Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Monstrosity

Calling the Affordable Care Act a "monstrosity," new House Speaker John Boehner claimed a Republican mandate to repeal it and replace it with "commonsense reforms." He did not explain what those were, although past Republican proposals called for removing restrictions on insurance companies from selling across state lines. As other Republican proposals, according to the Congressional Budget Office, would add 3,000,000 -- not 32,000,000 -- people to the health care "system," the "commonsense proposals" effectively amount to the federal government doing nothing other than acting as a bagman for the five companies (Aetna, Cigna, Humana, United Healthcare, and Wellpoint) that sell most of the health insurance in the United States. (Wellpoint is an amalgamation of the Blues.)

If John Boehner thinks that the electorate put Republicans in power to focus on reducing insurance rolls, restoring rescission, replacing caps on coverage, unplugging the Medicare doughnut hole, and restoring bans on preexisting conditions in the face of the worst recession since the 30s, he's got a rude awakening in store. If the Republicans move to shut down the government over this and/or EPA regulations while conducting witch hunts against the administration, independent voters will turn on them just as they did in the 90s.

18 comments:

Cowtown Pattie said...

Well, this morning aren't we all drinkin' that free Bubble Up and eatin' that Rainbow Stew?

Come the afternoon of January 3rd, 2011, all Americans will be employed, the deficit will be cleared, and milk and honey is the menu of the day.

Alrighty, then! Glad that got cleared up.

Jerry Critter said...

I suspect you are right, K, but will 2 years be enough time? I hope so.

TAO said...

Oh, the Republicans have no plans to do anything...

Remember a few short years ago the Republicans were all about constitutional amendments to ban gay marriage and all of that?

Then there was abortion...

They talk ideology but they never follow it.

Oh they will grunt and groan and make all these noises to make it appear that they are doing all this heavy lifting but all they will be doing is taking care of their buddies with tax breaks and earmarks and then the rest of their time will be spent blowing smoke up the ass of the public...

Kind of like the democrats did with financial reform, DADT, and single payor healthcare....

John Hayes said...

I hope you're right, I really do. The GOP has been very good at convincing people that what's in their worst interests are actually in their best interests & vice-versa. After hearing all the strident voices from the right wing, I personally wouldn't mind her some pissed-offedness from the left--some real pissed-offedness, with no apologies or equivocation.

K. said...

Agreed, John, except that for once I'd like the left to aim at the right target.

Foxessa said...

They are going to bomb Iraq in Israel's name, they are going to force us to pay money to the big medical corps as phony insurance that pays for nothing, they WILL continue the tax cuts for the most wealthy, while rolling back the actual tax cuts that did benefit us this year, they will continue not to fund anything while charging more for everything.

They have agenda all right that is about no ideology other than making war and pillaging the people further -- which are really the same thing.

Why don't the forces that thing they're doing all this to protect Israel, even at the cost of destroying the U.S. understand that without a prosperous and healthy U.S. Israel will not be able to stand at all?

And what's this bs out of Obama about 'working with the thugs?' That was his plan from the beginning. We have seen how that's worked out. When will they learn you cannot worth with those ilks. It's their way or no way. He's a fool. He wasted his first two years with silly health plan that hasn't even kicked in yet in order to placate them. And now they're going to get rid of it -- except for forcing us all to pay the insurance cos.

Love, C.

K. said...

I'm not reading too much into pro forma press conference remarks.

There are a lot of good things in the health care plan, which actually has begun to kick in. Anyway, it was the most that could be gotten out of the political system we have and in the absence of any organized progressive movement for universal access.

injaynesworld said...

I wish they would allow insurance companies to sell across state lines. Anything to get more flexibility in the system for consumers.

So McConnell comes out saying the Republican agenda will be to make sure Obama doesn't get re-elected. You're right. In two years they're going to get their asses handed to them the same way the Dems did, only in their case it will have been deserved.

Darlene said...

I think the Democrats should, at long last, take a page from the winnners in this election and start making loud noises about their accomplishments, defend their actions and roll out a Karl Rove style PR campaign.

No more Mr. Nice Guy.

sEAN bENTLEY said...

Well. 2008 was a fluke and now we're back to biz as usual, which is to say the Dems for the most part are hapless wusses and the Reps are vicious zombies, greed rules all, and the people who could vote in the "best" candidates are too apathetic to frickin' vote. We get what we deserve. I'm glad I won't be alive to read the history books.

K. said...

Selling insurance across state lines would have to be tightly regulated at the federal level. Otherwise, the insurance companies will set up shop in the least regulated states. I'm not sure how much difference selling across state lines would make, anyway: The health insurance business has already consolidated -- there are only five companies that sell it.

Ima Wizer said...

We are fu*ked!!!!!

TAO said...

K,

The really fascinating thing about the idea of selling insurance across state lines is the fact that what insurance actually provide is access to hospitals and doctors.

I can buy a Calfornia Insurance policy today but because I live in Kentucky all of my doctors would be paid as being out of network.

Even today when shopping for insurance IN YOUR STATE you have to check to make sure which doctors accept the insurance.

In actuality only three insurance companies would benefit on the concept of selling accross state lines because they are the only ones who could have something matching a national network.

Then of course, it would end up being like credit cards, which all have corporate headquarters in South Dakota or Delaware...

Wouldn't that be fun!

K. said...

TAO,

I've been lectured on comment boards that I'm all wet -- that selling across state lines would mean more competition, lower prices, and pretty soon we'd all be getting health insurance for pennies. If the perspective weren't so widely held, I'd be amused by these so-called free market experts who don't have the slightest grasp of the concept of barriers to market entry.

No new companies would jump into the insurance market because the cost would be prohibitive. In fact, the opposite is more likely: In a less regulated market, one of the big 3 might well identify a competitive advantage that allows it to dominate the other two. Then you have one company calling the shots.

TAO said...

Actually K, in 1990 we had BC/BS and two plants in Kentucky...one in central Kentucky and the other in western Kentucky. BC/BS had no network of doctors in western Kentucky so every single time an employee went to the doctor they paid the bill as out of network and only covered 50%...but they charged us the same premiums.

When I went to their corporate headquarters in Louisville they thought it might be a good idea if I covered, as the employer, the additional cost of the lack of network in western Kentucky for my employees. I told them that I thought the most logical thing would be for them to only charge me half the premiums since they would never be responsible for more than half the cost.

On the drive back home I stopped at my agents home in Louisville and told him that effective the first of the month we were going to self fund and become our own insurance company and that I would cobble together a network in western Kentucky because I was going to be damned if I was cutting any more checks to BCBS.

Nice thing about the internet is that it makes every idiot who can remember a soundbite sound like an expert....

Kind of like the idiots that believe that doing away with minimum wage will create more jobs...

K. said...

I wish I'd been a fly on the wall when you suggested the 50% rate reduction!

It's a amazing that that hoary argument about the minimum wage continues to have legs. It's been around since Jesus hit puberty and has never been borne out by anything resembling a fact.

Jerry Critter said...

I don't know why people equate profits with jobs. More profits do not lead to more jobs. Jobs are an expense. Jobs without demand for the products of those jobs decreases profits. No rational businessman will willingly decrease his profits.

K. said...

That's what is happening now: Businesses have plenty of money -- they're just not hiring. If people want to be angry about something, that's it right there.