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Simply Amazing

CNN reports that Senate leader unveils $849 billion health care bill. Early reviews are that it is an amazing 2000+ page bill that accomplishes the near impossible task of being even worse than the House bill.

It’s not that it isn’t perfect, it isn’t even mediocre. This is a demonstratively bad bill that is designed solely to help insurance companies by forcing people to buy worthless insurance policies. It is partially financed by a tax on good insurance policies, which means that companies with certainly dump those, so everyone, including people who currently have good policies will feel the pain.

It’s time for a third party that actually promotes the interests of the people in this country, not the corporations.

Update: on page 618 they restore funding to the total failure that was the abstinence only education program. The funding was cut because it was worthless; it failed to meet any of the goals; the teen pregnancy rate went up where it was used. Why are taxpayers spending money on faith-based failures, while needed programs are unfunded?


1 Steve Bates { 11.19.09 at 8:52 am }

It’s bad. The CBO has announced that, with the state opt-out option, enough states will opt out to render insurance premiums unaffordable to one-third of “consumers” (I presume that means adult citizens).

(Continued next comment to attempt to avoid the link limit…)
.-= last blog ..Got The Blues? No? Try The Krugman Blues! =-.

2 Steve Bates { 11.19.09 at 8:56 am }

It’s worse than that if you’re a woman of reproductive age. George Washington University has issued a study concluding that the Stupak amendment to the House bill (I haven’t seen an analysis of the Senate bill yet; there probably hasn’t been time) would gradually deny abortion coverage to ALL women, even those with private insurance plans, because the economics are such that all insurers would eventually drop abortion coverage.

This bill has so much toxic waste in it that it resembles the “hairy buffalo” of frat party fame, the barrel in the middle of the room into which everyone pours whatever liquor they brought. The only difference is that with the hairy buffalo, at least the individual ingredients are mostly palatable.

3 Bryan { 11.19.09 at 2:37 pm }

Ah, yes, I remember that, but we called it “skip and go naked” for unknown reasons.

These guys think they are going to get away with fooling people because of the long delay. I don’t doubt that the timing is based on the reelection dates of a number of Senators, leaving only a third of the Senate vulnerable to the backlash.

The insurance companies are going to jack up rates and dump anyone they think might cost them money. All they are concerned with is their profit margin, and stock price.

Since the Senators want to work for corporations, the voters should give them a chance.

4 Badtux { 11.20.09 at 6:03 pm }

As EBM points out on her blog today, it appears our choice is a bad bill that will require years of patches to make it halfway work right but will at least provide coverage for SOME of the current uninsured, or no bill at all, i.e., the current status quo where tens of thousands of Americans die to lack of health insurance (and thus lack of health care) every year. And unfortunately, I think this is probably the best that the dysfunctional U.S. political system can manage. It’s not all about Republican intransigence. It’s also about Democratic cravenness and just the general collapse of American governance over the past thirty years as the political processes have become increasingly divorced from reality, existing in an alternative universe that has absolutely no relationship to the real one that the rest of us live in. So I’m not going to lament this bill passing — it’s probably the best we can do right now given the reality of the current U.S. political system — but that is a sad, sad, sad, sad, sad statement to have to make :-(.

– Badtux the Cynical Penguin
.-= last blog ..Friday Morning Youtubery =-.

5 Bryan { 11.20.09 at 9:39 pm }

Nothing has ever been improved after being passed. Laws are almost never repealed. How many years has the alternate minimum tax been a problem, without any move to fix it?

If a bad bill gets passed, it will never get fixed, because Congress will avoid the issue.

It is my opinion that no bill is better than a bad bill, and the problem won’t be seriously addressed until a number of the senior leaders in Congress lose their seats. Harry Reid looks like he is going to lose his office, and a new Democratic leader in the Senate will be a needed change.

6 Badtux { 11.21.09 at 8:09 pm }

Congress regularly tweaks Medicare benefits. The notion that “it will never change” does not match reality as we have experienced it with the Medicare program. Yes, the fundamental basis of the system will never change, but there is nothing wrong with the fundamental basis of the bill that passed in the House, it’s a Swiss-style system with some Dutch thrown in, neither of which I would call my ideal system but both have achieved universal coverage for less than current U.S. costs. Granted, the current U.S. political system is so dysfunctional that it’s unlikely that there will be much of an improvement anytime soon to the system set up by the bill, but it is important to keep a sense of reality here — while this is not the bill I would prefer to see by any means, it is still better than the current status quo. Of course, an invasion by Mongols whose idea of health care was slitting the throats of the sick would be better than the current status quo so that’s not saying much, but (shrug). It is what we can get out of the current cravens and evildoers who populate our Congress.
.-= last blog ..Ghost =-.

7 hipparchia { 11.21.09 at 8:18 pm }

Of course, an invasion by Mongols whose idea of health care was slitting the throats of the sick would be better than the current status quo

lol. that made my day.

swissdutch, my foot. we haven’t got their [much better] safety net, we haven’t got their [much lower] costs, and in the case of the swiss, we haven’t got their [higher] income level.

yeah, the insurance market structure looks sorta the same, but we haven’t got anywhere near the economy to support that kind of market, and no way, no how do any of the bills have the anywhere near the govt-imposed price controls on the underlying health care costs.
.-= last blog ..I’ll say one thing for the NY Times =-.

8 Bryan { 11.21.09 at 9:41 pm }

We will never have the level of regulation necessary to make the system work. The Swiss and the Dutch regulate businesses in a meaningful manner, and the US won’t do it.

The financial sector almost brought down the world’s economy, but we can’t get regulations passed to prevent that from happening again.

I have no confidence that this is going to be anything other than a give-away to insurance companies with less actual health care available, and they are delaying the start of the real plan for four years to avoid taking responsibility for this mess.

It is always possible that meaningful reform will come out of conference, but I think it is more likely that the result will be even worse.