Healthcare Jujitsu

obama bb king

Robert Reich: With a bit of political jujitsu, the President could turn any such defeat at the Supreme Court into a victory for a single-payer healthcare system – Medicare for all.

The Republican Death Wish

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Robert Reich: Instead of talking about Medicare as a problem to be fixed, Democrats should start talking about it as a potential solution to the challenge of rising health-care costs — as well as to our long-term budget problem.

Paul Ryan’s Plan: What’s Really at Stake

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Robert Reich: Obama must show America that the basic choice is between two fundamental views of this nation. Either we’re all in this together, or we’re a bunch of individuals who happen to live within these borders and are mainly on their own.

Republican Assault on Health Care Could Backfire

gop healthcare

Robert Reich: If successful—either in Congress or in the courts—a Republican victory could turn into a Phyrric one by opening the way to the alternative model, based on the system Americans seem to prefer: payroll taxes and public insurance.

The Final Health Care Vote and What it Really Means

Healthcare-rant

Robert Reich: It’s not nearly as momentous as the passage of Medicare in 1965 and won’t fundamentally alter how Americans think about social safety nets. But the likely passage of Obama’s health care reform bill is the biggest thing Congress has done in decades, and has enormous political significance for the future.

Slouching Toward Health Care Reform

Dead-in-the-water

Real reform has moved from a Medicare-like public option open to all, to a public option open to 6 million without employer coverage (still in the House bill), to a public option open only to those same people in states that opt for it, or about 4 million (the original Harry Reid version of the Senate bill), to no public option but expanded Medicare (the Senate compromise) to no expanded Medicare at all (the deal with Joe “I love all the attention” Lieberman).

How a Few Private Health Insurers Are on the Way to Controlling Health Care

Little-healthcare

Without some mechanism forcing private insurers to compete, we’re going to end up with a national health care system that’s controlled by a handful of very large corporations accountable neither to American voters nor to the market.

Harry Reid and What Happened to the Public Option

Republican-option

I’m still not giving up. I want every Senator who’s not in the pocket of the private insurers or Big Pharma to introduce and vote for a “Ted Kennedy Medicare for All” amendment to whatever bill Reid takes to the floor. And if this fails, a “Ted Kennedy Real Public Option for All” amendment. Let every Senate Democratic who doesn’t have the guts to vote for either of them be known and counted.

An Open Letter to Harry Reid on Controlling Health Care Costs

Harry

Wrap these reforms together — a public option open to everyone (allow states to opt out of this if they dare), Medicare-negotiated drug benefits, no 12-year monopoly for new drugs, and a major squeeze on Medicare reimbursements for doctors — and have CBO score the savings. I guarantee you, the number will be large. Then you should dare anyone, Democrat or Republican, to vote against saving Americans so much money in years ahead.

The Audacity of Greed: How Private Health Insurers Just Blew Their Cover

Health Care System Lock Out

So, insurance companies, we’ve got news for you. We’re going to make sure Americans have the freedom to choose a public insurance option that’s cheaper and better, and you’re going to have to work hard to keep them your customers.

So Much Happening in Washington and So Little to Show for It, So Far

Politics Elephant cartoon

The public doesn’t know what’s going on because the national media would rather report on the sexual escapades of famous people or social trends or high finance (a recent Pew study of economic reporting shows the vast majority of stories about the Great Recession have focused on Wall Street rather than Main Street).

The Public Option Lives On

First-day

Big Pharma and Big Insurance hate the public insurance option even more than they hate big Medicare discounts. And although the President has sounded as if he would welcome it, political operatives in the White House have quietly reassured the industries that it won’t be included in the final bill.

The Final Sprint for Health Care Has Now Begun, and Where the White House Is Placing Its Bets

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Obama’s Wednesday night speech reassured the Democratic base that the President is deeply committed to getting universal coverage. But the speech also made clear that the White House has decided to side with the Senate Finance Committee and against the Democratic base on the details.

The Snowe Job, and Why a “Trigger” for a Public Option is Nonsense

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The best way to give Blue Dogs cover is for the President to explain clearly and boldly why the public option is essential to health care reform, and why he’s ready to veto any bill that doesn’t include it.

The Lessons from History on Health Care Reform

free-market

The ideal of universal care has revolved around two poles. In the 1930s, liberals imagined a universal right to health care tied to compulsory insurance, like Social Security. Johnson based Medicare on this idea, and it survives today as the “single-payer model” of universal health care, or “Medicare for all.” The alternative proposal, starting with Eisenhower, was to create a market for health care based on private insurers and employers.

How Tough Is Our President?

President Barack Obama jogs in to speak at a town hall meeting on health care in Belgrade, Mont. Friday, Aug. 14, 2009.(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

The President’s centeredness, calm, and dignity inspire trust but also suggest a certain lack of combativeness, a reluctance to express indignation, and an unwillingness to identify enemies — resulting in a tendency toward compromise even at the early stages of controversy.

The Public Option’s Last Stand, and the Public’s

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Without a public, Medicare-like option, health care reform is a bandaid for a system in critical condition. There’s no way to push private insurers to become more efficient and provide better value to Americans without being forced to compete with a public option.

Spinning Health Care: A Bad Case of Vertigo

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Today, the kind of arguments heard during the early ’60s against guaranteed health care for the elderly can now be heard against establishing a comprehensive single-payer system

Obamacare Warring with Itself Over Future Costs

Douglas Elmendorf, head of the Congressional Budget Office

Now is the time for the President to begin twisting arms and knocking heads. To control long-term costs, he’ll also have to take away some of the goodies that have been promised to the health-industrial complex, and maybe even cross Big Labor.

The Health Care Clock, and Why Obama Has to Act Quickly

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If bills aren’t passed in the House and Senate before August 7th, the fights in both chambers over the public option and money will carry over into the Fall, where they’ll become more intense and more prolonged.

The Black-White Fallacy of Public Option

health-care-biz

Call me a cynic, but I am deeply skeptical of the rhetoric I hear coming out of the Obama administration regarding healthcare reform. I am concerned at the pace with which a plan was adopted, the apparent lack of curiosity when it came to evaluating and embedding best practices of other countries, and the use [...]

Why the Critics of a Public Option for Health Care Are Wrong

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Without a public option, the other parties that comprise America’s non-system of health care — private insurers, doctors, hospitals, drug companies, and medical suppliers — have little or no incentive to supply high-quality care at a lower cost than they do now. Which is precisely why the public option has become such a lightening rod. [...]

Memo to the President: What You Must Do To Save Universal Health Care

lyndon johnson

Momentum for universal health care is slowing dramatically on Capitol Hill. Moderates are worried, Republicans are digging in, and the medical-industrial complex is firing up its lobbying and propaganda machine. But, as you know, the worst news came days ago when the Congressional Budget Office weighed in with awful projections about how much the leading [...]

The Healthcare War Is Now Official

The LBJ treatment

Last week, the American Medical Association came out against a public option for health care. And later in the week the President reaffirmed his support for it. The next weeks will show what Obama is made of — whether he’s willing and able to take on the most formidable lobbying coalition he has faced so [...]

Watching Out for the Details in Healthcare, and How Hard the White House Pushes for Them

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In an interesting piece in Sunday’s New York Times Magazine, Matt Bai suggests that the White House has learned the main lesson of Bill Clinton’s failed attempt at universal health care, which is not to deliver a finished product to Congress but instead give Congress a set of goals and let it decide how to [...]

How Pharma and Insurance Intend to Kill the Public Option, and What Obama and the Rest of Us Must Do

Olympia Snowe

I’ve poked around Washington today, talking with friends on the Hill who confirm the worst: Big Pharma and Big Insurance are gaining ground in their campaign to kill the public option in the emerging health care bill. You know why, of course. They don’t want a public option that would compete with private insurers and [...]

A Simple First Step Towards Universal Health Care

kennedy-baucus

The New York Times reported Saturday morning that a major split between Senator Ted Kennedy – back on the Hill as he fights brain cancer – and Senator Max Baucus over the shape and form of universal health care. Kennedy, long a proponent of a single-payer system, is teeing up against Baucus who is negotiating [...]

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