Who Hijacked Our Country

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Health Insurance Crisis — Even Worse Than You Thought

Seattle Times columnist Danny Westneat wrote a recent column about skyrocketing health insurance premiums. In today’s column he says he got a lot of negative comments from readers because that column was too understated. He didn’t go far enough.

A 70-year-old woman said: “I don't know where you got the numbers you're reporting, but they're way too low.” Her own monthly payments — Regence Blue Shield — had gone up 98%, from $98 to $195.

That same 98% increase was reported by another reader, also a customer of Regence Blue Shield.

Another commenter said: “This year saw my premium go up SEVENTY-SIX PERCENT. Not 17%, or even the infamous California 39%.”

Another reader whose premiums had just gone up 76% said: “I can't feel too sorry for those whose premiums were raised 20% — they were lucky.”

Another person, whose monthly payments had gone from $1,150 to $1,692, said: “I don't know — you vote for people who you think might solve some of these problems. But it never seems to happen.”

And another comment: “I'm divorcing myself from both political parties. They're fighting among themselves so much they're not taking care of the United States.”

What else is new…

Republicans will continue digging in their heels because health care reform is “Obama’s Waterloo,” as a certain South Carolina Retard put it. And Jonathan Alter says it a different way:

“This is the Big One, the Super Bowl, for all the marbles. Mitch McConnell and John Boehner can scowl, but Republicans are now nearly irrelevant to the process. The only real question is if Democrats are in the mood to slit their own throats. The bill is complex, but the politics are simple: if health care doesn't pass this spring, Obama's domestic presidency is finished. The Democratic Party will be, to borrow a phrase from Nixon, a ‘helpless, pitiful giant.’”

He also says:

“This is Politics 101, a class that many Democrats apparently flunked. The House Democrats who voted for the bill at the end of 2009 have no choice but to vote for it again if they have any clue as to what's in their political self-interest; the he-was-for-it-before-he-was-against-it ads write themselves. And the more conservative Blue Dog Democrats who voted against it need to understand that no matter how toxic health care is in their districts right now, things will be a lot worse if they have to run under the banner of a failed president. Voters won't reward them for being fake Republicans—they'll vote for the real ones instead.”

We need a lot more of this. We needed it last year, but better late than never.

The SEIU has told Rep. Mike McMahon (D—NY) that if he doesn’t vote for the health care reform bill, the union will throw their support behind a primary challenger.

This is the exact kind of warning — followed by ACTION — that every wavering cowering Democrat needs to hear. If you won’t spine up, you’ll be replaced by someone who will.

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Anonymous Jess said...

Labor has already committed 3 million to help defeat one of the Walmart twins, Blanche Lincoln. The woman has always depended on the kindness of big business. I think we will see her turning to lobbying for one outfit or the other, same as old Liebertoad because he will not be voted in again. They have, on more than one occasion, said they will not help anyone who votes no on HCR.

I just don't understand the logic behind, we can go into other places and blow them to shit and maim and kill but we cannot help our people here live healthily. There is always money to be found for defense but not for health care. If they cut the defense budget by a few % points it would probably cover everyone here and then some. Hell, it might even be used for something worthwhile like say, I dunno educating the people here so they don't vote against their own interests.

I wonder about the story about the 70 yr old though. Would hse not be eligible for Medicare at her age? Or maybe this is one of those M advantage programs that abuse what is given them with subsidies. I read an article a while back about a couple of medical equipment places. What they do is rent out, say a wheelchair when someone needs it. They charge 150 a month to Medicare and keep charging that as long as a patient needs it. Well common sense tells me you could go buy a damn wheelchair for less than 300 if you are the fed government and have that purchasing power. Why are they not doing this? No need to answer, this is my inside voice just coming out.
My hope is this new HCR deal is just the step to single payer. Just imagine 300 million people and the purchasing power. Hell we would only need to charge $1000 maybe 2 a yr and everyone would be covered for forever. Reasoning and logic like this, I guess it just escapes some of those people in DC. They have theirs, so to hell with everyone else. That was very obvious over this past year and also in the summit they just held. It's all about, tort reform and buy over state lines with the idiots on the right.
I just wish they would come to the realization like my dad more than a few times told me, that head of yours would be better used as something other than a hat rack Jessica Marie. Usually when I had said or done something very foolish.

March 14, 2010 at 8:38 PM  
Blogger Joaquin said...

Yep, strong-arm them, and if they don't listen, kick them in the teeth.

Ah yes, thuggery at its best!

Now if this bill was about health care, a lot of people would get behind it without the use of threats.

Unfortunately, it's not.

March 15, 2010 at 9:31 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Jess: "Walmart twins" LOL. Who's the other one?

It's time to pull out all the stops against these wavering Democrats. That linked column by Jonathan Alter really spelled it out for them. The ones who have already voted in favor of HCR but are now changing their minds -- "the he-was-for-it-before-he-was-against-it ads write themselves." I hope none of the Democrats are dumb enough to think they can get re-elected by turncoating on HCR. They'll bring down the whole country with their stupidity; not just their careers.

Joaquin: "Now if this bill was about health care, a lot of people would get behind it." And who are those people? Remember, your party had fourteen years (not ten as Obama said) to do something -- anything -- about the health care crisis. They did absolutely nothing.

March 15, 2010 at 12:19 PM  
Anonymous Jess said...

Mark Pryor and Blanche are always doing what Walmart wants since they are headquartered in Arkansas.

March 15, 2010 at 12:57 PM  
Blogger Joaquin said...

First off Tom, I'm not a Republican. I left that party over 7 years ago.

You ask: Who are those people that aren't behind this bill? Are you kidding? This bill is as unpopular as any bill I've ever seen. (Exhibit A. is the arm twisting that is going on in Washington, and Exhibit B. are the national polls that continue to pour out in opposition).

If you have to 'pull out all the stops' against people of your OWN party to try to get this passed, what does that tell you?

March 15, 2010 at 1:07 PM  
Blogger Dave Dubya said...

Just to be clear on the unpopularity of the bill, almost 20% who oppose it say it does not go FAR ENOUGH. They are not ALL corporate dupes.

A clear majority want health care reform.


March 15, 2010 at 1:34 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Jess: Thanks for the info.

Joaquin: Instead of continually arguing and going around in circles -- what's YOUR solution to the health care crisis? Don't waste your time and mine with talking points about "the people don't want it" (the fuck they don't) or "government takeover!"

But if you have any concrete ideas about what should be done, I'm listening.

Dave: You're absolutely right that a clear majority wants health care reform. This bill doesn't go far enough and it's too big and bloated. But if the Republicans can defeat it, they'll be symbolically defeating Obama, and the momentum will sweep them back into Congress this November. The Republican leadership has framed it this way, so that's the way it is. The bill has to be passed.

March 15, 2010 at 2:36 PM  
Anonymous S.W. Anderson said...

Good for SEIU. The union's members have a strong need for health care reform, and they know their relatives and neighbors do as well.

The more Republicans bitch, moan and bleat their lies and scare stories about the legislation, the more you can be sure they're scared to death of it. The last thing they want is for Democrats to demonstrate they can deliver something big and helpful for the people as a whole. And Republicans will need multiple emergency underwear changes about the time millions of people are signing up for health insurance they couldn't previously afford, and telling others how happy and relieved they are. Demonstrating the government can do something big and helpful, and get it right is Republicans' second-worst nightmare.

Third up, Republicans' sugar daddies in the health insurance industry discover they have to start competing in exchanges, at least partly on price. As bad, the law limits their profit taking. Multimillionaire insurance potentates are asking themselves what good all those Republicans they bankrolled, along with Dick Armey's Freedomworks and other liars-for-hire were.

The question for Democrats is simple: Who do you want to empower, health insurance corporations and Republicans, or the people who elected you? The ones who choose the wrong answer should have to pay a painful price at the polls.

March 15, 2010 at 5:08 PM  
Anonymous S.W. Anderson said...

Re: Joaquin's protests.

I imagine if a white person spent a lot of time in Dixie in the late and mid-1960's, whether from there or not, he would've protested the people don't want or need a Civil Rights Act and a Voter Rights Act.

Today, a person who watches Fox News, listens to Limbaugh or another right-wing noisemaker, and mostly or exclusively discusses health care reform with likeminded people, will say just what Joaquin is saying.

So, Joaquin, you need to get out and around more.

March 15, 2010 at 5:13 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

SW: Those are all excellent reasons for the Senate to pass this HCR bill. Good point about the HMO caliphs turning on their Republican errand boys if they aren't able to stop the health care bill. No wonder they're so desperate.

Good response to Joaquin.

March 15, 2010 at 6:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just like Lisa, ask their solution and they shut up fast


March 16, 2010 at 12:16 AM  
Blogger Joaquin said...

You asked for a solution, and while there are many solutions out there that make a tremendous amount of sense to me, I clearly understand the following:
First off, we start from a fundamental position of complete disagreement. You believe that health care is an entitlement that has to be controlled by a central government. I don't.
Second, I don't believe that health care insurance should be mandated let alone be a 'blanket' proposition.
I believe that insurance, just like any business (no, business in not a naughty word) should be a contractual agreement between 2 parties that can be personalized to meet the insurers needs. Home owners insurance, rental property insurance, errors and omissions insurance, and auto insurance come to mind. In all those cases I have insurance that is tailor-made and agreed-to by 2 parties. And guess what? It works.
So, that's my position. It's not an emotional one, it's purely a business decision based on individual needs and wants. Some people can handle it, some can't.

March 16, 2010 at 5:53 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

OK, you answered my question.

March 16, 2010 at 10:36 AM  

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