Archive for Monday, August 17, 2009

‘Public option’ insurance proposal dead

August 17, 2009

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— Bowing to Republican pressure and an uneasy public, President Barack Obama’s administration signaled Sunday it is ready to abandon the idea of giving Americans the option of government-run insurance as part of a new health care system.

Facing mounting opposition to the overhaul, administration officials left open the chance for a compromise with Republicans that would include health insurance cooperatives instead of a government-run plan. Such a concession probably would enrage Obama’s liberal supporters but could deliver a much-needed victory on a top domestic priority opposed by GOP lawmakers.

Officials from both political parties reached across the aisle in an effort to find compromises on proposals they left behind when they returned to their districts for an August recess. Obama had wanted the government to run a health insurance organization to help cover the nation’s almost 50 million uninsured, but didn’t include it as one of his core principles of reform.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said that government alternative to private health insurance is “not the essential element” of the administration’s health care overhaul. The White House would be open to co-ops, she said, a sign that Democrats want a compromise so they can declare a victory.

Under a proposal by Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., consumer-owned nonprofit cooperatives would sell insurance in competition with private industry, not unlike the way electric and agriculture co-ops operate, especially in rural states such as his own.

With $3 billion to $4 billion in initial support from the government, the co-ops would operate under a national structure with state affiliates, but independent of the government. They would be required to maintain the type of financial reserves that private companies are required to keep in case of unexpectedly high claims.

“I think there will be a competitor to private insurers,” Sebelius said. “That’s really the essential part, is you don’t turn over the whole new marketplace to private insurance companies and trust them to do the right thing.”

Lawmakers have discussed the co-op model for months although the Democratic leadership and the White House have said they prefer a government-run option.

Comments

Centerville 5 years, 9 months ago

Amazing that the party that screamed to kill Terry Shiavo and appointed Kathleen Pro-Kan-Do Sibilius to HHS can't figure out why Americans don't trust them with our health care system.

meggers 5 years, 9 months ago

The title to this article is misleading. Sebelius did not say that the public option is dead, nor has anyone from the administration made such a statement. In fact, the WH is already clarifying this morning that the public optioon is not off the table.

Without the public option, there really isn't any point to health care reform. The co-op would just be another giveaway to the insurance companies by requiring people to purchase private medical insurance, without providing the competetition necessary to lower costs.

exhawktown 5 years, 9 months ago

Just as interesting is whether or not there will be governmental mandates on what services are covered. This is going to be interesting.

Practicality 5 years, 9 months ago

Here comes about 100 Merril copy/paste posts real soon.

Flap Doodle 5 years, 9 months ago

The Democrats control both houses of Congress. If they were united they could pass this mad scheme. The AP isn't being very truthful with their lead.

imastinker 5 years, 9 months ago

Actually there are several cooperatives out there now. I know of one person on one through his church and he is very happy with it. It covers major medical for his family and costs about $250/month. Note that no doctors visits or drugs are covered. I think I could be very happy with htis plan.

jonas_opines 5 years, 9 months ago

"Amazing that the party that screamed to kill Terry Shiavo"

Whoops. Guess thought and logic fled this thread early. Nothing left but the partisan bickering now.

cato_the_elder 5 years, 9 months ago

The incoming President of the Canadian Medical Association, Dr. Anne Doig, stated yesterday that the Canadian health care system is "imploding," that "things are more precarious than perhaps Canadians realize," and that "Canadians have to understand that the system that we have now - if it keeps on going without change - is not sustainable." Her predecessor, Dr. Robert Ouellet, has acknowledged that private health care must be infused into the government-run system because of the critical need to make Canadian health care "patient centered" so that waiting lines can be eliminated.

The wheels are coming off, folks.

Shane Garrett 5 years, 9 months ago

This is sad news. I really thought that this admin was smart enough to come up with a workable and brilliant plan. I guess this admin is not as smart nor as brilliant as they themselves thought.

jonas_opines 5 years, 9 months ago

So then, kubacker, why the gigantic campaign of fear over the last few weeks? It sounds like, if what you say is true, then there were multiple republicans using disingenuous methods to scare their constituents about evil liberals and impending socialism, mandatory euthenasia, etc.. Shouldn't those people now be angry about being used?

Or should they have just gotten used to being manipulated by their reps by now?

georgeofwesternkansas 5 years, 9 months ago

Kathy sure is a bright light for the USA. Yesterday she gave the HHS and Obama Admin response to the Swine Flu that has already claimed 40+ US lives. Are you ready??

Cough into your shirt, and wash your hands!! Thats it baby, the cure....

jonas_opines 5 years, 9 months ago

"Essentially, it's better to think of the Democrats as contentious and somewhat fractured coalition rather than a unified political party."

It's seemed at times, that the two parties we have should be called the Republicans and the Not Republicans. It's far too often the only real cohesive argument that the Dems ever seem to have, that they are not Republicans.

Granted, it can occasionally be a compelling argument, such as it was in 2006 and 2008, for a lot of people, but it doesn't seem to get us anywhere. And it takes a Republican being in charge for a prolonged period of time for it to work, which isn't very good either. And then we just get saddled with Not Republicans, who have no direction, or any real, viable ideas.

sigh

jonas_opines 5 years, 9 months ago

On the flip side, the Republicans Need the Not Republicans to be in office, because then they can "return to their principles" and start just saying no to all forms of government, and then the conservatives will vote them back into power so they can start making more government for their own benefit again.

LiberalDude 5 years, 9 months ago

Wally it isn't a matter of the Obama Administration not being smart enough to get this passed. It is a matter of the rich insurance and pharm. companies spending billions on campaigns to ensure that their cash cow doesn't get changed.

This whole thing is sad and like 1993 all over again. The lobbyists (and their Republican puppets) win again and people lose.

KS 5 years, 9 months ago

LiberalDude - The Obama Administration is smart enough to see that America doesn't want it. Without a doubt, the fast track to a single term is ramming this down the throats of the American people when they don't want it. Now BHO has to figure a way out of this so he and his union/Chicago buddies won't be too embarassed. When will this stupid spending on government programs stop? It is beyond insane. Sorry Dude, the wicked witch is dead.

Godot 5 years, 9 months ago

The public option isn't dead; it will show up again, but with a new name. My prediction is that it will be a public option that is run by a select few big insurance and pharma companies. The ones who pay Team Obama and the DNC the most are the ones who will get to survive. The rest will be toast. It is all about Team Obama picking winners and losers. AARP and Aetna will, no doubt, have their fingers in the pie.

KansasVoter 5 years, 9 months ago

If the public option is dead they'd might as well just abandon any attempt at health care reform. What we need is single-payer insurance and the public option was the compromise. Now that the Dems have compromised on their compromise there's no point in watering it down any further or it'll be another rip-off of the taxpayers like george bush's Medicare Prescription Plan.

jaywalker 5 years, 9 months ago

jonas,

You're 11:09 and 11:45 posts are amusing, sad, and disconcerting. And probably the best laymen-termed summary of the vicious circle our current two-party system has become I've ever read.

I'll second that sigh.

jimmyjms 5 years, 9 months ago

"The Obama Administration is smart enough to see that America doesn't want it. "

That's an interesting point of view, as every single poll on the subject shows wide margins of support for healthcare reform.

jonas_opines 5 years, 9 months ago

jaywalker: I know. Between that and my treatise (cough) on natural law and natural rights in that other thread, I'm depressing myself today.

georgeofwesternkansas 5 years, 9 months ago

If you tied the public option as is, to Term Limits for Congress and the Senate the public would likley accept the proposal...

Ralph Reed 5 years, 9 months ago

jonas, I agree with jaywalker. I think we now have a concensus on that sigh.

Unfortunately, good, "affordable" healthcare is dead in this country, at least in my lifetime. We may have the best health care here as many say, but it's only the best health care money can buy. If you don't have money, then you're at the mercy of whatever bones are tossed your way. This is in fact the real death panel of which our regional and national Rush/Palin/O'Reilly/Beck/Coulter spout fear. If you don't have money, you can't get a good health plan so you can bet the insurance company that you won't get sick.

Tom, before you start crowing again, I'm not knashing teeth and pulling hair. So don't worry, I still support President Obama, just as hard as you supported Vice President Cheney (excuse me, President Bush). I'm simply disgusted and disheartened that Congress once again cannot come to an agreement about something that would in the long run benefit our country.

jonas_opines 5 years, 9 months ago

Agno: Hell, all you've got to say is "imagine being trapped in a hospital bed for 12-13 years, unable to move."

Still, Terri Schiavo's cerebral cortex had mostly liquified, meaning that she lacked the brain functioning necessary to be aware of the condition that she was being kept in. I suppose that's a rather ghastly condolence.

Anyone who still believes that she was "murdered" is either pushing an agenda, or is ignorantly under the palm of those who Are pushing an agenda. The facts of the case show otherwise.

jonas_opines 5 years, 9 months ago

ralph: I will, in turn, agree wholeheartedly with yours.

tym4fun 5 years, 9 months ago

Does anyone know that the evil insurance companies have a bill on the table. 1, No pre-existing condition rate increase, 2, No gender rates, 3, Everybody has insurance and those that cannot pay get subsidized (hey it's free), 4, Everybody's rate is the same, 5, Let us keep some admin costs, tax our profits at insane rates to cover those that cannot pay. Costs government zero .... rates on day one reduce by over 50%. Sounds pretty evil to me. Not to mention without insurance companies where would our 401k be?

tym4fun 5 years, 9 months ago

Read it last night, I'll find it and attach

tym4fun 5 years, 9 months ago

Senators Wyden and Bennett Healthy Americans Act (S. 391)

Shane Garrett 5 years, 9 months ago

Liberal Dude: and Others. IF CONGRESS, our elected leaders, wanted a Health Care plan for everyone then we would have one. They are OUR elected leaders. Why should they even listen to money pacs? i.e. big insurance and pharms. Why do we elect people who do not listen to the people? Would it not be "nice" if everyone could be covered by some sort of health insurance???? Can our elected officials be so stupid to not be able to present a WORKING plan???

Shane Garrett 5 years, 9 months ago

"One hundred senators, 435 congressmen, one president, and nine Supreme Court justices equates to 545 human beings out of the 300 million are directly, legally, morally, and individually responsible for the domestic problems that plague this country.

I excluded the members of the Federal Reserve Board because that problem was created by the Congress. In 1913, Congress delegated its Constitutional duty to provide a sound currency to a federally chartered, but private, central bank. No matter what the lobbyist promises, it is the legislator's responsibility to determine how he votes. Those 545 human beings spend much of their energy convincing you that what they did is not their fault." Taken somewhat from Carlie Reese who wrote it. He is a journalist of 49 years.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 9 months ago

10 Reasons to Support U.S. National Health Insurance Act

Written by Andrea Miller

Tuesday, 03 March 2009

Here are 10 great reasons to support HR 676, the U.S. National Health Insurance Act: http://guaranteedhealthcare4all.org/sites/default/files/10-Reasons.pdf

  1. Everybody In, Nobody Out. Universal means access to health care for everyone, period.

  2. Portability. If you are unemployed, or lose or change jobs, your health coverage stays with you.

  3. Uniform Benefits. No Cadillac plans for the wealthy and Pinto plans for everyone else, with high deductibles, limited services, caps on payments for care, and no protection in the event of a catastrophe. One level of comprehensive care for everyone, regardless of the size of your wallet.

  4. Prevention. By removing financial roadblocks, a universal health system encourages preventive care that lowers an individual's ultimate cost and pain and suffering when problems are neglected and societal cost in the over-utilization of emergency rooms or the spread of communicable diseases.

  5. Choice. Most private insurance restricts your choice of providers and hospitals. Under the U.S. National Health Insurance Act, patients have a choice, and the provider is assured a fair payment.

  6. No Interference with Care. Caregivers and patients regain their autonomy to decide what's best for a patient's health, not what's dictated by the billing department. No denial of coverage for pre-existing conditions or cancellation of policies for "unreported" minor health problems.

  7. Reducing Waste. One third of every private health insurance dollar goes for paperwork and profits, compared to about 3% under Medicare, the federal government’s universal system for senior citizen healthcare.

  8. Cost Savings. A guaranteed health care system can produce the cost savings needed to cover everyone, largely by using existing resources without the waste. Taiwan, shifting from a U.S. private health care model, adopted a similar system in 1995, boosting health coverage from 57% to 97% with little increase in overall health care spending.

  9. Common Sense Budgeting. The public system sets fair reimbursements applied equally to all providers, private and public, while assuring that appropriate health care is delivered, and uses its clout to negotiate volume discounts for prescription drugs and medical equipment.

  10. Public Oversight. The public sets the policies and administers the system, not high priced CEOs meeting in private and making decisions based on their company’s stock performance needs.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 9 months ago

The media has become part of the misinformation campaign because speculation tells me all of those wonderful health industry dollars for advertising may well go bye bye.

Obama's public option may go bye bye but HR 676 is not going to die easy if at all. HR 676 has a tremendous amount of people support.

Go To: http://www.healthcare-now.org/hr-676/

The problem is we DO NOT have the best insurance coverage in the world.

According to the CBO HR 676 is the only proposal that DOES save dollars. Yes in fact $350,000,000,000(billion). HR 676 is the only proposal with 86 co-sponsors. Yet the media,the white house and too damn many legislators pretend this bill does not exist.

So what would the new HR 676 Medicare For ALL Insurance offer to americans 365 days a year,24/7,employed or not,moving on to a new job or not,single mom or not,struck down with cancer or not?

What would a new HR 676 Medicare Insurance Plan cover 365 days a year 24/7?

A family of four making the median income of $56,200 would pay about $2,700 in payroll tax for all health care costs. About $225 per month. Today the below insurance coverage actually costs about $1,100 per month.

  • long term care such that cancer would require
  • prescription drugs
  • hospital
  • surgical
  • outpatient services
  • primary and preventive care
  • emergency services
  • dental
  • mental health
  • home health
  • physical therapy
  • rehabilitation (including for substance abuse)
  • vision care
  • hearing services including hearing aids
  • chiropractic
  • durable medical equipment
  • palliative care

A family of four making the median income of $56,200 would pay about $2,700 in payroll tax for all health care costs. About $225 per month. Today the above insurance coverage actually costs about $1,100 per month.

HR 676 ends deductibles and co-payments.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 9 months ago

HR 676 would save hundreds of billions annually by eliminating the high overhead of the private health insurance industry and HMOs. The privatized medical insurance industry is anything but efficient.

HR 676 contains costs and saves about $350,000,000,000 annually. But special interest politicians don't want to talk about HR 676. So they present bills that will increase the cost. Why? Special interest campaign funding(the industry) is writing those bills.... foxes in the chicken coop!

Changing nothing certainly will save nothing ever!

Senate Report Finds Insurers Wrongfully Charged Consumers Billions = BIG TIME CORRUPTION http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/06/24/AR2009062401636.html

Go to : http://www.healthcare-now.org/hr-676/

compmd 5 years, 9 months ago

"The White House would be open to co-ops, she said, a sign that Democrats want a compromise so they can declare a victory."

Wait, what? Victory? This word, Kathleen, I do not think it means what you think it means.

Godot 5 years, 9 months ago

tym4fun is right, the insurance industry has responded to the call for reform by voluntariliy offering solutions that address the issues about health insurance that generate the most complaints.....and Obama has responded not by welcoming their participation, but by demonizing them and then lying, bald faced lying, about them. Lies. Myths. Made up stuff. Apparently that is what he majored in in college. Obama does not want to hear solutions, he does not want to hear from the insurance industry, he does not want to hear from insurance users, he just wants all of them to shut up and get out of the way so that he can get down with controlling your health care and your future.

notajayhawk 5 years, 9 months ago

Wallythewalrus (Anonymous) says…

"This is sad news. I really thought that this admin was smart enough to come up with a workable and brilliant plan. I guess this admin is not as smart nor as brilliant as they themselves thought."

Or maybe they're smart and brilliant enough not to try to force an unworkable plan that the citizens don't want down their throats. Too bad a lot of people aren't smart or brilliant enough to recognize that.


LiberalDude (Anonymous) says…

"This whole thing is sad and like 1993 all over again. The lobbyists (and their Republican puppets) win again and people lose."

As has already been pointed out, the Republicans don't have the power, dude. If this monstrosity goes down to defeat, any "puppets" of the lobbyists are sitting on the other side of the aisle.


KansasVoter (Anonymous) says…

"If the public option is dead they'd might as well just abandon any attempt at health care reform. What we need is single-payer insurance and the public option was the compromise."

So the public was solidly against any public option, and you think Washington should take control of the whole thing. Brilliant. Thank heaven there aren't a whole lot of people ageeing with you.


jimmyjms (Anonymous) says…

"That's an interesting point of view, as every single poll on the subject shows wide margins of support for healthcare reform."

See? Now you're starting to get it. Little by little, clunk-clunk-clunk, like a square wheel ever-so-slowly and ever-so-painfully chipping away at the corners, now you're starting to get it.

People want reform. They don't want THIS reform. See, jimmy, being against this plan does NOT mean we want the status quo.


RalphReed (Ralph Reed) says…

"I'm simply disgusted and disheartened that Congress once again cannot come to an agreement about something that would in the long run benefit our country."

While I'm celebrating the fact that they realized (before it was too late) what a disaster this would have been, and remaining hopeful that they WILL come up with something good for the country.

notajayhawk 5 years, 9 months ago

merrill (Anonymous) says…

"No Interference with Care."

Don't you ever get tired of cut-and-pasting bald-faced lies, moron? I work in an area of healthcare almost completely funded by government programs, and there is more regulation and interference by far than any private insurer puts into the mix. Why do you think more and more providers are not taking Medicaid/Medicare anymore, dimwit?

"One third of every private health insurance dollar goes for paperwork and profits, compared to about 3% under Medicare, the federal government’s universal system for senior citizen healthcare."

Another flat-out lie. The methodologically unsound propaganda piece written by the social-activist loons at PNHP only claimed that 30% went to administrative costs - ALL administrative costs, not just paperwork. And for your information (not that you've ever let facts get in the way, merrill), government-funded systems require more paperwork than private insurers do.

"Cost Savings. A guaranteed health care system can produce the cost savings needed to cover everyone, largely by using existing resources without the waste. Taiwan, shifting from a U.S. private health care model, adopted a similar system in 1995, boosting health coverage from 57% to 97% with little increase in overall health care spending."

Only an absolute idiot can label "little increase" as "cost savings."

"Public Oversight. The public sets the policies and administers the system, not high priced CEOs meeting in private and making decisions based on their company’s stock performance needs."

And you only have to look at the wonderful bickering and rather heated debate over this issue to see what a great idea *THAT is, merrill.

"The problem is we DO NOT have the best insurance coverage in the world."

Perhaps not. We have the best healthCARE, something I'm not willing to trade for the best insurance. Somehow, merrill, covering everyone with lower quality care doesn't seem like much of a bargain - except to the whiny socialists like you and boohoozo.

tym4fun 5 years, 9 months ago

Thanks Notajayhawk, I just couldn't find the words. Even Obama compares the Post office to our future healthcare. Do you send a very important package Fed-ex or USPS? I've had too many "don't care moments" with the post office.

kla4one 5 years, 9 months ago

LJW is such a lousy newspaper. Healthcare news for weeks (including the PRESIDENT at various townhalls relegated to a sidebar), but they put a full-page, huge type headline for "public option insurance proposal dead." Not only a completely untrue headline (not dead till the final bill is voted on and that is some weeks away), but triumphantly Republican b***t. Wish someone would start another newspaper in this town.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 9 months ago

The bottom line is why are poiiticians protecting the most expensive health insurance in the world?

Why do doctors have to have insurance approval before treatment? aka interference!

Why is the insurance industry blowing $1.4 million medical insurance dollars a day to save the most expensive health insurance in the world?

Under HR 676 that same $1.4 million health care dollars a day would provide 519 families of four full coverage each this reckless spending of health care dollars take place. 20,000 familes of four or more by the time the insurance industry stops this reckless spending(buying votes on Capitol Hill).

Health Care in the United States http://www.dollarsandsense.org/healthcare.html

BigPrune 5 years, 9 months ago

I'm so glad the majority of Americans are smart enough to see through the smoke and mirrors of the liberal left.

cato_the_elder 5 years, 9 months ago

Unfortunately, Big Prune, while what you say is accurate, it was not true last November - and we have already paid a heavy price for it. The disastrous attempt at governance by the radical Left that we have observed since January of this year has, hopefully, resulted in a renaissance of common sense among the free citizens of this country.

monkeyhawk 5 years, 9 months ago

It is good that we here in Lawrence do not have to go through a learning curve. We experienced liberal progressive, break the bank policy during the reign of the three amigos, so we can thank them for the enlightenment. Our government in its current form is just like Lawrence of the olden days, magnified.

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