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Max, Michael and More Debate on Public Option

Once again, our Readers Who Comment have turned their attention to the health-care debate, posting more than 1,200 remarks about the Senate Finance Committee's decision not to include a so-called public option in reform legislation.

The committee's decision came on the same day that Michael Moore was in town plugging his new movie and threatening the political future of Democrats who oppose a public-run health insurance program. Columnist Dana Milbank is having a wonderful time with Moore, Democrats and the Senate Committee.

Moore's films do not please the right, putting it mildly, but also do not please all Democratic voters -- a considerable number of whom also oppose a public option. Poll results vary. So the comments on Milbank's sketch attack Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), who as chair of the Finance Committee opposes the public option because he says it will sink the whole reform effort. The also attack Democrats, praise or eviscerate Michael Moore, and complain about the state of the nation generally. Meanwhile, millions of Americans are without health insurance.

We'll start with this exchange, which pretty well sums up the arguments on the health-care reform subject:

hipshot wrote, "... A private-sector based plan will have imperfections. A public-sector plan will have imperfections. Either way, a lot of other people who blew their money while I was scrimping and saving will get their fingers into my onshore bank accounts. I prefer the private sector because it will help retain a separation of powers and it is reversible if we don't like it. The libs want a public, irreversible plan that permanently tilts the country to the left and shifts the balance of power permanently in their favor. Its all about power and control."

To which levermontois1 replied, "Ah. Apparantly hipshot would prefer private insurers, big pharma, and the private medical industry to get their fingers on his onshore accounts that he scrimped and saved for. I guess getting sick and forced into bankruptcy is preferable as long as it's done by private industry."

MNUSA wrote, "Too many of our representatives after spending decades in Washington being wined and dined by lobbyists are clueless. I'm tired of being invited to spaghetti dinners, auctions, and other types of fundraisers to help people pay for medical care...This is the United States of America and it is an abomination that we have 47 million uninsured. Pass health care reform legislation with a strong public option!"

Now to the debate on the relevance of Michael Moore:

B2O2 wrote, "Michael Moore may have an abrasive, over-the-top style, but can anyone disagree with his conclusions about this Congress? They are clearly looking out for the health insurance industry more than the American people. [Sen. Kent] Conrad [D-N.D.], [Sen. Bill] Nelson [D-Fla.], and company need to go."

But bryan2369 said, "If a fat, loudmouthed hypocrite roars and no one listens to him, is he relevant? No, he is not. Keep stuffing your fat face with pigs in the blanket, you rich scumbag."

And axxionx12 asked, "Anyone see the irony in Michael Moore using the US capitalist system to sell and promote his movie across the US?"

And finally to other comments. All this stuff on just one column.

hartman_john observed that "Baucus = process. Baucus only cares that he can have a vote take place. It doesn't seem to matter what the Senate votes on, only that they vote. This is akin to blinders on a horse. If you can't see the problem, then no problem exists. Were Baucus to actually take off his blinders, he would note that the entire congress is beholden to Big Healthcare, Big Pharma and Big Business..."

garyag wrote, "We've got the best democracy money can buy: it's one dollar one vote, not one man one vote. And so, "public option" is dead..."

univac2020 said, "Fratricide is the killing of one's brother-the insurance companies and pharma are not our brothers. They are the sole true beneficieries of this health care proposal-not the citizens of this country, I fear that you have bought into the idea that we are here to subsidize rapacious, inefficient health conglomerates."

tropicalfolk wrote, "The "public option" is the most stupid idea ever. It keeps the corrupt health insurance industry in place, and forces the government to come up with some $1 trillion. Fixing the U.S. health care system requires major surgery, to remove the cancerous tumor: the health insurance industry... But it won't happen in our lifetime. You betcha."

inedal said, "all congressmen have a socialist medicine health plan! yet they deny govt-run medical care to other americans. if they think private insurance is so great, why don't these hypocrites opt out of the plan they have and buy private insurance instead?" wrote, "We need the public option. McGovern's proposal to put everyone on Medicare is a great idea. Baucus gets campaign money from health care folks so he is tainted."

hokie92 said, "It's totally appropriate that Dems and Republicans alike realize their votes on this bill will make or break their political futures. The pressure will come from both directions however. Dems from conservative districts that vote the bill are equally done."

prossers7 wrote, "The problem has always been between Democrats. Obama's rhetoric blaming Republicans has been foolish and the public knows that. If you can't pass a bill with a straight flush of Democrats in control, then the problem is not the Republicans, bubba."

CopyKinetics said, "What is clear is that Democrats from small states with captive insurance markets are taking lots of special interest money and blocking real heathcare reform. Nothing Baucus can do will result in 60 votes, including selling out to the Republicans, who are good for absolutely nothing but defending the status quo."

ericnestor wrote, " 'Democratic Party' is a misnomer; it's really a confederation of differnt tribes that attempt to split the baby on every issue before them. Problem is, the tribe in control is supported by the President, who rules with an iron tongue. This is why the 'Democratic Party' struggles to govern once the campaigning is done."

We'll close with DwightCollins, who said, "this is the fault of the leftist extremists in the dem party... seems compromise is no longer an option...and civility is dead..."

All comments on this article are here.

By Doug Feaver  |  September 30, 2009; 6:59 AM ET
 | Tags: Baucus, Health-Care Reform, Michael Moore, Public Option  
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I am in no way an expert on this topic, just a concerned citizen seeing an awful lot of invective thrown on both sides, a good deal of misinformation, and some outright lies.

I am one of those 47 million without health insurance. Why? I got hurt on the job and the workers comp insurance company discontinued my coverage (apparently I cost them too much) I was self employed, I payed $4,000 a year for coverage on myself that is not mandatory in my state. (This is in addition to what I paid for health insurance) It made no difference. Once you are kicked out of the system you have no options. I am now uninsurable due to my injuries being considered a pre-existing condition. Health insurers won't cover a work related injury if you have comp. I am unemployed, unemployable, and living on my retirement savings. High risk pool insurance is over $15,000 for me and I can't afford it.

Why is health insurance tied to employment? 15 million people have lost their jobs in the current recession, that means 15 million more uninsured.

Why is the new plan going to cost an additional trillion dollars? (over a 10 year time frame) If we spend 2.3 trillion a year now and we pay nearly twice as much as any other industrialized nation on a per person basis for health care, why can't we get our costs more in line with other countries, and save 9 trillion over the next 10 years instead of costing a trillion more?

Why is it a crime to steal $10.00 from some guy on the street, and it is just good business to make millions to manage an insurance company that routinely adds to their profits by denying claims and taking money from the sick and injured?

Why are lawyers paid on a percentage basis irregardless of the time and effort they put into a medical lawsuit? Why cap claims (tort reform) and not lawyer fees?

Why are there no studies being published concerning the increase of diagnostic tests by doctors? I hear a lot of talk about this being "defensive medicine". That may be, but if some one were to actually investigate I am willing to bet the cause is just as likely to be that the doctor's office just bought their new x-ray machine, (MRI, ultrasound you name it)and need the extra tests to pay for their new equipment.

Why does a person with the sniffles see the same family physician as a person with cancer? Surely the vast majority of patients don't need someone with 12 years of med school to diagnose their problems. Why isn't there a layer of technicians between, such as in the building trades? (Apprentice, Journeyman, Master)Is this to protect doctors profits?

Why does a health care reform bill have to be 1,700 pages long and so full of legalese that even lawyers can't decipher it?

Why do congressmen (and women) pass laws to regulate the very industries they receive millions of dollars from in campaign contributions, and this is not considered a conflict of interest?

Why are none of these concerns even mentioned in the current reform debate?

Posted by: averal | October 2, 2009 11:24 PM | Report abuse

The thing thats crazy to me is that people will make a 800/month BMW payment and pay 1200 dollars to replace the tires but they wont spend 1200 dollars a year on their health care plan. Bottom line is people always want something for nothing and that doesnt exist. Here we are in the midst of a HUGE debate about whether people should get free health care...well why isnt everything free? Hey Michael Moore...I want to go to your movies for free and I think other people should pay so I can attend. Oh and by the should only get paid an hourly rate to make your stupid movie lol....HYPOCRISY KNOWS NO BOUNDS!
Fix the loop holes that allow insurance companies to hose patients and make people responsible for themselves and always remember the lunch may be free today but someone will ultimately pay for it!

Posted by: gdh98103 | October 1, 2009 9:45 AM | Report abuse

bryan2369 said, "If a fat, loudmouthed hypocrite roars and no one listens to him, is he relevant? No, he is not."

and Mikeoliphant said: "Michael Moore is to Democrats as Rush Limbaugh is to Republicans."

No, Glenn Beck and Rush Lumbaugh most certainly are NOT relevant - except to reveal what types cleave to their unsupportable drivel.

But not all pundits are over-the top unsupportable and to be ignored. Some are supported by diligent research, historical fact, and irrefutable logic and common sense; and others are.... well, Glenn Beck.

Try looking at refutations of each other in these camps and you will see much more supportable and reputable reporting on the left. Bother to do your own research in support or refutation.

A good example is the attempts to discredit ACORN to punish them for having gotten out the vote that narrowly rescued this country from the ravages of the Free Market, the Military/Industrial Complex, and Corporatist Cronyism.

The contractor abuse law being created by the treasonous naysayers on the right will instead possibly (and finally,) help to stop truly noticeable outrages like Lockheed mArtin, Northrop Grumman, Halliburton, Blackwater, Wackenhut, and the like. The size of the DAILY FINES alone of any one of their CONFESSED and indicted crimes, dwarfs acorn'S ENTIRE SUM HISTORY of common contractor mistakes.

In the case of those few evidences, I consider that (as a wise former wife once observed,) one should "never ascribe to deviousness what can be attributed to stupidity."

This new law arguably even indicts its creators. It is IMO against the oath of legislators (and therefore goverment FRAUD,) to spend ALL the resources for which they're paid by taxpayers and their duped constituencies, in ABSOLUTELY nothing but negative campaigning for the next distant election, in complete inhibition of governing and the advancement of government by the liberal legislative majority, and the MAJORITY of the people, who elected them.

Posted by: WKCg | October 1, 2009 9:08 AM | Report abuse

In what media accounts are casting as a serious setback for President Barack Obama and lawmakers who back the "public option," the Senate Finance Committee Tuesday voted against including the provision in the bill. Reports also remark on GOP unity against the provision, which they compare to the Democratic split apparent in Tuesday's committee votes. Where I am a health insurance agent with . I find this frustrating somewhat. I don’t agree with the design of the “public option” where it works against a health system in place now and causes a financial burden on tax payers. But, I think we need one out there. I need the ability to get my clients a insurance policy that won’t decline them for pre-existing medical conditions. See Utah’s response to health care reform and health insurance reform.
Perhaps the feds should look at the only second state case attempt for reform as a model. What about TORT reform? That honestly impacts doctor insurance costs as well as health insurance premiums by 13% See study in prior link.

Posted by: mikeoliphant | September 30, 2009 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Michael Moore is to Democrats as Rush Limbaugh is to Republicans. Both have earned fame and fortune the same way; by turning politics into entertainment. Targeting niche markets on the political right and left, they have built good brands that are much more about meeting the emotional needs of their customers than in any respect for the truth. In the process they have contributed to the polarization of our political system by favoring dissent over compromise. Shame on them, and shame on anyone who is so closed minded as to allow either to guide their thinking.

Posted by: likeitis2 | September 30, 2009 10:50 AM | Report abuse

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