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Is the public option making a comeback?

PH2009122401425.jpg

Sen. Michael Bennet's effort to revive the public option in the reconciliation process is gaining steam, with almost 20 senators signing on to the idea. Among them are Dianne Feinstein and Chuck Schumer, who are not, shall we say, possessed of a whimsical or quixotic temperament.

Of course, you don't need almost 20 senators. You need 51, or more. And complicating that project is that the question here is not simply "public option: yes or no?" It's whether you want to jam a public option into a bill that Senate Democrats already passed without a public option. Not only are you throwing out any hope of appearing even slightly bipartisan, but you're also increasing internal dissension and adding unpredictability into a process that's collapsed into chaos already.

But there's an upside, and it's not just that the public option is good policy. The public option is also popular policy. Popular with the country in general, and popular among liberals in particular. Adding the public option into the legislation would give them something to fight for, and something to be excited about.

That matters. If you believe, as most people do, that midterm elections are largely about base mobilization, and that Scott Brown's victory was in part assured by demoralized Democrats who didn't feel much affection for either Martha Coakley or the Democrats in Washington, this may be the party's last, best hope to give its passionate supporters the win that would reinvigorate them for 2010. "I don't think that was the original strategy behind signing this letter," one Senate aide told me. "But that may be the strategy we fall backwards into."

For all that, I'd still bet against the public option. For one thing, there's sharp resistance to this idea in the White House. The administration has just spent weeks rebranding itself as a bipartisan outpost in a sea of bickering hacks. Resuscitating the most controversial element of the bill and running it through reconciliation looks less like reaching out and more like delivering a hard left cross to the opposition.

One way or another, however, Senate Democrats and the White House need to choose their path and communicate it clearly. If Democrats want to use the public option to reinvigorate their base and attack the insurers and push this bill over the finish line in a final blaze of populist fury, more power to them. If they decide that the process is fragile and Americans want bipartisanship and this is a bad time to introduce uncertainty into chaos, that makes sense, too.

But it would be murder to leave the public option hanging in the middle of the process with too few votes to pass, too many supporters to kill, and enough bitter controversy that Republicans can just hammer away at Democrats forever and ever and ever. A zombie public option debate could well drag health-care reform into the grave as well.

Photo credit: By Manuel Balce Ceneta/Associated Press

By Ezra Klein  |  February 18, 2010; 4:36 PM ET
Categories:  Health Reform  
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Comments

Two thoughts on the public option:

1) It's the ideal response to Anthem.

2) It lets Obama appear bipartisan without actually giving anything up.

Posted by: BobN1 | February 18, 2010 4:40 PM | Report abuse

Is it possible that these Senators are just trying to show the House how serious they are about fixing the bill through reconciliation? In other words, House members will see all this momentum towards the public option in the Senate and they'll think "wow, we should really pass that darn Senate bill - we might even be able to get the public option".

Posted by: Nate1212 | February 18, 2010 4:44 PM | Report abuse

So let me see if I can get this straight. The public option is good policy AND it's popular, but we shouldn't do it because it would appear partisan. Pardon me while my head explodes.

Posted by: hotbbq | February 18, 2010 4:47 PM | Report abuse

What hotbbq said with a bullet. A robust public option/medicare for all should come up as a separate bill under reconciliation. Which senators and congresscritters are going to vote against the single most popular idea to come out of HCR? Why is this a partisan thing?

Posted by: srw3 | February 18, 2010 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Ahem. The public option WAS the compromise between those on the left who wanted single-payer and those on the right who did not. Why can't folks on Capitol Hill remember this?

Posted by: Bertilak | February 18, 2010 4:55 PM | Report abuse

"Bipartisanship" means giving the large corporations a crack at any bill so that it grinds to a halt. Or alternatively "bipartisanship" means making sure that delusional Republicans in the minority are given the right to steer policy 60% or more.

Posted by: michaelterra | February 18, 2010 4:56 PM | Report abuse

The public option was given away without getting anything in return. If Obama is going to bargain with the Republicans, he should bargain with both carrots and sticks: We'll give you tort reform and some additional cost containment if you don't filibuster. If you filibuster we'll go through reconciliation and add in things you don't like, such as a public option.

Obama and the Democrats should make this their operating strategy in all policy spheres. Start with a mass of recess appointments. Add something to reconciliation that Republicans don't like each time they filibuster.

Posted by: gdcassidy1 | February 18, 2010 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Could a revived public option be useful as something Democrats would be willing to negotiate away at the bipartisan summit? If the Republicans do come to the table with something to offer, it'd be nice to not have to give away what few scraps remain, and Democrats have already demonstrated a (reluctant) willingness to go without the public option.

Posted by: cog145 | February 18, 2010 4:59 PM | Report abuse

@hotbbq : "The public option is good policy AND it's popular, but we shouldn't do it because it would appear partisan. Pardon me while my head explodes."

I think what Ezra is saying is that it might good policy and popular but we shouldn't do it *through reconciliation*.

I completely agree with Ezra - the petition floating around with 15 names is ridiculous given that it doesn't mean squat till they get that 50th or 51st name on it. I honestly wish that they'd just push for strong support of the Senate bill and then the day that has passed, start pushing the window again for the public option.

Posted by: twcunningham | February 18, 2010 4:59 PM | Report abuse

I, for one, am absolutely sure that THIS will finally be the time that appearing bipartisan will pay off and Republicans will back down out of gratitude for being included.

Sounds naive, doesn't it? Yet somehow it's considered a serious strategy by this administration. You know that surreal feeling of living in an alternate universe that began during the Bush years for many of us? It's hard to shake the memory because it's still lingering.

Posted by: BigTunaTim | February 18, 2010 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Of course you guys are right...bipartisan simply means compromises made in order to win over enough of your own party's members so that you don't need any votes from the other party.

I am obviously a whacko extremist for thinking that that is the definition of partisanship.

PS: How about this idea! Kick out the SEIU Leaders out of the closed-door healthcare bill negotiations and invite in a hard-working honest Republican like Paul Ryan?

Or how about considering an idea OTHER THAN Federal-Government rationing as a means to reducing healthcare cost increases....maybe there more American alternatives than bullying doctors into working for less, bullying healthy young people into paying more, or telling old people they must settle for less.

What good is designing a generous entitlement programs for all Americans if it goes broke so fast that it becomes less and less generous than what we already have? Why force Middle Class American families to suffer with Medicaid? Clearly there has got to be some better plan!

Posted by: FastEddieO007 | February 18, 2010 5:07 PM | Report abuse

It pains me to say it, but you lie.
When I consult any given poll, I note that the public option falls way down the list of "controversial elements. Not only is it popular with Dems and Indys, it is even fairly popular with rank-and-file Republicans.
The Cornhusker Kickback is way more controversial than the public option, as is taxing health care plans.

Posted by: flounder2 | February 18, 2010 5:15 PM | Report abuse

It's good policy, it's good politics... which is why I'm not getting my hopes up.

But hey, good to know there are a few Dems who are at the very least cynically aware that the voters are angry with them for the waves of capitulation earlier in the process. Is it too much to hope that it's more than cynical support on their side though?

Some, I'd say it's definitely genuine support. Some on the list, I'm pretty sure it's opportunism.

Posted by: burndtdan | February 18, 2010 5:16 PM | Report abuse

This worries me. I see two potential ways this could go awry:

1. The compromise bill the Obama administration posts online contains a public option in some form. A reconciliation-ready amendment is drafted, passes the House, gets 48 or so votes in the Senate. Health care dies.

2. The compromise bill the Obama administration posts online does not contain a public option. House liberals, already not very pleased, look at this as yet another instance of ignoring the base and their negotiations with the Senate break down. Health care dies.

It's almost like they're trying to make the situation as complicated and precarious as possible.

Posted by: JanglerNPL | February 18, 2010 5:22 PM | Report abuse

The Public Option is very popular in polling so long as the pollster is properly trained in couching the Public Option in between the terms "COMPETITION" and "CHOICE".

Whatever the pollster does, they are not allowed to let the cat out of the bag regarding the plan to run private insurance companies out of business so that the citizens will be stuck with a heavy-handed Federal Bureaucracy bigger than any before that will monopolistically control every aspect of every healthcare transaction in the United States of America...kind of like the UK's NHS!


Question a doctor and lose your child
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/health/article6823345.ece

'Doctors told me it was against the rules to save my premature baby'
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1211950/Premature-baby-left-die-doctors-mother-gives-birth-just-days-22-week-care-limit.html

NHS is paying millions to gag whistleblowers
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/nhs-is-paying-millions-to-gag-whistleblowers-1812914.html

Posted by: FastEddieO007 | February 18, 2010 5:22 PM | Report abuse

This worries me. I see two potential ways this could go awry:

1. The compromise bill the Obama administration posts online contains a public option in some form. A reconciliation-ready amendment is drafted, passes the House, gets 48 or so votes in the Senate. Health care dies.

2. The compromise bill the Obama administration posts online does not contain a public option. House liberals, already not very pleased, look at this as yet another instance of ignoring the base and their negotiations with the Senate break down. Health care dies.

It's almost like they're trying to make the situation as complicated and precarious as possible. I wish the House would just pass the Senate bill now.

Posted by: JanglerNPL | February 18, 2010 5:24 PM | Report abuse

Look at how UK's NHS ran a muck once it achieved the absolute authority over the lives of every middle class family:


Hundreds of patients died needlessly at NHS hospital due to appalling care
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/6661925/Hundreds-of-patients-died-needlessly-at-NHS-hospital-due-to-appalling-care.html


Daughter claims father wrongly placed on controversial NHS end of life scheme
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/6156076/Daughter-claims-father-wrongly-placed-on-controversial-NHS-end-of-life-scheme.html

Father of Baby RB fights hospital’s decision to turn off life support
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/health/article6898708.ece


"If people let government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny."

- Thomas Jefferson

Posted by: FastEddieO007 | February 18, 2010 5:26 PM | Report abuse

Sorry for the double-post, browser was acting up.

Posted by: JanglerNPL | February 18, 2010 5:26 PM | Report abuse

Part of being "bipartisan" is, if the Democrats listen to the Republicans and incorporate some of their ideas, some of the Republicans vote for the freakin' bill. Or at least allow it to come up for a vote. "Bipartisan" is a two way street.

Posted by: tl_houston | February 18, 2010 5:32 PM | Report abuse

Okay, here are 13 reasons the House bill is more ambitious, more progressive, and a demonstrably better bill than the Senate bill:

1. The House bill subjects the self-insured to the minimum benefit packages; the Senate bill does not.
2. The House bill applies the community rating to all group markets, conducts a study what causes organizations to self-insure, and imposes a per member tax on organizations who self-insure. The Senate bill applies the community rating to just the individual and small group market.
3. The House bill has a 2:1 age rating and no smoker rating; the Senate bill has a 3:1 age rating and a 1.5:1 smoker rating.
4. The House bill does not have "prevention and wellness" discounts; the Senate bill does.
5. The House bill has a 70 percent minimum actuarial value. The Senate bill has a 60 percent minimum actuarial value, and worse allows those under 30 to purchase catastrophic policies (actuarial value around 50 percent).
6. The House bill’s subsidies for 133-300 percent FPL level are far more generous than that of the Senate bill.
7. The House bill has merely a hardship exemption from the individual mandate and imposes a 2.5% income tax for not complying with the individual mandate. The Senate bill has an 8% income exemption, and begins a $750/person, $375/child penalty in 2017.
8. The House bill has a much, much stronger employer mandate than Senate bill, which allows for employment discrimination against low-income workers.
9. The House bill has a federal Exchange; the Senate bill has state-based Exchanges.
10. The House bill has competitive bidding, rate reviews, etc. for insurers even to get onto on the Exchange; the Senate bill merely has reviews for rate increases.
11. The House bill forbids non-group insurance to be sold outside the Exchange; the Senate does not.
12. The House bill explicitly forbids benefits outside of items on the minimum benefits package to be offered on the basic, enhanced value, and premium level tiers. In the Senate bill, once a plan has fulfilled the items on the minimum benefits package at the tier’s minimum actuarial value, the plan can offer items outside of the minimum benefits package that are attractive to young, healthy people (i.e., gym membership, dental care, eye care).
13. The House bill limits cost-sharing variation in a benefit category by ±10 percent. The Senate bill leaves this up to the HHS Secretary to limit cost-sharing by actuarial value.

Please tell me which items on that list of 13 you believe are less important than the public option.

Posted by: moronjim | February 18, 2010 5:32 PM | Report abuse

The House version of the public option saves $25 billion. The House version of the employer mandate saves $100 billion. At a time when Democrats are scraping for every penny for additional subsidies, which is more important?

You have to look at the bill as a whole -- not just piece by piece. That's what my post above was all about.

Posted by: moronjim | February 18, 2010 5:35 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, Ezra, didn't mean to be that mean in my last comment. I would never say something like that to your face. I'm just frustrated that the WH has ACTIVELY OPPOSED the public option the whole way through, and they continue to do so. I think you did a disservice to your progressive readers by constantly implying that the WH was their ally.

Posted by: Ryan21 | February 18, 2010 5:36 PM | Report abuse

The public option will NOT run insurance companies out of business. It can and should be restricted to a basic coverage plan -- and it will certainly be restricted to basic coverage, for a couple of different reasons. That leaves lots of room for private insurers to add extra coverage on top.

This route can lead us to a "two-tier" system, like almost every other developed country already has: (1) A baseline non-profit plan that covers everyone regardless of ability to pay, funded by a mandate or out of taxes. PLUS (2) extra private coverage available on top, thereby creating demand for innovation in the latest high-tech and pharma.

We must get to a two-tier system. Basic economics says that markets will equalize international labor costs. So the U.S. is going to start losing to competition in global markets because it's paying 40% more than others for healthcare.

Posted by: Lee_A_Arnold | February 18, 2010 5:46 PM | Report abuse

You can't honestly believe Obama would not sign a bill that contained the public option, bipartisanship be damned. It would be political suicide, and Obama is nowhere near a big enough fool to do something so ridiculous. The only thing that would be more foolish than that would be to continue to press this bipartisanship nonsense in the face of overwhelming GOP obstructionism. They aren't interested in working with you, Mr. President. They WANT you to fail. They SAID this, very clearly, at the beginning of your term. Stop baring your bottom to them and inviting them to slap it. Get the job DONE.

Posted by: gmarasco | February 18, 2010 5:52 PM | Report abuse

FastEddie, your argument seems to be that the public option will run the private insurers out of business because everyone will choose the public option, which you also believe will be so awful and harmful to patients that no one would possibly want to choose the public option.

Posted by: constans | February 18, 2010 5:59 PM | Report abuse

The way PO was originally killed, that was horrible politics and bad for people's wish.

But after that lot of water has gone under the bridge. Sen. Reid - the single Politician who is so far responsible for all ills of Democrats - tried the gimmick of PO with out having votes; that ate up the crucial time and we lost.

Reviving all that divisive debate at this point is suicidal equally. These Democrats do not have 'shame' and they are utter irresponsible. After MA why do you want to even go there?

There are times when you would want to make a partisan demand as the issue (early summer of 2009) when these guys did not do that. Now is the time to not open that and there they are again.

If even basic 'politics / people's sentiment' cannot be sensed by these Democrats; why are they politicians?

May be people like me are fool who in the first place voted for them and gave money.

Posted by: umesh409 | February 18, 2010 6:00 PM | Report abuse

At this point it is no surprise that there's "sharp resistance" to the public option in President Rahm Emmanuel's White House.
Implicit in the sleazy, sneaky deals Emmanuel made (via Baucus & the Senate Finance Committee) with the insurance racketeers was the promise of no public option.
I curse the hours I spent phone-banking to get out the vote for this president. At least with McCain we'd KNOW we were getting a corporatist hack, whereas Obama seems to relish stabbing his most ardent supporters in the back.
The D's and the R's have been irredeemably corrupted by corporate money.

Posted by: pointy | February 18, 2010 6:01 PM | Report abuse

Obama is too timid and too many Senators are too beholden to private health insurance companies for a public option to be accepted. Obama and a majority of Democrats in Congress have clearly no interest in universal health care for all persons legally in this country. Leaving twenty or so million people, in ten years, without health care insurance is no big deal to them.

A truly progressive third party is needed.

Posted by: Aprogressiveindependent | February 18, 2010 6:12 PM | Report abuse

"Could a revived public option be useful as something Democrats would be willing to negotiate away at the bipartisan summit?"

Provided that the House and Senate Dems can reach a deal that is posted before the Blair House summit, there is no earthly reason why they would want or need to negotiate away anything that a new House-Senate compromise contains.

What really matters is what the Democrats themselves can agree to before the summit.

If there is no agreement, the summit becomes the "closing ceremony" for the health care debate. If there is a House-Senate agreement on the table before the summit, it will be a decidedly uncomfortable day for any Republicans who are in the room and on camera.

Posted by: Patrick_M | February 18, 2010 6:17 PM | Report abuse

FE007: "Look at how UK's NHS ran a muck once it achieved the absolute authority over the lives of every middle class family:"

STRAWMAN ALERT!!!!
No one in congress has suggested a system where the government owns the hospitals and employs the doctors and nurses, like the VA. It is a pity, because Britain covers all its people for the cost per person of Medicare. That is everyone in the US covered with no tax increases...

There are no streams of poor people from Britain trying to come to America to get health care, last time I checked...

Posted by: srw3 | February 18, 2010 6:17 PM | Report abuse

I don't understand which of our health care problems the "public option" is supposed to address. It's not a public health care plan, it's a public insurance company; a company that would be subject to all the same constraints as Anthem, Aetna, etc.

Supporters and opponents who see it as a foot in the door towards government run, single-payer care haven't bothered to read the details.

And those who talk about the public option lowering the costs of care through competition are just as clueless about the underlying problems of our current model. They obviously haven't paid any attention to case after case where large insurers have been unable to exert control over hospital charges.

The only possible outcome for a publicly run insurance company as described in the various proposals would be debt, debt, and more debt -- all paid for by taxpayers.

Posted by: Athena_news | February 18, 2010 6:19 PM | Report abuse

"I don't understand which of our health care problems the "public option" is supposed to address. It's not a public health care plan, it's a public insurance company; a company that would be subject to all the same constraints as Anthem, Aetna, etc.

Supporters and opponents who see it as a foot in the door towards government run, single-payer care haven't bothered to read the details."

I don't expect that ANY public option will re-emerge in ANY form in ANY Democratic package that may emerge within the few days that remain.

However, it is worth remembering that the very last iteration of a PO in the Senate (killed by Joe Lieberman) was the Medicare buy-in at 55, which is a very different kettle of fish than what Athena_news describes.

Posted by: Patrick_M | February 18, 2010 6:30 PM | Report abuse

Anyone who votes for the public option will KNOW the wrath of voters in 2010!

Posted by: houston123 | February 18, 2010 6:35 PM | Report abuse

srw3,

You can tell the trolls are starting to sweat about passage again when the straw man equivalencies to NHS, rationing, death panels, etc. start to ramp up again.

Democratic optimism over the possibility of passage of HCR should be rightly measured in direct proportion to the straw man rhetoric of the opposition.

So the more straw men appear on this blog, the more likely it is that Obama will soon be signing HCR into law.

Posted by: Patrick_M | February 18, 2010 6:37 PM | Report abuse

"Not only are you throwing out any hope of appearing even slightly bipartisan,"

So - the repugs getting their way is BIPARTISAN?!

I don't THINK so.

Posted by: solsticebelle | February 18, 2010 6:39 PM | Report abuse

Reviving the public option through reconciliation lets you either make your base happy and get good policy in place or threaten the Republicans enough with its passage that it forces them into some real compromises to get the bill passed.

I'd love for this bill to be bipartisan and for it not to be a controversial part of the midterms. Realistically though, clearly the Republicans aren't going to want to concede anything at the summit. Better to give bipartisanship one last try and then if they're going to beat you over the head with the bill you can at least make it a good one.

Posted by: MosBen | February 18, 2010 6:39 PM | Report abuse

They should absolutely tinker with this! I couldn't imagine anything they could do that would make November turn out better!

Oh, and this:
"The public option is also popular policy."

Free lunches are popular policy too. But it always comes down to the price.

Posted by: cpurick | February 18, 2010 6:48 PM | Report abuse

Crazy idea here- could Pelosi bring Ryan's plan up for a vote?

What would that entail? As I understand it, the speaker can bring pretty much anything up for a vote. And it'd be great politics if she offered the Republican plan an up-or-down vote but the republicans were still blocking an up-or-down vote on the dem's plan (apples and oranges, i know, i know). Plus I'd imagine most republicans would vote against it, so as not to be portrayed as voting against medicare. Hell, Pelosi even tricked Eric Cantor into voting in favor of the 90% Wall Street bonus tax. So it'd be easy to highlight the obstruction if congressional republicans don't even vote for their own plan.

Posted by: Quant | February 18, 2010 6:54 PM | Report abuse

I don't care what anyone says on this blog. I will not vote for anyone who is for expanding government spending. Our government is spending money it doesn't have. Get Priorities...forget your free health care until you reduce the government debt. Get rid of entitlements...until the deficit spending is under control. Cut them and cut them until it hurts...and then cut them some more. Has the budget been balanced? Nobody wants to be the bad guy. We only need the bad guy now...and he isn't really bad. It's called tough love. Get real people.

Posted by: RobMc1 | February 18, 2010 7:18 PM | Report abuse

http://politicalwire.com/archives/2010/02/18/obama_still_leads_possible_2012_challengers.html

Obama Still Leads Possible 2012 Challengers
A new Public Policy Polling survey finds President Obama leading all of his potential 2012 Republican challengers.

He leads Mitt Romney, 45% to 43%, tops Mike Huckabee, 46% to 43%, beats Sarah Palin, 50% to 43% and crushes John Thune, 46% to 28%.

Obama's approval rating is now 48%, compared with 47% who disapprove.

Posted by: omaarsblade | February 18, 2010 7:20 PM | Report abuse

RobMc1,

"I don't care what anyone says on this blog."

Me neither! So I skipped the rest of your comment. :)

Posted by: Patrick_M | February 18, 2010 7:23 PM | Report abuse

RobMC1, there's a well founded chance that HCR will improve the deficit. If you don't believe that, find me a report that shows to the contrary. Until then I'm going to rely on the sources of information that I have to evaluate the budgetary implications of the HCR bills before Congress, and they say it reduces the deficit.

And no, just as we're crawling out of a recession is not the time to cut, cut, and cut some more. When we've got budget surpluses is the time to cut back and let the market pick up the slack.

Finally, there were polls recently that showed that the people strongly against HCR aren't going to vote for Democrats no matter what. Maybe you're one of those people or maybe not, but the people who are open to voting for Dems want HCR by about a 65% to 35% margin.

Posted by: MosBen | February 18, 2010 7:41 PM | Report abuse

Who really give a s**t if the White House wants to look bipartisan? The public doesn't really want bipartisan. They just want something done to address their problems. The Democrats are in trouble, not due to insufficient bipartisanship -- they've been stupidly bipartisan. They're in trouble because they had the biggest majority in decades and did NOTHING with it.

Posted by: pj_camp | February 18, 2010 8:43 PM | Report abuse

Ezra: How can you say the "public option" is popular policy? What rock have you been hiding under? It may be "popular" with the left/progressives who are arrogant enought to pretend that they know what is best for the rest of us! But, the poll numbers cannot be ignored! The typical American thinks it is crap! What are you smoking!?!?!

visit: eclecticramblings.wordpress.com

Posted by: my4653 | February 18, 2010 8:52 PM | Report abuse

Attention 90% of posters on this board:

We already have a "public option." It is called Medicare. It is a train wreck and is the primary reason our health care is in this mess. It doesn't work, so I have a great idea: let's create another one!!
Honestly, some people can't see the forests for the trees.

Posted by: BrittonBrewer2001 | February 18, 2010 9:25 PM | Report abuse

How is this popular? Do you get out of DC much.. if ever? If you did you would see that the majority of America hates it, they are angry at ALL of congress and they do not want something shoved down their throat. That would be exactly what this is.

Posted by: tbastian | February 18, 2010 9:28 PM | Report abuse

Lets bully doctors into accepting less money!!

SINGLE-PAYER!

Lets bully young people into paying a lot more for their healthcare!!

SINGLE-PAYER!

Lets bully old people into accepting less care when they're dying!!

SINGLE-PAYER!

We don't need to solve the problem of rising healthcare costs! The federal government can by controlling the gates!!! With a promise of access to all, we all achieve access to the few----and us RICH ELITE POWERFUL WILL BE 1ST IN LINE!!!!


Ahh! Socialism!

Posted by: FastEddieO007 | February 18, 2010 9:32 PM | Report abuse

how to commit political suicide.
the blue dog democrat who voted
for a $900 Billion dollar bill,
while 1 in 8 americans is hungry.

Posted by: simonsays1 | February 18, 2010 9:39 PM | Report abuse

This whole debate centers around whether the middle class continue to participate in market-driven access to healthcare, or if their choices get taken over by the federal government---i.e. they get stuck on Medicaid!

Posted by: FastEddieO007 | February 18, 2010 9:40 PM | Report abuse

This is ludicrous! Didn't 7 or 8 Dem Senators say they wouldn't support reconciliation? And that was BEFORE discussing the addition of the public option!! It's just a waste of time and it indicates to me that Senate Dems are not even serious. It's all for show at this point and trying to get progressives to the polls in November.

HC reform is no longer about HC reform. It's now about getting some votes in Nov.

Posted by: MBP2 | February 18, 2010 9:46 PM | Report abuse

What was wrong with the co-op? If you guys want a public option, and believe it can be revenue neutral, just start or join a co-op. Get enough people into it and you can do whatever you want.

For me, a high deductible plan with an HSA is perfect.

Posted by: staticvars | February 18, 2010 9:47 PM | Report abuse

Bottom line, need to get health care done and then go sell it to the American People. There are some things so basic to what is just and fair like civil rights that if we lose the election for having delivered it I will happily go out and door to door and rebuild a progressive majority. . . Top Line Progressives need to start stating plainly their vision of governance that is contrast to the Conservative Movement that has dominated the Corporate Air Waves and Electoral Politics for the last 30 years. The purpose of enlightened governance is to protect and promote the prosperity of the middle class. Not protect the capital elite and hope that when they spend money the rest of us will benefit. . . We live in the greatest country in the world because the govt. we have the right to detest does a pretty good job at most of the things it attempts. Our daily lives benefit from it every time we drive down a road, send our kids to a public school, take our elderly parent to see a Dr., fly in an airplane or enjoy a medium rare steak. . .

Posted by: richdys | February 18, 2010 9:48 PM | Report abuse

Democrats! I beg of you!!

How about Marty Feldstein's plan....everybody maintains complete sovereignty over ALL their healthcare services....they only catch is that on any given year, they personally may need to spend up to 15% of their income.

I am against federalizing healthcare in general, but this is one way----the only way---I'd ever consider it.

The idea that Democrats put Republican ideas into their bill is insane!!!

If I am serving you a cat turd to eat, do you honestly think it helps if you put a little ketchup on it?

Posted by: FastEddieO007 | February 18, 2010 9:53 PM | Report abuse

The opening link also leads to an opportunity to be a Citizen signer of the Bennet letter:
[http://whipcongress.com/letter-senate].

I hope that the large majority of people, who are supportive of the public option, sign the Bennet Letter.

Also, please write to your representatives.

I did so: 'An open letter to my Senator', [http://heygetthis.wordpress.com/2010/02/18/an-open-letter-to-my-senator] and also by direct email.

Posted by: MoGemStone | February 18, 2010 10:16 PM | Report abuse

Dear NC Senator Kay Hagan,

Please sign onto the Bennet letter requesting that the Public Option be put to a majority vote. Now is the time to do what is right for the American people, not to be intimidated by Republican propaganda.

If significant health insurance reform legislation isn't passed before November, many Democrats will stay away from the polls, and the opportunity to move America forward will be lost.

This is a battle between the American people (whom Congress is supposed to represent) and greedy corporations, not between the American people and government (as Republicans like to spin it).

Thank you,

Posted by: bamccampbell | February 18, 2010 10:32 PM | Report abuse

A public option will not produce more health care. If it did, then doctors would not be dropping Medicare patients. What good is a third party's promise to pay for your health care if there is not enough health care to be bought?

Posted by: BrittonBrewer2001 | February 18, 2010 10:34 PM | Report abuse

"However, it is worth remembering that the very last iteration of a PO in the Senate (killed by Joe Lieberman) was the Medicare buy-in at 55" - Patrick M

And which one of the underlying problems would that solve? How would inflating a program that is already running driving the country into insolvency help us get onto a sustainable path? How would it it improve primary care and decrease the cost of care?

The estimated cost for early enrollees would be about $7600/year. A 2002 estimate of the same proposal indicated that, without substantial subsidies, the number of uninsured 55-65 year olds helped would be quite small.

I'm sorry but the idea that we can somehow solve our problems by buyng more of what has driven us to the wall is a fantasy. We don't need yet another patch on a threadbare quilt; we need reform folks.

Posted by: Athena_news | February 18, 2010 10:39 PM | Report abuse

I hope that all the authors of these passionate, cogent arguments for the public option also send their thoughts to their Senator and Representative, and the White House. copy and paste, simple as that.

Posted by: ekorea | February 18, 2010 11:01 PM | Report abuse

Go ahead RATS "make my day". The Constitution : Checkmate

Posted by: Imarkex | February 18, 2010 11:26 PM | Report abuse

The answer is "no."

Posted by: jfshiey | February 18, 2010 11:39 PM | Report abuse

"We don't need yet another patch on a threadbare quilt; we need reform folks."

Here we go ‘round the mulberry bush
The mulberry bush, the mulberry bush
Here we go ‘round the mulberry bush
So early in the morning.

Posted by: jkaren | February 18, 2010 11:54 PM | Report abuse

hotbbq wrote:
"So let me see if I can get this straight. The public option is good policy AND it's popular, but we shouldn't do it because it would appear partisan. Pardon me while my head explodes."
----------------------------
The reason for the confusion is that it's a bogus statement. Liberals like to say the public option is popular, but they know it's a lie. Poll questions that contain words like "compete" always do well. But when the polls explain what the public option actually is, about 60% oppose. Here's one example poll by Rasmussen:

http://www.thesubstratum.com/general-politics/health-care-general-politics/does-the-public-want-a-public-option-no-it-does-not/

And remember, Ezra Klein, a week before the Mass special election called the hc bill "Ted Kennedy's popular legacy bill." So we know he gets a little confused from these polls.

Posted by: josettes | February 18, 2010 11:59 PM | Report abuse

Since a public option need NOT "encourage companies to drop private health insurance coverage for their workers," as that Rasmussen poll hypothesizes, and therefore it is NOT "what the public option actually is," as Josettes writes, then we're back to a majority in favor.

Posted by: Lee_A_Arnold | February 19, 2010 12:40 AM | Report abuse

The New York Times is reporting that the White House is drafting a reconciliation bill, that Congressional Dems have not seen it, and that the proposed legislation will be posted online on Monday evening:


http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/19/health/policy/19health.html?hpw

Posted by: Patrick_M | February 19, 2010 1:09 AM | Report abuse

Some of you guys are hilarious. CBO stated that including the Public Option would not only lower peoples premiums but would actually increase them.

Not only does it not lower peoples premiums but Medicare actuaries stated that overall spending on health care would increase as well.

Also, in regards to adding to the deficit, if you guys have any inkling of how the bill is structured you will see that the health insurance subsidies aren't even implemented until the 4th year, however taxes are being collected from year one. This is accounting gimmickry at it's best, to call this bill dishonest, does the word dishonest injustice. If you were to include the subsidies from year one, it would instantly add $275 B to the deficit, and this doesn't even include the DOC FIX provision, which would add another $270 B.

Let's talk about State budgets shall we? YOu guys are aware that the medicare subsidies that this bill would include would have to be shared by each state don't you? You do know that California is about bankrupt and according to estimates, This would add $3 Billion a year to their deficit, when they are already in deep crap. It would cost New York over $1.5 B a year.

According to MEdicare actuaries many rural hospitals would have to reduce staff and services.

How about taxes? According to the CBO, there would be $775 B in new taxes over the next 10 years. Did you guys hear that? 775 B in taxes, how do you think that will effect the economy?

Also, you know the Unions are crying about the Cadillac Tax plan, so that will get taken out, and that was the best provision in the whole bill to contain costs, so the estimates from the CBO in regards to peoples premiums with the PUblic Option being about 7-10% higher than the status quo would obviously have to be changed, and would most likely be somewhere around 10-15% higher.

Lets talk about the deficit again. You guys do realize that two of the largest sources or future sources of items that are contributing to the deficits is Medicare and S.S. 2 entitlement programs. I don't believe you understand that some time in the not so distant future that some very difficult decisions will have to be made in regards to these two programs. Major cuts will have to be made, but you dimwits don't see that, rather than start figuring out what we need to do to control the deficit, you'd rather add a whole new entitlement program, that doesn't even lower peoples premiums.

Genius!!

It doesn't matter, adding the Public Option in reconciliation will be virtually impossible. Each item that goes through has to be for deficit reduction purposes, and the Public Option doesn't fall in that category.

To tell you the truth, I hope they do try, and that way there, "progressives" will learn that their vision of America are not shared by the majority, and you guys will go back home, with your tail in between your legs, wondering, Why? Why is this happening?

Posted by: Magox | February 19, 2010 1:50 AM | Report abuse

One last point, mandating insurance to all employees for businesses would be a body blow to small businesses, and small businesses are struggling as it is.

Progressives are idealists, they are not practical, and really don't understand budgets and economics.

Posted by: Magox | February 19, 2010 1:54 AM | Report abuse

"It doesn't matter, adding the Public Option in reconciliation will be virtually impossible. Each item that goes through has to be for deficit reduction purposes, and the Public Option doesn't fall in that category."

During the Bush administration, Congress used reconciliation to enact three major tax cuts, all of which substantially increased the deficit.

As long as a provision of the bill has direct fiscal implications, it is appropriate for reconciliation. If there is no fiscal implication, that provision becomes subject to the "Byrd rule," and can be automatically stricken by a simple point of order, unless 60 Senators vote to allow the provision to remain.

Presumably, any form of a public option would have fiscal implications. But personally I will be very surprised if a public option is included in the final form of the bill that will apparently be published by the White House on Monday night for discussion at the Blair House summit on Thursday.

Posted by: Patrick_M | February 19, 2010 2:14 AM | Report abuse

"Progressives are idealists, they are not practical, and really don't understand budgets and economics."


Compare the state of the federal budget and the US economy in January 2000 with January 2009 to see what very fine stewards of budgets and economics the Republicans were.

Posted by: Patrick_M | February 19, 2010 2:19 AM | Report abuse

FastEddieO have you lived in the UK? Did you ever use the NHS? The Daily Telegraph is sort of like quoting the National Enquirer, sensationalism sells tabloids. I lived and did have surgery while there. everything was fine and guess what? No one asked for my insurance card at the emergency room! My father in law had bypass at 78 and unfortunately had a brain tumor at 83. The end of life counseling and hospice care the family received was excellent. My mother in law still goes to visit the care givers that took care of my father in law. So I am sorry, fear mongering will not work with me. Believe it or not sometimes mistakes happen. Look at how many doctors get sued in the U.S. every year for their mistakes. I hope the bill passes and good for the Senators who are trying.

Posted by: Thinking4 | February 19, 2010 3:29 AM | Report abuse

adding "public option" is akin to including a steering wheel on your car. we still want tires, an engine, and a driver NOT DRUNK on WALL STREET AIL.


then there is the problem of paying for the unwashed masses to be insured.


you perfumed people really stink.

Posted by: forestbloggod | February 19, 2010 3:34 AM | Report abuse

I really am not worried about protecting anyone's profits. It's very unlikely that the average citizen is going to come out of this with any sort of "good deal option", or "not left to die because you are poor option". No, I'm sure that at best there'll be a "I pay a big pile of money option".

The fact is the people who're really afraid of a public option are the vast numbers of big corporate ticks feeding on the blood of the people.

Also "option" means "not required", meaning no one's going to force anything on anyone. So why is this so scary? It seems completely witless to take the worst possible result and trumpet that as the most likely outcome. What, you can identify the shortcomings in these ways of doing things, but offer no way of preventing a worst case? Yet on top of that people work themselves up into frothing anger at the supposed worst case outcome, and will not bother to take the time to figure out how to have a better outcome?

The amount of irrationality surrounding this whole thing is disgusting. What stinks to high heaven is the industrial lobbying that's gone with it. I may not agree with people about all things, but I sure don't like to see anyone get played the way people have been played over this issue.

Posted by: Nymous | February 19, 2010 4:11 AM | Report abuse

Hey, as one of those who just received notice from Anthem Blue Cross that our premium is going up 38%,

I say roll on public option!

Posted by: dadada | February 19, 2010 5:57 AM | Report abuse

If the federal government opened up a non-profit grocery store in your neighborhood, would you be better off shopping there.

Not only are insurance company profits not contributing to the overall cost of healthcare----the desire for that profit is creating a BETTER healthcare service for you!!!

Do you know how much money insurance companies re-invest in healthcare?

Do you know how much scumbag ambulance-chasing lawyers like John Edwards spend re-investing in healthcare?

Do you know how much Obama & Pelosi's SEIU Union boss thugs spend re-investing in healthcare?


SO Democrats have our best interest in place because they've kicked out the insurance CEOs from the ngotitaioning table and replaced them with THEIR special interests----will that create a better bill?

You guys have it all backwards!!!

Posted by: FastEddieO007 | February 19, 2010 6:44 AM | Report abuse

I find it astonishing how partisan you people----you people on the grass roots level of the legislative process. You guys tout yourselves to be so fair---so open-minded, and yet you all have your head buried deeply in the sand!

Posted by: FastEddieO007 | February 19, 2010 6:46 AM | Report abuse

Wow. I only found this blog recently, but I fear I've found the belly of the beast.

As open and free-thinking as you guys pretend to be, I believe the ideological rigidity that typifies this blog and its posts are the number one element that is destroying this nation!

Posted by: FastEddieO007 | February 19, 2010 7:18 AM | Report abuse

I'm so angry at what I've read here, that I had to comment again. First of all, if the health care reform was above board, so to speak- then they wouldn't of had to make all of those back room deals to get their OWN peers to vote for it.

There are so many hidden agendas in this health care reform- and anyone that has an iota of sense, and remembers history knows that in order to "take over" a country, it starts with "nationalizing" health care, and controlling the money of that country.

Look at Greece, who bellied up, and has to receive handouts from other countries. Is that what you want to happen here in America?

Why should we have to succumb to a single payer plan? ONe that is gubment controlled at that? name ONE entity that is gubment run, that is actually successful?? NOT ONE!!

Whatever- call it what you want- conspiracy theorists, blah, blah, blah- you people need to take your heads out of the sand, and accept reality as it is. There isn't any political party that truly has the interests of the American people.

We need to get God fearing men and women with a conscience to govern America. There has been atrocities committed on both the Democraps, and Repuglicans side. Neither of the parties are good for American citizens.

http://nakedemperornews.com

Posted by: obamaalmighT | February 19, 2010 7:44 AM | Report abuse


AND JUST IMAGINE IF THESE WORDS WERE UTTERED BY NEWT GINGRICH, DICK CHENEY, OR SARAH PALIN.....

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601070&sid=aGrKbfWkzTqc

Somehow when Obama vocalizes the draconian feeling of the federal government monopolistically declaring what medical procedures are "acceptable use of precious resources" you guys are fine....but what would you be saying if you heard this policy vocalized by Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin, or Dick Cheney?

How are you Progressive types so easily duped!!!

I can see you guys now smiling dumbly as Mao gives the order to kill all the old farmers standing in the way of progress!

Posted by: FastEddieO007 | February 19, 2010 9:07 AM | Report abuse

Ezra. Why are you ONLY a 'Contributor' on MESS NBC? You should be IN CHARGE! Or, at least have your own show.
"The Public Option is making a comeback." Really? Where? In DETROIT? In SAN FRANCISCO? In NEWARK?
You're living in BARRYS' FANTASYLAND. Where the Recession is OVER, and the Stimulus Plan has SAVED THE DAY. Where TRILLION DOLLAR DEFICITS are a GOOD THING, and every thing that's BAD is the last guys' fault. Everything that OBAMA DOES, is also, the last guys' fault.
I say, you go girl. Bring on the PUBLIC OPTION. And RAISE them Taxes. And go get those BANKS. Keep trying to run TOYOTA out of the country. And, most of all, KEEP ON SPENDING.
I mean, WHO could be against all of that? It's doing all right in VENEZUELA. Why not here?
Idiot.

Posted by: GoomyGommy | February 19, 2010 9:36 AM | Report abuse

Call your Senators and ask them to sign the Bennet letter urging Harry Reid to use reconciliation to pass a bill that includes the public option. go to http://whipcongress.com/

Posted by: SIZZLE2 | February 19, 2010 9:46 AM | Report abuse

The FastEddie Healthcare Bill -- Let the U.S. pay 40% more for the same outcomes! Let the insurance companies deny coverage to people who paid! NO coverage for people who can't afford it!

Posted by: Lee_A_Arnold | February 19, 2010 9:47 AM | Report abuse

The reason the Public Option failed is because it was, in reality, a "trap door" that would inevitably lead to a Single Payer system. It was never about providing competition to private insurers, or about keeping costs down, or about providing govt subsidies to the poor. It was to put in place a mechanism that would bankrupt private insurers over a period of 10-20 years, leaving us with a Single Payer system.

Posted by: JohnR22 | February 19, 2010 9:51 AM | Report abuse

The Public Option doesn't lead to a single payer. Here is why: CBO says it will have slightly higher premiums than private plans, because it's a higher risk pool. So lot of people will stick to their old plans, which also offer more coverage.

Because the public option is there to help cover everybody who isn't now covered, it will partly use tax money to cover people who can't afford it. This should be cheaper to us than paying for these people through our own premiums -- which is how we pay for them NOW -- because they are showing up without money at the emergency rooms, when they are in the worst shape possible and where it is very expensive.

CBO scores the total reform as revenue-neutral, and a non-profit public option makes this even cheaper, by using as little tax money as possible, since taxpayers won't be contributing to the profits of private corporations.

Everybody's premiums are going UP in the future, no matter what system we have. But this is a way to start to REDUCE the increases as much as possible, while trying to cover everyone.

Posted by: Lee_A_Arnold | February 19, 2010 10:19 AM | Report abuse

This is probably the last chance that the Democratic Senate and President Obama have to redeem themselves to a majority of the voting public. If they do nothing, they are simply asking for a loss of control in the Senate and a new President in 2010 and 2012. Why does the President get hung up on bipartisanship,the Republicans have certainly not contributed anything to good governance in this session of Congress with their concerted "NO".

Posted by: bfree123 | February 19, 2010 10:22 AM | Report abuse

In reply to RobtMac1: You sound just like my Repbulican friends that have the attitude of "I have mine and made it myself, the hell with anyone else". But the truth is, most of them did not make it by themselves, they all have had a little government help along the way. Especially my farmer friends.

Posted by: bfree123 | February 19, 2010 10:45 AM | Report abuse

Isn't this the ultimate hypocrisy, Democrats and Media Supporters?
Partisanship and Politics are Bad, except when our side does it!
"This may be about optics, and firing up the base, but it is smart Politics.."
Imagine if Sarah Palin was praised for canny propaganda that fired up her base!!
OBAMA HAS NO CREDIBILITY.
NONE.

Posted by: johnL1 | February 19, 2010 10:54 AM | Report abuse

I find that reading through these comments helps me remember why I bailed out of the GOP so many years ago. I saw the extremism on the rise back then, and it's only gotten exponentially worse since. The alternate realities they construct on an almost weekly basis are becoming intolerable.

Posted by: BigTunaTim | February 19, 2010 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Without a public option, the health care reform is no reform. The private insurance corporations will continue to rip off the American people while lining their pockets with medicare funds and denying payment claims to patients. What is needed is an option other than private care health insurance; what is needed is a PUBLIC OPTION.

Posted by: Sebastian11 | February 19, 2010 11:39 AM | Report abuse

If Reid allows a floor vote on the public option, I will stay home the day before and call every member of Congress. What I want to tell every member of Congress: My best friend makes just above minimum wage and was denied health insurance. Why? Because she's a 10-year breast cancer survivor. She was told she could not be insured until she's 15 years cancer-free. My question to all who oppose: Why do you find this an acceptable situation in the U.S.? Should her cancer return in the next five years, she has literally no options.

Posted by: GordonsGirl | February 19, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Bipartisanship?

Offer real tort reform in exchange for public option and no filibuster.

Posted by: invention13 | February 19, 2010 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Wow, how delusional of most people here. First, most Senators, even liberal ones, know that public option is NOT popular. The poll questions skewed it to look that way but Rasmussen did an excellent expose: http://tinyurl.com/yeynrnc.

Secondly, what you are witnessing is the the five stages of grief on health care. It ain't gonna pass people, so get used to it. As a Canadian married to a Brit (single payer and public option respectively) I can tell you now how wonderful it is to know that ObamaCare is dead. Anyone writing otherwise is just taking part in the grieving process. The summit is a messaging war and an exit strategy all rolled into one. I am surprised that anyone even remotely connected to DC (which I am) would not have been told that by now. Unless, of course, one is talking to Pelosi, Reid, Obama, or one of their staffers.

Posted by: geraldmerits | February 19, 2010 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Without a public option, the health care reform is no reform. The private insurance corporations will continue to rip off the American people while lining their pockets with medicare funds and denying payment claims to patients. What is needed is an option other than private care health insurance; what is needed is a PUBLIC OPTION.

Posted by: Sebastian11 | February 19, 2010 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Without a public option, the health care reform is no reform. The private insurance corporations will continue to rip off the American people while lining their pockets with medicare funds and denying payment claims to patients. What is needed is an option other than private care health insurance; what is needed is a PUBLIC OPTION.

Posted by: Sebastian11 | February 19, 2010 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Without a public option, the health care reform is no reform. The private insurance corporations will continue to rip off the American people while lining their pockets with medicare funds and denying payment claims to patients. What is needed is an option other than private care health insurance; what is needed is a PUBLIC OPTION.

Posted by: Sebastian11 | February 19, 2010 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Ah, the smell of the death of ObamaCare is sweet. If he crams it down our throats, the backlash via nullification will be so great that Obama will be the best thing that ever happened to this country - bringing back the rights of states.

Read your constitution folks - it is not the Supreme Court that is the final arbiter of the land - it is the States. Go check out www.tenthamendmentcenter.com.

When we win an throw back ObamaCare into his face (if he even gets to pass it) then you can move to bankrupt California, where it looks good they are going to get it to pass at the state level. Or move to Canada. Then you will get to experience firsthand the hell that is socialism. If you really want a good taste - move to Britain or France or Germany. You'll just love it there - trust me.

Posted by: geraldmerits | February 19, 2010 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Without a public option, the health care reform is no reform. The private insurance corporations will continue to rip off the American people while lining their pockets with medicare funds and denying payment claims to patients. What is needed is an option other than private care health insurance; what is needed is a PUBLIC OPTION.

Posted by: Sebastian11 | February 19, 2010 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Love it: NYT Admits Conservatives Are Right About Government Healthcare

http://tinyurl.com/y8dqqay

Posted by: geraldmerits | February 19, 2010 12:44 PM | Report abuse

*you will get to experience firsthand the hell that is socialism. If you really want a good taste - move to Britain or France or Germany. You'll just love it there - trust me.*

One of the problems you have here is that in America is that the wealth of our country has allowed anyone with middle class means and a bit of personal ambition to go to Britain or France or Germany for themselves, and many have even lived and worked there. It might not be their first choice in terms of countries to live in, but they don't regard it as "hell." A guy describing those countries as "socialist hell" is just a guy who comes across as never having been out much.

Posted by: constans | February 19, 2010 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Bertilak was right, way back upthread, when he wrote: "Ahem. The public option WAS the compromise between those on the left who wanted single-payer and those on the right who did not. Why can't folks on Capitol Hill remember this?"

Of course they can't remember it because they don't WANT to. HR676, the key to real publicly funded healthcare in the US, was the real insurance-company profiteer killer.

As for you guys who are so scared of "socialism", if anybody tries to kill OHIP in Ontario they will die at the polls. The government is whittling away at coverage but they do not dare try to kill it outright. Why? Because they would be hanged from the lampposts in front of Queen's Park by a majority of the population, and they know it might not just be a figure of speech.

Posted by: brashley46 | February 19, 2010 2:26 PM | Report abuse

Having traveled to Canada and Europe several times recently, I can assure you that the people I've spoken to during my travels have ALL said that government-run health care is just fine with them. And i DO ask when I'm over there.
Trolls like fasteddie are trying to paint England's NHS as some sort of hellish netherworld. Well, as with any big system, you'll have problems here and there, especially if said system is underfunded. But compared to the actual hell that is the American system, European social medicine is a veritable paradise.
And by the way, NOBODY in Canada or England or France or Spain or Sweden, etc EVER goes bankrupt because of medical costs... whereas here in the US of KKK, medical expenses are the NUMBER ONE cause of bankruptcy.
You right-wing loons are destroying this country with your pro-corporate bait-and-switch BS.

Posted by: pointy | February 19, 2010 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Pointy,

You are sooo full of it! I am Canadian, born in Calgary. My wife is British. You have single payer in Canada and public option in Britain AND nobody who has had anything serious like they system. For God's sake man, a premier from Canada just came to the states for his heart treatment you half-wit! Quit lying, it so Obama of you.

I have one Canadian relative whose sister died because the doctor doing her surgery would not treat her kidney disorder (it was not his job), another who almost died during ROUTING gall-bladder surgery when they nicked his artery, and a third who almost died when the pharmacist gave her the wrong drugs. And guess what, that's just ONE family. You won't get your piece of crap passed by lying.

When Clinton and Kennedy needed medical attention, did they go to Canada, Britain, France, or Germany? NO! That ends the argument right there. God I can't stand ignorance.

Posted by: geraldmerits | February 19, 2010 5:57 PM | Report abuse

geraldmerits,
the fact that you may or may not be Canadian has no bearing on the fact that it is YOU, my friend, who is "full of it." For example, you're using the same discredited BS tactic of offering anecdotal horror stories about the evils of single payer: "my auntie's friend had to wait months for a hip replacement," or "I know someone who died after a botched heart valve replacement," yadda yadda. Does anyone here seriously believe that we don't have horror stories of our own about shoddy medical care? Do you think for one moment that your fellow Canadians (or British in-laws) would trade their system for the god-awful mess we suffer under here in the US? No, I didn't think so.
The fact that there is world-class health care available to the super-rich does NOT mean that our healthcare delivery system is "the best in the world," like that d-bag Dick Armey spouted out his gob a couple days ago at CPAC.
I have spent a lot of time in Canada recently, and my friends there spoke very highly of Medicare ( what they call their single-payer system). Maybe there are problems with conservatives under-funding it, but what else is new?
So gerald, you can shill all you want for Dick Armey & his insurance racketeer paymasters, but people need to know that YOU are the one who is not being truthful.

Posted by: pointy | February 19, 2010 7:37 PM | Report abuse

"You have single payer in Canada and public option in Britain AND nobody who has had anything serious like they system."

The NHS in the UK is not "public option." NHS is a truly socialized medicine system where everyone involved in the delivery of medical care is a government employee. That British system has absolutely nothing in common with any form of public option proposed in any version of the HCR bills.

And the Democratic legislation also has nothing in common with the Canadian single payer model either.

I have traveled extensively and I am also capable of reading and research. Everything I have seen in my travels and read over many years indicates that the health care systems in place in Western Europe and Canada are widely accepted and appreciated within the populations of those countries. The data tells we spend far more in the USA and have inferior outcomes.

If you have polling data that shows that a majority of Canadians or Brits would trade places with Americans, please point us to it. Also, please explain why Tommy Douglas is a Canadian national hero, since apparently all Canadians are so displeased with the Canadian public health care system.

Until then, please stop calling others on this blog juvenile names like half-wit and liar.

Posted by: Patrick_M | February 19, 2010 7:43 PM | Report abuse

"For God's sake man, For God's sake man, a premier from Canada just came to the states for his heart treatment you half-wit! Quit lying, it so Obama of you."

... & "a premier from Canada" was probably almost run over by the stampede of thousands of middle class Americans heading in the opposite direction across the same border to buy their prescription medications at affordable prices in Canadian pharmacies.

Posted by: Patrick_M | February 19, 2010 7:51 PM | Report abuse

geraldmerits,

The Commonwealth Fund did a major study a few years ago comparing the satisfaction of adults with the health care systems in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, United Kingdom, and the United States.

Americans were the least satisfied, and yet paid far more of their own money, than the respondents in every other country surveyed.

A few highlights -

The study shows that people in the U.S. face longer wait times to see doctors and have more trouble getting care on evenings or weekends than do people in other industrialized countries.

One-third of Americans told pollsters that the U.S. health care system should be completely rebuilt, far more than residents of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, or the U.K. Just 16% of Americans said that the U.S. health care system needs only minor changes, the lowest number expressing approval among the countries surveyed.

Four in 10 U.S. adults told researchers that they had gone without needed care because of the cost, including skipping prescriptions, avoiding going to the doctor, or skipping a recommended test or treatment.

Meanwhile, 26% of Americans surveyed said that they had faced more than $1,000 in out-of-pocket health care costs in the last year, compared with 14% of Australians, and 4% of Britons.

Full study here:

http://www.commonwealthfund.org/Content/Surveys/2004/2004-Commonwealth-Fund-International-Health-Policy-Survey-of-Adults-Experiences-with-Primary-Care.aspx

Posted by: Patrick_M | February 19, 2010 11:39 PM | Report abuse

""another who _almost_ died during ROUTING gall-bladder surgery when they nicked his artery, ""

We just had a congressman in the USA who DID die when they nicked his intestines during gall bladder surgery. Your Canadian friend lived. What's your point?

Posted by: tyromania | February 19, 2010 11:40 PM | Report abuse

geraldmerits,
After reading your & pointy's back & forth posts, I would have to conclude that you are the one who lacks credibility. It sounds to me like you are one of the far right radicals trying to spread propaganda & falsehood to try to set people against the public option. I have a sister that lives in Canada & she & her husband are very well satisfied with the Canadian healthcare system. I guess when all else fails you can always resort to scare tactics.

Posted by: scorplar | February 20, 2010 12:05 AM | Report abuse

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