Who Hijacked Our Country

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Public Option, But States Can “Opt Out”

This just might be a way to get the public option passed by all sixty members of the U.S. Senate. (Oh that’s right, there are forty other senators, but they’re all so busy whining and sobbing and holding their breath ‘til they turn blue — I forgot they were there.)

Some of the worst Blue Dog Democrats are from states where health insurance companies have a large presence. If these senators had integrity and/or a set of cajones, this wouldn’t matter; but you know how that goes…

One Capitol Hill aide said: “What folks are looking for is what gets 60 votes. The opt-out idea is very appealing to people. It has come up in conversations. I know personally that a handful of members have discussed it amongst themselves.”

The opposite approach — Opt In — has been vaguely discussed off and on for several years. But the Opt Out approach would have a lot more momentum. Federal legislation would make a public health insurance option available for everybody; but then each state would have the chance to bend over for the insurance industry opt out of the public option. The opting out would probably be accomplished through a statewide referendum.

Conservatives shouldn’t have any objection to this approach, since after all NOBODY really wants a bunch of socialist bureaucrats standing between themselves and their doctors.

Meanwhile, Republicans are looking over their to-do list.

Arrange a bunch of spontaneous demonstrations and shouting matches at town hall meetings — Check.

Scare the shit out of millions of gullible people with shouts of “Death Panels!” “Mandatory Abortion!” “Communist Fascist Socialist Muslim Born in Kenya!” — Check.

Squeeze campaign money out of doctors by scaring them about “Socialized Medicine!” — Check.

Republicans have spent the last few months calling and faxing thousands of doctors, trying to scare donations out of them. Fortunately doctors are generally less gullible than your Fox News couch potato. This latest Astroturf group — “Physicians' Council for Responsible Reform” — has conned donations out of 5,000 doctors. Who knows how many other doctors told them to stick it.

Dr. Paul Kramer is in that second category. He said he was interested in joining this “grass roots” organization at first, but then realized it was nothing more than “a bald fundraising effort. When I told the woman I wouldn't be interested in making any financial contribution, the call was quickly ended. I want reform and wanted to tell them that not all physicians were interested in seeing this effort tank. I never got the chance.”

What a bunch of sleazy shitbags. With all of their huge efforts at backstabbing, smearing, lying, sabotaging — the only thing the Republicans haven’t done is try to come up with an alternate plan. Nah.

We’ve all probably known somebody who puts a massive gargantuan effort into not having to work. Welfare or unemployment checks (when the person doesn’t qualify), scams, lies, ripoffs, shortchanging people; and always watching their backs and always trying to remember what they said to who. And you just want to say to this person, “wouldn’t it be easier to just go out there and get a job?”

The Republican Party reminds me of that person.

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Anonymous Bee said...

Tom, the republican party IS that person :)

Oh, I reckon a couple of those cash-strapped and poverty-laden red states down yonder below the mason-dixon line will opt out, and maybe a couple of western states. Until they figure out in about a decade that they got scrooooooowed. What's funny is that we're back to the whole "states rights" argument that was touted to perpetuate slavery. Oh, how long it's been, and how backwards we can go.

I mean we in the purely generalized sense of the word, of course. Actually, I mean Lisa. But that's neither here nor there.

October 8, 2009 at 3:24 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Bee: You're right, this would sure bring back all the "states' rights!" shouting matches. Some of the red states would probably opt out. If thousands of people are dumb enough to demonstrate on behalf of HMO profits, they'd probably get conned into voting against the public option in a referendum.

October 8, 2009 at 5:31 PM  
Blogger Holte Ender said...

That might be a good compromise to get my Blue Dog Congressman to stop pretending he's a democrat and actually be one. Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama and Mississippi, the states who need the most help, would probably opt out, and stand their pink asses behind Blue Cross/Blue Shield types. I smell fireworks.

October 8, 2009 at 7:43 PM  
Anonymous S.W. Anderson said...

Neither opt in nor opt out is sound public policy. Which means either would probably be seen as preferable to a for-sure, nationwide health care reform plan across the deep South and in Idaho and Utah, at least (right, Bee?).

I suppose an opt out provision would be better than having HC reform fall through or go through with a public option so lame it's not worth having.

Maybe part of my instant dislike for it has to do with not wanting to see TV news segments full of Georgia and Texas Republicans racing to be the first state to opt out, chanting "We don't need no stinking public option. We don't need no stinking health care reform. We don't need no stinking heads examined . . ."

October 8, 2009 at 10:42 PM  
Blogger rockync said...

Tom, great analogy at the end of this post. The GOP better wake up and realize that the clowns helping them make all that noise are NOT the majority. The majority spoke last November.
Actually, I think they should just keep doing what they're doing - it keeps them occupied.

October 9, 2009 at 6:36 AM  
Blogger Randal Graves said...

In and out, in and out. Once again, DC ignores the opt-static crowd, and I for one will not move until my demands are heard.

October 9, 2009 at 7:18 AM  
Anonymous JollyRoger said...

Let Dixie opt out. They've basically gone third-world already. Watch the smaller businesses migrate somewhere where they can actually afford to exist. It's a win-win for everybody.

October 9, 2009 at 1:55 PM  
Blogger lisa said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

October 9, 2009 at 2:59 PM  
Blogger lisa said...

Well obviously you all must have shitty health care.
I can't (well actually yes I can) wait to see what you will be saying when they unionize the healthcare industry forcing hosptials to meet demands they can't meet(rationing) and then when that looming cap and trade bill takes affect and hospitals can't afford to power that life saving equipment(more rationing)or when doctors leave their professions because the 200 grand they paid for medical school and those 90 hour weeks they spent interning to become good MD's are told what they can make(more rationing) Which leaves me with this question.... what would you call the people called in to do take over the jobs of those striking? Heroes or scabs?

I think down the road someone will be saying we are scrooooooed but I think I have an idea who those people will be.

Oh who am I kidding we are going to have all this "choice" and "competition" and it's going to be freeeeeee!!!!!!!!!

October 9, 2009 at 3:53 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Holte: This compromise Opt Out approach might actually work. In the reddest states, the voters will probably be dumb enough to vote against their own families just because Obama is a socialist who wants to take over everyone's life.

SW: I agree, Opt Out isn't the ideal solution, but it might be the only way to make the public option available, at least to some people. You're right that this would create a 3-ring circus of every rightwing talking head shouting "socialized medicine!" all over the airwaves. Whichever state opts out first, every resident gets a free copy of the new Conservapedia Bible.

Rockync: I think you're right that all this demagoging "keeps them occupied." It keeps them off the streets, or from pulling the wings off of flies, or whatever their favorite pastimes are.

Randal: DC ignoring the opt-static crowd? Never.

JR: That's exactly what will happen if some states have a public option and some don't. Businesses will locate or relocate to a state where health insurance is available to their employees.

October 9, 2009 at 4:04 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Lisa: Uh, so you deleted your own comment and then replaced it with one that looks just like it?

Anyway, thank you for your doomsday predictions of our national nightmare if Obama's evil government takeover ever comes to pass.

October 9, 2009 at 4:08 PM  
Blogger Holte Ender said...

Nobody becomes good at anything working a ninety hour week, all you become is burnt out. That theory of working interns till they can't think straight is one of the things wrong with the health care system.

October 9, 2009 at 8:25 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Holte: Good point. Hey, I want to be operated on by an overworked sleep-deprived doctor who's been working for 36 hours straight. What could go wrong?

October 10, 2009 at 1:00 AM  
Blogger Ricardo said...

It's painfully obvious that the blue dogs have been bought and paid for. Ditto for the GOP. It's not about principles or "socialism."

They GOP knows they have nothing so why not fabricate? Don't they also give nods to white identity groups posing as patriots? Aren't these some of the people used for the "all American rallies?"

Sounds like a group that they mention a lot and accuse Obama of being. Hint: It's not the "secret Muslims." they seemed to have given up on that.

Just saying......

October 10, 2009 at 4:59 AM  
Blogger Ricardo said...

Oh and if unemployment keeps rising, I wonder how many heads will roll on states that choose to opt out because some moron wants to run for president and can't get out of their own way?

I guess health care is a privilege. I'll just place my undying faith into corporate welfare disguised as capitalism. That's what America is about!

October 10, 2009 at 5:02 AM  
Anonymous Bee said...

Lisa, how disingenous, you silly goose. Nothing is free, darlin', nothing at all. However, the question is what do we all want to pay for? Healthcare for us and ours, or the newest Ferrari for United and Cigna's CEOs? Me, I'll take the healthcare.

October 10, 2009 at 6:01 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Ricardo: "Bought and paid for," that's the GOP and the Blue Dogs. It's become so obvious, I don't know why they even bother trying to disguise it as fear of "big government" or concern about the deficit. They're saying exactly what their HMO johns are telling them to say, and we all know it.

Yes, health care is a "privilege." After all, you've already been born, so it doesn't matter what happens to you now :)

Bee: I have my priorities straight. I want a new Ferrari and a yacht for CIGNA's CEO. My medical treatment can wait.

October 10, 2009 at 11:20 AM  
Blogger lisa said...

I know "we" have to pay for it. It's many others who think it is free.

Who's being disingenuous? I am just trying to be realistic.

It's not going to be this so called Utopia of everyone gets just what they need. I'd rather pay for private health care then put money into the unions and the lobbyists that have the democrats in their pockets. They just make it sound sooo good don't they?
But hey we have to maintain Pelosi's 20 million dollar vineyard don't we?

October 10, 2009 at 6:12 PM  
Blogger lisa said...

What could go wrong is you get a flunkie government union worker who is just worried about their next paid day off and what is or isn't in their job description.
I worked for government I've seen some of the flunkies they employ.

October 10, 2009 at 6:15 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

"you get a flunkie government union worker who is just worried about their next paid day off and what is or isn't in their job description."

Golly, that sounds terrible. I assume you have your own private security company and fire protection company to protect your home, since you certainly wouldn't entrust your safety to one of those flunkie government union workers you were talking about. Ditto for that commie library system and that socialist highway system that was made possible by Ike "Pinko" Eisenhower.

I could go on and mention those subversive union rabblerousers who made it possible for you to enjoy weekends, paid vacations, sick days, break periods at work -- but you get the idea.

October 10, 2009 at 7:35 PM  

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