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A Modest Proposal (On Health Care)

A Modest Proposal (On Health Care)

It is not clear to me what was intended by naming the bipartisan group responsible for the Baucus health care proposal in the U.S. Senate’s Finance Committee the “Gang of Six.”

The term “Gang of Four” referenced former Chinese leader Mao Zedong’s wife, Jiang Qing, and three other radical Communist leaders, who sought to control the Chinese Communist Party during the 1970s.  They were eventually charged with treason and are officially blamed for some of the worst excesses of a period of ruthless killing and destruction of political opposition.

Wikipedia’s entry on the subject notes that they were dubbed the “Gang of Four” in a media campaign against them and “that four has the same sound as ‘death’ in Chinese, and is sometimes viewed as an unlucky number.”

We have Senators Baucus, Bingaman, Conrad, Enzi, Grassley, & Snowe. None of the six are Chinese.  None are Communists.  Nor do any of them derive power through marriage to our Commander-in-Chief, although I haven’t seen President Obama’s marriage certificate with my own eyes using 3-D glasses, apparently the new standard for verification in the blogosphere.

A bigger question, now that months of behind-closed-doors wrangling has resulted in the public unveiling of a proposal, is, “Did they even work together?”  NPR’s Ken Rudin calls the group the Gang of One, as all but Mr. Baucus, himself, seem to have disavowed it.

Maine Senator Olympia Snowe, among the least politicizing and most earnest speakers in the Senate, has assured skeptics that the bipartisan group worked together with respect, dedication and determination to craft a legislative compromise.  She, at least, calls the result a “solid starting point,” before saying that it needs changes.

So how does all this work reconcile with the hot potato of a result that no one wants to be associated with?

The problem with the Baucus bill is that it’s full of fiscal and civic responsibility.   In other words, it’s no fun. Definitely not something you could run for office on, for example.  Imagine the talking points: mandate, social safety net, 700+ billion price tag.

It is so unappealing, in fact, that as soon as it was released, even the author offered to change it.  From the New York Times: “Key Senator Says He Will Alter Health Proposal.”  The bill goes next to the Senate Finance Committee where it can be amended and revised to make it more appealing.

Meanwhile there does seem to be some excess in name calling and disrespect in the political arena.  President Carter opined this week that he thought the “intensely demonstrated animosity” towards Mr. Obama was based on race.  It was reassuring to hear from a variety of pundits that the vitriol and loathing is based on Mr. Obama’s efforts to save the economy and reform health care, not race.

Couple that with the recent slew of high officials confessing far more than the public needs to know about their personal lives, and we can almost imagine our own Cultural Revolution.

No Wikipedia entry yet on the achievements of the Gang of Six.  Progressives are disappointed with the Senate approach.  A Canadian-style system without insurance companies seemed to be a solution to both our cost containment problem and our desire to offer access to all Americans.  Instead, insurance companies will face some regulation, but will be guaranteed new customers in return.

At least subsidies are a step towards universal access. But it remains to be seen if Mr. Obama’s approach, working within the current health care structure and trusting Congress to arrive at productive compromise will obtain significant results.

For a bit of economic humor:  A Recession Rant

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Marc Seltzer 2008 ⓒ

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28 comments

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11:09AM PDT on Oct 11, 2009

When it gets too complicated it is always best to go back to simple virtues.

The more people put into the pot the more there is for everyone to draw from. If everyone puts into the same pot there is no squabbling over who is going to pay and out of which pot. Everyone pays into one pot private or public, does it really matter?

Have two pots ,one for everyone, and another for those that have a little more and want a little something in addition to the basics, for which they must pay a little more. We should all be familiar with that concept, no?

Any shady characters get put in jail, same as everything else.

And what is this argument all about that a public option is going to cost too much? Last I looked the private option wasn't free. Should we continue to pretend that the only the public option is going to cost tax money, and the current private insurance is what, free? Who came up with that argument, moreover who was swayed by it? Think about it.

1:41PM PDT on Oct 9, 2009

The fine has nothing whatsoever to do with the public option. It is a fine for not buying health insurance from the insurance companies. There is a big difference. It is a huge give-away to the insurance conglomerates, but it has absolutely nothing to do with the public option. We need the public option to keep us from being totally bamboozled from the insurance industry. Better yet, we need single-payer. Then we can get rid of all the nonsense.

1:58PM PDT on Oct 6, 2009

This "populist appeasement" is silly and doesn't work. Please President Obama and Democratic turncoats return to your original charter: to fix a broken healthcare system.

HR 676 Proposes just what this country needs; a Comprehensive Medicare for All.

Stop fooling around flirting with Insurance Company Villians; Choose the Right Path for America:

Single Payer Healthcare for All;

I support HR 676 the Medicare for All option currently being ignored. see my video here:

http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&videoid=63723156

6:55AM PDT on Oct 6, 2009

Sorry for the writing mistakes. I thought this was allowing me to correct what I needed to before I posted it. Guess what, I was Wrong.

6:52AM PDT on Oct 6, 2009

President Obama;

We need better Heath care across the board. Medicare and Medicaid are jokes. With Medicare you are left with a balance unless it under a Contractual write off. Medicaid is not excepted by the majority of Medical facilities due to, what these office are informing me, "they do not want to pay anything and it is next to impossible to get them to pay if and when they do."

People that are on Disability and our Seniors that worked all of their lives helping our Economy can not afford the amount left to pay. These people can not go back to the facilities that they owe. It ruins there credit; causes undue stress harming their health even more. If these people do get to go back to work it is next to impossible for them to do this due to their ruined credit.

In addition most companies do not provide great Health insurance and they are left with nothing including not getting paid enough to get Health insurance on their own. These people usually have ongoing health situations too. We need grater Health insurance for these people and for everyone. Some foreign countries have Health care for everyone. When you do not know how to do something you look to those that do. No, everyone is not going to be happy with the way you do it, so just do it with out getting rid of any true Health care for everyone. Suggestion, look into the countries that tax everyone so they can have it. Rid some of the taxes that do not help everyone.

Thank you
Sincerely;

Mr. An-Drew

6:42AM PDT on Oct 6, 2009

President Obama;

We need better Heath care across the board. Medicare and Medicaid are jokes. With Medicare you are left with a balance unless it under a Contractual write off. Medicaid is not excepted by the majority of Medical facilities due to, what these office are informing me, "they do not want to pay anything and it is next to impossible to get them to pay if and when they do."

People that are on Disability and our Seniors that worked all of their lives helping our Economy can not afford the amount left to pay. These people can not go back to the facilities that they owe. It ruins there credit; causes undue stress harming their health even more. If these people do get to go back to work it is next to impossible for them to do this due to their ruined credit.

In addition most companies do not provide great Health insurance and they are left with nothing including not getting paid enough to get Health insurance on their own. These people usually have ongoing health situations too. We need grater Health insurance for these people and for everyone. Some foreign countries have Health care or everyone. When you do not know how to do something you look to those that do. No, everyone is not going to be happy with the way you do it, so just do it with out getting rid of any true Health care for everyone. Suggestion, look into the countries that tax everyone so they can have it. Rid some of the taxes that do not help everyone.

Sincerely;

Mr. An-Drew Boger

6:05AM PDT on Oct 6, 2009

President Obama;

Please discuss Medicare and Medicaid. Unfortunately
I have had to stop working due to my health. I applied
for Disability on my own and was turned down. Then
I gained an attorney and won my case.

Now I have to use Medicare and Medicaid. The thing
with Medicare is i it is not a Contractual write off I have
to pay the remaining amount. Like so many in this situation,
I can not aford to do this. The doctors do not even bother
to find out if the doctors they send you to use Medicare
as a Contractual write off or not.

All the doctors do is find out if they except Medicare or Medicaid.
Thankfully a friend informed of this before I accept the doctors they
desire to send me to. If it is not a Contractual write off I simply try to
locate the doctors that do. Disability does not provide this information.

People get surprised once their doctors send them to doctors like this.
They depend on their doctors to well inform them of what they will have
to do. After they go to the referred doctor/s they get a unexpected bill for
the remaining amount. More people then not can not afford to pay it and
this leads to not receiving medical attention that they need from these
doctors again until they start paying the reaming amount.

Like I said, the majority of people can not afford to pay it
and this leads to Collection agencies calling them and the
amount being placed on their Credit reports. In addition this
leads to stress of these unhealthy

6:03AM PDT on Oct 6, 2009

President Obama;

Please discuss Medicare and Medicaid. Unfortunately
I have had to stop working due to my health. I applied
for Disability on my own and was turned down. Then
I gained an attorney and won my case.

Now I have to use Medicare and Medicaid. The thing
with Medicare is i it is not a Contractual write off I have
to pay the remaining amount. Like so many in this situation,
I can not aford to do this. The doctors do not even bother
to find out if the doctors they send you to use Medicare
as a Contractual write off or not.

All the doctors do is find out if they except Medicare or Medicaid.
Thankfully a friend informed of this before I accept the doctors they
desire to send me to. If it is not a Contractual write off I simply try to
locate the doctors that do. Disability does not provide this information.

People get surprised once their doctors send them to doctors like this.
They depend on their doctors to well inform them of what they will have
to do. After they go to the referred doctor/s they get a unexpected bill for
the remaining amount. More people then not can not afford to pay it and
this leads to not receiving medical attention that they need from these
doctors again until they start paying the reaming amount.

Like I said, the majority of people can not afford to pay it
and this leads to Collection agencies calling them and the
amount being placed on their Credit reports. In addition this
leads to stress of these unhealthy

9:25AM PDT on Sep 24, 2009

Example of government run business:
Democrats moved Thursday to give special relief to the financially strapped Postal Service, which would be allowed to defer $4 billion in payments due at the end of this month to cover retirement benefits for its employees

9:18AM PDT on Sep 24, 2009

Jim you are right! Government intervention, whether it be Medicare, Post Office, Cash for Clunkers, etc... results equals gross mis-management. We do need to reform health care as we know it but by destroying the present system we will be no better than those that need a lottery to determine whether or not they qualify for medical care &/or drugs. Why the present administration refuses to allow "we the people" the time to properly review & understand the full implementation of the proposed health care bill leads me to conclude that they know that a majority of "we the people" could not possibly agree to such a Bill. Today's talk now refers to this Bill as the Medicare Reduction Bill - not good. Let the sun shine on this bill so that we together can decide on its' merits. Also, name calling is counter-productive.

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