Monday, August 17, 2009

Don't Give Up on Health Care

Just got back from a liberal group exec meeting tonight that I'm apart of. We got to talking about whether we wanted to do anything next meeting about health care... since it looks like this whole debate will linger until then. The conversation devolved into a discussion about DC health insurance reform in general. It was a little saddening to see so many activists giving up on what's the most important piece of the bill, the public option. It's the "reform" in health insurance reform, and it's the only aspect of the bill that has any hope of tangibly lowering the cost of health care for the American people.

Look, the Baucuses and Conrads of the world are not the be all, end all of the debate, no matter what Chris Matthews would have you think. They may be so self inflated as to think that what they says goes, but that's not how the world works. At the very worst, there's a stand off between the House and Senate. Good democrats in the Senate may not think there's 60 votes for a public option. Thankfully, once a bill goes through conference committee, all you need is 51.

If people give up on health insurance reform, we won't get that 51. The risk-adverse and corporate coffer crowds will take over. There's 60 progressives in the House who have signed onto a letter saying they will not vote for a bill that doesn't include a public option, drawing a line in the sand. No bill passes without their support. If we hold strong, the Conference Committee will have to include a public option, or it's a bust. If we waffle, those 60 will cave. I don't know what's going around in your neck of the woods, but there was a whole lot of waffling at the meeting I just got out of.

It's hard to understand, but why can't older democrats get past our loser-ism? After we just won a giant majority of Government by standing strong, you'd think these activists could stand just as strong after the election, but all too many are back to their old ways. Memo to Democratic Activists who are afraid to win: we're not losers anymore, stop dragging us down.


Anonymous said...

Maybe they realize it's not the will of the people, and isn't that what the whole thing should be about.

Ryan said...

76% of America supports a public option.

Meanwhile, the teabaggers bring guns to town halls.

Is that will or might? School yard bullies only win for so long...

Anonymous said...

Healthcare reform is meaningless without the public option and if we had any sense, the brownshirts wouldn't follow the teabaggers.

The panic from the industry is pretty interesting.

Anonymous said...

Where'd you get the 76% number? You throw that out there like that's an incontrovertable fact. We all know polls can give numbers you want based on the wording of the question, other questions in the poll etc. Sure if you asked" Do you want public health care that doesn't cost you any more in your taxes and leaves private health care alone?" I saw poll numbers that said 57% of the people in this country were happy with their plan, only 42% in Canada. What does that mean.

Anonymous said...

On MSNBC today 43% support a public option.

Anonymous said...

And what's with the racial preferences being given to minority medical students, it is in the bill.

Ryan said...

Here's one:

more than 75% say having a public option as another choice is either "extremely important" or "quite important."

The 43% poll was a faulty poll because the polling company switched language around. Now that they're back, it's up beyond 75% -- same polling firm.

The bottom line: People do like choices. The public option would just be one choice, among many. It's a choice, though, that would help drive the costs of private insurance down.

Anonymous said...

Then why don't we have "public" airlines to drive down the cost of travel, farms to drive down the cost of food etc. They will only be options, but they will keep the marketplace honest right? The Soviet Union didn't work out to good.

Ryan said...

Well, for starters, if health insurance companies were as heavily regulated as the airline industry, maybe we wouldn't need a public option. But the fact is the health insurance lobby is so powerful it will never, ever have such strong regulations ensuring the American people don't get screwed. The Baucus plan has actually seen some discussion of making key regulations more lax -- such as reducing the figure in which health insurance companies have to pay out when patients require treatment. You could now be forced to pay up to a third of your total costs, even after the thousands you spend on premiums, if the industry gets its way. That could easily rack up to tens of thousands of dollars... almost making that insurance a moot point if you get sick, a fact which would bankrupt many people in America if they get the audacity to be ill.

Ultimately, health care is a key service this country requires. The insurance industry has made that service impossible to get for tens of millions of Americans, while bankrupting millions more when they do get sick... even if they have insurance. It needs to be a right and we need to make health care work for America -- something that probably can't happen without a public option. In that way, it's very, very different than almost anything else in the private sector.

Lastly, need I remind you that the biggest (and most popular) insurance method in this country is single payer -- Medicare. Seems our country already 'gets it,' we just need to realize that not only old people deserve quality insurance, where they can pick their doctors and have access regardless of what they can afford to pay.

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