Archive for Thursday, July 16, 2009

Obama shifts into campaign mode on health care

Senate panel approves system overhaul

July 16, 2009


Accompanied by members of Congress and medical professionals, President Barack Obama delivers remarks on health care reform Wednesday at the White House in Washington.

Accompanied by members of Congress and medical professionals, President Barack Obama delivers remarks on health care reform Wednesday at the White House in Washington.

— President Barack Obama achieved a milestone Wednesday when a Senate committee approved a plan to revamp the U.S. health care system.

The Senate panel’s action, which attracted no Republican votes, came as the president’s campaign organization rolled out television ads to build support for his top domestic priority.

Obama met with Republicans at the White House in search of an elusive bipartisan compromise on his call to expand coverage to the nearly 50 million uninsured Americans as well as restrain spending increases in health care.

But the 13-10 party-line vote in the Senate health committee signaled a deepening rift in Congress. While Democrats respond to Obama’s call for action with renewed determination, Republicans are using harsher words to voice their misgivings.

In the House, Democrats began pushing legislation through the first of three committees, although moderate and conservative members of the rank and file were demanding changes. In the Senate, lawmakers were considering fees on health insurance companies as a new source of potential financing for a $1 trillion package that’s short on funds.

“We have delivered on the promise of real change,” Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., said as he presided over the Senate health committee vote, alluding not only to his bill but also to Obama’s campaign promise.

The president was in the Rose Garden for the latest in a daily series of public appeals to Congress to “step up and meet our responsibilities” and move legislation this summer. Obama also pushed his message on network television interviews.

Wednesday’s Senate health committee vote “should make us hopeful — but it can’t make us complacent,” Obama said. “It should instead provide the urgency for both the House and the Senate to finish their critical work on health reform before the August recess.”

The health panel’s $615 billion measure would require individuals to get health insurance and employers to contribute to the cost. The bill calls for the government to provide financial assistance with premiums for individuals and families making up to four times the federal poverty level, or about $88,000 for a family of four, a broad cross-section of the middle class.

Obama wants the House and Senate to act on health care this summer and put final legislation on his desk this fall.


just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 9 months ago

On one side, you have Democrats trying to formulate some plan that won't offend their benefactors in the healthcare industry too much.

On the other side, you have the Republicans, whose apparent strategy these days is making sure that absolutely nothing gets done in the hope that if things get even worse, allowing them to somehow find a way out of the political Siberia to which they've been banished (because they are largely responsible for the current mess we are in.)

Flap Doodle 8 years, 9 months ago

"Congress: It didn't take long to run into an "uh-oh" moment when reading the House's "health care for all Americans" bill. Right there on Page 16 is a provision making individual private medical insurance illegal. When we first saw the paragraph Tuesday, just after the 1,018-page document was released, we thought we surely must be misreading it. So we sought help from the House Ways and Means Committee. It turns out we were right: The provision would indeed outlaw individual private coverage. Under the Orwellian header of "Protecting The Choice To Keep Current Coverage," the "Limitation On New Enrollment" section of the bill clearly states: "Except as provided in this paragraph, the individual health insurance issuer offering such coverage does not enroll any individual in such coverage if the first effective date of coverage is on or after the first day" of the year the legislation becomes law. So we can all keep our coverage, just as promised — with, of course, exceptions: Those who currently have private individual coverage won't be able to change it. Nor will those who leave a company to work for themselves be free to buy individual plans from private carriers. "

situveux1 8 years, 9 months ago

$88,000 and you can't afford health insurance? Holy crap. The average household income in America is $40,000. How many people are going to get "financial assistance?"

Flap Doodle 8 years, 9 months ago

The O'dude says, "Here's a poke. Trust me, there's a pig in there."

Richard Heckler 8 years, 9 months ago

There is more than one democrat plan out there. The media is doing a rotten job informing the public. Why so many believe the medical inusrance industry is their friend is way hard to understand.

For example: "They Dump the Sick to Satisfy Investors": Insurance Exec Turned Whistleblower Wendell Potter Speaks Out Against Healthcare Industry

As the debate over healthcare reform intensifies on Capitol Hill, we spend the hour with a former top insurance executive who’s now exposing the industry’s dirty secrets. Wendell Potter once served as the head of corporate communications at CIGNA, one of the nation’s largest health insurance companies. We speak to Potter about his own transformation from industry mouthpiece to whistleblower, the healthcare industry’s extensive PR and lobbying machine, the campaign to discredit Michael Moore’s film Sicko, and the insurance industry’s most pressing task: the fight against a public option, let alone a single-payer system. ======================================== Paying More Getting Less - How Much Is the sick system costing you? ======================================== Where does insurance premium money go? High dollar medical insurance spending on what 1,500 health insurers add to the cost of providing care: • its bureaucracy • profits • high corporate salaries • advertising over charges • sales commissions • Shareholders ! are the primary clients of for-profit insurance companies, not patients • Special interest campaign dollars Golden parachutes * Politicians as shareholders: ============================

Richard Heckler 8 years, 9 months ago

The Results Are In: A Public Health Plan Saves Big Money

When the CBO scored an early draft of the health care form bill from the Senate HELP committee as costing $1 trillion over 10 years but only covering one-third of the uninsured, obstructionists pounced and proclaimed the public plan option dead.

But the CBO had not assessed the cost of the public plan option, nor a mandate on most employers to either provide insurance or contribute to the public plan.

Now they have. And as serious reform advocates long claimed, including those two key provisions drops the 10-year cost of reform by nearly $400 billion, while achieving near universal coverage.

A public plan cannot kill competition, because competition is currently non-existent:

Richard Heckler 8 years, 9 months ago

"With national health insurance ('Medicare for All'), we could provide comprehensive, lifelong coverage to all Americans for the same amount we are spending now and end the cruelty of ruining families financially when they get sick."

Illness and medical bills caused half of the 1,458,000 personal bankruptcies in 2001, according to a study published by the journal Health Affairs.

The study estimates that medical bankruptcies affect about 2 million Americans annually -- counting debtors and their dependents, including about 700,000 children.

Surprisingly, most of those bankrupted by illness had health insurance. More than three-quarters were insured at the start of the bankrupting illness. However, 38 percent had lost coverage at least temporarily by the time they filed for bankruptcy.

Most of the medical bankruptcy filers were middle class; 56 percent owned a home and the same number had attended college. In many cases, illness forced breadwinners to take time off from work -- losing income and job-based health insurance precisely when families needed it most.

Families in bankruptcy suffered many privations -- 30 percent had a utility cut off and 61 percent went without needed medical care.

The research, carried out jointly by researchers at Harvard Law School and Harvard Medical School, is the first in-depth study of medical causes of bankruptcy. With the cooperation of bankruptcy judges in five Federal districts (in California, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Texas) they administered questionnaires to bankruptcy filers and reviewed their court records.

Today's health insurance policies -- with high deductibles, co-pays, and many exclusions -- offer little protection during a serious illness. Uncovered medical bills averaged $13,460 for those with private insurance at the start of their illness. People with cancer had average medical debts of $35,878.

"The paradox is that the costliest health system in the world performs so poorly. We waste one-third of every health care dollar on insurance bureaucracy and profits while two million people go bankrupt annually and we leave 45 million uninsured" said Dr. Quentin Young, national coordinator of Physicians for a National Health Program.

Read more:

Richard Heckler 8 years, 9 months ago

There is plenty of misinformation coming from the insurance company who are truly interested in saving that $1.4 trillion tax dollars that flows into their bank account annually.

Government elected officials get free health insurance which is why ALL OF US should have OUR health insurance covered by OUR tax dollars just like 60% of those who are insured which comes to $1.2 trillion.

Just think how much more efficient $1.2 trilion health insurance tax dollars can be spent by covering all USA people instead of only 60% of those with insurance. Now we are talking like efficient, fiscally responsible, dollars and sense conservatives.

The U.S. health insurance system is typically characterized as a largely private-sector system, so it may come as a surprise that more than 60% of the $2 trillion annual U.S. health insurance bill is paid through taxes which comes to $1.2 trillion. $1.2 trillion is a sweet gravy train for the insurance industry.

That same $1.2 trillion can cover all americans. Now this is the real surprise..... the government is not using our tax dollars effiiciently which is to say WE need OUR tax dollars applied in a true fiscally responsible manner. Privatized insurance has been ripping off americans for decades. Let us welcome HR 676 health insurance with open arms and smarter wallets.

HR 676 should not impact the quality of service from the health care industry. The health insurance industry does NOT provide health care ..... the insurance only pays the bills.

The insurance industry screams about waiting waiting waiting then the special interest politicans start screaming about waiting waiting waiting but in a sense they are right. People in the USA have been waiting waiting waiting ABOUT 50 YEARS for functional,fiscally responsible and sensible health insurance which brings us to HR 676 .... yes finally it is here.

HR 676 National Health Insurance will provide coverage for:

  • 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.

HR 676 ends deductibles and co-payments. 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.

Flap Doodle 8 years, 9 months ago

The linkbot has woken. Fear his mad copy/paste skillz!

TacoBob 8 years, 9 months ago

Health care coverage for all does not equal quality healthcare for all.

Voters should insist that any changes that are implemented should apply to Congress - if the healthcare reform they pass is not good enough for them, government employees such as they are, then it is not good enough for the rest of us.

Dems own this one - they are now in control and have the votes to pass pretty much anything. It will be interesting to see what the party does with their full power ability.

jumpin_catfish 8 years, 9 months ago

Forcing anyone rich or poor to have a healthcare plan or they will be fined is the first step toward communism which is what these liberal elitist really want. But you watch this backfire in their faces. How many days has he been president? Had enough?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 9 months ago

"Forcing anyone rich or poor to have a healthcare plan or they will be fined is the first step toward communism which is what these liberal elitist really want."

The fines are not there at the behest of "communists." They are there at the behest of the insurance companies.

jumpin_catfish 8 years, 9 months ago

I don't care who is behesting, what bull dukey, its wrong damn it, don't you people get that?! Jeez!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

Leslie Swearingen 8 years, 9 months ago

What I am hearing is that something like 80% of health problems develop from people making poor life decisions. And, that is something that cannot be legislated. You can harp all you want to about proper diet, exercise, smoking, etc., people are going to eat what tastes good to them. It is not a case of ignorance or poverty. It is a bit of self indulgence to give yourself whatever you want to eat when you want it. Because it tastes good. Exercise is just not happening. This will just cause another class division, the Merc shoppers and the Walmart shoppers.

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