Blogs » Politcs Plus » The Health Care Reform debate continues


I miscalculated the Health Care reform argument because it seems we cannot go to step two without addressing the public option. It seems to be that proverbial 600 pound elephant in the room. A recent New York Times/CBS poll found that 72% favor the public option provision, and 58% would be willing to pay higher taxes to get everyone insured. This is after the CBO found that Obama’s Health Care reform bill would cost about $1.6 trillion but that study is incomplete because it does not allow for the public option in their estimates.

It’s the so-called centrist democratic senators like Ben Nelson, Kent Conrad, Max Baucus, Mary Landrieu, and Evan Bayh that will stand in the way, in a unified 60 vote effort, for those that believe it is absolutely necessary to get republican support. As usual, the republicans have a unified no vote, but the public option will all but certify that. Bipartisanship is one thing, AMA and insurance company lobbyist money is another. This bill still has to go to the House of Representatives where Nancy Pelosi is guaranteeing that the public option will be part of the house plan. She will have the numbers, despite the 45 blue dog democrats who come from conservative districts.

The Obama administration should emphasize reform because by now we should know that the United States spends more for Health Care than any other country in a world and studies have proven that 30% of it(about $700 billion) may be wasted or unneeded , expensive, sometimes routine like CT scans, MRI visits, office visits, hospital visits, and prescription drugs. For example, chronically ill patients in Los Angeles visited doctors about 59.2 more times in the last six months of their life. I can remember my own dying mother being visited by different physicians and rehabilitation clinics during her last three months, since she was on Medicare. You cannot convince me that private insurance companies and Medicare do not need to be overhauled and reformed. We cannot prove that more spending means better care because a medical procedure in Los Angeles California might cost $95,000 and that same procedure at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation might only cost $55,000. We cannot use a free market strategy for Health Care because if you need a cardiac bypass; you cannot bargain for a less expensive procedure. I heard a good idea from a caller responding to a CSPAN forum on Health Care saying “We should look at the state’s Health Care reforms and implement some of the ideas that are working, like standard pricing, reducing redundant testing and office visits. I have often wondered why my dermatologist will charge my insurance company for a blood glucose stick, blood pressure test, and other routine tests; when those results don’t have anything to do with the problem, I’m seeing him for.

Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), voted yesterday to voluntarily trim prices on medications sold to seniors, the disabled and others enrolled in government health programs. That’s$80 billion savings that has probably been there all along, I wonder how much more they would they go down if we were allowed to compete with Canada and Mexico?

THINGS TO PONDER I heard some great answers for the republican talking points this week.

  1. I think now that the Frank Luntz playbook for the republicans on “How to defeat a Healthcare Reform bill” has been played to the hilt without results, it is going to be easier to pass a Health Care reform bill by October of this year.

  2. Right now we can't afford it...When,and will you go on the record with your answer?

3.The GOP saying we don't want government bureaucrats intervening between the Dr. and their patients….. Right now we have the insurance companies doing that.

4.The GOP is saying that the public option will drive the private insurance companies out of business; on the other hand, they talk about long waiting lines to get their medical procedures…. Which is it? If it’ about the long lines, then a private insurance would beat it every time.. What’s the problem? You can’t have it both ways.

5.Nearly every government representative is enrolled in a government insured plan… If it is so bad, why are they enrolled?

6.If this is just socialized medicine, will the republicans go all the way and repeal the last prescription drug bill they passed?

7.What is the GOP plan and how much does it cost?

8.Our grandchildren...Did the GOP think of that when they passed the tax cut for the rich or the prescription drug bill?

9.The deficit: Lowering cost of health care will reduce the deficit.

10.Taxes: unstated taxes of rising costs is hurting take -home pay.