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Senate health-care debate still weeks away

by Shailagh Murray
Although the House appears on track to begin a floor debate on health care this week, the Senate showdown looks to be several weeks off.

Senate Democratic leadership aides said they don't expect the Congressional Budget Office to deliver an official cost analysis of the Senate health-care reform legislation until next week at the earliest -- just in time for lawmakers to leave town for a three-day Veterans Day break scheduled for Nov. 11-13.

That leaves just about a week before members of Congress scatter again for Thanksgiving. Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) could launch the health-care debate during that period, but the window is almost certainly too narrow to finish the job. Given the numerous amendments and procedural challenges that are expected, Senate deliberations could take two weeks or longer, said Reid spokesman Jim Manley.

But Democratic lawmakers said the Christmas deadline for sending legislation to President Obama remains realistic. "We're moving well, we really are," said Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.)

By Washington Post Editor  |  November 2, 2009; 6:35 PM ET
Categories:  Health Reform  
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Comments

What a horrendous Christmas "present." Obama and his accomplices plan to further push us to swallowing their criminal Obamacare SCAM by Christmas.

We'll be praying and doing our best to make sure our representatives understand that they MUST defend us from the despicable Obamacare SCAM, which has nothing to do with improving our health care. Obamacare is just another power grab that will further destroy our health care, our economy, our freedoms and our country.

Posted by: AntonioSosa | November 2, 2009 9:54 PM | Report abuse

Dear AntonioSosa,

What possible evidence or thoughts do you have in your mind to justify your know-nothing, anarchistic, and crude post? Or are you an auto-reply machine running out of Dick Cheney's ranch or a Republican computer bank in some dank basement, far from the healing rays of the sun, in a swamp in South Carolina?

I am so tired of thoughtless, negative, uninformed, formulaic, hate-speech coming in early in the string, after even the most innocuous story like this one.

The internet offers us all, Mankind and Womankind, the chance to connect and share our genius as a species in unprecedented ways. And what do we get? Guys like you, who would spray-paint grafitti on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel to make a point, spewing some crude, thoughtless party-line.

I need affordable health care. My mother and kids and grandkids need affordable health care. If that's a SCAM, I'll take it, and work for it, and vote for it and gladly pay for it. Why don't you just opt-out?

Posted by: sourdough70 | November 3, 2009 9:44 AM | Report abuse

sourdough70, what evidence don't we have?! Everything indicates the Obamacare bill has NOTHING to do with improving health care and EVERYTHING to do with the government taking over our health care system. It will increase taxes, destroy businesses, increase unemployment, and destroy our health care and our economy. In other words, it's a SCAM!

All those who want socialized medicine and a socialist/communist country should move to Cuba or North Korea. We would be happy to pay one-way tickets for all of them and would ask them to take their comrades Obama, Pelosi, Reid, etc. with them. They have no right to transform the U.S. in another FAILED socialist country like Cuba or Venezuela just because they happen to be dumbed down, as explained in Pravda.http://english.pravda.ru/opinion/columnists/107459-american_capitalism-0

Posted by: AntonioSosa | November 3, 2009 1:33 PM | Report abuse

sourdough70, regarding the "opting out," don't you know that the "opting out" is part of the SCAM? We will all be forced to pay for it all and, after we pay, we can "opt out" for services!

The government is acting like a thug who forces to give you $100 for a piece of candy and tells you that you can "opt out" and not get the candy.

Posted by: AntonioSosa | November 3, 2009 1:37 PM | Report abuse

There has been much talk about why health care reform is needed to reduce costs without explaining the makeup of those costs and especially the increase in costs.

1) Demographics and the aging population - Older people in general require more health care. The population of the US is aging and that will force up the aggregate costs of healthcare. In addition, since the number of people paying taxes will fall at the same time, the burden on each taxpayer will increase even faster.

2) Americans smoke too much, drink too much, eat too much and eat the wrong foods, and get too little activity - Bad lifestyle choices will continue to force up health care expenditures.

3) Malpractice - In the end, the costs of the obscene malpractice awards are passed on to the person buying health insurance. Since these costs are included in the costs of doing business of drug companies, medical equipment produces, hospitals, and physicians, the rates and prices that are charged to health insurers is higher. Also, these costs force up the cost of malpractice insurance which is also passed on to the health insurer. That just pushes up the cost of health insurance. These obscene malpractice awards also prompt doctors to order more tests and procedures in order to do CYA.

4) Cost of medical research - Most of the "easy" to discover drugs, procedures, and devices have been found. The education and experience required to be at the cutting edge of medical research requires a huge investment of time and money. Very few people are going to pursue those fields if they cannot expect to be well compensated. Also, the complexity of the equipment used in cutting edge medical research is increasing rapidly. That costs money just like the research itself.

It is clear the only major cost item that could yield large cost savings is malpractice and that is not even being addressed in the current plans. Also, the US is financing most of the medical research budget through higher drug prices but that opportunity to reduced costs has also been negotiated away by the current administration.

Short of passing laws withholding healthcare from people as they age (health panels) or passing laws to force people to make better lifestyle choices, the current administration has eliminated the opportunities where real savings could be realized.

The current plans being proposed will not reduce costs but they will provide a bunch of high paying government jobs that we as taxpayer will pay for.

What is actually needed is to remove the barriers that retard competition between health insurance companies. Also we need to provide a framework where insurers can compete more effectively if they achieve better lifestyle choices among their insured.

Posted by: AngryMobVoter | November 3, 2009 2:12 PM | Report abuse

Health care costs have been increasing big time for 30 years. The private health care ind. has failed the normal people. We have by far the most expensive health care in the world and all the other rich countries have government controlled health care. We deregulated the telephone company and costs went up. Where’s the proof that Private Company’s do better? Americans give a ton of charity money for cancer research and private health care is taking credit. The army uses tax dollars to figure out the best emergency care for the troops and years ago I saw on TV news that it would transfer over to our hospitals, but private health care gets credit for it. The truth is the other rich countries have just as good health care but they cover more of their population. People have blinders on and think this is the 1970's when we were on top. Our problem now is the current bloated system is used to easy money and asking them to cut the fat is like asking those CEO's to reduce their pay or a politician to take the same benefits as us.

Posted by: garbear700 | November 3, 2009 7:48 PM | Report abuse

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