In a move that should surprise no one, President Obama today expressed support for a Massachusetts-style plan to make all Americans hostage to health insurance companies:
One day after signaling a fresh willingness to consider taxing employer-sponsored health insurance, President Obama indicated yesterday a new openness toward a nationwide requirement that every American have health coverage.
In his push to enact sweeping health-care reform legislation this summer, Obama previewed what could be the outlines of a compromise on two of the thorniest issues confronting Congress. He said he could support mandates on both individuals and employers to contribute to the cost of health insurance if the bill provides protections to certain small businesses and poor people.
A Move Toward Requiring Health Coverage
Later in that same article, the Washington Post reported that the President also promised to cut Medicare spending by $200 billion or more.
Here's the bottom line - the Congress and the President have sold us out to the insurance companies. There will be no government-funded insurance like medicare. There will be no single-payer system. The President expressed "interest" in such a provision, but realistically that's not going to happen without some cuts to Medicare. That's only going to happen over the AARP's corpse. They have sold us out to the insurance industry for more campaign contributions. They will make it so the only way Americans will be able to receive health care is if they pay off an insurance company.
In short, they're worthless whores.
There will be no meaningful cost controls, nor will any of the restrictions that might be placed on insurance companies' ability to refuse to cover people or refuse to pay for their treatments actually mean anything. The insurance companies will control that process just as they control the states' regulation of no-fault auto insurance. They can use our money to buy out the officials who enforcing the regulations. That's the system, and it works just fine for the politicians and the insurers. The only way of encouraging the insurance industry to provide adequate health insurance at a reasonable cost was to either provide a government alternative or get them out of the business altogether.
UPDATE (June 4): Here's more detail on how the public option will be killed, courtesy of Sam Stein at Huffington Post:
Multiple Democratic sources tell the Huffington Post that the White House and key members of the Finance and Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committees are in the process of hammering out key principles on health care reform -- with a meeting scheduled at the West Wing this afternoon. One of the components will be music to progressive ears: that any bill includes an option publicly run health insurance coverage. But it also comes with a caveat that could engender opposition from that very same constituency.
A trigger would pave the way for public option to come into place only after certain market conditions are met -- mainly if private insurance companies are unable to achieve various metrics for coverage within a certain time frame. The proposal would placate many of the private health care actors who consider a public plan the first step towards a single-payer system. Progressives, however, view it as reform in name and not substance.
Obama, Senate Dems Consider Public Health Care Option With A Trigger
Steve Benen at Washington Monthly explains how this is really going to work politically:
As the argument goes, the public option would improve the system by lowering costs, expanding access, and using competition to improve efficiency. But, "centrist" Dems who have ideological problems with this argue, if we pass a reform package and private insurers can lower costs, expand access, and improve efficiency on their own, we wouldn't need a public option. It's better, they say, to wait for the system to get really awful before utilizing a public option to make things better.
This, not surprisingly, is not going over well with supporters of real reform, who are right to see the trigger as a mechanism to effectively kill the public plan.
Why so cynical, you might ask? As Health Care for America Now (HCAN) explains:
Setting aside the political movement we've seen, with Republicans open to a public health insurance option, this so-called "trigger" compromise, which would trigger a public health insurance option if certain conditions weren't met might make sense if those conditions haven't been met yet. But they have.
Senator Schumer explained as much today on Health Care for America Now's press call announcing our report on the lack of insurance industry competition in this country[...]
Think about it. What would the trigger be for the public health insurance option? Skyrocketing prices? Already there. No choice or competition? Already there. Denying care? Already there. As has been proven time and time again, we have a health care crisis now. Trigger conditions have long since been met.
A "Trigger" For The Public Health Insurance Option? Already Triggered
You have to be in some serious denial to think that the health care system in this country isn't already broken. Nearly a third of Americans either lack health insurance altogether or aren't covered sufficiently. Costs have been going up much faster than either consumer prices or our economy's growth. We pay more for less health care than any country in the industrialized world. If you don't think that's broken, you're not paying attention. Clearly, the folks who run things in DC aren't.
UPDATE 2 (June 4): Corrected the name of HCAN.