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Democrats find 60 votes to go find 60 votes

Ben Nelson, Blanche Lincoln, and Ben Nelson have all said they're voting for cloture now. That makes 60, at least barring any surprises. The bill can pass go.

But that's all it can do, at least for now. Today's cloture vote is so Democrats can begin debate and modification of the bill. During that debate, they will need to call cloture votes in order to amend the bill. After that process is finished, there will be another cloture vote to begin voting on the bill. At this point in the history of the United States Senate, Harry Reid pretty much needs to call a cloture vote before he can sneeze. It's all cloture votes, all the time. And the fact that Reid won today's vote doesn't mean he'll win tomorrow's.

By Ezra Klein  |  November 21, 2009; 3:37 PM ET
 
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Comments

My advice to Dems would be to call all these bluffs about filibustering the public option. I see them digging themselves in, and honestly it seems like a crazy gamble--unless of course the White House is secretly backing them. Sad to say, but with this White House you never know when the fix is in.

Posted by: bmull | November 21, 2009 4:01 PM | Report abuse

and states are already lining up to dump the public option and other parts of this bill. Its gonna get real ugly. unfortunately my state of NJ is sickeningly liberal so i doubt they'll truly go through with it. Thank God Christie won which gives us a shot but the legislature is ridiculously corrupt.

http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/68967-some-states-already-poised-to-opt-out-of-public-plan

Posted by: visionbrkr | November 21, 2009 5:11 PM | Report abuse

Ben Nelson: vote early and vote often!

Posted by: chrisg2 | November 21, 2009 5:14 PM | Report abuse

Well, the legislators can sure use the cloture system to turn a vote on one bill into multiple votes, and ransom their support for each vote separately. They get more goodies that way.

It's like kids at Halloween going the same house again and again, each time threatening to egg it unless they get more candy.

It's not enough of a reward for these legislators that millions of people in their state will get improved health insurance as a result of the reform. They have to ask for extra pork on top of it.

That seems unsportsmanlike. But on the other hand, it's hard to make an argument that they shouldn't try to get all they can get. Their job is to be advocates for their state.

Posted by: billkarwin | November 21, 2009 5:43 PM | Report abuse

Just wait until even the lame triggers are struck from the final legislation and Stupak language is the law of the land. I really don't see how any reform passes the Senate except through reconciliation.

This is what you get when the policy and politics fall between stools.

Posted by: scarlota | November 21, 2009 5:50 PM | Report abuse

Ezra ... two Ben Nelson's?

Posted by: onewing1 | November 21, 2009 6:22 PM | Report abuse

Okay, Ezra. We know where we stand, 60 votes to debate the bill, 57 votes to pass, 3 to filibuster. What's Reid's next move? Does he go reconciliation?

Posted by: cmpnwtr | November 21, 2009 6:51 PM | Report abuse

my main question is if he pulls the PO or puts a trigger in to get it past 60 can they then go ahead and add it back in during the committee and then have it come back and get 50 votes to pass it and thus bypass the 60? What's to stop Dems from lying to the Lieberman's, Lincoln's etc, etc.

Posted by: visionbrkr | November 21, 2009 7:00 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Klein has fairly few years of experience and maybe wants to walk words. If he had the experience and had no
conflict of interest, he would say once the ice breaks a group dynamic develops. The Congressional Cockroaches have been silenced.

Posted by: AppDev | November 21, 2009 8:12 PM | Report abuse

Having lots of votes helps the health care industry get what it's paid for. And it's paid a lot.

Posted by: mcd410x | November 21, 2009 8:49 PM | Report abuse

""unfortunately my state of NJ is sickeningly liberal ""

visionbrkr, you can always leave for the great public health and education system available in Haley Barbour's Alabama.

You're the one who chose to live in an ethnically diverse, wealthy state of many well-educated suburbanites. Of course they were going to turn out liberal. And, being a group that wants functional services, they will probably support the public option, like most other civilized states in the union.

The legislature may be corrupt, but they will refuse to opt out because they also represent civilization rather than ressentiment.

Posted by: tyromania | November 22, 2009 12:36 AM | Report abuse

I am thinking there is some possibility that the version of the public option currently contained in the Senate bill will be stripped from the bill prior to final passage, replaced by a trigger mechanism, which will be passed with the votes of Snowe, Ben Nelson, Landrieu, Lincoln and Liebermann. Then when it goes to conference with the House, the original Senate public option---the Reid bill's state-based opt-out proposal---will be the Senate/House compromise by the conferees.

Then when the conference report returns to the Senate, reconciliation will be used to pass the conference report with about 55 votes.

Posted by: OHIOCITIZEN | November 22, 2009 2:27 AM | Report abuse

I get 60 votes in the morning, I get 60 votes at night.
I get 60 votes before I get 60 votes, it makes me feel alright.

Posted by: TrevorAustin | November 22, 2009 3:26 AM | Report abuse

This country went from being so far to the right that several top lawmakers actually felt it was a good idea to amend the US Constitution to define marriage and discriminate against a large portion of our citizens, to, NOW, so far to the left that a good portion of our lawmakers actually believe it's a good idea to expand government and add yet another entitlement (and according to the CBO, the public plan "would typically have premiums that are somewhat higher than the average premiums for the private plans in the exchanges" - Great way to help the uninsured).

The radical shifts are enough to give a person motion sickness.

Where ARE all the moderates in this country? The radicals on both sides keep hijacking our country.

Posted by: Jodigirl | November 22, 2009 4:09 AM | Report abuse

tyromania,


haha. maybe sickeningly was the wrong word. Don't know where you're from but our state is liberal due to the urban cities of Camden, Newark and Trenton whose populations overwhelm the rest of the state. There is no "do gooder" involvement in it at all (IMO). The "wealthy suburbanites" as you put it are the ones who voted for Christie and not Corzine and who realize a current $8 BILLION budget shortfall at the pace liberals are putting us at will put us in California's shoes before we knew it. Sorry, I'm not in favor of the sit-ins that are going on there.

Oh and for all my complaining, I'll stay right where I am thank you (that is until i eventually retire) and then like all New Jerseyans I'll MOVE because of the prohibitive tax rates. You know a friend told me once that no one moves to NJ. They were either born here or work here. There's a lot of truth to that.

Posted by: visionbrkr | November 22, 2009 7:03 AM | Report abuse

the more i think about it "sickeningly" is the wrong word. I should have said "fiscally irresponsible".

Posted by: visionbrkr | November 22, 2009 8:04 AM | Report abuse

vb:

Yet again, you are speaking my language. I'm in Illinois, a very liberal state as well.

Myself and many others I know are becoming increasingly spooked by the choices of our government and the continued rapid growth of looming debt (our state is in very big trouble - with many of the same problems that brought California to its knees), and the vibrations of even more decisions that could make an unstable economy even more unstable. These kinds of problems are really making people think much more deeply about every decision our government is making - and many people I know don't like it, at all.

Posted by: Jodigirl | November 22, 2009 8:50 AM | Report abuse

@visionbrkr: yeah, because voting against a bill that reduces the deficit is "fiscally responsible".

@Jodigirl: the public option is *not* an entitlement. It's completely funded by premiums.

Posted by: pickscrape | November 22, 2009 8:55 AM | Report abuse

pickscrape:

Of course the public option is an entitlement. The definition of an entitlement is not just when the government pays for something, it is also when the government provides goods or services. In this case, they are providing a service - health insurance.

Posted by: Jodigirl | November 22, 2009 9:41 AM | Report abuse

Jodigirl, can you read? This bill will cut the deficit by hundreds of billions of dollars. Face facts, don't just parrot the lying idiots. Yeesh.

Posted by: AZProgressive | November 22, 2009 10:09 AM | Report abuse

"radical shifts"

Hahahahahahaha. You must get sick in elevators, right? Radical would be putting private health insurers out of business. And nincompoop deficit scolds are hilarious.

Posted by: pseudonymousinnc | November 22, 2009 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Does anybody know how a public option that only gains an estimated 6 million participants, and frequently charges higher premium rates (according to CBO), is able to inspire competition in the private insurance companies?

Similarly, how do higher premiums with the public option help us reach the goal of getting affordable insurance to the currently uninsured?

I am curious on thoughts out there.

Posted by: Jodigirl | November 22, 2009 1:06 PM | Report abuse

AZProgressive:

The current legislation also (according to the CBO) could reduce jobs...CBO, "[r]equiring employers to offer health insurance – or pay a fee if they do not – is likely to reduce employment, although the effect would probably be small". I could not find their definition of "small", but on factcheck.org one study about job loss from this legislation that was considered "small" was losses between 250,000 and 600,000.

But the real kicker is that is only job loss from companies laying off because of their new burdens. They did not discuss the job losses from the health care industry, who will lay off staff to ride the tides, and the drug companies and insurance companies, etc., who will do the same.

It seems that jobs have a great deal of impact on our economy. Moreover, those big gains from this legislation happen over a period of a decade and it has been said that "those estimates are all subject to substantial uncertainty."

If it reduces the deficits, GREAT, I'm all for it. But is that only goal? What about actual cost containment, premiums affordability, access that promotes and protects decision making between the doctor and patient, etc.

Posted by: Jodigirl | November 22, 2009 1:20 PM | Report abuse

@Jodigirl: Nonsense. Every definition I could find of an entitlement program defines it as something that provides benefits to a group of people. As the public option would exist purely on premiums, it would *not* be an entitlement. Don't confuse the public options with subsidies: the subsidies would be available for use against private policies too, and are therefore orthogonal to the public option itself.

Your arguments basically make no sense. In one breath you complain about "looming debt" and then in the next you complain about a bill that would cut the deficit.

Posted by: pickscrape | November 22, 2009 1:50 PM | Report abuse

visionbrkr, the reason people work in NJ is because they move their to work. The reason they move there is because it, unlike, say, Mississippi, has a functional infrastructure and economy. NJ used to give a fair shake to Republicans. It's not that the state became poorer over time: in fact it became wealthier and more well-educated. It's that the population of NJ realized that the Democrats were on their side, and the Republicans were on the side of religious fundamentalists, polluters, and anti-science types. And it's why you're going to see states with similarly educated, ethnically diverse populations supporting the public options while you will see the demagogic dysfunctional states opting out.

Posted by: tyromania | November 22, 2009 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Pickscrape:

"Entitlement is a guarantee of access to benefits because of rights or by agreement through LAW." (Wikepedia)

How is the public option not a government guarantee of access to benefits because of an agreement written in law (the current legislation)?

Or,

http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/entitlement.html

See "#3. Government scheme benefiting members of a specific group."

Or,

http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/entitlement

"An individual's right to receive a value or benefit provided by law."

Or,

http://www.auburn.edu/~johnspm/gloss/entitlement_program

"The kind of government program that provides individuals with personal financial benefits (or sometimes special government-provided goods or services) to which an indefinite (but usually rather large) number of potential beneficiaries have a legal right (enforceable in court, if necessary) whenever they meet eligibility conditions that are specified by the standing law that authorizes the program."

Please re-read my posts. I have never complained about the deficit reduction portions of the bills. I have complained that the bills do not appear to reach other important and intended goals, and potentially damage our unemployment rate further - causing more troubles for our economy as well as looming debts.

Moreover, do you not have an answer for any of my other questions?

Posted by: Jodigirl | November 22, 2009 3:43 PM | Report abuse

@jodigirl. I feel it is too bad that you get personally berated and attacked for your opposing opinions in this exchange. I understand people like to make sweeping generalized complaints and heated language directed at one overall group or idea versus another, but the personal verbal attacks are counterproductive (ie., "can't you read").

The Democratic party might take note of the fracture that happened recently in the Republican party, when they began berating and assaulting their moderates and independents - driving them away from the party and reducing their own electorate down to the 20's.

Posted by: oliveradmin | November 22, 2009 4:10 PM | Report abuse

The point is it isn't a benefit.

Anyway, of course the bill doesn't do enough. But it's a hell of a lot better than doing nothing.

Posted by: pickscrape | November 22, 2009 4:12 PM | Report abuse

@Jodigirl: I think it's a valid point that the public option is not an entitlement or a right.

A right would be something you are given and you can't be charged for it just receive the benefit. Sort of like the the right to vote, or the right to an attorney in a criminal court.

The public option costs something for people who qualify. I.e. they have to pay premiums just like they would any private insurance. If they don't want to pay, then they simply don't get the benefit. So that's not an entitlement.

Now the subsidies are a separate issue. These are available to any lower-income American, whether they choose the public option or a private insurer. That seems to fit the definition of an entitlement more closely than the public option does.

So it seems like if you don't like entitlements, you should be objecting to the subsidies, not the public option. Do you agree?

Posted by: billkarwin | November 22, 2009 5:57 PM | Report abuse

oliveradmin:

Thank you, and I know EXACTLY what you are talking about. I am one of those people feeling strongly that this is not the "change" I voted for. Barack Obama spoke out passionately, and frequently, about not holding rigidly to party ideology, and instead leaving it at the door so concessions for the opposition become more possible. Yet, it feels, in my opinion, that our current government seems largely bound by rigid ideology, again, just on a completely different side of the aisle.

We'll see how much health care reform moves closer to center in the end (if Obama can help guide it toward center), but the general flavor of the left seems an all too familiar, "it's totally our way or the highway" mentality - no offense to anybody. Perhaps that is what happens when one party gets the trifecta.

If they do pass the current legislation as is, alienating many of the moderates and independents in favor of the liberal base, maybe their party will experience the same fracture you mention with the Republican party. I guess we'll see, but I really hope that doesn't happen.

Posted by: Jodigirl | November 22, 2009 7:31 PM | Report abuse

pickscrape and billwarkin:

Thank you for asking, but I am sorry I do disagree. The public option creates a new law with a legally binding right to a government sponsored service called health insurance. Medicare recipients pay a monthly premium for Parts B and D. Do you not consider Medicare an entitlement? People have a legally binding right to participate in the government sponsored Medicare health insurance benefits program, with monthly premiums, just like the public option.

I am also not someone who can get on-board with the mantra that bad legislation beats no legislation. We could argue the details endlessly, but there has not been a convincing argument, to me, that certain groups of adults will not face higher insurance premiums (and the CBO says many on the PO people will have higher premiums), forcing the currently uninsured into paying for something they couldn't afford now into buying something even more expensive, I am not convinced that competition will happen adequately, or that we will not be adding more to the unemployment list (tragic and unacceptable, in my mind), that we're not cutting spending largely by cutting benefits, that we are continuing to allow the drug companies to gouge the system, continuing the practice of costly defensive medicine and leaving lawyers like John Edwards free to become multi-millionaires from the health care system, closing many outpatient health care practices and increasing the doctor shortage while simultaneously increasing the consumer pool, etc. I see it making many things worse. All this for the benefit of deficit reductions in 10 years, and an expansion of Medicaid.

continued...

Posted by: Jodigirl | November 22, 2009 7:31 PM | Report abuse

But, most uncomfortable, for me, is that patient behavior has not been more key in this discussion - hard as that may be. I cannot see how a country can spend less and have a healthier population when our citizens have the worlds highest (or second highest) rate of obesity, alcohol, tobacco, or illegal drug consumption, http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/07/01/health/webmd/main4222322.shtml) wreaking havoc on the human body requiring costly health care over and over with an uphill battle toward positive outcomes. Germany spends less with healthier people, but last I saw, their obesity rate is less than half ours, their drug companies can't gouge the system, they have "loser pays" legal systems (for example).

I do not mean to offend anybody, but things like obesity and drug use carry costly acute and chronic health care needs, requiring treatments over and over, when the "cure" lies more in the possession of the patient than the health care system. Do we believe people will just stop needing these things when this bill passes, or that we'll just stop paying for them?

There are many other cultural and behavior statistics that impose great costs with poorer outcomes and greater health benefits challenges. The differences between what our system faces compared to other countries is vast and profound (unions, lack of tort reform, high personal debt to go into health care, multiple ethnicities that carry different genetic and cultural challenges to health management, employing language interpreters, and the list goes on, really of costs and challenges we face that other countries do not). I just feel we haven't addressed these kinds of things adequately, and unfortunately, we should. And, again, I feel this legislation will lead to a worse picture, not a better one. I think there are great things coming from the Democrats, and also dangerous things, and great things coming from Republicans that are not being implemented. In my opinion.

Posted by: Jodigirl | November 22, 2009 7:32 PM | Report abuse

AND - The end of life provision, in my opinion, may have been a good cost saving thing that got sabotaged, thanks to Sarah Palin.

Posted by: Jodigirl | November 22, 2009 7:36 PM | Report abuse

tyromania,


exactly WHY would people move to NJ. Do you think they enjoy taxes? We're the most taxed state overall in the country (see below)


http://www.taxfoundation.org/research/topic/44.html


Sure we do fairly well here overall but our legislature and soon to be former govenor have no sense of responsibilty when it comes to spending. They're taxing businesses and jobs out of NJ. our population growth is 37th I believe in the country and for a fairly wealthy state that's very bad. Businesses are fleeing NJ and when people from NJ retire they get out of here but quick. Hopefully christie will change that. See below.

http://www.newjerseynewsroom.com/economy/leaving-state-more-attractive-to-new-jersey-business-owners


Posted by: visionbrkr | November 22, 2009 10:11 PM | Report abuse

and its nice and convenient that all of you that push the CBO figures that are gimmicked for 3 reasons.

1-it doesn't factor in the "doc fix"

2-it factors in pushed back time frames. What is the score from say 2015-2025?

3-please don't forget that CBO only scores GOVERNMENT factors. It doesn't factor in the affect on private industry.

There are two options for private industry.

1-adopt government type payment structures/systems and docs get paid way less and we end up with much less doctors

2-don't adopt the systems to keep docs in the system and those under private insurance pay much more.

My biggest problem with this reform is that it doesn't go far enough with cost containment. They could have moved faster to capitation and they don't. They could have made better deals with Pharma and they haven't. They could have been tougher with insurers (MLR) and they're not. Heck the MLR as compared to my state's current is EASIER on the insurers. They're telling insurers in NJ to go ahead and make MORE profit. (5% more in the individual market.)


No one around here is WISHING for pre-ex to continue. We just want government to do what its meant to do, GOVERN. Don't spend hundreds of billions on stimulus jobs that don't exist. Don't waste 98 billion in overpayments to anyone. Just put policies in place that let's private business work, rein them in when they need to be reined in (mortgage mess, insurers recision) and regulate where necessary.


I remember watching at the beginning of the healthcare debate a session of the House where Republican's were going to their one minute speeches and saying nothing but "WHERE ARE THE JOBS" and I remember Democrats making fun of them for it. Well, no one's laughing now are they? Or is it still Bush's fault? When will the economy stop being his fault, when we're in 2012 and unemployment finally begins to fall? As i've said many times on here I give Obama a ton of credit for saving us from disaster but at some point he has to take responsibility for unemployment going further and further down. Huge taxes that take effect before benefits in helathcare kick in don't seem to me like real job starters.

Posted by: visionbrkr | November 22, 2009 10:25 PM | Report abuse

The only comfort we can take at this sellout to the for profit insurance companies is that when the Republicans take control of Congress in 2011, they'll repeal this unconstitutional monstrosity.
BTW I was a life long Dem and avid Obama supporter.

Posted by: miriamac2001 | November 23, 2009 12:00 AM | Report abuse

@visionbrkr: Obama himself said he would "own the economy" by September, and we can hold him to that. He owns it now.

But that's different from having been responsible for the origin of the problem.

George W. Bush and his buddies aren't absolved of historical blame just because his successor is the one who has to fix up the economy they broke.

Posted by: billkarwin | November 23, 2009 12:28 AM | Report abuse

billkarwin,

that's fine. I don't want to absolve GWB for anything. He's 100% reponsible for getting us here but Obama is also now 100% responsible for KEEPING us here. There's more than enough blame to go around.

Posted by: visionbrkr | November 23, 2009 7:38 AM | Report abuse

visionbrkr:

I was wondering what your thoughts are with regard to the whole discussion of "administrative" costs between Medicare and private insurers.

Are there really "apples to apples" comparisons being made? When the government looks at their administrative costs for Medicare, are they including salaries like Congress (and their administrative staff) who help debate and control policy, do they include overhead of government buildings with Medicare related offices and staff, costs that go toward time and money spent on the legislation process, CMS staff salaries (and their administrative assistants, etc.). I understand that businesses must include management in their administrative costs, Medicare does not (yet, they still pay for it). Do you know if this is true? Does Medicare include marketing costs (for Part D) in their "administrative" costs like companies have to (I don't think so)? I think private insurers have to include ALL of those things, including all salaries, overhead, etc. when reporting their administrative costs.

But, here is a concern I have with things like government sponsored things like this....We can all applaud Medicare for keeping their administrative costs low, but look at the huge amounts of waste and fraud incurred by poor management - hundreds of millions of dollars each year. A very good portion of that has be due to inefficient administration practices. It seems fixing that kind of problem also raises administrative costs.

I am just thinking, if we looked at Medicare's administrative costs with private insurers with a bit more of an "apples to apples" approach, they might be closer together than we think, especially if we have to invest more into the administration of Medicare to solve the fraud and waste problems.

Posted by: Jodigirl | November 23, 2009 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Folks, Jodigirl is a troll. Don't try to feed him/her. He/she is a Republican extremist trying clumsily to pretend to be a "concerned independent", sputtering talking points from Republican HQ. When you refute his/her claims, he/she will just ignore it and change the subject. Trying to have a rational debate with that person is utterly futile.

Posted by: carbonneutral | November 23, 2009 11:24 AM | Report abuse

You know, carbonneutral, I don't know what I have said to offend you so deeply that you have to attack me personally (maybe it has to do with pointing out the obesity problem, alcohol, drugs, etc.).

I think it is you who is the extremist. Perhaps you are so far to the left, that Nancy Pelosi is to your right.

Typically people who can bring nothing but verbal assaults to a conversation do so because they have nothing else to bring.

Posted by: Jodigirl | November 23, 2009 11:34 AM | Report abuse

"No one around here is WISHING for pre-ex to continue." visionbrkr doesn't WISH unsinsured people to die for lack of health care, or for uninsured people to be bankrupted by a chronic condition, he/she only opposes doing anything about it.

"Or is it still Bush's fault? When will the economy stop being his fault, when we're in 2012 and unemployment finally begins to fall?"

Don't worry, nothing is ever the fault of a Republican. The Clinton boom was due to Reagan Voodonomics. The Bush recessions were Clinton's fault. The financial bailout, orchestrated by the Bush White House eight years and ten months into a Republican administration, was a liberal government takeover. The mortgage crisis was caused by Carter era civil rights legislation (if that fails you can make something else up). And of course, every single job lost in the current depression is the personal fault of President Obama. He's had a whole year to undo the damage done by eight years of the Bush team wrecking the economy and bankrupting the country and he still hasn't managed a turnaround. What a failure.

But you know, visionbrkr does have a point. Obama could have done better. What visionbrkr calls for, what Repubs chanting "WHERE ARE THE JOBS" are calling for, is for Roosevelt-inspired New Deal policies. Obama needs to turn into FDR, and maybe he will if you continue asking for it.

Posted by: carbonneutral | November 23, 2009 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Anybody here know a time when I have ignored their refute of my claims, and changed the subject?

Posted by: Jodigirl | November 23, 2009 11:44 AM | Report abuse

"The financial bailout, orchestrated by the Bush White House eight years and ten months into a Republican administration..." seven ears and eight months of course.

Posted by: carbonneutral | November 23, 2009 11:45 AM | Report abuse

jodigirl,

I think there is a little bit to those that compare Medicare's costs to private insurers.

Insurers are required to keep reserves and Medicare does not. Insurers pay premium taxes, Medicare does not. Insurers pay for buildings, capital improvements and Medicare does not. Insurers must advertise because they have competition and Medicare is a captive market.

I fully believe that a level playing field public option would only end up covering the sick (because it would have to cover everything) and the ultra liberal willing to pay more so as to "stick it to private insurers" as they put it.

So yes they are right but with caveats.

that being said liberals are totally in denial about the fraud waste and abuse of medicare. Did you know that medicare doesn't credential providers and because they're required to pay claims within 15 days (absolutely ridiculous) they auto-ajudictate claims all the time and that is the one main driver of their savings but also the reason that the abuse of that system is almost 100 billion a year. Talk about the short-sightedness of government on all of our dimes.

Oh and carbonneutral that's not necessary. Last I checked everyone was allowed an opinion in this country still. Should we change that to "everyone should be allowed an opinion as long as it agrees with the liberal left?"

Posted by: visionbrkr | November 23, 2009 11:46 AM | Report abuse

jodigirl,

stop wasting your time with someone who won't listen to reason.

carbonneutral,

i will ask you one question though.

Once pre-ex goes away with this reform and you can no longer blame insurers for all the ills of the world and you believe single payer is the "way to go" won't you agree that insurers are much more efficent than government.

Medicare fraud and abuse= $60-90 billion per year

Private insurers profit = $16-20 billion per year.


Wow with that 40-70 billion per year we could do some real good.

Posted by: visionbrkr | November 23, 2009 12:01 PM | Report abuse

The easiest way to spot an extremist like carbonneutral is by their glaring hypocrisy...Screaming about other people's sputtering talking points - while they spew their own. Screaming about others people's irrationality, while they themselves are barely coherent with little substance or fact to support their arguments. And the EASIEST way to spot an extremist is the VERY black and white mentality they have.

Carbonneutral - You ARE EXACTLY the same as the extremists on the right, EXACTLY!! It's really uncanny.

Posted by: Jodigirl | November 23, 2009 12:02 PM | Report abuse

"won't you agree that insurers are much more efficent than government"

Sigh. Private insurers spend somewhere between 70% and 80% of premiums collected on actual health care, the rest is marketing, profits, and administrative costs, including the cost of maintaining a huge bureaucratic apparatus the sole purpose of which is to deny insurance to "bad risks", and to deny treatments. At the same time, there is of course a large amount of waste and abuse in the health care paid for by private insurance (it's not always the unnecessary treatments that are denied).

I don't know whether the figure of 60-90 billion of "medicare abuse" is realistic but it would be small potatoes compared to $2.24 trillion we spent on National Health Expenditures in 2007.

brkr's assertion is of course completely nonsensical. There was really no need to repeat these facts that anybody who posts here is almost certain to be aware of already but let's not give them the illusion that they have scored a point.

Here's a few more fun facts. 29% of economic growth recorded during 2000-2007 was due to the health care sector. If the growth trends of the decades 1960-2007 were to continue, we'd be spending ALL our money on health care in 2083. Given the fact that most of this spending is private, we needn't worry about it. (Says our clever brkr).

Posted by: carbonneutral | November 23, 2009 12:47 PM | Report abuse

cardonneutral,

i love how you blame all this at the feet of insurers but doctors, hospitals, pharma all get a pass in your book it seems. Taken right from the book of Ms. Pelosi herself.


Oh and the figure of $60-90 billion come directly from the federal government. THey readily admit it.

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/10/23/60minutes/main5414390.shtml


Wait maybe now 60 minutes is a shill for insurers. They must be on "the take". Open your eyes. I've never said insurers aren't to blame, they are. I've advocated all along for them to be required to be non-profit. I've advocated that the current senate bill is crap that the MLR is 75% for the individual market and 80% for the group market.

All your statistics are I would expect correct which is why we need to do something about the cost. We needed to do something about it 10-15 years ago but never did. That doesn't mean though to let a wasteful inefficent government run it. My God they just admitted to $98 billion last year in OVERPAYMENTS to individuals and industry. YOu want to entrust 2.2 TRILLION dollars to them? Are you INSANE???

Here's my solution. Set provider payments to doctors like Canada does. Let private insurers manage it as many countries do. Require pharma to give you the same deal as they give to other western nations.

Oh and while we're at it do something about the obesity problem. That's what's driving the actual cost of care more than anything. That accounts for 75% of the costs. You can blame insurers all you want and you can get rid of them if you want but that won't fix anything. That will only slightly delay the problem but i guess if you've been denied a claim at one point or another you've got an axe to grind. Well, do you?

Posted by: visionbrkr | November 23, 2009 1:09 PM | Report abuse

oh and the actual figure is about 83% for most insurers. I agree they should be forced to tighten their belts and it should be at least 85% or maybe more towards 90%. When it is that that will then make them WAY MORE efficent than Medicare even when Medicare doesn't use true statistics as I've noted above.

Posted by: visionbrkr | November 23, 2009 1:11 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for doing this blog. You have all the details, and a comprehensive understanding of the issues in health care. It has been keeping me up to date and informed.
Chris Farrell

Posted by: christopherfarrell | November 23, 2009 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Carbonneutral,

If you think that $60-90 billion is so small, you must be absolutely outraged at the sweet deal the pharmaceutical company got with this government. A promise not to raise the price of some Medicare drugs for 10 years, totaling $80 billion (that's, $8 billion a year savings). They spent more than 10 times that on lobbying Washington this year alone. AND, lucky them, they get a whole bunch of new consumers once health insurance is mandated.


Posted by: Jodigirl | November 23, 2009 1:31 PM | Report abuse

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