe liberals would leave old people 'dying in the streets', but most conservatives I know are quite generous helping wherever they see people in need. They just don't believe that every answer to every problem starts and ends with a government program.


Posted by: dbw1 | July 29, 2009 8:28 PM | Report abuse

Hey Gator-ron,

I wish I did get paid for my dribble, but I'm just a poor slob who pays for health insurance out of my own pocket.

And I think you might want to look at the new story on this site,"Effects of Taxed Benefits Go Beyond Economics" Looks like the Democrats are looking into taxing benefits.

Posted by: harry9 | July 29, 2009 7:43 PM | Report abuse

dbw1:

1. The number of persons without health insurance is 47 + million

http://www.cbpp.org/cms/?fa=view&id=628

2. Re: getting health insurance when you're over 50 - its 15 years if you're 50 and intend to wait for Medicare.

Medicare is the best damn thing that ever happened to old people. If it wasn't for that "socialist liberal" program old people would be dying in the streets.

I'm for a public option if I can't have s single payer system.

:-)

Posted by: toritto | July 29, 2009 6:44 PM | Report abuse

toritto:
"There are 47+million people uninsured."

Actually, this is false. Unless you also believe the number of unemployed is 45-50 million. The number of uninsured is actually more like 18 million, half of which are illegal immigrants who broke the law to get here and won't be paying taxes into the system the Democrats want to set up.


"If you are uninsured you cannot get insurance if you have a 'previously existing condition'. Everyone over 50 falls into these categories."

Everyone over 65 qualifies for Medicare, so this is not as significant as you imply. And if you have certain major diseases, you can get Medicare (or other state coverage) if you are under 65.

My point is not that there is nothing wrong with our system that can't be fixed. My point is to correct this continue drip of left-wing posts that attempts to make the issue appear larger than it is so they can justify using the tool of centralized big-government to take more control of our lives.

Posted by: dbw1 | July 29, 2009 5:29 PM | Report abuse

For years, the GOP has been poisoning conservative thought by substituting "corporate interests" for "cost control."

The result is a cartel of private health insurers and providers that use Government policies to lock out real competition.

Your employer can only choose from the big insurers. You can only make changes once a year from ambiguous choices. Even when covered, you can be denied for ridiculous reasons -
http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/07102009/profile.html

When you retire, you are forced in to Medicare, a fee-for-service system that re-imburses for quantity, not results. That's why several healthcare markets pay double to triple the national average -
http://www.usnews.com/blogs/the-best-life/2009/07/07/the-nations-10-costliest-medicare-markets-.html

And if you don't get coverage, you still can still get emergency care at hundreds of times the cost of preventive care.

At least two older bills solved these problems with:
1. a strong public option to inject real competition
2. comparative effectiveness for treatements that are not just recommendations but are enforced
3. A MEDPac panel that sets re-imbursement rates for Medicare (originally proposed by some Republicans before this became politicized)

Its time to get government policy to work for its citizens, not just Corporations. Its idiotic to simply argue that Government is the Problem.

Posted by: YoungAtheart | July 29, 2009 4:49 PM | Report abuse

The current status of healthcare in America:

There ar 47+million people uninsured. Today it is virtually impossible to have a primary care physician without having health insurance. Paying for your treatment by cash or credit card usually isn’t good enough to become a patient of the practice. The uninsured usually wind up in emergency rooms or “emergency clinics” which can treat your cough or flu symptoms for Visa or Mastercard. We all pay for those hospital emergency room visits.

If you are uninsured you cannot get insurance if you have a “previously existing condition”. Everyone over 50 falls into these categories. Who hasn’t had something? Ideally, insurance companies want only younger, healthy customers.

If you lose your job you wind up on COBRA which is usually good for 18 months. It is expensive (compared to what you were paying when you were employed) - of course being out of work doesn’t help pay the premium. After COBRA you can usually buy a policy if you have no break in coverage. It happened to me - cost $1,120 per month - just for me. Luckily I needed it for only 7 months.

Millions are “under insured” and not by choice - having say a 50% co-pay for hospital stays. Have your appendix out and you will receive a bills for tens of thousands of dollars. Health care costs a responsible for 40% of all personal bankruptcies.

Hospitals routinely overcharge for services - they settle for a relatively small percentage of the total from insurance companies and Medicare but not from individuals.

Millions over 65 would be uninsured without Medicare - that “socialist” program that “interferes” between doctors and patients, rations medical care, decides who gets what treatment etc. All seniors know its bunk - Medicare, the single payer system works just fine. No profit making insurance company in the world would cover us. The arguments today against the pubic option are the same arguments heard in the 1960s aainst Medicare.

Capitalism 101 dictates that a profit making health insurance company will try to increase revenue each year by raising premiums, reduce expenses by increasing deductibles, renegotiate regularly with hosptials and doctors to reduce the amounts paid for services, cull their insurance customers by dropping sick and old people, not insure sick and old people individually to begin with etc. Note the tens of millions of dollars of compensation paid to health insurance company CEOs.

That’s the current situation........without a public option insurance reform is just more B. S.

....and actually I like a single payer system best......

Posted by: toritto | July 29, 2009 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Gator-ron:
"A public option ends monopoly status and allows market forces to act. Profits come down when monopoly status ends."

Well, then, wouldn't it make sense to have the government start up an internet search company, a cable company, a television manufacturer, a grocery store chain, etc, etc, and have a government run company as an 'option' in every industry...you know, just to make sure there are no monopolies and market forces will be allowed to act?

When you are forced by logic and reason to say "no", then maybe you will realize the answer you should be contemplating is getting government OUT of the 50% of the medical insurance market they occupy now, and encourage MORE private insurance involvement, not less.

Posted by: dbw1 | July 29, 2009 4:18 PM | Report abuse

If it doesn't have a public option then don't bother passing it - it will just be B. S.

:-)

Posted by: toritto | July 29, 2009 4:14 PM | Report abuse

The most absurd position the Republicans are promoting today is that reform will not cost them. They are a principle cause for inflation. They operate as a monopoly with one or two insurers dominating in a market and controlling prices. A public option ends monopoly status and allows market forces to act. Profits come down when monopoly status ends.

The difference between Obama and the Republicans when it comes to economics is that he understands it and tries to use it to improve the nation as a whole. Republicans obfuscate about a basic principle of economics, monopolies, and hope that you will be swayed by stately a lie in an authoritative manor.

harry9 is either paid to write his dribble or is totally ignorant of the subject. The former seems more plausible.

Posted by: Gator-ron | July 29, 2009 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Independent4tw wrote:

"This health care reform will save the country billions of dollars, but cost the insurance companies billions of dollars."

Wrong on both counts.

It will cost the country billions of dollars, which you will have to pay for with taxes. What? You thought there were enough rich people to pay for everything?

It will not cost the insurance companies a dime -- because they will just charge higher premiums.

So, higher taxes and higher premiums! Change I do not want!

Posted by: harry9 | July 29, 2009 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Without a limitation on the costs of health care there is no reform.

Rockefeller is not a liberal, he is centrist. Problem is that Republicans are simply radical in their agenda, Democrats have the liberals and the centrists. When compared to the extreme right wing ideology of the Republicans, Rockefeller is then liberal.

Republicans are advocates for the special interest that represent 15% of the economy. Obama is the advocate for most of the rest of the nation.


Posted by: Gator-ron | July 29, 2009 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Liberals, along with everybody else had better wakeup, because we are seeing right before our eyes our freedom being taken away. The Obama crowd promising change has hoodwinked the elderly along with the Hispanic community and many others. And they are finding out the only change they have seen is that in their pocket. WAKE UP AMERICA!

Posted by: usmdillon | July 29, 2009 12:08 PM | Report abuse

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m32iJgIpyL8

Is this the best you can do?

Posted by: usmdillon | July 29, 2009 12:07 PM | Report abuse

My fellow Americans,

You know, it's clear the system costs too much, citizens aren't making the choices they should make, and greedy profiteers are reaping unjust rewards.

It's plainly obvious that the only real solution is for the government to take over the entire system, drive out the for-profit scoundrels, and leave the citizens with the one and only option they should be choosing anyway.

Only when government takes over will we see billions of cost savings, and system efficiencies will be gained in leaps and bounds...while never sacrificing access or quality.

Sincerely,
Amtrack

Posted by: dbw1 | July 29, 2009 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Well a blockade is on by the gang of 'six.' What was expected to be easy if the Democrats had 60 votes, is not occuring because of the Blue Dogs.

If the reports are right.. they were brought into the Party, by Rahm...now the President's Chief- of- Staff, who made a way for them to run on the Democratic ticket and win.

Its pay back time. What is Rahm demanding in return? Politics is not about emotions, but 'interests.' Please bring in Machiavelli for a resolution. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m32iJgIpyL8

Posted by: Victoria5 | July 29, 2009 10:46 AM | Report abuse

This health care reform will save the country billions of dollars, but cost the insurance companies billions of dollars.

Since the insurance companies own the republican and blue dog senators, it won't get passed.

Score another win for the elitist rich for tricking this country into helping them out some more.

Posted by: Independent4tw | July 29, 2009 10:31 AM | Report abuse

Liberals, along with everybody else had better wakeup, because we are seeing right before our eyes our freedom being taken away. The Obama crowd promising change has hoodwinked the elderly along with the Hispanic community and many others. And they are finding out the only change they have seen is that in their pocket. WAKE UP AMERICA!

Posted by: usmdillon | July 29, 2009 10:24 AM | Report abuse

who cares - i'm tired of the 22% liberal regressives acting like they are speaking for the country - they ARE NOT.

Posted by: StandAgainstSocialism | July 29, 2009 10:15 AM | Report abuse

Want to fix the healthcare system in this country? It's easy. Make our esteemed senators and representatives participate in the same systems as the rest of us schmucks, like Medicare.

Posted by: caebling | July 29, 2009 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Liberals are unhappy? What a bunch of garbage this article is! If the insurance companies are not reined in and the public option taken out, there is no health care reform, and any idiot be they liberal or conservative knows that.

Posted by: Eugene6 | July 29, 2009 9:37 AM | Report abuse

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