Saturday, July 25, 2009

Some Morning Reading On Health Insurance Reform

As often happens on Fridays, I've been too distracted to write. Meanwhile, there are other folks who haven't been distracted, and have brought some interesting insights into the health insurance reform debate. First up is Think Progress, with this quote from Republican National Committee Chairman Micheal Steele:

[O]n Fox News, Steele urged Democrats to pass a health care reform without GOP input. Host Sean Hannity agreed:

STEELE: Look at what these guys are saying and doing, not at what we’re saying and doing. You got 60 votes in the Senate. You got almost a two-to-one majority in the House. The Democrats control the entire power structure of the federal government. If you want health care, get the votes. Do it!


STEELE: I mean, Republicans can’t block the bill. The Republicans can’t even filibuster in the Senate.

Steele urges Democrats to pass health care bill without Republicans

Actually, he's making a point a good many observers have made lately - the Democrats have the power to change things if they want to. If they don't, then they deserve the blame. They have the power to pass legislation. They have enough votes in the Senate to prevent filibusters, and enough votes in the House to control the agenda.

The danger here isn't that people will flock back to the Republicans. At least, they won't flock back to these Republicans. What they'll do is stay home. Apathetic voters help the GOP, not the Democrats. Nearly all the gains in voter registration and turnout for the last two election cycles have been in favor of the Democrats. If, after giving the Democrats everything they ought to need to pass the kinds of legislation we need, the Democrats still fail to do that, it's hard to blame people from being apathetic. That's a danger, and if the Democratic "leadership" had a clue they'd be worried about this enough to lean on the people who are holding up progress.

The second article is by Ian Welsh. In it, he explains why the reasons why we could expect a single payer health insurance plan to be less costly than commercial health insurance. While it seems obvious that executive salaries would be lower (no government executives earn anywhere near the kind of money executives of large corporations do), and there would be less need for sales staff, I hadn't considered that the need for underwriting and actuaries would be much lower, as well. I'm not going to try and quote anything. Go read his article and learn.


Gregg's Health Insurance News said...

I don't hear anyone talking about legislating price controls on drugs, testing, labs...not one word. Also, managed care is a disaster and network-driven PPOs and HMOs should be gotten rid of. There is so much abuse going on between the insurance carriers, the doctors, hospitals, and ESPECIALLY the drug companies, who are enabled by the FDA to get away with what they do. They all feed and drive each other and everyone's trying to squeeze this parasitic, cannibalistic system that has evolved and suck it for as much profit as they can. There's alot of abuse going on in this current system.

Dana Hunter said...

Single-payer would definitely make the most sense. Alas, we live in a country where the politicians are more senseless than most.

Thanks for Ian's link. I feel like making his post into a chart and taking it to Congress. I'd have it printed on something heavy, just in case the Cons need it pounded into their heads... not that this would knock any sense into them, but damned if I wouldn't feel better.

Cujo359 said...

Controlling drug costs hasn't been a popular subject, that's for sure, Gregg's HIN. As I wrote earlier, though, just getting everyone covered by some reasonable health care plan seems to be more than Congress can manage at the moment. When it comes to drug costs, one thing that would certainly help is for the patent office to not grant new patents on drugs that have been changed trivially from previous versions. I'm not sure what the review process is, but it's not working very well.

HMOs would be converted to another form of health provider organization, by definition, if single payer is implemented.

The for-profit nature of our current health care system isn't working. I'm not sure how much change is necessary to make it work, but there's definitely much to change.