Minister of Science and Chief Protector of the Faith

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Progressive Case For Passing the Senate Health Bill


[...] All of us are anxious to see the final language from the Senate. And a final bill must ensure that the subsidies provided are sufficient to make insurance truly affordable for working families. But based on what we know, here are my top ten reasons for why progressives should support the Senate passing the bill:

1. Largest Expansion Of Coverage Since Medicare’s Creation: Thirty-one million previously uninsured Americans will have insurance.

2. Low/Middle Income Americans Will Not Go Without Coverage: For low-income Americans struggling near the poverty line, the bill represents the largest single expansion of Medicaid since its inception. Combined with subsidies for middle income families, the bill’s provisions will ensure that working class Americans will no longer go without basic health care coverage.

3. Insurance Companies Will Never Be Able to Drop or Deny You Coverage Because You Are Sick: Insurers can no longer deny coverage because of a pre-existing condition. They can’t rescind coverage or impose lifetime or annual limits on care. Significantly, the bill also ends insurer discrimination against women — who currently pay as much as 48% more for coverage than men — and gives them access preventive services with no cost sharing.

4. Lowers Premiums For Families: The Senate bill could lower premiums for the overall population by 8.4%. For the subsidized population, premiums would decrease even more dramatically. According to the CBO, “the amount that subsidized enrollees would pay for non-group coverage would be roughly 56 percent to 59 percent lower, on average than the nongroup premiums charged under current law.”

5. Invests in Keeping People Healthy: The bill creates a Prevention and Public Health Fund to expand and sustain funding for public prevention programs that prevent disease and promote wellness.

6. Insurers Can’t Offer Subprime Health Care: Insurers operating in the individual and small group markets will no longer sell subprime policies that deny coverage when illness strikes and you need it most. Everyone will be offered an essential benefits package of comprehensive benefits.

7. Helps Businesses Afford Coverage: Small employers can take advantage of large risk pools by purchasing coverage through the bill’s state-based exchanges. Employers with no more than 25 employees would receive a tax credit to help them provide coverage to their employees. The bill also establishes a temporary reinsurance program for employers providing coverage to retirees over the age of 55 who are not eligible for Medicare.

8. Improves Medicare: The bill eliminates the waste and fraud in the Medicare system, gets rid of the special subsidy to private insurers participating in Medicare Advantage and extends the life of the Medicare trust fund by 9 years. It also closes the doughnut hole that affected 3.4 seniors enrolled in Medicare Part D in 2008.

9. Reduces The Deficit: Not only would the bill expand coverage to 30 million Americans without adding to the nation debt, it would also reduce the deficit by up to $409 billion over 10 years.

10. Reduces National Health Spending: A CAP-Commonwealth Fund analysis concludes the bill could reduce overall spending by close to $683 billion over 10 years – with the potential to save families $2,500. Even the most conservative government estimates conclude that the bill would reduce national health care expenditures by at least 0.3% by 2019.


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At Thu Dec 17, 12:06:00 PM, Blogger D. Debil said...

I agree with TP's analysis, but I have a grave concern. If they retain the individual mandates without the robust public option, then the reform has a tilt against the middle class in favor of the private insurers. This feels unfair to me. To put it mildly.

At Thu Dec 17, 02:12:00 PM, Blogger Bill Hawthorne said...

Dear Zaius Nation,

My name is Barbara O’ Brien and my blogging at The Mahablog, Crooks and Liars, AlterNet, and elsewhere on the progressive political and health blogophere has earned me the notoriety of being a panelist at the Yearly Kos Convention and a featured guest blogger at the Take Back America Conference in Washington, DC.

I’m contacting you because I found your site in a prominent political and health reform blog search and want to tell you about my newest blogging platform —the public concern of health care and its reform. Our shared concerns include health reform, public health, safe workplaces, and asbestos contamination.

To increase awareness on these important issues, my goal is to get a resource link on your site or even allow me to provide a guest posting. Please contact me back, I hope to hear from you soon. Drop by our site in the meantime—

Happy Holidays,

Barbara O’ Brien

At Thu Dec 17, 04:55:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I dunno Dr Z. If I don't see another post here soon, I will know that the Thought Police have finally found you and sent you to be reprogrammed at one of the many Nazi Socialist Teabagger Marxist Reprogramming Centers.

At Thu Dec 17, 08:02:00 PM, Blogger Teresita said...

Laugh-a while you can monkey boy.

There won't be a "public option" but that's okay, Donks can't even figure out if Obama wanted one or not:

DEAN: The President of the United States campaigned for it.

LANDRIEU: No he did not campaign for public option, he did not campaign on Medicare for all, he most certainly did not.

At Fri Dec 18, 09:58:00 AM, Blogger Randal Graves said...

I simply cannot support this bill. Look who'll be giving exams! You!

At Sat Dec 19, 10:46:00 AM, Blogger Teresita said...

I'll take a gloved hand over new taxes on the middle class any day. It will cost me, and thee, about $2,000.00 apiece. That's the cost of healthcare for another 30 million divided by the number of taxpayers.

At Sat Dec 19, 03:45:00 PM, Blogger ThoughtCriminal said...

Can't Dr. Zira do this procedure?

At Sat Dec 19, 04:36:00 PM, Blogger Distributorcap said...

while all the points are good and important - the fact that the left had to compromise on everything and the mandates with private insurance companies who have monopolies - well makes this hard to digest

even with passage and all the handshakes - this has severely weakened the progressive left's hand

At Sat Dec 19, 06:00:00 PM, Blogger JustJoeP said...

il faut voir...

At Sat Dec 19, 10:54:00 PM, Blogger radrave said...

Lost me on point 1. Forcing the middle class to buy crappy health insurance is NOT an expansion of coverage. Most of us are NOT going to resist this "law." It ain't gonna happen.

At Sun Dec 20, 12:48:00 AM, Blogger Nebris said...

Big Insurance and Big Pharma have entire depts dedicated to gaming the system and their lobbyists have been pouring money into working this legislation from Day One. All the teabagging and Stupaking was about misdirection, a grand political stage magic trip. It kept Single Payer off the table right out of the gate and then, one by one, got rid of the Public Option, the Opt Out, and the Medicare Buy In...and given both industries in excess of thirty million new customers as fiscal hostages.

At Sun Dec 20, 07:17:00 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Here's a mandate I can get behind: the plan passed in Congress replaces their current coverage.

At Sun Dec 20, 08:07:00 AM, Blogger said...

Progressives don't have to sit and take the
conservative nonsense from conservatives in our
Democratic Party and the RepubliKLAN party.

You influence a lot of people. Read what I have to
say and if you like it tell people about this
until we bust the conservative coalition in

We're going to go after the friends of
conservative Democrats and Republicans with a
massive consumer boycott of those companies that
give money to conservatives. People did that in
South Africa and India and we're going to do it

I called these 2 organizations.

Omaha Steaks 800 228 2778

Nebraska Beef Council 800-421-5326

and told a person in both organizations, one a
beef seller and the other an organization that
promotes Nebraska beef that

I communicate with thousands of people on the net and that

UNLESS their CEOs get Senator Ben Nelson to get
all Anti abortion language out of the final health
care bill they can forget me doing business with
them and also forget about me buying Nebraska bred
beef at the Supermarket which I will make sure
that the local Supermarket does not sell.

Spread the word please.

Demand congress fix the Medicare prescription drug benefit

go here

Send a message to traitor Joe Lieberman demanding
he help enact a strong single payer public option
into law.

Send this message wide and far. Thank you.

You can see further actions at http://WWW.DEMOCRATZ.ORG

At Sun Dec 20, 12:10:00 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

If you want to see who the bought off Senators are take a look at their campaign finance pages. My Senator Traitor Tom Carper who devised the optin optout bs, have received millions of dollars from these insurance companies. Of course Delaware is the corporate state, but we have a single payer bill before our legislature right now with 32 statewide organizaitons backing it up. Guess can be sure the Carpetbagger from WVA Carper, who is solely owned by big pharma, insurance cartels, bankster/gangsters and big pharma will make sure Delaware would be the FIRST state to opt out. Carper refused to hold town meetings, or take calls on local radio...because he knew the blue state of Delaware by huge majorities supported single payer. These neo cons in the demorat party coming from small states are dependent on big business for the campaign contributions. They sold their souls decades ago, and are line with the "bawdy houses on K Street". Corporate political prostitutes ALL, regardless of party.

At Sun Dec 20, 03:49:00 PM, Blogger libhom said...

Think Progress is dangerously wrong in their analysis.

Items 1 and 2: There won't be greater coverage, just fines for people who can't afford astronomical premiums.

Items 3 and 6: These restrictions on insurance companies won't be enforced. Both GOP and Democratic White Houses have refused to enforce laws against fraud and murder on the health insurers. These restrictions won't be enforced either.

Item 4: Actually, mandates in the bill will cause premiums to skyrocket. When people have to buy some "health plan" or be fined, their negotiating position is dramatically impaired. Corporations will exploit this ruthlessly.

Item 8: This is nonsense. The Senate bill slashes Medicare rather than improving it.

Items 9 and 10: The skyrocketing premiums resulting from the mandates will result in higher deficits and a greater percentage of GDP spent on "healthcare."

The only points that have any validity at all are 5 and 7, and they are too trivial to be worth weighing in a decision on whether or not to support the bill.

At Sun Dec 20, 04:18:00 PM, Blogger Comrade Kevin said...

I am not satisfied, but neither am I going to turn down something that will be of great benefit to many people, least not myself.

When 21% of Americans identify as liberal, and 40% identify as conservative, therein lies your problem.

At Mon Dec 21, 10:59:00 AM, Blogger Dr. Zaius said...

D. Debil: I feel the same way you do. I too am very disappointed. :o(

Bill Hawthorne: Sounds sort of like spam, Bill Hawthorne/Barbara O’ Brien.

Seeing Eye Chick: I have not been reprogrammed. I am merely disappointed. Hence the clothespin! ;o)

Teresita: Ha! That's one of my favorite movies! ;o)

Randal Graves: Lean back and relax, Randal. This is going to be extremely painful! ;o)

Teresita: Don't worry, I glove you! ;o)

ThoughtCriminal: That might be a good idea. This might nee a woman's touch! Remember, Pelosi got it right. ;o)

Distributorcap: No, It definately sucks. It's all politics now, to make sure Obama doesn't fail before the elections in 2010. :o(

JustJoeP: Oui, mais je crains le pire. :o(

Radrave: I too am very disappointed. :o(

Nebris: I agree. Hence the clothespin! ;o)

N: I might like your mandate more if it involved chocolate cake. ;o)

elizabeth: I agree. They are all crooks. ;o)

libhom: But the current version of the bill has to pass for political reasons. Hence the clothespin! ;o)

Comrade Kevin: I agree, but it still stinks.


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