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Morning Fix: The Mystique of Misinformation



President Obama speaks at a town hall in Colorado last week. AP photo by Alex Brandon

As the White House seeks to regroup on health care before Congress returns next month, the president and his senior officials face a problem as old as politics: how to effectively combat misinformation about the bill.

Polling done earlier this week by NBC shows the extent of the challenge before the Obama administration. Fifty five percent of those tested said illegal immigrants would get health care under the legislation while 54 percent said they believed passage of the bill would lead to a government takeover of the system. Nearly half (45 percent) said that the legislation would allow the government to make decision about the medical care of the elderly -- hello death panels!

According to the Associated Press and the NBC Political Unit, each of those claims have -- at best -- a thread of truth to them.

No matter. Perception matters greatly in politics, a point that has been proven time and time again in the history of campaigns.

The challenge for the Obama administration is that to find ways to rebut the misinformation about the plan, is to, in essence, try to disprove a negative.

Two factors complicate those efforts.

First, because the health care bill is so complicated it is easy for those who seek to capsize the legislation to cherry-pick elements to make their case against it.

Second, the fact that the president has not come out in favor of specific elements of a bill he favors -- preferring instead to speak in terms of general principles he supports and leaving it up to Congress to hash out the specifics -- means that there is nothing hard and fast for Obama supporters around which to rally.

"The reality is that in order to sell a plan there has to be a plan, and when that day comes Obama is still the most effective spokesperson for saying what it is and what it is not," said Democratic pollster Geoff Garin.

The White House's first attempt to catalog and push back against the various charges being made against the plan was scuttled earlier this week amid claims that it amounted to a "monitoring" system of the American public.

Unbowed, the Democratic National Committee has unveiled "Setting the Record Straight" -- a Web site designed to equip Obama supporters with the information needed to combat the misinformation floating in the political ether about health care. The site is modeled on "Fight the Smears", a site set up during the campaign to respond in real-time to allegations being made against Obama and his policies.

Can a Web site turn around the perception problem the Obama Administration faces? Probably not.

And, like it or not, it's hard to look at the NBC/WSJ numbers and conclude anything other than that the opponents of reform have run a more effective campaign against the bill than its supporters have run in its favor.

How can the Obama administration ultimately win the perception battle?

Get behind a specific plan, according to Garin. "The NBC poll shows there is majority support for the basic outlines of what is likely to be the plan -- so when the public is dealing with something tangible rather than the Republicans' straw men, the debate moves to better terrain for the White House."

And, once that plan is laid out, make sure it passes, said Doug Schoen, a Democratic pollster. "A deal is the only way to rebut the criticism," said Schoen. "Bipartisan ideally, but that is increasingly unlikely to happen."

The truth is that, as the campaign showed, there is no way to totally rebut pervasive rumors. By election day 2008 there were still those voters who believed Obama was a Muslim despite scads of evidence to the contrary. What the Obama campaign had done effectively by that point, however, was marginalize those rumors -- making sure the election turned on the broader themes of hope and change.

Can they pull off that same sort of broadening when it comes to the ongoing misinformation campaign health care?

Thursday's Must Reads:

1. Ted Kennedy asks for a change in Massachusetts law in how to replace him
2. A Q&A with Jim DeMint.
3. Battleground Dallas.
4. Bobby Etheridge reconsiders a Senate bid.
5. Michael Jackson to be buried Aug. 29.

Club On Air Against Grassley, Snowe and Enzi. . .: The Club for Growth, a third-party group that has shown a willingness to hit Republicans who are not sufficiently loyal to their fiscally conservative positioning, is at it again. The Club's new ads aim to pressure Sens. Chuck Grassley (Iowa), Olympia Snowe (Maine) and Mike Enzi (Wyo.) -- the three Republican negotiators on the health care reform bill -- not to give in to Democratic demands on the legislation. "There's no harm in talking," says the ad's narrator before detailing a laundry list of alleged problems with the legislation including "government-run insurance that pushes you out of your current plan," "job killing regulations on small businesses," and "massive tax hikes." The ads, which will run in each senator's home state and are part of a $1.2 million advertising effort on health care from the Club, end by urging the trio "not to cave into the liberals on health care."

. . .Patriot Majority On Liberal Talk Radio: Patriot Majority, an issue-advocacy group that spent heavily on behalf of Democratic candidates during the 2008 election, is sponsoring radio ads on liberal talk radio shows urging supporters of the president's health care plan to stand up and be counted. The ads, which are running on the shows of Bill Press, Thom Hartmann, Stephanie Miller, Mike Malloy, Ed Schultz, Alan Combs, and the Reverend Al Sharpton, urge support for a plan that, among other things, includes the so-called "public option." The ad's narrator urges listeners to call their members of Congress and tell them "it's their patriotic duty to support health care reform." Craig Varoga, a Democratic consultant who runs Patriot Majority, said that "there's a lot of noise and disinformation out there" and the goal of the group's ads are to "get the word to Members of Congress from those who support real reform." The funding for the ads is coming from organized labor led by the Sheet Metal Workers, according to Varoga.

Lamontagne's Next Step: Businessman Ovide Lamontagne (R) will launch a Web site today to allow him to interact with New Hampshire voters, the next step in his exploration of a Senate race in the Granite State. Lamontagne has been actively considering primary bid against former New Hampshire attorney general Kelly Ayotte for weeks and, according to those close to him, is moving toward such a candidacy. Lamontagne, who was the party's 1996 nominee for governor, would almost certainly run to Ayotte's ideological right -- a potentially strong position given the makeup of the New Hampshire Republican primary. Democrats have cleared their field for Rep. Paul Hodes.

McCollum Leads in Florida: State Attorney General Bill McCollum (R) holds a 38 percent to 34 percent edge over state Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink(D) in the 2010 governor's race in the Sunshine State, according to a new Quinnipiac poll. Before Republicans rejoice, however, it's worth noting that Florida voters have only the vaguest idea about the two candidates. Nearly seven in ten voters (68 percent) said they didn't know enough about Sink to offer an opinion while 43 percent said the same of McCollum. Given the relatively low name ID scores for both candidates, money will be absolutely critical to determining a winner. Whichever candidate is able to raise more cash will be able to fund more ads to not only define themselves positively but also cast their opponent in a negative light. In a state as large and cost-prohibitive as Florida, money isn't everything, it's the only thing.

Republican Prospects Look Up in Kentucky: A new Survey USA poll in Kentucky shows that Sen. Jim Bunning's (R) decision to retire has drastically increased his party's chances of holding his seat next November. Secretary of State Trey Grayson, the Republican frontrunner, led state Attorney General Jack Conway (D) 44 percent to 37 percent and Lt. Gov. Dan Mongiardo (D) 46 percent to 40 percent in the survey, a significant improvement over Bunning's dismal poll numbers. In the battle for the Republican nomination, Grayson leads Rand Paul, the son of Texas Rep. Ron Paul 37 percent to 26 percent; Mongiardo holds a 39 percent to 31 percent edge over Conway in the Democratic primary. Those numbers, particularly on the Democratic side, may be slightly deceiving, however, as Conway has drastically outraised Mongiardo to date and sits in a far stronger position to make his case to primary voters at the moment.

Strand to DSCC: Kathleen Strand, who served as communications director for Hillary Clinton's New Hampshire campaign and for the New York senator's political action committee, has returned to her native Chicago to work as a senior adviser to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee with a special focus on the Illinois race. Strand will be tasked with keeping the open seat caused by the retirement of Sen. Roland Burris in Democratic hands in 2010. That won't be an easy task given the candidacy of Rep. Mark Kirk (R) who is widely regarded as the strongest candidate Republicans could have fielded. State Treasurer Lexi -- yes we know his full name is Alexi -- Giannoulias is the frontrunner for the Democratic nod although Cheryle Jackson, the head of the Chicago Urban League, is also running. Although Strand is working under contract with the DSCC, she will remain a partner in Dover Strategy Group, a Democratic consulting firm.

Say What?: "I haven't done anything legally wrong." -- Nevada Sen. John Ensign (R) comes clean (not) in an interview with the Associated Press.

By Chris Cillizza  |  August 20, 2009; 5:35 AM ET
Categories:  Morning Fix  
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Next: Morning Fix: Ted Kennedy and Succession Politics

Comments

Misinformation:
True, illegal aliens will not receive benefits of Health Care Reform.
ALL ILLEGALS WILL BE CITIZENS, thanks to Obama's upcoming AMNESTY gift.

Obama, you slick guy you -- Correcting "misinformation"? - Funny how you squeaked that by.

Posted by: pjcafe | August 24, 2009 11:00 AM | Report abuse

"Mystique of Misinformation." Isn't that jaked's cologne?

Posted by: nodebris | August 24, 2009 12:30 AM | Report abuse

"To try to prey on peoples religious beliefs is offensive."

I gather you are a conservative? And you offer this complaint with a straight face?

Posted by: nodebris | August 22, 2009 6:29 PM | Report abuse

"how to effectively combat misinformation"

Isn't that the purported role of a free press? The logic for free speech, and so forth, no?

Or am I confusing that with the right to chase advertising dollars?

Posted by: nodebris | August 22, 2009 6:18 PM | Report abuse

Why hasn't the issue of no social security and/or federal retiree COLAS for 2010, 2011 and possibly 2012 been addressed by the press. Let alone healthy health care premium $$$ increases starting next year. Please look into this.

Posted by: Democrat4 | August 22, 2009 4:42 PM | Report abuse


Nancy Pelosi, Democrat from California, current Speaker of the House. The Pentagon provides the House speaker with an Air Force plane large enough to accommodate her staff, family, supporters, and members of the California delegation when she travels around the country. But, Pelosi wanted routine access to a larger plane. It includes 42 business class seats, a fully-enclosed state room, an entertainment center, a private bed, state-of-the-art communications system, and a crew of 16. Pelosi wanted "carte blanche for an aircraft any time," including weekend trips home to San Francisco . Pretty nice but very expensive perk! Her Air Force C-32 costs approximately $15,000 an hour or approximately $300,000 per trip home.


And she has the guts to confront the Big Three CEOs for flying their corporate jets to Washington ! YOU WOULD THINK SHE, ALONG WITH A HUSBAND WORTH AN ESTIMATED BILLION DOLLARS, WOULD LEASE OR BUY AND FLY THEIR OWN PLANE, OR FLY FIRST CLASS ON COMMERCIAL AIRLINES LIKE OTHER RICH PEOPLE. NANCY PELOSI FACTS:


Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi's home district includes San Francisco . Star-Kist Tuna's headquarters are in San Francisco, Pelosi's home district. Star-Kist is owned by Del Monte Foods and is a major contributor to Pelosi. Star-Kist is the major employer in American Samoa employing 75% of the Samoan workforce.


Paul Pelosi, Nancy 's husband, owns $17 million dollars of Star-Kist stock. In January, 2007 when the minimum wage was increased from $5.15 to $7.25, Pelosi had American Samoa exempted from the increase so Del Monte would not have to pay the higher wage. This would make Del Monte products less expensive than their competition's.

Last week when the huge bailout bill was passed, Pelosi added an earmark to the final bill adding $33 million dollars for an 'economic development credit in American Samoa .'


Pelosi has called the Bush Administration "CORRUPT" !!


How do you spell "HYPOCRISY" ??

Posted by: lucygirl1 | August 22, 2009 12:52 PM | Report abuse

John Ensign is a man of integrity. Everybody at C Street says so.

See:

http://notionscapital.wordpress.com/2009/08/21/john-ensign-man-of-integrity/

Posted by: MikeLicht | August 22, 2009 12:45 AM | Report abuse

You see, that was much better -- simply skip right over whatever I post and don't post about it in the third person either -- now, just do that in EVERY thread.

Posted by: JakeD | August 21, 2009 6:13 PM | Report abuse

Why does everything have to be couched in terms of being a Democrat or Republican.....most of us really are not either.

==

Actually most of us are one or the other. The country is savagely polarized.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | August 21, 2009 5:22 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: JakeD | August 21, 2009 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Why does everything have to be couched in terms of being a Democrat or Republican.....most of us really are not either.....we are simply Americans working to deal with problems that face us all....get rid the of the partisanship and discuss the issue, or simply SHUT UP.

Posted by: Tawodi | August 21, 2009 12:53 PM | Report abuse

When bills are written before they are discussed, and available for everyone to see, we will defeat the threat of misinformation, but don't hold your breath, politics can only manipulate thinking when they can use misinformation.

Posted by: Tawodi | August 21, 2009 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Need a break from the Republican Attack Machine?

JK Wedding Entrance Dance
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4-94JhLEiN0

The Truth About Health Care Insurance Reform
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U0XCl6OHgiM

A Health Nation fuels a productive American Economy!

Posted by: cooday | August 21, 2009 12:28 PM | Report abuse

America needs to stop believing its own mythological hype. Individually most of you are wonderful people but collectively are the most brainwashed. The impact of the obviously misleading Republican garbage is truly amazing. A great country deteriorates by the day and this past month is proof. Only in America are misfits like Palin and Beck allowed to thrive and the "people" keep swallowing the garbage whole. I spend half my life in the US as your guest and am very grateful for the opportunity and genuinely have affection for the many people I have met but damn it people, you are losing it! So many "things" are broken and getting worse. Look at the measures that really count and you are in the middle of the pack or lower. Please let this president turn the place around with your help. Look at your options in terms of leadership. Where could you find a man 1/4 as good as Mr. Obama? Sadly the country is going down the drain and people like Limbaugh are rubbing their hands and banking obscene numbers of $$$. I watch and get sadder and more cynical.

Posted by: hercster44 | August 21, 2009 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Obama has stooped to a new low. He is now trying to make people feel guilty with religion to pass his takeover of healthcare. People wake up! This is just another political tactic of desperation. To try to prey on peoples religious beliefs is offensive. This is classic “Chicago Thug Politics”.
http://www.showusobama.com/

Posted by: mongo9584 | August 21, 2009 9:50 AM | Report abuse

If we let the government run our healthcare it will be another failure. They can’t run Medicare now and you want them to run everyone’s healthcare? That is so silly. This is nothing but another power grab by the Obama Administration. Just like the reports of a media consulting firm with ties to White House senior strategist David Axelrod has been hired to produce a multi-million dollar ad campaign touting the Obama administration's health care overhaul. How much corruption are we going to let happen before we stop it? Just like the Cash for Clunkers bill, how is getting Americans to turn in cars that are paid off and working fine helping Americans bottom line? This program is going to do the same thing as the mortgage crisis and get people who can’t afford to buy something making payments that they were not making before.
This is the same thinking and policy making that decided that after a mortgage mess that the best thing to do is offer people 8K to buy houses. How is that going to help? You are just tempting people to buy things that they can’t afford. Isn’t this how our economy got in this predicament anyway? We need to elect leaders that can make decisions and write legislation that makes since. Not dream up a cockamamie scam to stimulate the economy and wreck it. It is time to elect leaders that have brains and that are not under the thumb of special interest and lobbyist. By the way, ask yourself this question...Why isn’t the Obama administrations putting the same sort of effort that they are putting into the healthcare take over and put Americans back to work? He did promise that he would do that. What is more important to you?
VOTE FOR REAL CHANGE!! ELECT A NEW CONGRESS IN 2010!!
http://www.showusobama.com/

Posted by: mongo9584 | August 21, 2009 9:44 AM | Report abuse

No need to scream, but especially call these Blue Dog Dems (202) 224-3121:

Rep. Mike Ross of Arkansas, Rep. Jim Marshall of Georgia, Rep. Patrick Murphy of Pennsylvania, and Reps. Jim Cooper and John Tanner of Tennessee, as well as:

Rep. Earl Pomeroy (D-ND), Rep. Bart Gordon (D-Tenn), Rep. Jim Matheson (D-Utah), Rep. Allen Boyd (D-Fla), Rep. Mike Thompson (D-Calif), Rep. David Scott (D-Ga), Rep. Marion Berry (D-Ark), Rep. Dennis Moore (D-Kan), Rep. Jason Altmire (D-Pa),
Rep. Mike McIntyre (D-NC),
Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas), Rep. Baron Hill (D-Ind), Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif), Rep. Tim Holden (D-Pa), Rep. Sanford D Bishop Jr (D-Ga), Rep. John Barrow (D-Ga), Rep. Dennis Cardoza (D-Calif), Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (D-SD), Rep. Leonard L Boswell (D-Iowa), Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif), Rep. Charles J Melancon (D-La), Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz), Rep. Dan Boren (D-Okla), Rep. Gene Taylor (D-Miss), Rep. Mike Michaud (D-Maine), Rep. Parker Griffith (D-Ala), Rep. Lincoln Davis (D-Tenn), Rep. Collin C Peterson (D-Minn), Rep. Ben Chandler (D-Ky), Rep. Heath Shuler (D-NC), Rep. John Salazar (D-Colo), Rep. Chris Carney (D-Pa), Rep. Zachary T Space (D-Ohio), Rep. Joe Baca (D-Calif), Rep. Brad Ellsworth (D-Ind), Rep. Charlie Wilson (D-Ohio), Rep. Walter Clifford Minnick (D-Idaho), Rep. Glenn Nye (D-Va), Rep. Harry E Mitchell (D-Ariz), Rep. Michael Arcuri (D-NY), Rep. Jim Costa (D-Calif), Rep. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind), Rep. Frank M Kratovil Jr (D-Md), Rep. Travis W Childers (D-Miss), Rep. Bobby Bright (D-Ala), and Rep. Kathleen Dahlkemper (D-Pa)
Posted by: JakeD | August 20, 2009 4:06 PM

Every Progressive that wants real healthcare reform, should take our favorite troll's advise and spend at least 1 hour of their time before Congress comes back into session in Sept and tell these Blue Dogs that if they expect to receive our hard earned DNC contributions used in their 2010 election campaigns, they need to come back in September and begin to line up and support our President on healthcare reform.

Its called Push Back against the angry United Healthcare/Lewin Group orchistrated mobs. I suggest that we post this message on every available political blog site.

Posted by: leichtman | August 21, 2009 8:43 AM | Report abuse

Obama, as president, seems quite different from Obama, the candidate, who made all kinds of nice sounding promises. He seems, as most of his predecessors during the previous century, to enjoy being president, especially an imperial presidency, more than adhering to campaign promises, especially about controlling the influence of special interest groups.

As president he gives, as he did as a candidate, mostly fine speeches. But he has developed a clear pattern of being deferential toward special interest groups in the Democratic party, as well as private health care insurance companies, financial institutions and energy companies, who usually support conservatives, reactionaries in both parties. Had I known he would be showing such poor leadership, especially on the vital issue of health care reform, I would have supported Hillary Clinton instead of Barack Obama. She would be showing much stronger, decisive leadership with true health care reform, if she was president.

Posted by: Aprogressiveindependent | August 21, 2009 2:33 AM | Report abuse

margaretmeyers:

Did you read the posts here by your compatriots admitting that illegal aliens will get healthcare if this bill passes?

Posted by: JakeD | August 21, 2009 1:18 AM | Report abuse

I know I've posted this before, but I'll say it again because there are so many new posters. The model for the reformed program is the Federal Employee Health Benefit program (FEHB). Every Federal employee (including Congress -- so everyone who wants the same coverage Specter has should be supporting this) across the country gets coverage this way.

1) Federal bean counters write different kinds of policies following sound medical standards. These include HMOs, hi deduct/lo premium, and traditional BC/BS type insurance.
2) The same insurance companies everyone else uses bid to be included in the Federal exchange. Their policies have to meet the standards written and because they will be competing for a portion of a very large pool, they have to price their policies competitively.
3) Once a year I can review all the policies and pick the one that suits my family and my purse best. The price is the same for a year (one price for an individual employee, a higher price for an employee with a family).The price is the same to all employees -- it is not higher because I am now 53, not 28, or because I have been diagnosed with feline leukemia.
4) I pay 1/3 of the premium, my employer pays 2/3 (just like you do -- if you are lucky and have employer-based insurance).
5) This federally administered program pays for itself while providing well-defined coverage at a good price. My BC/BS policy is $550 a month for my family of 4.
6) The insurance companies are making enough money that they WANT to be included in this program. I live in Philadelphia and I can choose from about 15 different policies Aetna, Amerihealth, Kaiser, etc.
7) My insurer NEVER touches my bank account. My share is taken from my paycheck and direct deposited to the insurer. Uncle Sammy and BC/BS do NOT touch my bank accounts. REALLY.

The gov't is already running several successful medical insurance programs. They also run the ret. military coverage that Sestak credits for saving his daughter, the VA hospitals that have shown great improvement and Medicare (my friends in their late 50s look forward to the day they qualify). This program keeps Kennedy and Byrd reporting for work (for now) and has continued to cover Specter.
None of these guys were dropped because they were no longer profitable to their insurer.
None were denied coverage because of pre-existing conditions.
None of these guys report being interviewed by death panels.

A lot of people who do not now have coverage could pay $550 a month for coverage themselves. Also, I'm sure my group of self-employed neighbors, all in their 50s and paying around 2K a month for insurance, would be glad to participate in such a program.

Posted by: margaretmeyers | August 20, 2009 11:16 PM | Report abuse

“There are only two possibilities here,” Mr. Webb said in introducing his bill, noting that America imprisons so many more people than other countries. “Either we have the most evil people on earth living in the United States, or we are doing something dramatically wrong in terms of how we approach the issue of criminal justice.”


No Shyte. The more I see of this Sen Webb guy, the more I like.

Posted by: bsimon1 | August 20, 2009 11:13 PM | Report abuse

Looks to me like the bill can't discriminate on that basis.

They have to provide health care. So why not opt out? Pay the fine and be happy and get health care anyhow. Plus if I need heatlh insurance I just walk in and get it then.

Posted by: leichtman
I was absolutely serious about my suggestion that all Rs and radical Is who oppose healthcare reform should be allowed the right to opt out of all coverage and when they choose to go bare and show up sick at their county hospital they should be denied treatment(unless they have cash or a credit card) no matter how ill they are. Furthermore, if they refuse coverage, have a catostrophic illness they can not pay for and somehow manage to get ER treatment they should then be denied Bankruptcy protection and be hounded by hospital bill collectors.

Posted by: win1 | August 20, 2009 10:08 PM | Report abuse

From Kristof in the NYT:

"“Decriminalization has had no adverse effect on drug usage rates in Portugal,” notes a report this year from the Cato Institute. It notes that drug use appears to be lower in Portugal than in most other European countries, and that Portuguese public opinion is strongly behind this approach.

A new United Nations study, World Drug Report 2009, commends the Portuguese experiment and urges countries to continue to pursue traffickers while largely avoiding imprisoning users. Instead, it suggests that users, particularly addicts, should get treatment.
Senator Webb has introduced legislation that would create a national commission to investigate criminal justice issues — for such a commission may be the best way to depoliticize the issue and give feckless politicians the cover they need to institute changes.

“There are only two possibilities here,” Mr. Webb said in introducing his bill, noting that America imprisons so many more people than other countries. “Either we have the most evil people on earth living in the United States, or we are doing something dramatically wrong in terms of how we approach the issue of criminal justice.”

And decrim, coupled with taxation and regulation of MJ, could be an additional funding source for health care.

GAT, I like Webb as my early D for 2016. I wish I could name an early R choice, but a fiscally conservative socially libertarian Indie like me sees the Rs drifting away, while the Ds are coming back on maintaining a strong military. Webb and Sestak are our kind of Ds, but could have been our kind of Rs at one time.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | August 20, 2009 10:02 PM | Report abuse

Here is how the bill covers illegal aliens for health care.

Subtitle C Section 246 specifically refers to the affordibility credits only.

Subtitle F Section 152 would require that they get health care, including insurance.

Subtitle C—Individual Affordability Credits
Sec. 241. Availability through Health Insurance Exchange.
Sec. 242. Affordable credit eligible individual.
Sec. 243. Affordable premium credit.
Sec. 244. Affordability cost-sharing credit.
Sec. 245. Income determinations.
Sec. 246. No Federal payment for undocumented aliens.
SEC. 246. NO FEDERAL PAYMENT FOR UNDOCUMENTED ALIENS.
Nothing in this subtitle shall allow Federal payments for
affordability credits on behalf of individuals who are not lawfully
present in the United States.

Subtitle F—Relation to Other Requirements; Miscellaneous
Sec. 151. Relation to other requirements.
Sec. 152. Prohibiting discrimination in health care.
SEC. 152. PROHIBITING DISCRIMINATION IN HEALTH CARE.
Sec. 154. Construction regarding collective bargaining.
Sec. 155. Severability.

(a) In General.--Except as otherwise explicitly permitted by this
Act and by subsequent regulations consistent with this Act, all health
care and related services (including insurance coverage and public
health activities) covered by this Act shall be provided without regard
to personal characteristics extraneous to the provision of high quality
health care or related services.
(b) Implementation.--To implement the requirement set forth in
subsection (a), the Secretary of Health and Human Services shall, not
later than 18 months after the date of the enactment of this Act,
promulgate such regulations as are necessary or appropriate to insure
that all health care and related services (including insurance coverage
and public health activities) covered by this Act are provided (whether
directly or through contractual, licensing, or other arrangements)
without regard to personal characteristics extraneous to the provision
of high quality health care or related services.

Posted by: win1 | August 20, 2009 9:58 PM | Report abuse

and tell them that if they want any more DNC money to run their 2010 campaigns with, to get on board and support their President on healthcare. I have already spoken to 2 waivering Texas Congressmen's staff and they are getting that message loud and clear.

==

(high-fives leichtman) Great work!

BTW our troll only got four responses all day. Regret to say two were yours. Let's let him twist in the wind, wot?

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | August 20, 2009 9:28 PM | Report abuse

"No need to scream, but especially call these Blue Dog Dems (202) 224-3121: "

and tell them that if they want any more DNC money to run their 2010 campaigns with, to get on board and support their President on healthcare. I have already spoken to 2 waivering Texas Congressmen's staff and they are getting that message loud and clear.

Posted by: leichtman | August 20, 2009 8:41 PM | Report abuse

"BTW another insurance company just dropped Beck. 20+ sponsors so far. The end may be near. Keep the effort going through colorofchange.org."

It's just mindboggling how well this has worked. I'm surprised Beck is still even on.

Posted by: DDAWD | August 20, 2009 8:14 PM | Report abuse

"Just as it's simply not journalism to report on a "controversy" about BHO's birth certificate, it's not okay to simply report on idiotic disinformation about health reform. You can't "report" Joe Blow said yesterday that water isn't wet. You have to push back--that's journalism."

Well, my point wasn't for the WaPo itself. It was just for this political blog. I do agree that the paper should be doing more investigative journalism (although this paper is still one of the best. It was this paper that broke the East European renditions under Bush.)

Woodward and Bernstein were investigative journalists. That's what they do. Chris C isn't. His niche is different.

I think the paper is relatively good about the nonsense news stuff. It's really cable that seems to distort what's going on.

Posted by: DDAWD | August 20, 2009 8:07 PM | Report abuse

BTW another insurance company just dropped Beck. 20+ sponsors so far. The end may be near. Keep the effort going through colorofchange.org.

Posted by: broadwayjoe | August 20, 2009 8:05 PM | Report abuse

Today's busiest posters:

1 GoldandTanzanite 43
2 Leichtman 33
T3 Mindinmidland 32
T3 Visionbrkr 32
5 JakeD 30
T6 Drindl 15
T6 Shrink2 15
8 DDAWD 13
9 Nosy_Park 12
10 FairlingtonBlade 10
11 bobbywc 7
T12 Angle12106 5
T12 Mark_in_austin 5
T12 Scrivener50 5

I'll leave it to the community as to whether or not today's conversation was more interesting.

Cheers

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | August 20, 2009 8:02 PM | Report abuse

G&T: let's petition to bring Ben out of retirement. I'm sure he still has his A game.

Posted by: broadwayjoe | August 20, 2009 8:00 PM | Report abuse

@BWJ: The Post was under stewardship on Benjamin Bradlee back in the Watergate time. Them was the days.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | August 20, 2009 7:55 PM | Report abuse

Just as it's simply not journalism to report on a "controversy" about BHO's birth certificate, it's not okay to simply report on idiotic disinformation about health reform. You can't "report" Joe Blow said yesterday that water isn't wet. You have to push back--that's journalism.

==

And it's core to the press' responsibility to report lies as lies. But they seem to have settled into a "not taking sides" kind of mode which will always favor the liars. He said, she said, oh,it's all so complicated, and who gets to decide?

Contemptible.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | August 20, 2009 7:52 PM | Report abuse

Hi BWJ -I agree with you and want to add that I have responded to every email that suggests euthanasia and rationing by laying out the real debate points and debunking the phony ones. I have copied my originator's mailing list. I have made clear my own preferences, but segregated them from the body of the response, so the recipient could weigh my perspective. I think we each have a responsibility to do that if we are better informed than our friends and clients who send us imaginary stuff.

To the poster pretending to be Jindal I will patiently say that I am on Medicare and thus am a 66 year old relying on the federal government for my health insurance. Nothing about that changes with these bills.

For another take on this issue with which I agree, see:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/08/19/AR2009081902261.html?hpid=opinionsbox1

If it was posted already, I apologize.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | August 20, 2009 7:51 PM | Report abuse

As for the Fix, it's a political column, not a policy one. You may as well say that Wilbon should be taking an active role in this discussion as well.

Posted by: DDAWD | August 20, 2009 7:38 PM
_______________
Thank goodness Woodward and Bernstein didn't follow that approach. The Post used to be about speaking the truth to power. Back in the Katherine Graham day. Now in the Fred Hiatt era...Oh well.


Just as it's simply not journalism to report on a "controversy" about BHO's birth certificate, it's not okay to simply report on idiotic disinformation about health reform. You can't "report" Joe Blow said yesterday that water isn't wet. You have to push back--that's journalism.

Posted by: broadwayjoe | August 20, 2009 7:48 PM | Report abuse

"It shouldn't be totally on BHO to push back against the disinformation. The media, including Fix as an employee of the national political paper of record, has a duty to refute--every day--the lies being told about the health care reforms."

Well, if the media is not going to push back, it falls on Obama to do so. It's not ideal, but it's reality. The press is going to push what Palin and Limbaugh says. Not what's in any bill.

As for the Fix, it's a political column, not a policy one. You may as well say that Wilbon should be taking an active role in this discussion as well.

Posted by: DDAWD | August 20, 2009 7:38 PM | Report abuse

goldandtanzanite -- yeah, i always get this mental picture of some hairy, burly, fatbellied, unemployed loser, dressed in a dirty undershrit, sitting on a half-destroyed couch, surrounded by empty beer cans and pizza boxes, watching sports on TV and whining about his ex-wife, that no-good b**ch who left him, and kicking his dog.

Posted by: drindl | August 20, 2009 1:11 PM
+++++++
That's the same guy who shows up at every Phalin hate rally, birther conference, and teabagging event. Same guy.

Posted by: broadwayjoe | August 20, 2009 7:35 PM | Report abuse

I disagree with the overall theme of the post.

It shouldn't be totally on BHO to push back against the disinformation. The media, including Fix as an employee of the national political paper of record, has a duty to refute--every day--the lies being told about the health care reforms. These polls I'm seeing are absurd: the respondents have no knowledge base whatsoever regarding any of the health care reforms. The little information they have, e.g., death panels, is the nonsense being pushed by Fox News, Big Pharma, and the organized hate community that opposes anything BHO is for. BTW, does anyone think those domestic terrorists who show up at BHO events armed to the gills are looking to "debate" single payer or the public option?

____

@Don Diego: from Bernando--Sgt. Garcia cannot win against a Hydra :)

Posted by: broadwayjoe | August 20, 2009 7:24 PM | Report abuse

Of course, now the conservatives will ask next week why global warming hasn't been solved yet if this program was so successful.

==

Unless it's sneer-quoted I don't call these uh people "conservatives." I remember when conservatism was a legitimate political outlook that I didn't agree with but could respect. What we have now is neither legitimate nor deserving of respect. Certainly not since they whatever you call them pushed for the legitimization of torture. And since then they've just gone nuts.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | August 20, 2009 7:16 PM | Report abuse

BTW: FairlingtonBlade (since you are the one keeping track) are 27 posts by me "better" now compared to 38 posts by "GoldAndTanzanite" aka "chrisfox8", 24 posts by "mikeinmidland", and 12 posts by DDAWD?

Posted by: JakeD | August 20, 2009 7:16 PM | Report abuse

"Half a million guzzlers off the roads and replaced by higher mileage vehicles? Can you imagine this under the previous administration, where looking out for the oil companies was always job one?

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite"

Of course, now the conservatives will ask next week why global warming hasn't been solved yet if this program was so successful.

Posted by: DDAWD | August 20, 2009 7:12 PM | Report abuse

I'm not going to Sitka still for this! I can't Barrow it any longer. I'm going Homer now ;-)

==

Oh don't be such a Prudhoe

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | August 20, 2009 7:10 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, who cares if it's Constitutional or not?

Posted by: JakeD | August 20, 2009 7:03 PM | Report abuse

I agree that it's important to get it right. However, I do recognize that slow reimbursement puts an onus on the car dealerships. Remember that these guys need to borrow money to get the cars and then pay off the loans. This system kind of gets screwed up if they aren't getting money for their cars. I think this problem should be taken care of soon, though.

==

Half a million guzzlers off the roads and replaced by higher mileage vehicles? Can you imagine this under the previous administration, where looking out for the oil companies was always job one?

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | August 20, 2009 6:57 PM | Report abuse

What about to anyone who knows about "chrisfox8" getting "banned"?

Posted by: JakeD | August 20, 2009 6:55 PM | Report abuse

"DDAWD, Do you really think any honest person want the Federal government sending out that rebate money without checking over the applications closely? Can you imagine the hue and dry in certain quarters if, in the course of a speedy reimbursement, massive fraud were discovered?"

I agree that it's important to get it right. However, I do recognize that slow reimbursement puts an onus on the car dealerships. Remember that these guys need to borrow money to get the cars and then pay off the loans. This system kind of gets screwed up if they aren't getting money for their cars. I think this problem should be taken care of soon, though.

Posted by: DDAWD | August 20, 2009 6:55 PM | Report abuse

Wait, the government WILL have control over medical care for the elderly right if there is a public option, right? All elderly people who use the government as their insurer will have their claims accepted or rejected by the government. How is that belief in inaccurate? The death panels idea is inaccurate, but not the idea that government will make care decisions for elderly Americans, right?

Posted by: Jindal2012

==

This post is its own parody, to anyone who knows about Jindal's approach to healthcare

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | August 20, 2009 6:50 PM | Report abuse

Wait, the government WILL have control over medical care for the elderly right if there is a public option, right? All elderly people who use the government as their insurer will have their claims accepted or rejected by the government. How is that belief in inaccurate? The death panels idea is inaccurate, but not the idea that government will make care decisions for elderly Americans, right?

Posted by: Jindal2012 | August 20, 2009 6:48 PM | Report abuse

DDAWD, Do you really think any honest person want the Federal government sending out that rebate money without checking over the applications closely? Can you imagine the hue and dry in certain quarters if, in the course of a speedy reimbursement, massive fraud were discovered?

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | August 20, 2009 6:26 PM | Report abuse

"The Cash for Clunkers program got 457,000 cars sold. Dealerships and factories hired people. To call that a failure is nothing more or less than a lie."

The one complaint is that the government is dragging its feet in repaying the dealerships for the program.

(does the term "dragging its feet" imply intent?)

Posted by: DDAWD | August 20, 2009 6:20 PM | Report abuse

I'm not going to Sitka still for this! I can't Barrow it any longer. I'm going Homer now ;-)

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | August 20, 2009 6:19 PM | Report abuse

Juneau if she's running for President? If not, Alaska.

==

Eye doe Nome

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | August 20, 2009 6:15 PM | Report abuse

The Cash for Clunkers program got 457,000 cars sold. Dealerships and factories hired people. To call that a failure is nothing more or less than a lie.

Republicans don't like it because

(1) it's "distorting the market" and they have this nütt¥ belief in a "pristine undistorted market" that is the source of all goodness

(2) it was an Obama initiative

Small wonder they deprecate it.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | August 20, 2009 6:12 PM | Report abuse

"But more seriously, how can you say you voted for Sarah Palin? You seem like you can think your way out of a paper bag."

Also the whole thing about her never have had run for anything outside Alaska.

Juneau if she's running for President? If not, Alaska.

hahaha, I crack myself up.

Posted by: DDAWD | August 20, 2009 6:02 PM | Report abuse

Well angie, I agree the health "reform" effort looks to be a give away to everyone who already has hooves in the trough.

So far, the Democrats should just offer cash incentives to anyone who agrees to vote Democrat for life and get it over with.

But more seriously, how can you say you voted for Sarah Palin? You seem like you can think your way out of a paper bag.

Our only alternatives are Fox News crazy people and the Goldman Obama cabal? Sheesh.

Gone for a swim, you people are a lot more fun when you are not insulting each other full time.


Posted by: shrink2 | August 20, 2009 5:55 PM | Report abuse

angie12106:

I would actually be in favor of mandatory "Living Wills" at age 21 -- those youngsters will mostly select all heroic measures since everyone says it's "free", right -- the undue influence on the other end of the spectrum, after age 65, re-visiting the subject every 5 years (or less if your health is critical) is what I am more concerned about.

Once again, the failure of "Cash for Clunkers" can be discussed on this thread:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/08/20/AR2009082002699_Comments.html

Posted by: JakeD | August 20, 2009 5:50 PM | Report abuse

I'm guessing that Rs are just jealous that they didn't think up the program. Can you imagine how they would be busting a gut right now reminding voters how brilliant they were if the program was their's. Unfortunately these folks are pulling against American success. They are praying that the CFC failed and disappointed it didn't, that the stimulus fails, and that healthacre reform fails. What true blooded patriots they are. Heck their party leaders are even stating how if America fails the R party wins. Again the sick are not just Ds or poor Americans. Illness strikes us all Rs and Ds rich an poor,and its time we should all be working for healthcare reform and stop dreaming up ways to stop it.

Posted by: leichtman | August 20, 2009 5:47 PM | Report abuse

Shrink2 wrote: >>>What do Republicans who do not cleave unto FOX do when it comes time to vote?

We research - and don't rely on the CORPORATE media and their talking heads to influence our opinions.
We voted for Sarah Palin, but knew immediately that her claims of "death panels" was INACCURATE! Every adult should have a Living Will - Terry Schiavo didn't have one and she was young.

But our culture doesn't encourage young adults to make a Living Will - because "we're not going to die young."

Posted by: angie12106 | August 20, 2009 5:41 PM | Report abuse

leichtman, Please also don't forget that Ray LaHood is a Republican. Talk about bipartisanship in action!

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | August 20, 2009 5:38 PM | Report abuse

I was absolutely serious about my suggestion that all Rs and radical Is who oppose healthcare reform should be allowed the right to opt out of all coverage and when they choose to go bare and show up sick at their county hospital they should be denied treatment(unless they have cash or a credit card) no matter how ill they are. Furthermore, if they refuse coverage, have a catostrophic illness they can not pay for and somehow manage to get ER treatment they should then be denied Bankruptcy protection and be hounded by hospital bill collectors.

Posted by: leichtman | August 20, 2009 5:37 PM | Report abuse

No, angie12106, try reading H.R. 3200 some day.

Posted by: JakeD | August 20, 2009 5:36 PM | Report abuse

"Cash for Clunkers" is off-topic for this thread. Try over here to see why the program was a FAILURE:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/08/20/AR2009082002699_Comments.html

Posted by: JakeD | August 20, 2009 5:34 PM | Report abuse

JakeD wrote: >>>Perhaps YOU can enlighten us whether my healthy 22-year old grand-daughter can continue with NO health insurance if mandated-coverage gets passed?

Sure. And THANK YOU for paying her UNEXPECTED medical expenses, rather than the taxpayers enrolled in the Public Option.

We are Republicans and LOVE our "socialized medicine" - Medicare!
And the military loves their "socialized medicine" - TriCare!

Posted by: angie12106 | August 20, 2009 5:34 PM | Report abuse

nusereporter should check out how wildly succesful the CFC program has been before he post his hate government drivel:

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced Thursday that after a wildly successful run, the cash for clunkers program will come to a close on Monday, August 24th at 8 p.m. EDT.

"This program has been a lifeline to the automobile industry, jump starting a major sector of the economy and putting people back to work," Secretary LaHood said. "At the same time, we’ve been able to take old, polluting cars off the road and help consumers purchase fuel efficient vehicles."

Posted by: leichtman | August 20, 2009 5:30 PM | Report abuse

angie12106

What do Republicans who do not cleave unto FOX do when it comes time to vote?

Who are you leaders?

Posted by: shrink2 | August 20, 2009 5:27 PM | Report abuse

NuzReporter wrote: >>>Haha. They just shut down the Cash for Clunkers program! They couldn't even run that right! What a joke?

The program is being "shut down" because the $3B has been used.
Did you want Congress to pass MORE billions for the clunker program?
Didn't think so.

Posted by: angie12106 | August 20, 2009 5:27 PM | Report abuse

jvlem:

Perhaps YOU can enlighten us whether my healthy 22-year old grand-daughter can continue with NO health insurance if mandated-coverage gets passed?

Posted by: JakeD | August 20, 2009 5:27 PM | Report abuse

1) How about -- Obama, get back to me when you have a plan. Then we will talk!

2) Very sad about Senator Kennedy. But, if a senator can no longer do his or her job, should he or she step down?

Posted by: mihalick | August 20, 2009 5:25 PM | Report abuse

leichtman:

Please try harder to "ignore" me next time. I was asking that question to someone else.

Posted by: JakeD | August 20, 2009 5:23 PM | Report abuse

@ visionbrkr - So that explains all those auto plants being set up by Toyota, Honda, BMW, etc. in the U.S. instead of countries where wages are a tenth. It's called productivity, bubba.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | August 20, 2009 5:23 PM | Report abuse

Some of the misconceptions that Repubs believe about health care reform makes them appear stupid.
But when you follow the origins of the misconceptions - they lead straight to Fox News, Hannity, Rush....

We are Republicans but have stopped watching Fox because of all the misconceptions they're peddling.

Public Option - YES!!

Posted by: angie12106 | August 20, 2009 5:22 PM | Report abuse

no jake we all want you and your grand daughter to show up at your local county hospital without health insurance so we can all pay for her free healthcare through our county taxes. We all feel that is the best resolution for you, your grand daughter and for your county. Isn't it interesting that Rs and right wing independents like you now prefer a free lunch. How ironic. I was instructed to ignore you so please do not bother to respond.

Posted by: leichtman | August 20, 2009 5:21 PM | Report abuse

OMG! Is "visionbrkr" actually "king_of_zouk"? That's all it will take for Cillizza's long journey to the dark side to be complete."

LOL!!!

Posted by: JakeD | August 20, 2009 5:13 PM | Report abuse

actually no. I normally post on Ezra Klein's healthcare info but saw this and HAD to post with all the fun people here.

See you later all this employer's got to figure out which employee's I'm going to be dumping onto the public plan when it becomes available . . .

(add sinister laugh here).

Posted by: visionbrkr | August 20, 2009 5:17 PM | Report abuse

The delicious irony of today's Morning Fix: "The Mystique of Misinformation" (i.e. "banned" posters back on a thread under new names)

Posted by: JakeD | August 20, 2009 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Haha. They just shut down the Cash for Clunkers program! They couldn't even run that right! What a joke?

Posted by: nuzreporter | August 20, 2009 5:17 PM | Report abuse

"turn the US into a socialist Muslim state"

B202 understatement is a virtue, but today we learned here that this Obama plot includes fascism and communism as a big part of the socialist Muslim state.

Could you imagine reading this, being a person who has had direct experience of these differences? Say, someone in the Balkans. Americans toss these words around as adjectives, as if there were no noun.

Posted by: shrink2 | August 20, 2009 5:16 PM | Report abuse

OMG! Is "visionbrkr" actually "king_of_zouk"? That's all it will take for Cillizza's long journey to the dark side to be complete."

LOL!!!

Posted by: JakeD | August 20, 2009 5:13 PM | Report abuse

OK, in 24 years I was 0 for 3 in having my deductibles cross over when I changed jobs. That's NEVER for ME. Why would the new carrier allow it? Out of the goodness of their little profit motive?

Posted by: mikeinmidland | August 20, 2009 5:00 PM | Report abuse

haha. no it depends on your state you live in if its allowed, and I would have suggested speaking to your HR dept. Many times deductibles carry over for only part of the year. Also its a fairly new adjustment to insurance so if you're talking say 10+ years ago it wasn't around then.

Posted by: visionbrkr | August 20, 2009 5:13 PM | Report abuse

you're serious right? Labor costs, sure LABOR costs in the US are 10x what they are on other countries, South Korea etc. HOw is the US ever going to complete in a true world auto market? Let me tell you dimwit, THEY WON'T

==

Ah, so we should reduce our wages to the level of rural India so we can "compete in the global marketplace."

I should let you know that I don't believe in this economic determinism crap.

Anyway, no thanks.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | August 20, 2009 5:12 PM | Report abuse

FINALLY! Something I can agree with "Gator-ron" about. I knew if I just hung in there long enough, this glorious day would come!

Posted by: JakeD | August 20, 2009 5:08 PM | Report abuse

GoldandBS,

you're serious right? Labor costs, sure LABOR costs in the US are 10x what they are on other countries, South Korea etc. HOw is the US ever going to complete in a true world auto market? Let me tell you dimwit, THEY WON'T. Stop trying to throw crap against a wall until it sticks.

I guess the only industries out there are the 3 you mentioned. Simple, Simple, Simple.

Posted by: visionbrkr | August 20, 2009 5:08 PM | Report abuse

B2O2:

I honestly want to know -- zero "disinformation" here as I am quoting directly from Sec. 401 of H.R. 3200 -- if my grand daughter doesn't get "acceptable" health insurance coverage, the IRS will, or will not, fine her 2.5% percent of the excess of (1) the taxpayer’s modified adjusted gross income for the taxable year, or (2) the amount of gross income specified in section 6012(a)(1) with respect to said taxpayer?

Posted by: JakeD | August 20, 2009 5:06 PM | Report abuse

Chris, I think it was Flanders that had the textile industry monopoly that went bad, Ghent and Bruges. Black Death was a big part of the collapse. The English figured out how to make cloth from wool somehow.

But otherwise, carry on!

Posted by: shrink2 | August 20, 2009 5:04 PM | Report abuse

I think that the health insurers have pushed to have people be forced to get health insurance. That is something that I disagree with.

I do think that after the law goes into effect that anyone who has declined health insurance should have to wait 12 to 18 months to enroll.

Posted by: Gator-ron | August 20, 2009 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Hillary is fortunate she does not have to deal with the healthcare debate.

For all of those screaming at Obama please understand that he gets paid his salary whether or not anything gets done. This is about us not him and whether we will be able to afford healthcare which currently is bankrupting millions; Rs and Ds alike. It just seems odd doesn't it, that we claim to be the most prosperous educated country in the world and yet we tolerate having 47 million Americans uninsurred. The GOP attitude is I got mine the heck with those people, heck some of those lazy folks are only working 2-3 jobs to make their way, why should they expect to have healthcare, that should only be for the affluent. One pont that no one seems to hear is how our current healthcare system makes our corporations uncompetitve in the international markets. That is capitalism at its worst. Seems like all good patriotic Americans should be pulling for this to work. And for those clammering we are going too fast, do you not understand that FDR was having a similar debate about healthcare in 1932; 77 years ago. Isn't that long enough?

Posted by: leichtman | August 20, 2009 5:03 PM | Report abuse

DDAWD: agreed. Sorry I missed your post trying to explain my own insurance experiences.

Posted by: mikeinmidland | August 20, 2009 5:02 PM | Report abuse

When the majority of Republicans think Obama is a Manchurian candidate plot that started unleashed in early 1960s Kenya to turn the US into a socialist Muslim state, misinformation has become patriotic amongst a sorry fraction of our populace.

It is as hard to combat that as it is a raging flu epidemic. You just have to wait for the disgusting virus of rightwing radio disinfo to blow over and for health and sanity to return to the population. Sadly, some people make it a point of "patriotic pride" to spread these pathogens of untruth throughout our great country.

Shame on these people. And you know who you are.

Posted by: B2O2 | August 20, 2009 5:01 PM | Report abuse

My fear with the Govt. management of any element of health care has to do with politics, regardless of which party is in office. Politicians greatest concern is votes, followed closely by campaign contributions use to get more votes. The result is that once a national program is in place with million of beneficiaries, it will only grow as whomever is in office seeks favor with some new batch of potential voters. One result is that strategic decisions about the future course of a program are political - and not always the best for the long term.
For example, Social Security would likely be declared a Ponzi scheme if it were run by a corporation. Taking in money today to pay benefits accrued and promised years ago. It got this way because of politics. And SS is refered to as a "third rail" Just trying to touch it can result in political death. A national health program, somehow supported by tax payer dollars WILL end up the same way. Probably not in the possible 7 years the current administration has but it is inevitable.
The other challenge is the public option or partial public option or whatever we might end up with. My private insurance premium runs about 15% of my pay - with me paying 100% of any annual increases. If I were even lower paid, the percentage would rise to perhaps as much as 20%. This seems like a clear case of where the employer would dump the private plan and pay a percentage as yet another Govt. quasi-tax. Where would this leave me? Either pay all my own med. bills or be swallowed up by a mind numbing federal bureaucracy.
The current examples of how that might turn out include the Cash for Clunker program. Claims for FIXED amounts of money authorized by a very distinct set of FIXED rules for very specific services are far behind in being paid for a finite number of cars.
I can only imagine the staggering bureaucracy that will be built to process a limitless number of claims with almost an infinite number of variations. I CAN imagine healthcare capturing 40 or 50 percent of GDP, esp. if the government ends up "running" major portions of it.

Posted by: jdonaldson1 | August 20, 2009 5:01 PM | Report abuse

OK, in 24 years I was 0 for 3 in having my deductibles cross over when I changed jobs. That's NEVER for ME. Why would the new carrier allow it? Out of the goodness of their little profit motive?

Posted by: mikeinmidland | August 20, 2009 5:00 PM | Report abuse

If she doesn't get "acceptable" health insurance, the IRS is not going to fine her 2.5% percent of the excess of (1) the taxpayer’s modified adjusted gross income for the taxable year, or (2) the amount of gross income specified in section 6012(a)(1) with respect to said taxpayer? Because that's what Sec. 401 of H.R. 3200 currently says.

Posted by: JakeD | August 20, 2009 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Yes, their healthcare obligations suddenly changed. They are no longer on the hook for unlimited no-co-pay insurance for all those retirees. The union got a fixed amount in a fund to administer for the retirees, and the company is off the hook. Weren't you paying attention? That's what a bankruptcy DOES.

I get it. You wanted them all to fail. And you want lower unemployment. Oh, and no illegals. Here's my suggestion: try being a migrant farm worker for a while, and come back and tell us how you liked it.

Posted by: mikeinmidland | August 20, 2009 4:57 PM | Report abuse


No, sorry, they don't. It was even the SAME carrier the last time (Blue Cross/Blue Shield). But a different policy because it was a different company.

Both companies actually self-insure, so BC/BS was just the administrator. Getting the picture? Employee-based health insurance is pretty good, but it is very easy to lose.

Posted by: mikeinmidland | August 20, 2009 4:46 PM | Report abuse


what about NOT ALWAYS did you not understand??? Just sucks that your plan didn't. I'm guessing that was the insurers fault.

Posted by: visionbrkr | August 20, 2009 4:56 PM | Report abuse

you see now that's where you're wrong. What's to stop them from FAILING again. Did their healthcare obligation suddenly change? Did the unions stop running the show??

If you want AIG to fail (as most did) then you should let them ALL FAIL. Who says we need to be a country that manufactures cars?? We couldn't just import them?? Why allow ourselves to be hamstrung AGAIN by them?

==

vision, take a word of free advice.

You're over your head here. Seriously. You should find some lowbrow forum and debate with people who are as misinformed and hysteria-driven as yourself.

And while you're looking for this new place to surf you might mosey over to google.com and find out just what percentage of the cost of a car goes to labor. It might be an eye-opening revelation (though I suspect you'll ignore it).

As for making cars, why don't we just turn into a country that makes all its money by investing in investments that invest in investments. You know, "financial instruments." Let the Chinese make everything, let the Indians do all the phone and IT work, and we'll manufacture elegant financial bullsh*t.

After all look how well it worked for Great Britain and their textile industry.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | August 20, 2009 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Monster.com's pretty cheap. AN ad in the newspaper. Again remember I'm not talking about hiring a CEO, i'm talking about hiring factory type workers, low level blue collar. Do me a favor and keep up will ya.

==

Monster and newspaper ads are for finding candidates. I was talking about hiring.

You clearly know nothing about it.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | August 20, 2009 4:41 PM | Report abuse


-----------------------------


you dimwit I"M AN EMPLOYER and I've found employees through ME putting an AD in newspapers and through my own account at Monster.com Heck I even have this nice Indian fellow that harasses me all the time to place new ads.

Posted by: visionbrkr | August 20, 2009 4:54 PM | Report abuse

jvlem:

Perhaps you can enlighten us then whether my healthy 22-year old grand-daughter can continue with NO health insurance if mandated-coverage gets passed?

Posted by: JakeD | August 20, 2009 4:50 PM | Report abuse

"Obama was never that good in the primary debates. He got better, but I don't know if that was seasoning or the change in opponents."

It's hard to debate people that you agree with on everything.

I don't think anyone really believes that Obama is limited to only speech giving capabilities. It's more the people who dislike him anyways. I'm actually encouraged by the meeting. He supported the public option pretty strongly.

Ditto on Clinton. I've had a chance to see him three times in person. The best public speaker I've seen until a year and a half ago. Just larger than life.

Posted by: DDAWD | August 20, 2009 4:49 PM | Report abuse

It is laughable the way people condemn the administration for "taking over" GM. There were 3 options:

1) Let it fail on it's own. (Bankruptcy)
2) Keep loaning it money without strings.
3) Make bridge loans with strings; help GM get through bankruptcy quickly.

In my book, #3 was the best option. What's your pick?

The same people complaining about government takeovers are also complaining about unemployment. Unemployment would have been much higher if the government had not guided GM through bankruptcy.

Posted by: mikeinmidland | August 20, 2009 4:36 PM | Report abuse

you see now that's where you're wrong. What's to stop them from FAILING again. Did their healthcare obligation suddenly change? Did the unions stop running the show??

If you want AIG to fail (as most did) then you should let them ALL FAIL. Who says we need to be a country that manufactures cars?? We couldn't just import them?? Why allow ourselves to be hamstrung AGAIN by them?

Its funny some of you people would look to destroy the healthcare sector and demonize some in it but you want to SAVE the LOVELY auto industry??

Maybe Cigna should join SEIU. Then they'd get some love.

Posted by: visionbrkr | August 20, 2009 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Fact is: We are all on the public plan.
Slice and dice names, symbols, managers and brands all you want, it justs costs more.

Posted by: shrink2 | August 20, 2009 4:48 PM | Report abuse

emoenergy1:

Thank you so much for finally posting the truth. That means my healthy 22-year old grand-daughter can continue with NO health insurance coverage, right?

Posted by: JakeD | August 20, 2009 4:48 PM | Report abuse

One of the best things about this public debate about health care is how clear it is to me now exactly who can think clearly and objectively and who can only repeat what he/she hears and/or wants to believe is true.

It's really making it easy to identify the people with intellect.

Posted by: jvlem | August 20, 2009 4:46 PM | Report abuse


No, sorry, they don't. It was even the SAME carrier the last time (Blue Cross/Blue Shield). But a different policy because it was a different company.

Both companies actually self-insure, so BC/BS was just the administrator. Getting the picture? Employee-based health insurance is pretty good, but it is very easy to lose.

Posted by: mikeinmidland | August 20, 2009 4:46 PM | Report abuse

I agree that the reforms should not encourage employers to "dump" people onto the public plan. But that is better than dumping them onto no plan at all.

I like the idea of separating health insurance from employment. I worked at one company for 12 years after college, and then 3 companies in the 12 years since then. I was lucky to have maintained coverage for my family with each change--juggling doctor's appointments and starting from scratch on yearly deductibles was bad enough.

Posted by: mikeinmidland | August 20, 2009 4:28 PM | Report abuse


-----------------------------------------

actually just so you know, most deductibles carry over from one carrier to another, not always, but many times it does. See that's just me helping a liberal!!

Posted by: visionbrkr | August 20, 2009 4:42 PM | Report abuse

Monster.com's pretty cheap. AN ad in the newspaper. Again remember I'm not talking about hiring a CEO, i'm talking about hiring factory type workers, low level blue collar. Do me a favor and keep up will ya.

==

Monster and newspaper ads are for finding candidates. I was talking about hiring.

You clearly know nothing about it.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | August 20, 2009 4:41 PM | Report abuse

Re: Clinton. I remember and I agree. (Another poster on this site had a very similar opinion of him.)

Obama was never that good in the primary debates. He got better, but I don't know if that was seasoning or the change in opponents. But debate isn't everything; I'm glad we have who we have now.

Posted by: mikeinmidland | August 20, 2009 4:41 PM | Report abuse

i'm not worried about the employees people want. I'm worried about the employees that do a job that anyone can do. They'll be tossed out when the tossing's good.

==

And that's true irrespective of any changes in healthcare.

Do you have any idea what it costs to hire someone? Clearly you don't

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | August 20, 2009 4:12 PM | Report abuse


----------------------------------------

Monster.com's pretty cheap. AN ad in the newspaper. Again remember I'm not talking about hiring a CEO, i'm talking about hiring factory type workers, low level blue collar. Do me a favor and keep up will ya.

Posted by: visionbrkr | August 20, 2009 4:38 PM | Report abuse

@emoenergy: your heart's in the right place but you're dealing with elective morons here. If Sarah Palin says that the plan is to strap down Your Children and take their organs without any consent to give to illegal aliens and dark-skinned Americans, they will believe it with absolute conviction. There's no point trying to logic with them or reason, that won't work.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | August 20, 2009 4:38 PM | Report abuse

It is laughable the way people condemn the administration for "taking over" GM. There were 3 options:

1) Let it fail on it's own. (Bankruptcy)
2) Keep loaning it money without strings.
3) Make bridge loans with strings; help GM get through bankruptcy quickly.

In my book, #3 was the best option. What's your pick?

The same people complaining about government takeovers are also complaining about unemployment. Unemployment would have been much higher if the government had not guided GM through bankruptcy.

Posted by: mikeinmidland | August 20, 2009 4:36 PM | Report abuse

this is for all the ignorant people out there:

NOBODY IS GOING TO BE FORCED TO A GOVERNMENT PLAN!!!!!! that was never ever mentioned anywhere by anybody. you've been lied to by Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin into believing that's in there. its not. you can stop believing it.

Posted by: emoenergy1 | August 20, 2009 4:35 PM | Report abuse

I watched the last part of Obama's OFA Q&A. Of course, the questions were pretty friendly, but it was obvious that Obama has a great mastery of the facts, and can think and talk on his feet.

==

Did you see the Clinton / Bush I debates in 1992? Clinton was *stunning*. Not only did he have an extraordinary amount of detail at his fingertips but he could compose the answer to a second question in his head while engaged in giving a detailed answer to the first. I have never seen a more organized mind, not ever, not anywhere.

I'm a gifted public speaker myself, but Clinton made me feel like an idiot.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | August 20, 2009 4:31 PM | Report abuse

BAD PUBLICITY OVER GUN-TOTING CIVILIANS AT PRESIDENTIAL VENUES:

MAJOR PERSONNEL CHANGES IN STORE FOR U.S. SECRET SERVICE?

http://rawstory.com/08/news/2009/08/18/guns-atmosphere-danger-obama/

...AND THE 'MULTI-AGENCY COORDINATED ACTION PROGRAM' BEHIND THIS?

http://nowpublic.com/world/gestapo-usa-govt-funded-vigilante-network-terrorizes-america

Posted by: scrivener50 | August 20, 2009 4:29 PM | Report abuse


I agree that the reforms should not encourage employers to "dump" people onto the public plan. But that is better than dumping them onto no plan at all.

I like the idea of separating health insurance from employment. I worked at one company for 12 years after college, and then 3 companies in the 12 years since then. I was lucky to have maintained coverage for my family with each change--juggling doctor's appointments and starting from scratch on yearly deductibles was bad enough.

Posted by: mikeinmidland | August 20, 2009 4:28 PM | Report abuse

government takeover of EVERY industry.

==

Hysterical hyperbole like this just makes you sound foolish, and frankly deservedly so.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | August 20, 2009 4:27 PM | Report abuse

You can bet that the switchboard "polls" automatically account for organized right-wing campaigns and adjust their numbers by a fudge factor.

I do encourage right-wing cretins to call away since it will take time away from their posting here and will have no measurable effect on any positions taken by the representatives they call.

When you call, be sure to engage in infantile mockery of their names, it'll help.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | August 20, 2009 4:11 PM | Report abuse


-----------------------------

or maybe people despise 2 trillion in debt and growing, 9.5% unemployment AND GROWING, government takeover of EVERY industry.

Posted by: visionbrkr | August 20, 2009 4:25 PM | Report abuse

"What comes out of this should not encourage dumping of high cost employees onto a public plan."

This is the problem. Cost shifting to the public option grows the Medicare and Medicaid programs. The public option is going to overwhelm health care, one way or another.

The more profit is wrung from the good risk pool just by making it smaller, the more money we spend in the public pool.

Posted by: shrink2 | August 20, 2009 4:24 PM | Report abuse

@viz - Again, what stops that from happening now? Ironically, it's usually low paid workers who get the poorest benefits. Highly compensated employees also tend to have the best benefits packages. Companies who find a competitive advantage in providing insurance will continue to do so. There are companies that will drop coverage, but guess what? That's happening already.

Two sets of employers will benefit from reform. The first are companies who provide coverage currently, but compete against companies that don't. The bottom feeders just lost an 8% cost advantage. Second are companies who would want to provide coverage, but can't afford the full ride. An 8% fee combined with government subsidies for low earners will extend coverage to the working poor. Without going into details, I have faced these dilemmas as an employer myself.

We are (I think) agreed upon one point. What comes out of this should not encourage dumping of high cost employees onto a public plan.

By the way, thanks for turning off the caps lock.

@Jasper - A Voldemort comparison. ROFL!!!

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | August 20, 2009 4:18 PM | Report abuse

HOW GOVERNMENT OPERATIVES APPEAR TO HAVE CENSORED MY POLITICAL SPEECH BY HIJACKING MY INTERNET CONNECTION...

...PREVENTING THE POSTING OF A COMMENT TO TODAY'S NYT BLACKWATER STORY.

Their transparent "M.O." exposed at the bottom of the "comments" section of this ACLU "Freedom Blog" thread (along with the censored comment):

http://blog.aclu.org/2009/01/26/internet-filters-voluntary-ok-not-government-mandate


Is Team Obama unaware, complicit, or misinformed?

Do the Bush-Cheney holdovers "really got a hold on them"?

Homeland Sec. Napolitano, this is NOT change we can believe in. ALERT POTUS.

Posted by: scrivener50 | August 20, 2009 4:17 PM | Report abuse

i'm not worried about the employees people want. I'm worried about the employees that do a job that anyone can do. They'll be tossed out when the tossing's good.

==

And that's true irrespective of any changes in healthcare.

Do you have any idea what it costs to hire someone? Clearly you don't

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | August 20, 2009 4:12 PM | Report abuse

visionbrkr:

Don't forget the part where these newly-unemployed workers are fined by the IRS if they don't find health insurance somewhere ; )

Posted by: JakeD | August 20, 2009 4:12 PM | Report abuse

You can bet that the switchboard "polls" automatically account for organized right-wing campaigns and adjust their numbers by a fudge factor.

I do encourage right-wing cretins to call away since it will take time away from their posting here and will have no measurable effect on any positions taken by the representatives they call.

When you call, be sure to engage in infantile mockery of their names, it'll help.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | August 20, 2009 4:11 PM | Report abuse

This industry is bigger than Obama. It could be the future. Health care at 50% of gdp. Think it couldn't happen?

Posted by: shrink2 | August 20, 2009 4:10 PM | Report abuse

somehow you delusionally think that govt healthcare will be mandatory and that healthcare companies like Aetna and Bluecross will no longer be calculating premiums based upon cpt codes and local cost factors and that corps will be merely paying an 8% penalty and no longer be providing healthcare.Obviously you know nothing about employee benefits and its competitve nature to recruit employees. Where in the world is this coming from, obviously nothing in any of the proposed healthcare plans. As for your paranoia about the corp world. Bit of advise: don't go to work for one.

Posted by: leichtman | August 20, 2009 3:56 PM | Report abuse


---------------------------------------

i'm not worried about the employees people want. I'm worried about the employees that do a job that anyone can do. They'll be tossed out when the tossing's good.

Posted by: visionbrkr | August 20, 2009 4:10 PM | Report abuse

I watched the last part of Obama's OFA Q&A. Of course, the questions were pretty friendly, but it was obvious that Obama has a great mastery of the facts, and can think and talk on his feet.

These townhalls, along with the in-depth interviews he does, show false the idea that he gives a good speech, but is helpless without a teleprompter. He's great at both, but I for one prefer his back-and-forth with an audience or the press corps.

Posted by: mikeinmidland | August 20, 2009 4:08 PM | Report abuse

No need to scream, but especially call these Blue Dog Dems (202) 224-3121:

Rep. Mike Ross of Arkansas, Rep. Jim Marshall of Georgia, Rep. Patrick Murphy of Pennsylvania, and Reps. Jim Cooper and John Tanner of Tennessee, as well as:

Rep. Earl Pomeroy (D-ND), Rep. Bart Gordon (D-Tenn), Rep. Jim Matheson (D-Utah), Rep. Allen Boyd (D-Fla), Rep. Mike Thompson (D-Calif), Rep. David Scott (D-Ga), Rep. Marion Berry (D-Ark), Rep. Dennis Moore (D-Kan), Rep. Jason Altmire (D-Pa),
Rep. Mike McIntyre (D-NC),
Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas), Rep. Baron Hill (D-Ind), Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif), Rep. Tim Holden (D-Pa), Rep. Sanford D Bishop Jr (D-Ga), Rep. John Barrow (D-Ga), Rep. Dennis Cardoza (D-Calif), Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (D-SD), Rep. Leonard L Boswell (D-Iowa), Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif), Rep. Charles J Melancon (D-La), Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz), Rep. Dan Boren (D-Okla), Rep. Gene Taylor (D-Miss), Rep. Mike Michaud (D-Maine), Rep. Parker Griffith (D-Ala), Rep. Lincoln Davis (D-Tenn), Rep. Collin C Peterson (D-Minn), Rep. Ben Chandler (D-Ky), Rep. Heath Shuler (D-NC), Rep. John Salazar (D-Colo), Rep. Chris Carney (D-Pa), Rep. Zachary T Space (D-Ohio), Rep. Joe Baca (D-Calif), Rep. Brad Ellsworth (D-Ind), Rep. Charlie Wilson (D-Ohio), Rep. Walter Clifford Minnick (D-Idaho), Rep. Glenn Nye (D-Va), Rep. Harry E Mitchell (D-Ariz), Rep. Michael Arcuri (D-NY), Rep. Jim Costa (D-Calif), Rep. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind), Rep. Frank M Kratovil Jr (D-Md), Rep. Travis W Childers (D-Miss), Rep. Bobby Bright (D-Ala), and Rep. Kathleen Dahlkemper (D-Pa)

Posted by: JakeD | August 20, 2009 4:06 PM | Report abuse

@Viz - You still don't get it. I am looking at it from the employer's perspective. Employers provide benefits such as insurance coverage to attract and retrain talented employees. By dropping coverage, an employer makes itself less attractive than competing employers in the same industry.

Right now, an employer can do exactly what you say and pay nothing. That's right zero, zip, nada. Under *some* of the proposals, if they did that, they'd pay 8% of payroll. The proposals thus make it less attractive to dump coverage. Q.E.D.

By the way, turn off the all caps. I can hear you perfectly fine. Now if you'll just start making sense...

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | August 20, 2009 3:55 PM | Report abuse


--------------------------------


ok so the talented employees get to stay but the poor schlubs that do a job anybody can do are going to be gone.

Sure doesn't sound like the "Democrat" way does it?


Oh and I know your next retort before you even say it. Its all employees or no employees? Well here's how you get around that. You seperate your employees by different tax ID numbers. Low paid, high expense employees go in group A, high paid, lower expense employees in group B.

GOODBYE GROUP A!!!

Posted by: visionbrkr | August 20, 2009 4:05 PM | Report abuse

ddawd, fear not, we lurkers (and occasional posters) are also enjoying ignoring "he who cannot be named". It's quite entertaining seeing him get increasingly desperate for attention.

Posted by: jasperanselm | August 20, 2009 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Read many undisclosed facts at the HERITAGE FOUNDATION

==

Greater Premise: right-wingers are liars

Lesser Premise: Heritage Foundation is a right-wing think tank.

Completion of the syllogism is left as an exercise for the reader

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | August 20, 2009 3:58 PM | Report abuse

somehow you delusionally think that govt healthcare will be mandatory and that healthcare companies like Aetna and Bluecross will no longer be calculating premiums based upon cpt codes and local cost factors and that corps will be merely paying an 8% penalty and no longer be providing healthcare.Obviously you know nothing about employee benefits and its competitve nature to recruit employees. Where in the world is this coming from, obviously nothing in any of the proposed healthcare plans. As for your paranoia about the corp world. Bit of advise: don't go to work for one.

Posted by: leichtman | August 20, 2009 3:56 PM | Report abuse

@Viz - You still don't get it. I am looking at it from the employer's perspective. Employers provide benefits such as insurance coverage to attract and retrain talented employees. By dropping coverage, an employer makes itself less attractive than competing employers in the same industry.

Right now, an employer can do exactly what you say and pay nothing. That's right zero, zip, nada. Under *some* of the proposals, if they did that, they'd pay 8% of payroll. The proposals thus make it less attractive to dump coverage. Q.E.D.

By the way, turn off the all caps. I can hear you perfectly fine. Now if you'll just start making sense...

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | August 20, 2009 3:55 PM | Report abuse

infinity555:

Looks like it's working (202-224-3121), "We're sorry, all circuits are busy now".

Posted by: JakeD | August 20, 2009 3:54 PM | Report abuse

We should clog the switchboards in Washington at 202-224-3121, with our anger and frustration,

==

Yeah that'll help. Scream at some poor sod manning the phones.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | August 20, 2009 3:52 PM | Report abuse

We should clog the switchboards in Washington at 202-224-3121, with our anger and frustration, as this is the only thing our legislators seem to understand. Hundreds and thousands, perhaps millions have already bombarded the politicians who are pandering only to corporate welfare and not the 9.5 percent of jobless American workers. E-verify has literary risen from the grave because we have pressured the morons in the Capitol. We must neither let them weaken the NO-MATCH-LETTER or police enforcement 287 G, not whittle away at the lightening raids of ICE. However, we should adjoin rescinding the misinterpreted birthright citizenships or anchor babies. law.American workers have a significant roll to play in contacting ICE if they hear or see illegal activity in the workplace.

Read many undisclosed facts at the HERITAGE FOUNDATION AND NUMBERSUSA. I anticipate this is a ominous beginning to set the American people up for another AMNESTY? The 1986 didn't work and was subject to massive corruption and fraud. What makes them think in Congress, that this will not turn into a irreversible travesty. Illegal immigrants already receive free health care in emergency hospitals and already costing taxpayers billions--so they are not going to participate in a public option? We must remove the illegal immigrants from the workplace methodically and leave our nation, so American jobless can step into that niche?

Posted by: infinity555 | August 20, 2009 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Next up, passage of the bill will lead to a government takeover of the healthcare system (just as visionbrkr's excellent "USPS subsidized overnight package" analogy pointed out).

Posted by: JakeD | August 20, 2009 3:39 PM | Report abuse

better yet let's give people a subsidized colonoscopy if they get it done at one of the public plan's doctors kind of like they're doing with the Government, er uh GM Chevy Volt giving people $7500 to buy their MORE EXPENSIVE car.

Posted by: visionbrkr | August 20, 2009 3:47 PM | Report abuse

which is precisely why the 8% tax is going nowhere in committee b/c every corp that could do that without losing key employees would consider that as a cheaper option then paying $18,000 for employee healthcare. By the way the DOL wouldn't stand for companies selectively terminating sickly employees as you suggested.

Posted by: leichtman | August 20, 2009 3:29 PM | Report abuse


see you're catching on! you need to make the cost somehow dollar for dollar which can't be done realistically OR you need to adjust it for regional variations in income.

Oh, you mean the DOL which is horribly understaffed and being destroyed by all the extra work in regards to the ARRA legislation relating to COBRA? I'm sorry all an unscrupulous employer needs to do is find a way to justify an employee did something wrong to terminate their employment. Don't fool yourself, it can and I'm sure is done.

Posted by: visionbrkr | August 20, 2009 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Next up, passage of the bill will lead to a government takeover of the healthcare system (just as visionbrkr's excellent "USPS subsidized overnight package" analogy pointed out).

Posted by: JakeD | August 20, 2009 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Clarified what he meant when he said that the public option was only a part of health care reform. It didn't mean that it was expendable. It just meant that there are other things involved in reform and that there are other reforms involved. That people with insurance will have no gain.

Makes sense. There are plenty of people who feel that the public option is all there is to reform.

Let's hope Obama goes out and supports it as strongly as he is in this meeting.

Posted by: DDAWD | August 20, 2009 3:38 PM | Report abuse

By the way the DOL wouldn't stand for companies selectively terminating sickly employees as you suggested.

==

They get around it by laying a paper trail of "performance issues." For some companies it's reflexive. Every manager at Microsoft maintains an email folder of dirt on every one of his direct reports, and if he decides one day that he doesn't like someone's face he can produce a paper trail of "performance issues," which nobody can prove represents the ordinary foibles of challenging work.

I've heard dozens of testimonials on the radio from people who had superlative reviews at work until they came down with a medical condition and had even a brief hospitalization. Then within weeks they're fired.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | August 20, 2009 3:37 PM | Report abuse

DDAWD:

As if that matters to me -- it actually makes my job of posting the truth for lurkers that much easier -- for instance, they all know (except for "margaretmeyers") that illegal aliens will be covered under Obamacare. One pResidential canard down, a million to go.

Thanks though.

Posted by: JakeD | August 20, 2009 3:35 PM | Report abuse

@ visionbrkr - Here is the classic case of disinformation that CC discussed today. The proposed 8% mandate in some proposals is not the cost of the public plan. Rather, it's the cost that an employer would have to pay if they do not provide health care *as is already the case*.

So, let's take your example of a company that decides to drop coverage for its employees and pay the 8%. What happens next? That employee would have to buy health care coverage on their own. Congratulations. Your employer just dumped $15k of expenses in your lap.

And if you'd been keeping up around here, you'd know that large corporations often self-insure, keep track of expensive employees, and (you guessed it) lay them off at the earliest opportunity.

All you are doing is attacking a straw man. Unimpressive. Call me back when you show some evidence of analytic thought.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | August 20, 2009 3:20 PM | Report abuse


-------------------------------------------

you see the point is i'm taking it from "THE EMPLOYER"S PERSPECTIVE". Yes the employer would do this to save cost. Let's see pay 8% of whatever number or drop a million dollar claimant onto the public system??? Which would the employer do?


I NEVER SAID IT WAS THE COST OF THE PUBLIC PLAN. I KNOW FULL WELL THAT ITS THE COST OF A TAX TO THE EMPLOYER.

ITS YOU WHO HAS NO CLUE HOW THIS WOULD WORK IN AN ACTUAL WORLD.


YOU SAY "YOUR" AS IF I'M LOOKING AT IT FROM AN EMPLOYEE'S PERSPECTIVE, I'M NOT. THEN GO AND RE-READ WHAT I'M SAYING AND UNDERSTAND THAT 8% IS MINIAL FOR AN EMPLOYER TO PAY.

Posted by: visionbrkr | August 20, 2009 3:34 PM | Report abuse

"alright let type SLOWLY. "YOUR" version of health reform does not resolve this issue. It only exacerbates it".

not slowly enough to make sense, apparently.

Posted by: drindl | August 20, 2009 3:32 PM | Report abuse

alright let type SLOWLY. "YOUR" version of health reform does not resolve this issue. It only exacerbates it.

==

That's like saying laws against murder increase the murder rate. You're not even making sense.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | August 20, 2009 3:32 PM | Report abuse

which is precisely why the 8% tax is going nowhere in committee b/c every corp that could do that without losing key employees would consider that as a cheaper option then paying $18,000 for employee healthcare. By the way the DOL wouldn't stand for companies selectively terminating sickly employees as you suggested.

Posted by: leichtman | August 20, 2009 3:29 PM | Report abuse

"@DDAWD: Day 2, and it's working. You rock.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite"

Told you so. It's just about the attention with these types of people. Don't give them what they want and they'll go away. Even if they don't, it's still a lot better to just step around them. Glad it's finally caught on.

Posted by: DDAWD | August 20, 2009 3:29 PM | Report abuse

FairlingtonBlade:

Call me back when you show some evidence of caring whether Cillizza's "ban" actually sticks. Unimpressive as well.

Posted by: JakeD | August 20, 2009 3:26 PM | Report abuse

I'll bet you'd have a certain group of large employers that would look to find their 5-10 highest claimants and dump, dump dump.

==

That's what we have now, and that's one of the "incentives" that healthcare reform sets out to eliminate.

Please try to keep up.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | August 20, 2009 3:09 PM | Report abuse


alright let type SLOWLY. "YOUR" version of health reform does not resolve this issue. It only exacerbates it.

Posted by: visionbrkr | August 20, 2009 3:26 PM | Report abuse

"DDAWD
He has really turned gray in the past few years.

So did Clinton and Bush 43. Must come with the territory. On the other hand, as Gerald Ford famously noted, Reagan's hair was prematurely orange.

Posted by: Nosy_Parker"

Yeah, he seems unusually exasperated by the whole death panel thing. The most aggravated I'd seen him in a while. (by his standard)

Posted by: DDAWD | August 20, 2009 3:24 PM | Report abuse

@ visionbrkr - Here is the classic case of disinformation that CC discussed today. The proposed 8% mandate in some proposals is not the cost of the public plan. Rather, it's the cost that an employer would have to pay if they do not provide health care *as is already the case*.

So, let's take your example of a company that decides to drop coverage for its employees and pay the 8%. What happens next? That employee would have to buy health care coverage on their own. Congratulations. Your employer just dumped $15k of expenses in your lap.

And if you'd been keeping up around here, you'd know that large corporations often self-insure, keep track of expensive employees, and (you guessed it) lay them off at the earliest opportunity.

All you are doing is attacking a straw man. Unimpressive. Call me back when you show some evidence of analytic thought.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | August 20, 2009 3:20 PM | Report abuse

URGENT: President Obama, WH staff, members of Congress, cabinet secretaries

THE U.S. GOVERNMENT HAS WEAPONIZED THE ELECTROMAGNETIC SPECTRUM.

MICROWAVE / LASER 'DIRECTED ENERGY WEAPON' SYSTEMS HAVE BEEN DEPLOYED TO DEGRADE THE LIVES OF UNJUSTLY TARGETED AMERICANS AND THEIR FAMILIES.

A GOV'T-OVERSEEN COMMUNITY VIGILANTE GESTAPO USES COVERTLY PLACED GPS DEVICES AND CELL PHONES TO STALK AND HARASS THOUSANDS OF UNJUSTLY TARGETED AMERICANS...

...IN EVERY COUNTY IN THE COUNTRY.

***

PRESIDENT OBAMA: WHAT DO YOU KNOW ABOUT THE DEPLOYMENT OF DIRECTED ENERGY WEAPONS...

...AND WHEN WILL YOU BAN THEIR USE ON U.S. CITIZENS?

...AND BAN THE WARRANTLESS GPS / CELL PHONE TRACKING OF INDIVIDUALS...

...THE ELECTRONIC BACKBONE OF AN AMERICAN GESTAPO THAT IS OPERATING ON YOUR WATCH.

http://nowpublic.com/world/gestapo-usa-govt-funded-vigilante-network-terrorizes-america

OR (if link is corrupted / disabled):

http://NowPublic.com/scrivener RE: "GESTAPO USA" ("stream" or "stories" list).

***

Posted by: scrivener50 | August 20, 2009 3:18 PM | Report abuse

He has really turned gray in the past few years.

==

And by 2016 he'll be gray all over. It's a tough job. At least he's doing it .. instead of pulling up the carpet and joking about WMDs while soldiers lie in hospital beds with their brains no longer functioning.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | August 20, 2009 3:17 PM | Report abuse

DDAWD
He has really turned gray in the past few years.

So did Clinton and Bush 43. Must come with the territory. On the other hand, as Gerald Ford famously noted, Reagan's hair was prematurely orange.

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | August 20, 2009 3:17 PM | Report abuse

vision might want to google Christie, $46,000 loan and potential Hatch Act Violations. This from a former US Attorney pushed into the governor's race by the infamous Karl Rove. Great company to be associated with espceially in New Jersey.

Posted by: leichtman | August 20, 2009 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Oh sure I'd really rather have somone whose love interest was EXPELLED from the CWA for mismanaging its funds. Sure that's fine.

That's like the devil kicking you out of Hades because you're TOO evil, haha!!

I don't know why Christie doesn't bring his affilliation with Katz up because Corzine sure went ahead with the personal attacks early.

All Christie is going against is his record which SHOULD be enough considering the sorry state NJ is in.

Posted by: visionbrkr | August 20, 2009 3:17 PM | Report abuse

It's worse than that.

Self-insured (large) employers can't just "dump" employees from their health insurance plan. They can, however, fire them for no reason whatsoever.

So you get too sick, you lose your job AND your health insurance. Nice. Under COBRA, they have to continue covering you for 18 months, if you pay 102% of the whole premium (including the employer contribution). If you're lucky enough to find a job, you now have a "pre-existing condition" not covered under the new insurance.

Fixing these things is important. It won't save any money, but it is only right.

Posted by: mikeinmidland | August 20, 2009 3:16 PM | Report abuse

DDAWD:

Apology accepted.

Posted by: JakeD | August 20, 2009 3:14 PM | Report abuse

I'm watching Obama doing an OFA meeting right now. He seems to be pretty strongly in favor of the public option. Part of it is that the audience is made of Obama volunteers, so he's more apt to boost that aspect.

He has really turned gray in the past few years.

http://www.barackobama.com/forum/live.html

if you want to catch the end of it. Sorry for not thinking to post this earlier.

Posted by: DDAWD | August 20, 2009 3:12 PM | Report abuse

I'll bet you'd have a certain group of large employers that would look to find their 5-10 highest claimants and dump, dump dump.

==

That's what we have now, and that's one of the "incentives" that healthcare reform sets out to eliminate.

Please try to keep up.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | August 20, 2009 3:09 PM | Report abuse

I'm shocked that ONLY Fifty five percent of those polled said that illegal aliens would get health care under Obamacare. Everyone (except for "margaretmeyers") knows that here.

Posted by: JakeD | August 20, 2009 3:07 PM | Report abuse

margaretmeyers:

So, which one is it? Obamacare will, or will not, cover illegal aliens?

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2009/08/20/obama_basic_standard_of_decency_allows_illegals_to_be_treated.html

Posted by: JakeD | August 20, 2009 3:03 PM | Report abuse

ag1976, I don't doubt that the insurance companies have similar panels that decide what is and is not covered.

But if, somehow, the care you've been denied by a private insurer were allowed by a public insurer, that would represent just more care that the public insurer would have to deny someone else. Ultimately, in order to live up to Obama's cost promises, public panels would have to deny more care overall than private panels would. There's just no way to get around the inefficiency of the government.

Keep in mind the various checks and balances. A public death panel would be answerable to the people who appointed them, who can't be replaced quickly with their 2-6 year terms of office. But if Blue Cross denies coverage in some outrageous way, they risk losing a lot of business immediately.

I'm sympathetic to the problems you've faced, which would be enormous under any health care system.

Especially your "job lock." You would face less trouble getting personal insurance if the Cold War model of getting health insurance through employers (i.e. the tax break) were scrapped. Obama's not proposing to change that, because large employers benefit the most from it, and Obama is courting them for support. You complained about the 'greed' of a private insurer, but please realize that you are also the victim of politicians' greed - that is, their distortion of the individual health insurance market which Obama is trying to distort more, and for the worse.

Even if you think the public death panels would somehow be more generous than the private ones, that is an argument that a "news" article should not merely dismiss out of hand, as Chris uncharacteristically did today.

Posted by: angrydoug1 | August 20, 2009 3:01 PM | Report abuse

@ visionbrkr - Two points. First, Medicare Advantage plans get reimbursed by the government more than the cost of Medicare. I'd be perfectly happy that the system continues, with the proviso that any supplement must be paid by the insuree, not the government.

With regards to those who receive insurance through their employer, you have the wrong target. Presently, a number of companies are competing against those who provide *no* insurance coverage.

With regards to industries where employer provided insurance coverage is standard, these companies are competing against other employers who provide insurance coverage. Dumping employees' insurance coverage is a sure way to make your company the least attractive employer.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | August 20, 2009 2:50 PM | Report abuse

i agree it'll even the playing field but who cares if they're covered under a public option or their employer sponsored plan. its not like anyone's hiring nowadays anyway. Or better yet employers will dump the OLD onto there. They're the ones that are costing so much anyways. I'll bet you'd have a certain group of large employers that would look to find their 5-10 highest claimants and dump, dump dump.

If you don't think it'd happen you're naive because their costs are much more than their premium especially in a situation where you're self-insured and you can easily find this info out and their costs aren't just their premium but their claims raise the rates for all within their company.

These democrats really need to think two to 3 steps ahead at least and they're not. Some employers are already thinking of ways to game the new system even before its set.


Oh and I'm in NJ. We had reform in 1994. We have guaranteed issue but we DON'T have an individual mandate so that's all we'll get from it. It'll bring our costs down to force all into the system but our insurers are already at an 85+% medical loss ratio that HR 3200 shows as a requirement. In fact Horizon BCBS had a medical loss ratio of 88.2% in the most recent year data is available for.

My God those money grubbing bastiges! What happened to the 20-30% profits you liberals all talk about????

Posted by: visionbrkr | August 20, 2009 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Obummer is just an America hating, Saudi King bowing, dictator loving, former cocaine addict, racist Kenyan usurper dirt-bag lying fraud Chicago thug!

Obummer is less trustworthy than the Joker! Nothing he says can be trusted.

Watch this video. You’ll see obama lie like a dog in his very own words.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h3JKDTBOYKg


Obummer is a big liar!

OBAMA, STOP HIDING. SHOW US YOUR LONG FORM BIRTH CERTIFICATE AND OTHER RECORDS!!!!!

Posted by: steveb777 | August 20, 2009 3:00 PM | Report abuse

vision might want to google Christie, $46,000 loan and potential Hatch Act Violations. This from a former US Attorney pushed into the governor's race by the infamous Karl Rove. Great company to be associated with espceially in New Jersey.

Posted by: leichtman | August 20, 2009 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Funny, innit, any time any discussion starts around government-provided services, we hear about "long lines."

I've been saying for THIRTY YEARS that conservatives' hatred of government is rooted not in ideology but in resentment at having to stand in lines.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | August 20, 2009 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Another myth - Public Option will put Insurance companies out of business.

The only way this happens is if all you republicans who love private insurance drop your superior private insurance for the public option. Why would Republicans drop private insurance for an inferior public option?

==

Excellent point.

I think it's a riot that the same people who scream that "government can't do anything efficiently" are worried that government will outcompete private insurance.

If government can do a better job than profit-maximizing shareholder-value-maximizing private companies, why exactly would that be a problem?

These guys don't think straight. Their embrace of contradictions betrays weak intellects.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | August 20, 2009 2:25 PM | Report abuse

---------------------------------


are you serious? When a public option or co-op or whatever you want to call it SETS reimbursement rates, doesn't pay premium taxes then SURE government is competitive.

Let's see a good example. Say the USPS was subsidized to only charge $3 for overnight packages anywhere in the world and FedEx and UPS could only do it down to $12. How long do you think it would take for EVERYONE to realize this and use the USPS and how long before the lines at the USPS were so ridiculously long you couldn't do anything. How long before the costs blew up??

Seriously have a clue about what you're talking about before you speak.

A tame public option or co-op that had minimal government intervention, had to pay taxes like everyone else then i could deal with that. That's what you have in Massachussetts.

Posted by: visionbrkr | August 20, 2009 2:53 PM | Report abuse

No, you are right,
I was joking.

The funny thing about semiotics,
the study of how people represent (and therefore interpret) reality, is that once you get into it, like Hotel California, you can never leave.

Symbols, it is all about symbols.

It is crack for shrinks, that is for sure.

Posted by: shrink2 | August 20, 2009 2:51 PM | Report abuse

@ visionbrkr - Two points. First, Medicare Advantage plans get reimbursed by the government more than the cost of Medicare. I'd be perfectly happy that the system continues, with the proviso that any supplement must be paid by the insuree, not the government.

With regards to those who receive insurance through their employer, you have the wrong target. Presently, a number of companies are competing against those who provide *no* insurance coverage.

With regards to industries where employer provided insurance coverage is standard, these companies are competing against other employers who provide insurance coverage. Dumping employees' insurance coverage is a sure way to make your company the least attractive employer.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | August 20, 2009 2:50 PM | Report abuse

No wonder you missed the explaination already given by "bobbywc" at 1:33 PM too.

Posted by: JakeD | August 20, 2009 2:48 PM | Report abuse

@DDAWD: Day 2, and it's working. You rock.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | August 20, 2009 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Since Democrats shot down an amendment requiring verification of citizenship illegals would get free health care. Who are you kidding? You must think we are all [] stupid

==

Well, yeah, we do.

I don't want hospitals to become an extension of the INS or the Justice Department. It's not their arena of expertise. Neither do I want anyone with an accent or dark skin being delayed in receiving medical care because some Republican bedwetters have their knickers in a twist over "illegal aliens."

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | August 20, 2009 2:45 PM | Report abuse

shrink2:

So, you think it's just sheer coincidence that "GoldAndTanzanite" (and "Cheopys1" from yesterday) are posting right after "chrisfox8" (who used both of those e-mail addresses in 2004) was banned:

http://74.125.155.132/search?q=cache:rdO8GQNup8MJ:pgpkeys.mit.edu:11371/pks/lookup%3Fop%3Dvindex%26search%3D0xCBE75F690DEA9E58+%22GoldAndTanzanite%22+cheopys&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

Posted by: JakeD | August 20, 2009 2:44 PM | Report abuse

There is no Mystique to the Misinformation. The word mystique implies mysterious and/or unknown. The Misinformation is the results of Republican lies and the refusal of the media (including the WaPo) to call a lie a lie. Nothing mysterious or unknown there.

What ever happened to Truth in reporting?

Posted by: alysheba_3 | August 20, 2009 2:44 PM | Report abuse

"someone quick call SEIU and moveon.org to save them!! stand outside the polls to scare Republican voters!!"

Have you ever seen a moveon group? These guys aren't going to scare anyone.

SEIU is a different story, though. Some imposing guys there, haha.

Posted by: DDAWD | August 20, 2009 2:44 PM | Report abuse

Since Democrats shot down an amendment requiring verification of citizenship illegals would get free health care. Who are you kidding? You must think we are all as stupid as you are dumbo.

Posted by: nuzreporter | August 20, 2009 2:41 PM | Report abuse

at least you posted one true statement:

"The problem for the Republicans, they're hated more."


By the way Corzine's opponent Christie has some serious ethics issues that surfaced this week so those numbers may be turning very dramatically.

Posted by: leichtman | August 20, 2009 2:20 PM | Report abuse

nothing like the ethical issues that Corzine has, you know being in bed "LITERALLY" with the unions. Do me a favor and Google Carla Katz.

Posted by: visionbrkr | August 20, 2009 2:39 PM | Report abuse

GoldAndTanzanite is not Chrisfox8.

I can tell, hint: semiotics.

Posted by: shrink2 | August 20, 2009 2:35 PM | Report abuse

first of all you never responded to your first lie that you would be FORCED into a govt plan.
Now you dish out a second lie of an 8% tax that you simply made up. Nice tactic.

By the way if an employer paid 8% to insure a $50,000 employee and their family, that would be 75% lower than what most current plans currently cost. My wife runs her corporation's large benefit plan so we are not interested in your misinformation machine.

Posted by: leichtman | August 20, 2009 2:15 PM | Report abuse


My God I'm sorry i must be explaining this so you're not understanding it.

Option 1: cover employee on current group plan 75% of $15,000 in annual premium or $11,250 cost to employer.

Option 2: dump employee to public option and pay 8% of the employee's salary of $50,000 and pay $4000

which do YOU think the employer would rather pay? Better yet ask your wife she may know better.

Posted by: visionbrkr | August 20, 2009 2:34 PM | Report abuse


People envision this massive increase in government workers, with private insurance companies going bankrupt. Not gonna happen. Those self-same insurance companies will be contracting with the government to administer the public option. Just like they currently do with the government employee insurance program.

Posted by: mikeinmidland | August 20, 2009 2:32 PM | Report abuse

I take a slightly kinder view of (some) insurance company execs.

==

Some, yes.

The CEO of United Healthcare is one of the very highest "paid" executives in world history, taking in (I can't bring myself to call it "earning") $1.7 *billion* dollars. That's not achieved by magnaminity, it's achieved by uh creativity, as in telling people fighting cancer that they're on their own.

Any system that regards this as moral deserves to die.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | August 20, 2009 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: angrydoug1 | August 20, 2009 1:48 PM | Report abuse

You are clueless. The so called death panels exist in one place and one place only, INSURANCE COMPANIES!

I just got denied a surgery that will prevent me from getting serious infections that will cost my insurance company more in the long run. Denied. I pay my premiums every month. I also am aware that if I can get them to approve my tonsils being removed, they will start to claim that the strep throat I average 4 times a year is a pre-existing condition and will cancel my policy and ask for me to repay any monies paid out.

I know this because I can't get private insurance. I have to have a job that provides it. Want to know why I can't private insurance? This one is classic.

In October of 2006 I was kidnapped, assaulted, beaten and left for dead. I now suffer post traumatic stress disorder and am on axiety medication for the rare times that I do something more than go to work or to my families. I didn't do those things to myself, but I'll never be able to get private insurance. I'll always have to have a job I hate just so I can get be covered.

This is what you and people like you don't want to see, that real Americans suffer every day because of greed. And I'm a vet, but what little benefits I could get from the government wouldn't cover my PTSD as it was not service related. But I still love my country and would gladly stand up and defend Her each and every day regardless of what lies were told to me when I enlisted.

Posted by: ag1976 | August 20, 2009 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Some Republicans, in the partisan zeal and indifference toward helping ordinary people in the crucial area of health care, hope defeating a health care bill will be Obama's political "Waterloo." Unfortunately to use the Waterloo analogy, Obama as Wellington, has failed to show up on the battlefield against Napoleon, being content to merely give nice speeches in Brussels.

Obama, as Chris writes and I have been writing for at least a couple months, has not stated what must be in a health care bill, other than general principles, to be acceptable to him. He has seemed more obsessed with controlling health care costs , in his rhetoric until recently, than improving the quality of health care.

Obama is not able to convince most people to support his still undefined health care bill with a few simplistic Reaganesque statements. Most people probably know the bill is about a thousand pages long. Summarizing a bill of such length and complexity to a few general principles would be an insult to the intelligence of most people.

As to illegal immigrants, many will receive health care coverage and government subsidies, either through quasi employer or individual mandates. The federal government will not be taking over the health care system in this country, but will be greatly increasing its influence and regulation of health care in this country. There still seems legitimate issues as to whether an Obama/Democratic health care plan will deny some medical treatments to seriously ill persons. Misinformation and propaganda has been used by Democrats, as well as Republicans. Partisan politics as usual, at the expense of the well-being of tens of millions of ordinary people, not change anyone can truly believe in.

Posted by: Aprogressiveindependent | August 20, 2009 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Wish that were true, NP. The "up arrow" means that the NJ Governors race has gone up on the list. That list is the 10 seats most likely to change parties in the next election.

Posted by: mikeinmidland | August 20, 2009 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Another myth - Public Option will put Insurance companies out of business.

The only way this happens is if all you republicans who love private insurance drop your superior private insurance for the public option. Why would Republicans drop private insurance for an inferior public option?

==

Excellent point.

I think it's a riot that the same people who scream that "government can't do anything efficiently" are worried that government will outcompete private insurance.

If government can do a better job than profit-maximizing shareholder-value-maximizing private companies, why exactly would that be a problem?

These guys don't think straight. Their embrace of contradictions betrays weak intellects.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | August 20, 2009 2:25 PM | Report abuse

visionbrkr, According to The Fix (upper right of this page), Corzine's numbers are starting to climb back up.

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | August 20, 2009 2:24 PM | Report abuse

I take a slightly kinder view of (some) insurance company execs. Some, I think, try to do the right thing. Some must be conflicted about their policies, but feel they must follow industry practices or become uncompetitive.

That's where intelligent reform helps. Make it illegal to dump patients for pre-existing conditions, and companies will have an incentive (avoiding fines) to do the right thing, to counter the perverse incentive to dump patients (profits).

Posted by: mikeinmidland | August 20, 2009 2:22 PM | Report abuse

at least you posted one true statement:

"The problem for the Republicans, they're hated more."


By the way Corzine's opponent Christie has some serious ethics issues that surfaced this week so those numbers may be turning very dramatically.

Posted by: leichtman | August 20, 2009 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Another myth - Public Option will put Insurance companies out of business.

The only way this happens is if all you republicans who love private insurance drop your superior private insurance for the public option. Why would Republicans drop private insurance for an inferior public option?

It is beyond surreal how Obama's team appears clueless in how to respond to all of these myths.

Bobby Wightman-Cervantes

Posted by: bobbywc | August 20, 2009 2:20 PM | Report abuse

@mikeinmidland:

Ignore. Just ignore.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | August 20, 2009 2:19 PM | Report abuse

bobbywc:

I'm sorry for your pain. Can your church help out? Can I send you some money for medication?

Posted by: JakeD | August 20, 2009 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Darn it. 18 holes just doesn't take long enough. No cart next time.

Posted by: mikeinmidland | August 20, 2009 2:16 PM | Report abuse

"The problem for the Republicans, they're hated more."

..for excellent reasons.

Posted by: drindl | August 20, 2009 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Unless you see a smoking gun in Ron Williams' hand you're doing nothing but fearmongering against insurance companies

==

Insurance companies are engaging in profit maximization. That's already immoral but to do it while nominally providing health care services means finding ways to get out of paying medical bills. That means killing people.

I believe that the executives of companies that perform this way should go to the electric chair.

One important aspect of the healthcare plans under discussion is the legal elimination of the pre-existing condition dodge. Healthcare is one of many institutions that should not be driven by "market forces," much less "mazimizing shareholder value."

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | August 20, 2009 2:15 PM | Report abuse

first of all you never responded to your first lie that you would be FORCED into a govt plan.
Now you dish out a second lie of an 8% tax that you simply made up. Nice tactic.

By the way if an employer paid 8% to insure a $50,000 employee and their family, that would be 75% lower than what most current plans currently cost. My wife runs her corporation's large benefit plan so we are not interested in your misinformation machine.

Posted by: leichtman | August 20, 2009 2:15 PM | Report abuse

drindl:

What's the point in "banning" anyone if you can just come back as "GoldAndTanzanite"?

Posted by: JakeD | August 20, 2009 2:14 PM | Report abuse

incidentally vision, Deeds was behind during the entire primary so don't start popping your champaign corks b/c you have a statistically insignificant lead 3 months out.

Posted by: leichtman | August 20, 2009 2:02 PM | Report abuse


---------------------------------

tick, tock, tick tock.

oh and you do realize that corzine's poll numbers went DOWN after Obama stumped for him. In a liberal state like NJ that's pretty telling about how Americans are feeling right now. The problem for the Republicans, they're hated more.

Posted by: visionbrkr | August 20, 2009 2:11 PM | Report abuse

angrydoug1
And we know that the government can't run anything efficiently.

Maybe you'd like a privatized military, too? They're called mercenaries. Oh wait, we already have Blackwater, KBR...

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | August 20, 2009 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Private health care insurance companies kill people for a profit in this country. In fact, it is their fiduciary responsibility to do so. They must maximize profits, and in health care, one way to do so is to deny coverage for the most expensive treatments and conditions.

It's just a fact. Your insurance company will kill you if they get half a chance.

Posted by: drindl | August 20, 2009 1:37 PM | Report abuse


----------------------------------

oh and this isn't incendiary? its dummies like this that give the death panel folks as well as the Hitler ones credence from the other side. I'll tell you what, THEY'RE BOTH WRONG."

Uh. no. That's the way the system works. It's moronic to argue with facts, but obviously that's not a problem for you.

Nobody can give the Hitler death panel cretins credibility -- sorry. They might as well just have scrawled 'IDIOT' on their foreheads with a magic marker.


Posted by: drindl | August 20, 2009 2:00 PM | Report abuse


--------------------------------

oh i'm sorry, they aren't wrong unless they espouse YOUR point of view.

Please remind me today what color is the sky? Blue, Green or Red??

Unless you see a smoking gun in Ron Williams' hand you're doing nothing but fearmongering against insurance companies which makes you no better than the idiots calling Obama Hitler (YES I CALLED THEM IDIOTS). I'm sure you've got a reason for hating them and that's fine but at least have some semblance of fact with it.

Posted by: visionbrkr | August 20, 2009 2:07 PM | Report abuse

There's illiterate armpeg again, on his ruined couch, in his dirty tshirt, surrounded by beer cans, belching, whining about that no-good wife who left him... kicking the dog and grunting.

Can't y'all picture it?

==

He could just as easily be a hot-eyed clean-shaven guy with no chest but huge biceps. The only thing you can be sure of is that his basement apartment is littered with political comic books like Libertarian Times.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | August 20, 2009 2:06 PM | Report abuse

hey armpit:
if Obama is at 50% because he is trying to actually tackle real problems your party ignored for 8 years, his numbers are still twice that of W's when he left office, by some 26%.

Posted by: leichtman | August 20, 2009 2:05 PM | Report abuse

shrink2, I hope you saw my comment where I agreed I over stated the teaching hospital statement.

On these Death Panels, we already have them. Everyday committees decide who will get the next heart or kidney - sometimes a young person or older person dies because the committee decided that they were just too sick to give them the heart.

And of course we have the real Death Panels. Every day people in this country die from colon cancer because they could not afford the screening. When people die because they cannot afford healthcare you in effect are telling them - if you cannot afford insurance then you are sentenced to an early death. The real Death Panel is the Republican Party

Why are these obvious responses not being put out there by Obama's team?

Bobby Wightman-Cervantes

Posted by: bobbywc | August 20, 2009 2:05 PM | Report abuse

" And despite the fact that his support from his black racist tribal members has never wavered, and never will no matter what he'll do. They'll support him even if he governs like Idi Amin. "

I think this kind of racist sh*t should be banned from the Fix. Anyone agrees, report abuse. I did.

Posted by: drindl | August 20, 2009 2:04 PM | Report abuse

And despite the fact that his support from his black racist tribal members has never wavered, and never will no matter what he'll do.

==

OK, this is totally over the line. This is pure unadulterated racist swill. Take it to stormfront. My last response to your swinish posts.

Go away.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | August 20, 2009 2:03 PM | Report abuse

leichtman,

what about an 8% tax is less than what an employer pays for premium of the employee don't you get?? If you're going to do it you need to regionalize the tax for what the average premium is in those regions. That's not misinformation, JUST FACT.

Posted by: visionbrkr | August 20, 2009 2:03 PM | Report abuse

There's illiterate armpeg again, on his ruined couch, in his dirty tshirt, surrounded by beer cans, belching, whining about that no-good wife who left him... kicking the dog and grunting.

Can't y'all picture it?

Posted by: drindl | August 20, 2009 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Not to change the subject, but when do we start discussin the latest Fix Political Hall of Fame nominations?

Posted by: Gallenod | August 20, 2009 2:02 PM | Report abuse

What does the buildup to the Iraq war and the debate over Health Care Reform have in common? In both, the right wing's arguments have been based on misinformation and lies. In the drumbeat to go to war with Iraq we were told about dangerous weapons of mass destruction, about close connections between Iraq and Al Qaida. In the health care debate it is "Death Panels" and god knows what else yet to come.

Gullibility and timidity are always a bad combination. Republicans know this and play it to their best advantage. Anything to get their way, say anything to protect the profits of Insurance giants. Americans deserve the governemnt they get, but let's not fall prey again to right wing lies and obfuscations.

Posted by: rlampe | August 20, 2009 2:02 PM | Report abuse

incidentally vision, Deeds was behind during the entire primary so don't start popping your champaign corks b/c you have a statistically insignificant lead 3 months out.

Posted by: leichtman | August 20, 2009 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Private health care insurance companies kill people for a profit in this country. In fact, it is their fiduciary responsibility to do so. They must maximize profits, and in health care, one way to do so is to deny coverage for the most expensive treatments and conditions.

It's just a fact. Your insurance company will kill you if they get half a chance.

Posted by: drindl | August 20, 2009 1:37 PM | Report abuse


----------------------------------

oh and this isn't incendiary? its dummies like this that give the death panel folks as well as the Hitler ones credence from the other side. I'll tell you what, THEY'RE BOTH WRONG."

Uh. no. That's the way the system works. It's moronic to argue with facts, but obviously that's not a problem for you.

Nobody can give the Hitler death panel cretins credibility -- sorry. They might as well just have scrawled 'IDIOT' on their foreheads with a magic marker.

Posted by: drindl | August 20, 2009 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Lemme see now. Bozo Obama had a 72% approval rating back in Feb.; a 66% in March; 56% in June; 52% in July, and now he's at 49%. This gigantic drop has happened despite the fact that he's had the entire US Main Stream Media cheerleading his parade, running cover for him, and censoring all news that could damage him politically. And despite the fact that his support from his black racist tribal members has never wavered, and never will no matter what he'll do. They'll support him even if he governs like Idi Amin. Just goes to show that the American people are starting to catch on to his con, and that Obama can't be trusted to tell the truth on anything.

Posted by: armpeg | August 20, 2009 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Mark,

I am wanting to respond to your post with a link, but I cannot because history has been rewritten. Apparently Hutchison supporters posted a bogus summary of the events of her criminal trial and everyone else is just repeating it.

Check the archives for the Stateman and you will see the facts. Judge Onion issued a ruling which Earle felt would kill his case. Earle announced ready. He then participated in the picking of a jury. When Judge Onion asked that he call his first witness Earle refused. This is when he ordered a directed verdict.

The guy who runs the Quorum report there in Austin knows the story behind the story.

He long with myself accidently gave Ray Hutchison documents which show Earle illegally used 100k to help Ann Richards against Clayton Williams. Ray went to Earle with the documents and Earle removed the DA assigned to Hutchison's case and then allowed for the dismissal of the case by only asking for a continuance after the jury was sworn - which we both know is when double jeapordy attaches.

The questions is - will Perry use this against her?

The Dems will not because it implicates Richards and Earle. The Republicans in Austin are waiting to see what happens. They all know if Perry goes with the story Hutchison will respond in kind.

They could just self destruct. My sources in Austin are telling me key power centers in the Republican party are demanding restraint by both sides.

Bobby Wightman-Cervantes

Posted by: bobbywc | August 20, 2009 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Obama is an egghead with the rhetorical gifts of a world class political bully. When he was elected I hoped we would get a bully with intelligence. Instead he is trying to run the country the way you would in an ideal world. It is not an ideal world and the Republicans show no signs of wanting to do anything but get 41 senators in 2010. It is time for Obama to fight.

Posted by: caribis | August 20, 2009 1:58 PM | Report abuse

goldandtanzanite,


have you seen the polls in the NJ and VA governor's races?

here look here:

http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2009/08/16/poll-mcdonnell-leads-in-virginia-governors-race/

and here for NJ:

http://www.nj.com/hudson/index.ssf/2009/08/christie_widens_lead_over_corz.html


someone quick call SEIU and moveon.org to save them!! stand outside the polls to scare Republican voters!!

Posted by: visionbrkr | August 20, 2009 1:57 PM | Report abuse

In my estimation, that NBC poll shows that people are simultaneously becoming more poorly informed and more opinionated. Take a bow, Rush, Glenn and Matt.

Posted by: douglaslbarber | August 20, 2009 1:57 PM | Report abuse

G&T
There's work for [illegal aliens] because we have industries, agriculture chief among them, that depend on a helpless underclass to pay lower wages than they would be required to pay to citizens. They are not tangential to our ugly version of capitalism, they are intrinsic to it.

So true. And from the perspective of their employers' greed, the most advantageous aspect of all may well be that these illegal alien workers dare not complain about any wrongs committed against them, lest their illegal status come to the authorities' attention and they be deported. Blackmail, pure and simple.

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | August 20, 2009 1:55 PM | Report abuse

incidentally you never responded that you flat out came here and lied by posting that people in your words would be Forced into a public plan. Ready to retract that lie?

"wait you don't think employers in many Norhteastern states for example will dump people onto a public plan at an 8% payroll tax? Let me do some quick math."

READ THE CONGRESSIONAL PLAN. It specifically prohbits and penalizes companies for doing that. Incidentally you seem to want to defend insurance companies without bothering to mention that our Vets are on that dreaded government plan. I presume that the GOP is now prepared to repeal Medicare and Tricare in addition to flat out lying and falsely claiming you would be FORCED in to it.

Once again where do any of the plans state precisely you would be forced into a government plan. We are all waiting for that precise language you keep churning.

Posted by: leichtman | August 20, 2009 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Suppose H1N1 goes into a second wave a la the H1N1 pandemic of 1918.

How do you bright shiners feel about denying vaccines to illegal aliens? Leaving them communicable?

Do you guys ever engage your brains in these discussion or do all your political positions originate in your ductless glands?

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | August 20, 2009 1:53 PM | Report abuse

And we know that the government can't run anything efficiently

==

I stopped reading there.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | August 20, 2009 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Private health care insurance companies kill people for a profit in this country. In fact, it is their fiduciary responsibility to do so. They must maximize profits, and in health care, one way to do so is to deny coverage for the most expensive treatments and conditions.

It's just a fact. Your insurance company will kill you if they get half a chance.

Posted by: drindl | August 20, 2009 1:37 PM | Report abuse


----------------------------------

oh and this isn't incendiary? its dummies like this that give the death panel folks as well as the Hitler ones credence from the other side. I'll tell you what, THEY'RE BOTH WRONG.

Posted by: visionbrkr | August 20, 2009 1:51 PM | Report abuse

It says here that "Death Panels" are indeed coming, if today's proposals come to fruition.

Chris, I checked your AP and NBC News links claiming they had at most a shred of truth, and I still don't see the facts.

The NBC link merely mentions that unnamed fact-checkers claim there will be no death panels. It doesn't say how they would know, with this fictitious bill Obama wants.

The AP link merely refutes the loony right-wing argument that the new gov't system would "require" some form of "counseling" of people nearing the end of their lives that would supposedly encourage "euthanasia."

But NONE of that disproves the central complaint about "Death Panels."

We are all likely to die earlier as a result of these disasters that are the current health care proposals out there.

Almost all of them require the government to take a larger role in health care, ultimately meaning the government will decide, through regulations, reviews, appointees, or committees, who can get what kind of care and when. It is entirely fair to refer to this decision mechanism as a "panel."

We know that Obama has claimed to "bend the cost curve" downward, i.e. reduce costs, however slightly.

And we know that the government can't run anything efficiently (see the center-left Pearlstein column of yesterday). So for an increasingly inefficient system to reduce its costs, it must lower the quality of care SUBSTANTIALLY. This lower-quality care will ultimately lead to lower life expectancies than under the status quo.

And there you have it. The government's "panel" will lead to millions of premature "deaths," and thus the term "Death Panel" is histrionic, but substantial.

Obama on the campaign trail, with brow in full furrow, was annoyed at those who didn't like his reform plans, saying that if you have health insurance that you like the only difference will be that your premium will be lower. I heard it right from his mouth.

We now know that was a Big Lie - your taxes will have to go up to cover the $1T to $2T in new costs, and your insurance company will be forced to RAISE its rates to cover Obama's favorite new coverage provisions, and all that only applies IF your employer decides to continue offering this increasingly expensive health insurance plan.

I'm very disappointed that Chris C. waved off an entire side of the argument, when he is normally even-handed.

Posted by: angrydoug1 | August 20, 2009 1:48 PM | Report abuse

for all those wanting to stop illegals from using ER rooms, have you ever stopped to think how the CDC would deal with that calamity. Their care is not only important for their well being but for your's as well.

Posted by: leichtman | August 20, 2009 1:46 PM | Report abuse

I agree totally. Just do me a favor. Once they're treated and released, DEPORT THEM. But first find their "employer" and fine or imprison them.

People need to realize what illegal immigrants costs this country and that debate hasn't even started yet with Obama. Wait until that happens and then you'll see his poll numbers then. He's going to drive this sharp divide even further.

==

Please keep the arch talk about a "backlash" out of the discussion. Nobody cares about right-wingers' endless predictions of voter resprisal. You guys are solidly wrong in every one of these predictions. Get out more. Talk to real people instead of listening to shock jocks on the radio.

Illegal aliens are here because there's work for them. There's work for them because we have industries, agriculture chief among them, that depend on a helpless underclass to pay lower wages than they would be required to pay to citizens. They are not tangential to our ugly version of capitalism, they are intrinsic to it.

They are also the most deprived and helpless people in our society and to try to score points on them is frankly despicable. Why don't you go after women with breast cancer while you're at it. Or children with leukemia. Ugh.

Anyway, illegal aliens are quite tangential to the discussion. Count me in with mikeinmidland, I would rather pay a few nickels most in taxes and know that people aren't suffering needlessly.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | August 20, 2009 1:46 PM | Report abuse

vision you are spreading more disinformation here that somehow you delusionally claim will help the GOP in 2010 b/c our lives are so inconsequential in comparison to your need to help the GOP from disintegrating.

This is your quote(misinformation machine):
fine I bite. Please post the precise language in any of the plans that states what you are lying about that anyone would be "forced" in to any plan. Otherwise I expect it to be retracted and marked as another lie by your side.

these were your precise words: why should they be ""forced"" to a government plan?

Posted by: leichtman | August 20, 2009 1:35 PM | Report abuse


-------------------------------------


wait you don't think employers in many Norhteastern states for example will dump people onto a public plan at an 8% payroll tax? Let me do some quick math.

Employer sponsored insurance plan cost for family: $15000 a year (and that's LOW). If the employer pays 75% of that it amounts to $11,250.

If that employee makes $50,000 a year then the tax is $4,000.

Which would YOU rather pay $11250 or $4000?

Please help me with where the math doesn't compute.

The dumping won't go on everywhere but they need to regionally account for this percentage of penalty and they don't seem to be doing that yet. They had better get it right becuase employers are just begging to dump the low paid and sick onto a public option.

Posted by: visionbrkr | August 20, 2009 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Mark, I will do it, probably tonight.
And the Texas situation is really interesting to Yankees, because there, Republicans are still relevant and what happens there could be a bellwether for the party in purple states.

Bobby, now that you said it twice, what is your problem with teaching hospitals? We all got taught somewhere. For me, lucky, that I am, it was in Harvard's system. I thought hospitals like Beth Israel, Mass General, Brigham and Womens, etc. were the best place to learn in the world, no joke. It is true that if you are hospitalized in such a place, you will be seen and examined by a whole lot more people than in an all about profit "doctor's hospital". Is it your impression that teaching hospitals make more mistakes?

Posted by: shrink2 | August 20, 2009 1:44 PM | Report abuse

mgd1 are you in favor of a soda tax?

So it is not the fault of healthcare companies for their raising their premiums, I guess Pres Obama instructed them to do so. And out of control administrative and advertising costs have nothing to do with rising premiums, interest but untrue.

Posted by: leichtman | August 20, 2009 1:40 PM | Report abuse

"An ER is NOT a doctor's office for illegals, sorry. That takes away from the true trauma that is needed to be treated there."

Well, it's not a first come-first served system. You go in order of urgency.

Posted by: DDAWD | August 20, 2009 1:39 PM | Report abuse


I get it. You don't care about health care reform, you just hate illegals.

If you put INS agents at the ER, of course the illegals will stay away unless they'd rather die in this country than live outside it. I'm sure that wouldn't bother you, though.

Posted by: mikeinmidland | August 20, 2009 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Private health care insurance companies kill people for a profit in this country. In fact, it is their fiduciary responsibility to do so. They must maximize profits, and in health care, one way to do so is to deny coverage for the most expensive treatments and conditions.

It's just a fact. Your insurance company will kill you if they get half a chance.

Posted by: drindl | August 20, 2009 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Amazing. You want to keep government out of healthcare but you're all for government subsidies.

Is that who all those town howlers are? Medicare Advantage subscribers who think if the subsidies are eliminated they'll have to go back to regular Medicare?

It is so amusing to see people scream about everyone's rights when they are really concerned about their own perks.

Posted by: mikeinmidland | August 20, 2009 1:35 PM | Report abuse

The point of EMTALA is that you shouldn't have to produce an insurance card or a birth certificate to keep from bleeding out on the floor of an ER.

Health professionals are supposed to have a code of ethics. EMTALA helps those professionals follow their ethics when they otherwise might clash with corporate priorities.

Universal health care should reduce the non-emergency load in the ER, which will make it more effective and efficient. But regardless, I am all for providing emergency health care to indigents and illegal aliens. Being humane is part of being human, don't you think?

Posted by: mikeinmidland | August 20, 2009 1:24 PM | Report abuse


---------------------------------------


I agree totally. Just do me a favor. Once they're treated and released, DEPORT THEM. But first find their "employer" and fine or imprison them.

People need to realize what illegal immigrants costs this country and that debate hasn't even started yet with Obama. Wait until that happens and then you'll see his poll numbers then. He's going to drive this sharp divide even further.

Posted by: visionbrkr | August 20, 2009 1:35 PM | Report abuse

vision you are spreading more disinformation here that somehow you delusionally claim will help the GOP in 2010 b/c our lives are so inconsequential in comparison to your need to help the GOP from disintegrating.

This is your quote(misinformation machine):
fine I bite. Please post the precise language in any of the plans that states what you are lying about that anyone would be "forced" in to any plan. Otherwise I expect it to be retracted and marked as another lie by your side.

these were your precise words: why should they be ""forced"" to a government plan?

Posted by: leichtman | August 20, 2009 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Andyr3, okay you are correct and I broke a golden rule - never paint with a broad brush -

but I have used VA hospitals in several states and in every case the quality of care was bad, real bad.

It took doctors at two VA hospitals 11 years to diagnose a simple problem which now has me nearly totally disabled. I cannot drive long distances. I cannot sit or stand or laydown for more than a few minutes - the pain is horrific - nothing is working. On Septemner 1st I have what is known as a caudal racz procedure scheduled.

Even now after 11 years of seeing doctors in training supervised by university staff who do not care, they still got it wrong when a radiologist in training misread an MRI. Only upon my insistance that I see a neurologist did I finally get a correct diagnosis. Even then the neurologist in training went with the bad MRI report and did nothing until the Chief medical officer intervened and chose to send me to a pain management person with 32 years experience. He checked the actual MRI film and found the problem.

11 years it took for the VA to allow me to see someone other than a doctor in training - I nearly drowned Memorial Day weekend when I lost my legs and two men had to swim out and pull me from the Gulf.

But Andy you are correct, I should have limited the statement to my experience in several VA.'s And yes there are numerous good teaching hospitals. If I had the money I would go to any of the teaching hospitals you listed

And to be fair to the VA - the dental clinic in San Antonio is great - why? - because the guy in charge does not allow the dentists in training to run the show.

Bobby Wightman-Cervantes

Posted by: bobbywc | August 20, 2009 1:33 PM | Report abuse

"YAY DEMOCRATS!!!

oh and before you reply please let me know when it stops being Bush's fault? When the economy has totally bottomed out where it can't go any lower??? Ya nice job Mr President stopping us from going over a cliff but the problem is you keep dangling us over that same cliff. Ya I know its only been 8 month's he's been in office. IN two years the same retort you'll give is "He's only been in office give him more time".

In 6 years time, "He's only been in office 6 years, we need to amend the constitution to allow a third term". How far into his second term will we hear that???"

The President inherited the worst economy since the great depression and you're complaining everything isn't better already. Virginia has had two consecutive years of declining state revenues for the first time in it's history and you think that stopping the descent and having things starting to look better is no accomplishment ? What a maroon !

Posted by: Falmouth1 | August 20, 2009 1:32 PM | Report abuse

Obama blames the healthcare sector for the high cost of healthcare which is the greatest misinformation campaign of all time. Health care reform will not cut costs ...unless we make laws and disqualify the unhealthy...

"Health care spending on obese adults increased by almost 82% from $167 billion in 2001 to $303 billion in 2006, according to recent government data. The data also revealed that obese people made up the majority of the U.S. population that has at least one chronic disease, such as diabetes or heart disease."

Posted by: mgd1 | August 20, 2009 1:29 PM | Report abuse

The government studies show that Medicare Advantage does not deliver any better care than regular Medicare.

This was one of Bush's great ideas to push towards privatization of Medicare. The government keeps all the liability, and the private insurance companies get money for administration. Not care--administration.

Posted by: mikeinmidland | August 20, 2009 1:12 PM | Report abuse

well of course they don't its standardized but if people are happy with PRIVATE medicare advantage why should they be forced to a government plan? Should we all be forced to drive GM's because the government owns them? I'm sorry I kind of like my Toyota that's build in the US. How long before we have to buy government built TV's? Computers??

Exactly where does it end??

oh I know, it ends in 2010.

Posted by: visionbrkr | August 20, 2009 1:25 PM | Report abuse

The point of EMTALA is that you shouldn't have to produce an insurance card or a birth certificate to keep from bleeding out on the floor of an ER.

Health professionals are supposed to have a code of ethics. EMTALA helps those professionals follow their ethics when they otherwise might clash with corporate priorities.

Universal health care should reduce the non-emergency load in the ER, which will make it more effective and efficient. But regardless, I am all for providing emergency health care to indigents and illegal aliens. Being humane is part of being human, don't you think?

Posted by: mikeinmidland | August 20, 2009 1:24 PM | Report abuse

shrink2, because you have always been thoughtful on this subject, and knowledgeable as a health care professional, I really do want to hear your critique of the Pearlman article, whenever you have the time to collect thoughts away from work. I'll look in occasionally.

Bobby, the DaMN story CC cited makes a discussion of KBH v. Goodhair relevant [non-Texans can tune out]. I think she is getting a late start, but it is amazing to me how many Rs have kept their powder dry waiting for her to jump in with two feet. Thoughts?

GAT, all nations still have "for profit health care" and Germany and Switzerland have for profit insurance, tightly regulated. Before you jump, think about who pays for breast enlargements in London. It is not the NHS. Canadian medicine is not socialized and the only the insurance for good basic coverage is.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | August 20, 2009 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Shrink2, this is where Obama is failing. He needs to go to the Harlingen, Texas VA clinic - the mental health part is awesome for the veterans - separate waiting area and clerks - more privacy -

Obama needs to stand with the veterans at this clinic and demand Senators Cornyn and Hutchison explain why they support more VA hospitals for Texas but then claim government care does not work.

What is really sad is these two senators are demanding the Harlingen clinic be turned into a hospital - this will mean a teaching hospital which will destroy the quality of care.

It is these Republican Senators who are demanding the VA eliminate this wonderful clinic with incredible care in favor of a system we know does not work.

It is time Obama calls them out and expose them as the frauds they are.

Bobby WIghtman-Cervantes

Posted by: bobbywc | August 20, 2009 1:23 PM | Report abuse

"And a lot of people have Medicare Advantage which ISN'T government run. Its insurance run and they like that too. Well until the government takes away the subsidies for that and insurers are forced to raise the rates for it. Kind of nice how government works like that."

==

I think it's far more important to provide for the general public welfare than to provide a scaffold that allows a few people to rake in huge profits. If you disagree please have the courtesy to say so and don't hedge around it.

And don't pretend that providing good service is congruent with making the most money. The two are at odds.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | August 20, 2009 1:08 PM | Report abuse

wow silly me. I didn't think 3-4% was huge and also its not guaranteed. The only thing guaranteed is our taxes will continue to grow with all the added entitlements with this administration. Oh and the debt will grow too. oh and the unemployment.

YAY DEMOCRATS!!!

oh and before you reply please let me know when it stops being Bush's fault? When the economy has totally bottomed out where it can't go any lower??? Ya nice job Mr President stopping us from going over a cliff but the problem is you keep dangling us over that same cliff. Ya I know its only been 8 month's he's been in office. IN two years the same retort you'll give is "He's only been in office give him more time".

In 6 years time, "He's only been in office 6 years, we need to amend the constitution to allow a third term". How far into his second term will we hear that???

Posted by: visionbrkr | August 20, 2009 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Bobby WC writes "teaching hospitals will always produce second rate care"

Some teaching hospitals of note
Johns Hopkins
Mass General
Mayo Clinic
Brigham and Womens
St Judes in Memphis
Cornell Medical
UCLA Medical Center
UCSF Medical Center
Duke Medical center
etc....

If you look at the top 100 hospitals in the country almost all of them are teahcing hospitals.

Posted by: AndyR3 | August 20, 2009 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Here's why there'll be no healthcare reform: Republicans don't want it. They are making far too much money for the current system.

Speaking on Fox News last night, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) claimed that health care reform should not happen because it doesn’t enjoy “bipartisan” support, adding that a bill cannot be bipartisan unless it garners “somewhere between 75 and 80 votes.”

Hatch is hardly the only conservative senator to float a 75-80 vote supermajority requirement for health reform. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), who is currently blocking attempts to fix the health care system, told the Washington Post that “[w]e ought to be focusing on getting 80 votes.” Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY) demanded “a bill that 75 or 80 senators can support.”

Of course when it's somethey they want -- different story. Biggest hypocrites in the world.

' Subsidies For Drug Companies: In November 2003, the Senate passed a prescription drug plan for seniors that was strongly backed by lobbyists for the pharmaceutical industry with only 54 votes. Nevertheless, Grassley released a statement praising himself as the “lead Senate architect of the bipartisan legislation” creating this plan.'

Posted by: drindl | August 20, 2009 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Misinformation about healthcare??
FIGHT BACK with repetition. The opposition have people on FOX (Entertainment) News repeating these myths over and over again. Where is the repetition about the truth over and over again?

Calling the Washington Post, CNN and MSNBC and any other form of mediat that would like to keep any credibility to speak the truth over and over again. Not just in one news report or new article. My suggestion would be to have a truth segment about healthcare on a daily basis.

Posted by: gamble2000 | August 20, 2009 1:15 PM | Report abuse

The government studies show that Medicare Advantage does not deliver any better care than regular Medicare.

This was one of Bush's great ideas to push towards privatization of Medicare. The government keeps all the liability, and the private insurance companies get money for administration. Not care--administration.

Posted by: mikeinmidland | August 20, 2009 1:12 PM | Report abuse

goldandtanzanite -- yeah, i always get this mental picture of some hairy, burly, fatbellied, unemployed loser, dressed in a dirty undershrit, sitting on a half-destroyed couch, surrounded by empty beer cans and pizza boxes, watching sports on TV and whining about his ex-wife, that no-good b*tch who left him, and kicking his dog.

Posted by: drindl | August 20, 2009 1:11 PM | Report abuse

Bobby, I agree. Co-located services [including mental health, many people who can not tolerate the idea of getting mental health care for themselves feel terrible but somatize their complaints, then populate the waiting rooms of ERs and doctors' offices] are the most obvious way to integrate services. This would greatly improve access and outcomes, which of course, drives efficiency.

Problem is, the silos. Fee for service silos provide direct incentives for the dis-integration of services.

Posted by: shrink2 | August 20, 2009 1:09 PM | Report abuse

"And a lot of people have Medicare Advantage which ISN'T government run. Its insurance run and they like that too. Well until the government takes away the subsidies for that and insurers are forced to raise the rates for it. Kind of nice how government works like that."

==

I think it's far more important to provide for the general public welfare than to provide a scaffold that allows a few people to rake in huge profits. If you disagree please have the courtesy to say so and don't hedge around it.

And don't pretend that providing good service is congruent with making the most money. The two are at odds.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | August 20, 2009 1:08 PM | Report abuse

@dog - I believe Jake said he was going golfing today. I pointed out yesterday that he'd taken up about half the thread once you include back and forths. Most of it void in content. Just ignore it and you get a conversation like today's.

As for armpeg, there was nothing in that post but insults and name calling. I'm pledging a troll-free posting diet.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | August 20, 2009 1:08 PM | Report abuse

." It is time to elect leaders that have brains and that are not under the thumb of special interest and lobbyist. "

Coming from a republican this is hilarious.

Posted by: drindl | August 20, 2009 1:06 PM | Report abuse

armpeg us one of the army of lobotomized dittoheads who lets limbaugh do his thinking for hiim. Don't even bother to try to penetrate the concrete where his brain used to be, if he ever had one.

==

I figure his presentation "Democrap Socialist" is self-defeating and self-marginalizing. Makes him sound like a guy who punches walls and always has his hand in a cast.

It's still irritating.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | August 20, 2009 1:03 PM | Report abuse

armpeg us one of the army of lobotomized dittoheads who lets limbaugh do his thinking for hiim. Don't even bother to try to penetrate the concrete where his brain used to be, if he ever had one.

Posted by: drindl | August 20, 2009 1:01 PM | Report abuse

If you don't think the Government can run Medicare, just ask anyone on the program if they want to go off Medicare and get private insurance--they won't.

Posted by: mikeinmidland | August 20, 2009 12:44 PM | Report abuse


and a lot of people have Medicare Advantage which ISN'T government run. Its insurance run and they like that too. Well until the government takes away the subsidies for that and insurers are forced to raise the rates for it. Kind of nice how government works like that.

Posted by: visionbrkr | August 20, 2009 1:01 PM | Report abuse

The one thing all facist, Communist, Socialist--run governments have in common is very good health care, AND IT'S FREE!! You might have to wait a couple of years for it, but when you do get it (assuming that it's approved by a panel, and you're not dead), it wont cost you a dime

==

First of all, the word is "fascist." From the Latin "fasces," the bundles of rods. See the back of a Mercury dime.

What countries do you regard as "Fascist" in the world today? I'm curious. Anyway, you're wrong about the waits. Those waits are longer in the US than almost anywhere.

That's a fact.

America is the only country among the western democracies where health care for profit is legal. In other countries it's regarded as too important to be left to the caprice of the marketplace where the maximization of profit prevails over the provision of good and timely service to the greatest number.

You're lying. Please quit it.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | August 20, 2009 12:59 PM | Report abuse

angriestdogintheworld

yeah, how 'bout that?

If it was just going to be cf8 getting the 86, then no way but out. This would be as some wag put it, the barf bag for birther trolls. The new look is working so far.

Posted by: shrink2 | August 20, 2009 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Like the rest of the Democrap Socialist Party

==

Please, quit this.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | August 20, 2009 12:55 PM | Report abuse

If you want EMTALA repealed, then advocate for EMTALA to be repealed. That covers a lot of poor Americans, you know, not just illegals.

But it has nothing to do with the proposed health care reforms. No change in that there.

Posted by: mikeinmidland | August 20, 2009 12:49 PM | Report abuse


-----------------------------

I'm not advocating for it because it has its place and is valid but don't tell me that illegals won't be in the SYSTEM of care. That's absolutely disingenious. Don't LEAN ON the poor because of how EMTALA works so that you can cover illegals still.

Oh and when we get this great reform and get to universality I guess we can repeal EMTALA, no???

Posted by: visionbrkr | August 20, 2009 12:54 PM | Report abuse

armpeg:

The US is 37th in quality of healthcare in the world, and we spend twice what those other countries do.

Please explain how you would improve this situation.

Posted by: mikeinmidland | August 20, 2009 12:53 PM | Report abuse

shrink2, I am not saying you are wrong on the savings issue - I personally favor allowing the States to opt out of the National system if they have their own reform. This allows for more experimentation on a variety of models which would be a good thing.

The VA clinic in Harlingen I think would qualify as an integrated clinic. I am no defender of the VA system - teaching hospitals will always produce second rate care - but our clinic is only experienced doctors and specialists.

This model for the delivery of healthcare is awsome. Every speciality you can imagine, lab, MRI everything - and soon a day surgery facility. I wish we had more clinics like this all over the country.

Maybe Obama cannot get everything he wants on the public option, but what he can do which the republicans would have to support is extend the public healthcare to all veterans.

Not all veterans get free healthcare at the VA. Obama needs to support a veterans insurance option wherein those who do not get free care from the VA can buy VA insurance from the VA which will then provide them free VA healthcare - can you see the Republicans opposing this?

I guess my bigger point is, rational debate and discussion is always good - unfortunately mostly the rightwing, but some on the left also are making an intellegent debate nearly impossible.

Bobby Wightman-Cervantes

Posted by: bobbywc | August 20, 2009 12:51 PM | Report abuse

If you want EMTALA repealed, then advocate for EMTALA to be repealed. That covers a lot of poor Americans, you know, not just illegals.

But it has nothing to do with the proposed health care reforms. No change in that there.

Posted by: mikeinmidland | August 20, 2009 12:49 PM | Report abuse

wow, not one JakeD stinker... I may come back after all. The mystique being people want information they can use.

Posted by: angriestdogintheworld | August 20, 2009 12:49 PM | Report abuse

It figures that Bozo Obama shill Chris Cillizza would describe any opposition to Obama's Socialist Health Care Bill as "misinformation". Like the rest of the Democrap Socialist Party--controlled Main Stream Media, Chris C. is doing his part to censor anything the Obama administration does that would do political damage to his/their facist little tin foil god Obama, even if that means a Hitler--like Socialist government--uber--alles state--control over our health care system. The German people once loved Hitlers health care system also because it provided what they thought was free health care--just like mommy and daddy used to do. What they learned the hard way was that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably isn't. Freebees always have strings attached. The one thing all facist, Communist, Socialist--run governments have in common is very good health care, AND IT'S FREE!! You might have to wait a couple of years for it, but when you do get it (assuming that it's approved by a panel, and you're not dead), it wont cost you a dime. The way Obama and the Democrap Socialists are governing so far, there may not be a presidential election in 2012. Hugo Chavez is doing that now in Venezuela, and it looks like Obama and the Democrap Socialists are following in his footsteps.

Posted by: armpeg | August 20, 2009 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Candygram for Mongo:

The stimulus plan is putting people back to work. Note that GM and others are bringing back workers because demand for cars is up (due to cash-for-clunkers, a part of the stimulus plan.) The banks are much more careful with their loans now, so people aren't getting cars they can't afford. Same with mortgages, only moreso.

If you don't want people building more cars and houses, where are these jobs supposed to come from? And be serious, if Obama wanted to spend more money to employ more people, you'd be against that too.

If you don't think the Government can run Medicare, just ask anyone on the program if they want to go off Medicare and get private insurance--they won't.

Posted by: mikeinmidland | August 20, 2009 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Heard on the radio today that in the USA waits for medical care are longer than in any country with a national program. Six days to see a doctor. On the other hand we have the shortest waits for elective surgery.

Obama needs to get out facts like this, get them out loud and often, to counteract the fear-mongering lies from the opposition.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | August 20, 2009 12:44 PM | Report abuse

mark, I read that column and I have so many problems with it, I don't have time to send it up.

But I can find no sign of movement away from the current models, I see expansion of the current models. If you can find who is going to lose money doing what they are currently doing in any of the bills being discussed, I would love to know about it.

BTW, I researched your "rural monopoly" argument and I found nothing to contradict you. It was really interesting doing that and it revised some of the things I thought about the history of Jim Crow. Thank you.

So I am not saying you are wrong, I just see no sign of winners and losers in the reform effort and common sense tells us that a system with out of control costs can not be fixed unless a lot of people who are making money the wrong way can't do that anymore.

Posted by: shrink2 | August 20, 2009 12:37 PM | Report abuse

How's this for "misinformation"?

President Obama claims pediatricians do tonsillectomies for profit, but pediatricians do not do surgery. He claims that surgeons get paid $30,000 to $50,000 immediately for amputating a foot, when Medicare actually pays between $700 and $1200, including follow up care for 90 days. Most insurance companies are tied close to the Medicare rate, and payment in either case can take months.

Hard to complain about others getting facts wrong when he is so far off base himself--but the media rarely calls him on his misinformation.

Posted by: tartanmarine | August 20, 2009 12:37 PM | Report abuse

What is happening is more than mere disinformation - it is an outright coup by the rightwing and many Republicans. But first, yesterday on Rush he remained silent and chose not to correct the caller when this alleged veteran claimed that if Obama Healthcare reform passes the government will take over the VA hospitals.

This is intentional fear mongering to manipulate scared seniors.

Here in Texas both of our US Senators Cornyn and Hutchison have blocked Obama from going forward with nominations of US Attorneys or federal judges. They have stated that they will not honor the constitution by allowing the president to make his appointments. They have stated Obama must get their permission before making any nominations.

Part two - the radicalright cost the Republicans the election. the American people and rightfully so fear them. This is the second time they are using these tactics to undermind the democratic process - remember immigration reform?

If Obama and the Dems fail to stop these people then they should all resign. They won - now they must do their job and represent the people who voted for them.

As to Cornyn and Hutchison it is time for Obama to make his nominations and take it to the Senate - If Cornyn wants to play this game and try and stop the nominations in the Senate Judiciary Committee then maybe Obama needs to show a pair and sue Cornyn in federal court to enforce his constitutional obligation to make these appointments. If Obama allows Cornyn to win on this issue, then he is too weak to be president.

Bobby Wightman-Cervantes

Posted by: bobbywc | August 20, 2009 12:32 PM | Report abuse

If we let the government run our healthcare it will be another failure. They can’t run Medicare now and you want them to run everyone’s healthcare? That is so silly. This is nothing but another power grab by the Obama Administration. Just like the reports of a media consulting firm with ties to White House senior strategist David Axelrod has been hired to produce a multi-million dollar ad campaign touting the Obama administration's health care overhaul. How much corruption are we going to let happen before we stop it? Just like the Cash for Clunkers bill, how is getting Americans to turn in cars that are paid off and working fine helping Americans bottom line? This program is going to do the same thing as it did in the mortgage crisis and get people who can’t afford to buy something making payments that they were not making before.
This is the same thinking and policy making that decided that after a mortgage mess that the thing to do is offer people 8K to buy houses. How is that going to help? You are just tempting people to buy things that they can’t afford. Isn’t this how our economy got in this predicament anyway? We need to elect leaders that can make decisions and write legislation that makes since. Not dream up a cockamamie scam to stimulate the economy, not wreck it. It is time to elect leaders that have brains and that are not under the thumb of special interest and lobbyist. By the way, ask yourself this question..Why isn’t the Obama administrations putting the same effort that they are putting into the healthcare take over to putting Americans back to work? He did promise that he would do that. What is more important to you?

VOTE FOR REAL CHANGE!! ELECT A NEW CONGRESS IN 2010!!
http://www.showusobama.com/

Posted by: mongo9584 | August 20, 2009 12:31 PM | Report abuse

how about this misinformation.


Illegals ARE NOT covered.

yes they are unless they repealed EMTALA.

maybe not under the public plan they're not covered but it doesn't mean they aren't using RESOURCES just like they are now. An ER is NOT a doctor's office for illegals, sorry. That takes away from the true trauma that is needed to be treated there.

Posted by: visionbrkr | August 20, 2009 12:28 PM | Report abuse

What I don't get is why we aren't talking about funding a single-payer system the same way we fund SS & Medicare? Formulate a percentage of wages that is to be withheld from the employee and then have a corresponding employer match. With family plans running $15K+ per year, there would have to be savings to the employer in a system like this so why would employers not support it? They would reduce their employee benefits expense.

Posted by: jasperanselm | August 20, 2009 12:25 PM | Report abuse

"Just a bunch of dishonest leftist feces."

This is what passes for intelligent thought among the opponents of healthcare reform, so what makes anyone think you can actually teach these people anything?

Posted by: drindl | August 20, 2009 12:24 PM | Report abuse

"Responsible health-care reform will eliminate perverse incentives such as this."

Yes exactly right. But where is this discussion happening? Only here I suspect.
In the main, most people are discussing stuff like death panels and other distractions.

The problem with eliminating perverse incentives (usually these are cost shifts to the taxpayer) is that you have tell people who are making a lot of money doing that: those days are over. It looks to me as if, in order to get a bill passed, they are building a "reform" effort that promises everything to everybody.

Posted by: shrink2 | August 20, 2009 12:23 PM | Report abuse

It's sad but true in this country that the demagogues, the politicians in the pockets of industry, almost always win the biggest battles. Americans are just not smart enough as a people to see through the propaganda.

Posted by: drindl | August 20, 2009 12:21 PM | Report abuse

shrink2, read the Pearlman article I cited and linked to at 7:10A. While he is critical of "public option" he claims that some of the bills move away from fee-for-service as a model and he makes some other points in favor of them on cost grounds.

I have no links to the bills and am trusting Pearlman - but he has a Q&A blog at WaPo and we could pin him down on where the provisions are in which bills.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | August 20, 2009 12:20 PM | Report abuse

"too bad they can't tell the public how they really intend to trash the best health care system in the world.
Just a bunch of dishonest leftist feces.

Posted by: LarryG62 |"
----
Only If you count ranking 37th (just above Slovakia and below Costa Rica) and paying twice as much as any other nation being "best in the world"

Posted by: JRM2 | August 20, 2009 12:19 PM | Report abuse

@shrink2: Your comments make the assumption that there is no savings in having health care reform such as people NOT going into the emergency room every time they feel ill, preventative care being cheaper than treating someone who has become seriously ill, more money in the pockets of the middle class to spend and generate tax revenue and the weight of supplying high cost health care insurance from small businesses being relieved encouraging businesses to open shop, more jobs, more tax revenue.

The alternative is rising premiums, more bankruptcies, more foreclosures.

We rank 37th in the world in quality of health care yet spend over twice as much.

Posted by: JRM2 | August 20, 2009 12:17 PM | Report abuse

The B.S. artist in the White House and his cabal of incompetents are spreading more misinformation than anyone.
too bad they can't tell the public how they really intend to trash the best health care system in the world.
Just a bunch of dishonest leftist feces.

Posted by: LarryG62 | August 20, 2009 12:16 PM | Report abuse

maab76: Any hospital with an ER has to treat the people who come in. That's why a lot of for-profit hospitals have closed their ERs, shifting that burden to the non-profits.

Responsible health-care reform will eliminate perverse incentives such as this.

Posted by: mikeinmidland | August 20, 2009 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Jon Kyl is doing exactly what Sarah Palin did with her "death panels": take something in the bill (ok, one of the bills) and say, well, it could turn into this, or it's a secret plan to do this, or some other such nonsense.

And the sheeple fall for it every time.

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | August 20, 2009 12:15 PM | Report abuse

The disinformation is a part of the process of building concensus. The bill itself is still being written and edited. We are trying to include the priorities of as possible so that all can be served/pro-tected.
The bully tactics resemble the kid who takes his baseball and goes home when he doesn't get to be the dictator.
Lemon on CNN today reminded us that the Mass law was enacted during Romney. It could, probably, be examined as the part of mandated health care which the Republicans have and will endorse. Worth taking a look, at least.
Our country is large. Conditions and populations are different in different parts of the country. To be effective, the law must have the provisions to deal with those differences.
I would remind you that the ER of any hospital may not deny service or derail treatment of anyone who presents for care. I recommend that they expand the levels of their services by having the equivalent of the pharmacy's "immediate care" to treat the cough or scrape; a "primary care" doctor or so to provide the ongoing care of the higher need so that the ER can truly provide the intensive and specialized care the name suggests.

Posted by: maab76 | August 20, 2009 11:58 AM | Report abuse

The disinformation is a part of the process of building concensus. The bill itself is still being written and edited. We are trying to include the priorities of as possible so that all can be served/pro-tected.
The bully tactics resemble the kid who takes his baseball and goes home when he doesn't get to be the dictator.
Lemon on CNN today reminded us that the Mass law was enacted during Romney. It could, probably, be examined as the part of mandated health care which the Republicans have and will endorse. Worth taking a look, at least.
Our country is large. Conditions and populations are different in different parts of the country. To be effective, the law must have the provisions to deal with those differences.
I would remind you that the ER of any hospital may not deny service or derail treatment of anyone who presents for care. I recommend that they expand the levels of their services by having the equivalent of the pharmacy's "immediate care" to treat the cough or scrape; a "primary care" doctor or so to provide the ongoing care of the higher need so that the ER can truly provide the intensive and specialized care the name suggests.

Posted by: maab76 | August 20, 2009 11:58 AM | Report abuse

I see no serious attempt to contain costs in the "reform" effort and so I have come to the point where I no longer support the effort.

It is not that the Blue Dogs or Republicans are correct, some of them are disingenuous, most are vile. They want the effort to fail because they make money if it does and or they gain votes if it does.

That does not change the fact that this country simply can not afford a massive expansion of the existing system, its fee for service business model and the high risk, public pool carve outs in particular (M&M).

The Chinese would be foolish to loan us the money we will need to pay for this too. If they finally do stop buying our future, how will we pay? Printing money won't work.

Posted by: shrink2 | August 20, 2009 11:57 AM | Report abuse

MikeInMidland, I really appreciated that 11.06A post; thanks for the clarity.

bsimon, like you I favor moving away from "employer based" on competitive grounds. There remains after the restructuring of GM the problem that they are facing huge health insurance costs that VW does not face.

There has been some leveling of the field because of the productivity of American labor, which led Honda and Toyota and Subaru and BMW to open American factories, where they are presumably paying for employee health care.

However I am sure that many American employers cannot make up the 16% cost factor, in comparison with the rest of the of the industrialized world, period.

That problem does not require a national single payer to address. Assuming raw costs were controlled by the means we have often discussed, then regulating carriers, mandating coverage, and offering individual subsidies where necessary would be another method. Either way would work if we first had efficient delivery in place, IMO.
-------------------------
I see the coop idea working best with integrated clinics like the ones that were in the news last week, rather than as simple buying co-ops. There have been several articles on the efficiencies of integrated clinic care in the WaPo and the NYT in the past week. Did anyone pick up on Herbert's column about fed funded clinics in VT? One of the bills expands on them. I hope that feature remains.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | August 20, 2009 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Well, yes, Nosey, that's kinda my point. But I think it is incumbent upon both reporters as well as pundits to point this out more forcefully, and not make it so one-sided against Obama. Why aren't they strenuously pointing out that they are attascking and criticizing a plan that doesn't exist?

I just don't think the media has covered all this town hall nonsense remotely well.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 20, 2009 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Mikeinmidland makes a good point. See this article:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/08/19/AR2009081904125.html?wpisrc=newsletter
Senator Grassley is not interested in compromise, in spite of what he proclaims. When Republicans in the house can applaud the fact that not a single Repblican voted for the stimulus plan even though the Democrats made significant concenssion to the conservative side, then we know that this debate is about political calculus and not what is best for the country.

Posted by: trep1 | August 20, 2009 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Curmudgeon
how come the protestors are able to attack the plan, when there is no plan?

They just make it up.

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | August 20, 2009 11:47 AM | Report abuse

curmudgeon: look up "straw man." Stir up opposition to a person or a proposal by attacking something unpopular, whether it's in the bill or not.

Only a fraction of Obama's opponents are interested primarily in blocking reform. The rest are motivated by a chance to damage Obama or all Democrats politically, in order to defeat some of them in 2010 and 2012.

Posted by: mikeinmidland | August 20, 2009 11:43 AM | Report abuse

If Obama can't defend the plan -- because, as you say, there is no plan yet -- then how come the protestors are able to attack the plan, when there is no plan?

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 20, 2009 11:28 AM | Report abuse

bsimon1: Well analyzed, particulary the Hamilton reference.

I wish it were as simple as deciding whether health care is a right of every citizen or simpley a consumer good/product.

If the former, the government could just expand Medicare to cover everyone and let the insurance companies compete in the remaining space. Increase Medicare withholding to fund the entire population and run it as a single payer system. Every one gets all the basic medical services that Medicare funds and can still take out supplemental insurance if they want anything above that.

If the latter, the government should scrap Medicare, Medicaid, the Veteran's Administration, and any other government run program that provides health care to any segment of the population, including any requirement for employers to provide coverage. That would likely generate any number of cooperatives sponsored by traditional insurers, labor unions, non-profit groups or other parties that would over time likely compete down to half a dozen big groups in much the same way that the cellular phone market has reduced itself to just a few major players.

It is not and will not be that cut and dried, though. Most politicians try to please as many people as possible (or at least the ones who give them the most campaign contributions or votes), which is why our legislative processes produce some unwieldly muddles.

Here's hoping we all stay very healthy and never need any of this.

Posted by: Gallenod | August 20, 2009 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Re: Public option as extended Medicare.

Yes, Medicare is underfunded. That's precisely because the costs for caring for the elderly are skyrocketing but their payments are not. This is an extension of Social Security, don't forget.

A public option would not subsidize care for the non-elderly in the same way. The point is to be competitive with private insurance, and should be self-supporting with premiums.

I've been guilty of calling it "Medicare for the rest of us," but that's not accurate. Besides being self-supporting, the pool of clients is not a high-cost group, like seniors.

Posted by: mikeinmidland | August 20, 2009 11:06 AM | Report abuse

There should be two fundamental principals. Extending health care coverage to all and reducing the growth in health care spending. Given that the government spends half the health care dollars out there, it does have the ability to fundamentally reform the health care system. Whether or not the currently uninsured are covered by private insurance or a public plan or even a coop is beside the point.

There is one bit of mis/dis-information that has a lot of truth to it. Under our system, anyone in the U.S. receives emergency medical care if they need it. Whether they are here on vacation (though there is vacation insurance for that), entered illegally, or overstayed a visa. Health care reform does little or nothing to address that one way or another.

Before the conservatives get all huffy, that's also true of Americans traveling abroad. My parents were in Costa Rica for my wedding when my father fell ill (a nose bleed that wouldn't stop). He was treated at minimal cost. He also got treated better in CR than in Texas where they stopped on their way back. I would argue strongly that an employer mandate will help to cover some of these costs.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | August 20, 2009 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Random thoughts on healthcare reform:

My longheld support for a public option is driven by the need to expand affordable coverage & sever the defacto sourcing of healthcare from one's employer. The plans in proposal now seem to address the former, while making the latter problem worse. If the final bill can begin addressing the rate of medical cost inflation, I'll accept it as a step in the correct direction, but would still prefer that basic health insurance be independant from employment.

Thought two is that the Dems have strategized poorly. What I recall from history class is that Hamilton was the proponent of arguing for the extreme, in order to move the final compromise toward your actual preferred solution. The Dems don't seem to get this strategy, and instead remove the extremes from the table at the outset. The GOP on the other hand seems to understand this strategy perfectly and has been far more successful at influencing the compromise than their numbers in Congress would otherwise imply.

Posted by: bsimon1 | August 20, 2009 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Chris Pres. Obama is doing what he should be doing the media needs to do their job including you. To pretend that so many people are angry and misinformed is why MSM is slowly loosing readership and viewers. People are being lied to and repeating lies; repeating a lie is still a lie. Pres. Obama cannot prevent people from lying.

Yesterday Delay made the comment about Pres. Obama producing his birth certificate. I would like Delay to just slink away.

Posted by: rlj1 | August 20, 2009 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Chris Pres. Obama is doing what he should be doing the media needs to do their job including you. To pretend that so many people are angry and misinformed is why MSM is slowly loosing readership and viewers. People are being lied to and repeating lies; repeating a lie is still a lie. Pres. Obama cannot prevent people from lying.

Yesterday Delay made the comment about Pres. Obama producing his birth certificate. I would like Delay to just slink away.

Posted by: rlj1 | August 20, 2009 10:49 AM | Report abuse

RELEASE OF LOCKERBIE BOMBER BY UK / SCOTLAND MAKES AMERICA LOOK WEAK

* Did Hillary and Obama know about this? If not, why not? If so, why did they let this happen? Is anyone minding the store?

* Is the Obama administration being subverted by an ally -- in the name of Big Oil?

***

MORE STRONG EVIDENCE THAT HOMELAND SECURITY-ADMINISTERED FUSION CENTERS ARE USING WARRANTLESS SURVEILLANCE AS A PRETEXT TO HARASS AND CENSOR VIA TELECOMMUNICATIONS

Scroll to the end of the ACLU "Freedom Blog" thread below for a day-to-day account of apparent telecommunications censorship and harassment.

DHS SECRETARY NAPOLITANO: Are you aware, complicit, misinformed... or is there gross insubordination in the ranks? Please restore faith in this administration's adherence to the Constitution and the rule of law.

http://blog.aclu.org/2009/01/26/internet-filters-voluntary-ok-not-government-mandate

Posted by: scrivener50 | August 20, 2009 10:39 AM | Report abuse

TwoCentsWrth describes the Prez's vision of the plan - unsubsidized and maintained on a fair playing field.

However, many of you are arguing for expanded Medicare/Medicaid, which is subject to the objections I posted at 7:10A. I am now a happy recipient of Medicare. I am seduced by it, even though I know it is underfunded by a disastrous lack of reserves. To be clear, that lack of reserves is a product of Congressional failures and of the rise in aggregate medical costs at 3x-4x inflation, not being met by higher taxes to offset it.

It is not a product of internal mismanagement of Medicare.

Thus it is not inconsistent to favor Medicare for internal efficiency while damning it as a black hole. The solution for Medicare is to properly fund it while attacking aggregate medical costs [not insurance costs, rather care costs]. It is not a solution to dismantle it.

So when you post in favor of public option - do you mean subsidized, like Medicare, or self-sustaning, like BHO and TwoCnts?

Posted by: mark_in_austin | August 20, 2009 10:28 AM | Report abuse

A lot of new people today.

Posted by: DDAWD | August 20, 2009 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Actually Chris needs to get with the program and report facts.
Fact 1: A Bill will be passed without the Public Option.
Fact 2: This Bill then goes into committee
Fact 3: At this point the Public Option is added back into the Bill
Fact 4: This Bill then, according to law, only requires 50 votes to pass.
Fact 5: The Bill passes and Obama is still seen as the President who did all he could to be bipartisan but those pesky Republicans just put their political agenda ahead of what was best for the American people once again.

Posted by: Grissom1001 | August 20, 2009 10:12 AM | Report abuse

The fear mongering that Senator Jon Kyl is using is that same old tactic used countless times before by both sides of the aisle everytime it looks like the party that holds the White House will get what looks like a public relations victory.

A public health care option is not going to put the private insurers out of business. That same fear was expressed, for instance, when The Tennessee Valley Authority was given a license to produce and sell electric power. The government agency selling electric power? Private utilities won’t be able to compete with that! Well, that never happened. Private utilizes have been able to compete with TVA just fine, and TVA has kept them more or less honest in their pricing of electric rates. The fact is that the TVA does not use (is not allowed to use) taxpayer dollars to subsidize it’s efforts in producing and selling electricity. The power production part of TVA’s operations is required to be self-supporting with sales of electricity. The same should be true of a public health insurance option.

Posted by: TwoCentsWrth | August 20, 2009 10:04 AM | Report abuse

A third factor which you fail to mention: the press corps and its inability to see passed political tactics. As you yourself say, it doesn't matter that the stuff isn't true because it works. So you write a piece pinned on the idea that falsehoods are effectively politically - and ask how that can be combatted.

I have an idea. how about a press corps that stops giving credence to false information and instead reports on information that people want to know?

Posted by: dyedwab1 | August 20, 2009 10:03 AM | Report abuse

The anger of the anti-Obama crowd may be fueled in part by their perception that no one is really in charge of the Republican Party at the moment and they've decided to take matters into their own hands. Yes, there are Republicans in Congress in opposition, but none of them appear to be the titular head of the party and the "official" head of the party, Michael Steele, doesn't seem to have the control of the party machinery that Howard Dean did for the Democrats.

Given that, it's not surprising that frustrated Republicans, libertarians, social conservatives, etc., who feel that no one really speaks for them are gathering together for public protests. And their frustration and aversion to [insert Obama, liberals, big government, taxes, or other trigger here] make them receptive to any anti-Obama information regardless of whether or not it's true.

Democrats were in a similar state after Republicans successfully ran Tom Daschle out of the Senate, but fortunately for them Howard Dean didn't panic like a lot of the rest of them and successfully steered the party back to power, albeit with a lot of unintentional help from the Bush administration.

The opposition gets a lot of traction from the lack of a single, specific plan. Once Congress gets down to individual House and Senate plans and later a single negotiated plan it will be harder to try to kill it through fear, uncertainty and doubt.

We'll see where we are in December.

Posted by: Gallenod | August 20, 2009 10:01 AM | Report abuse

The media is the one responsible for lies taking hold. Nothing will change the lies on Fox news and Limbaugh, but you would think that the mainstream media would do something to set the record straight. They just spread the lies. I am so mad at the media for acting like middle school children. They are all about gossip and not about facts. You would think that the journalists didn't even graduate from high school with their inability to investigate the truth.

Posted by: goldie2 | August 20, 2009 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Misinformed by Disinformation.

I agree that anti-reform groups of all stripes are engaging in disinformation about HR3200 and other proposals.

If 55% really think that illegal immigrants will get free health care and 45% think "death panels" are in the bill, then a lot of people are misinformed. And around the water cooler or over the back fence, they spread this misinformation.

Our senators and congressmen need to understand that the current confusion is not the environment in which they will face re-election. Once the bill is finalized and becomes law, they can state unequivocally what it means and who it covers.

Stand up for what you believe now; worry about re-election next year (or later).

Posted by: mikeinmidland | August 20, 2009 9:59 AM | Report abuse

Hey, margaretmeyers, Someday we too will "become a pink-cheeked, fluffy-haired" elder, but only if we're lucky.

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | August 20, 2009 9:05 AM | Report abuse

"ALL POLITICIANS LIE"


From "Godfather III." COMMIE-CRATS lie as much as non-COMMIES.

Start over. Make Obama work for a "change."

Posted by: russpoter | August 20, 2009 8:59 AM | Report abuse

Club for Growth, every time they open their mouths another voter in Pennsylvania gives Specter and Sestak a loving look! They will be the millstone around Toomey's neck.

Thanks for the link to the article about Senator Kennedy. A book I read described a late middle-aged sister seeing her late middle-aged brother for the first time in a few years. She asks herself "When did my brother become a pink-cheeked, fluffy-haired old man?" That description comes to mind whenevr I see my old father, and look, there's Kennedy, who my father hates :)

Posted by: margaretmeyers | August 20, 2009 8:58 AM | Report abuse

Gah! "Free market"

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | August 20, 2009 8:56 AM | Report abuse

It isn't "misinformation," Chris. It is disinformation. To be misinformed implies some inadvertence. The lies spread about health care reform have concocted quite deliberately by the enemies of reform, and spread via front organizations among those too willfully ignorant to bother ever to look anything up for themselves.

Their opinions do not deserve respect. They need to be treated with the dismissiveness that they have so richly earned. I was most pleased to see Barney Frank do so yesterday, and I sincerely hope that it is the start of a trend.

Posted by: FergusonFoont | August 20, 2009 8:55 AM | Report abuse

Hillman1, Even better, why don't these complainers just pay for their medical care out of their own pocket? Wouldn't that conform even more closely to their notion of the free narket? That way they could negotiate their own rates and treatments with each and every doctor, testing service, etc.

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | August 20, 2009 8:54 AM | Report abuse

One way to combat all the right wing disinformation would be if the WaPo devoted some resourse to covering and reporting all the lies the right wing propagates on a daily basis. Seriously, when was the last time you heard a republican politician tell the truth about anything???

Posted by: ssfs20007 | August 20, 2009 8:49 AM | Report abuse

Why are you referring to Bob Ethridge as "Bobby"?

Posted by: gtrain82 | August 20, 2009 8:46 AM | Report abuse

Trep1 is absolutely right. For a 'liberal' media they sure have done a very bad job at calling out the absolute lies about death panels, etc.

MGD1 - if Medicare/Medicaid are such 'disasters' I'd suggest that those folks go out and get private insurance.

They are currently free to do exactly that.

So why don't they? Could it be because private options are terrible?

I have yet to meet a senior citizen that actually wants us to do away with Medicare.

Posted by: Hillman1 | August 20, 2009 8:33 AM | Report abuse

If you would like to help pressure Congress to pass single payer health care in a democratic and constructive way please join our voting bloc at:
http://www.votingbloc.org/Health_Bloc.php

Posted by: letsgobuffalo | August 20, 2009 8:25 AM | Report abuse

The term is DISinformation -- propaganda aimed at subverting democracy...

AN AMERICAN POLITICIDE HIDES IN PLAIN SIGHT...

ENABLED BY THE NAIVETE OF ITS VICTIMS -- AMONG THEM, TEAM OBAMA.

• High time to restore civil and human rights by dismantling the secretive, multi-agency Bush-Cheney era extrajudicial "vigilante injustice network."


President Obama has been co-opted into becoming the spokesman and enabler of a federally-funded and overseen "multi-agency coordinated action" program of extrajudicial targeting and inhumane high-tech punishment...

...misusing federally-funded volunteer organizations and secret weapons programs to subvert the rule of law.

This nationwide, federal-local apparatus has deployed a civilian vigilante army that covertly places GPS tracking devices to stalk, persecute, vandalize and harass many thousands of unjustly targeted citizens and their families...

...reportedly, even when they seek medical treatment at health care facilities.

"The program" also misuses government surveillance operations to censor, and maliciously tamper with, the telecommunications of many thousands of the unjustly targeted -- and, victims maintain, funnels surveillance data to citizen "gang stalker" harassers.

An array of "programs of personal financial destruction" decimates the finances of "target" families.

And microwave / laser "directed energy weapons" are deployed to degrade their health, inducing illness, even "slow-kill" death -- a gross violation of human rights, government-enabled crimes against humanity.

And no authorities will investigate -- invoking the "Gulag" tactic of dismissing those who seek justice as "delusional."

Team Obama: Wake up and smell the police state that is co-opting your administration and destroying democracy and the rule of law at the grassroots.

http://nowpublic.com/world/gestapo-usa-govt-funded-vigilante-network-terrorizes-america

OR (if link is corrupted / disabled):

http://My.NowPublic.com/scrivener RE: "GESTAPO USA"

Posted by: scrivener50 | August 20, 2009 8:17 AM | Report abuse

The talk about the deomcrats going it alone on the healthcare reform bill I think is more of a ploy to pressure Grassley, Snowe and Enzi to stay at the table and come up with a compromise. If they walk away then that will give Harry Reid the firepower to protect the decision to go it alone.

Reid knows that he will put some middle of the road democrats in a tough position (him for one) next election if he has to do that so he would prefer a bipartisan bill, but it by no means is a dealbreaker. He will pass Healthcare reform in some form, that I guaranty.

Posted by: AndyR3 | August 20, 2009 8:06 AM | Report abuse

If Obama wants to combat disinformation about healthcare, he ought to quit spreading it.

Posted by: hill_marty | August 20, 2009 7:58 AM | Report abuse

I wish Chris and other members of the media would go to some pains to point out that the people with the Obama/Hitler posters at townhalls are, admittedly, followers of Lyndon Larouche, the convicted felon (for mail fraud) and perennial fringe presidential candidate who, among other insane claims, has said that the Queen of England controls the international heroin trade. Instead, the media have, by and large, just concentrated on how "angry" the public is instead of pointing out that quite a few are actively deluded.

Posted by: jhpurdy | August 20, 2009 7:49 AM | Report abuse

Ensign
"I haven't done anything legally wrong."

In other words, it's OK if I only do things that are morally wrong?

Although, WRT his erstwhile mistress and her husband, it may yet prove that certain of Ensign's hiring and termination practices were quid pro quo, and thus illegal.

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | August 20, 2009 7:13 AM | Report abuse

"And, like it or not, it's hard to look at the NBC/WSJ numbers and conclude anything other than that the opponents of reform have run a more effective campaign against the bill than its supporters have run in its favor." This quote explains the entire problem. The so-called liberal media has allowed "misinformation" to be legitimized as a valid view point. Instead of saying, for example, that "Death Panels" did not exist in the proposal, readers saw headlines saying that Palin (or pick your pol) rails against death panels, Democrats disagree. It is not a matter of perspective. It is a matter of fact. To treat both sides of the debate as equal is wrong. There are aspects about the Democratic position that can be fairly debated,e.g. the government role in reform and whether or not that is a good thing and why or why not. But the first three examples you provide CC, in my opinion, demonstrate the failure of the media to report responsibly.
In an effort to not repeat the mistakes of the Clinton attempt at health care reform, Obama has made a mistake by not taking a more active role in the process. However, it is clear to just about anyone who has eyes and ears that the Republicans are not interested in giving the Democrats any legislative accomplishments.

Posted by: trep1 | August 20, 2009 7:11 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the Dallas link.

While I would not condemn in mgd1's tone or extent, and would support a health care bill that did not block the path to aggregate cost reform, I think that posing Medicare as a model and touting its low admin costs is ironic, considering that Medicare's unfunded liability is a threat to the future economic viability of the nation. A private insurer that lowered cost by stripping reserves would be placed in receivership. I suggest that all of you who think that a "public option" is a panacea approach Pearlstein's most recent article with an open mind.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/08/18/AR2009081803449.html

Pearlstein does point out the cost savers that are in the bills [there are some good ones] and those that are not [there are many that ought to be] in an even-handed way, and like him, I am not trashing the effort or the bills. I am simply criticizing the public option and its supposed benefits.

I have the additional "fear" that a public option, which theoretically could be a neutral factor that did no harm in practice would become a seduction like Medicare - a bureaucratically well run system totally underfunded by Congress so that over time its unfunded liabilities gave us another hole that could not be filled without back-breaking pain, like the two [or three] we already have:
Medicare, Medicaid, and a little further down the road, Social Security OAS.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | August 20, 2009 7:10 AM | Report abuse

Obama has done a bad job giving us oratory without details.

The truth is that the government is:
- the single largest payer for healthcare in America,
- the regulator of the health insurance industry,
- the entity that determines our benefits via "Medicare Guidelines"
- has public options are a disaster (Medicare/Medicaid)

The majority of Americans doubt that the government can fix healthcare, particularly when Obama can give no specific details. There is sanity!

Posted by: mgd1 | August 20, 2009 6:31 AM | Report abuse

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