The Health Care Summit: What did you think?

Especially if you actually watched it, as opposed to seeing soundbites on YouTube or reading about what other people thought of it on blogs.

Agonizing. Watched most of it, taking time off only to bang my head against the wall and rend my garments. Then change clothes. The part that irked me the most was Pubbie speakers repeatedly baldly stating that the American people don’t want HRC. The SDMB has changed me considerably, now I don’t throw things at the TV, now I scream “CITE?!”.

Perhaps it is but hopeful imagination, but it seems to me that Pubbie confidence has slipped somewhat, they seem a bit more anxious. Perhaps that is why they want to press on this “lets start all over with a blank paper” shit. Its the perfect way out, they don’t have to vote, their employers get what they want for at least another year. (Before correction is offered, let me advise that I am quite aware that some of the Dems are bought and paid for by the insurance companies as well. Fuck 'em with the same stick…)

Obama would make an excellent moderator. Which leads to my next point: just how difficult would it be to get a President for Life Amendment passed? Could it be done through reconciliation? If they end up ramming it down Boehners throat, will they have adequate audio tech available so that we can hear the gagging noises?

As usual Obama was the adult in the room. Boehner was running for office. It looks like he threw down the gauntlet for 2012. He was political and lied through his teeth and yellow skin. Unlike him, a couple repubs were pretty hip and came in prepared. But starting over is ridiculous. There has been a lot of time and effort put into this.

I watched about 3/4 of it. I am left of center, so obviously my biases will push me in the direction of favoring the majority. That being said, the Republicans came prepared, and they deserve credit for that. It was disappointing to see the amount of talking points from both sides. I groaned every time I heard “The American people want us to start over.” From that, I get a read that the Republicans want to draw this out as long as possible once again and use health reform failure in the elections.

The most reoccurring talking point was probably, “We have fundamental differences between our ideas regarding the role the government…” I thought Biden did pretty well to point out the Republicans favor regulation in some areas, but then take a regulation is per se abhorrent stance in other areas. It reminded me of the, “We’ve already established that you are a whore. Now we are negotiating the price” joke. I cannot tell if tort reform is government regulation. If so, why do Republicans favor it? And not just favor it, but make it, along with interstate competition, their main policy proposals.

I think the Republicans have painted themselves in a corner. They spent a year fomenting all kinds of crazy ideas to try to derail the bill, all the while Obama was taking the reasonable Republican proposals as his own. That’s why all they have left now is:

  1. Start over
  2. Incremental steps
  3. Insurance across state lines
  4. Tort reform
  5. ???
  6. Health care reform

The biggest thing I took away was the cosmologically large difference between the current and former president in terms of temperament, understanding, poise and intelligence. Cheap shot or no, it was impossible not to notice.

I’m for starting over. With a new Congress, no GOP allowed, & much further to the left.

What? That’s not what you meant?

Funny how the GOP Congressional caucus thinks compromise & bipartisanship mean Dems voting their way, never the other way around.

The parts I watched I thought the Pubs were on point and sharp. A few of them really dissected the bill and pointed out problems with the legislation. The Dems did their usual sob story routine of telling the sad tale of one of their constituents. I also thought the President came off as a bit snarky at times.

I think on the issues this was a win for the right. The Dems did not score any major points in the debate and I think they needed a “gotcha” moment.

I watched most of it, and listened to the rest. I don’t think it will have any effect on the public at large, but it was a lot of fun for us junkies. The GOP and the Dems are not actually that far apart on 70% of the bill. The bottom line is basically that the GOP, for either policy or political reasons, is opposed to three things: the federal government setting minimum standards for the insurance offered in insurance exchanges, the federal government mandating insurance coverage, and paying subsidies to insure those left out of the system now. I suspect the first and last are gaps that could be covered, but they’re never going to agree to mandates, which are required if we’re gonna ban dropping coverage based on pre-existing conditions. I’d give 3:2 odds that the House passes the Senate bill as-is.

As for individual performances, for the GOP, I thought Paul Ryan and Jon Kyl were both impressive, and Coburn was less partisan and more useful than usual. Boehner, McCain, and Cantor were worthless and I don’t have strong impressions of the rest of the bunch. For the Dems, I thought Harkin and Baucus both did nice jobs, and the rest were pretty meh. Dingel and Rangel were nigh unwatchable, and Pelosi and Reid were about as bad as Cantor and Boehner. If Congress consisted of more Paul Ryans and more Tom Harkins, the country would be in much better shape. Obama was fair, and he knew the issues as well as anyone in the room, and better than most of them. He schooled Lamar Alexander, and Alexander is no policy slouch.

I expect the media narrative to focus on Obama’s exchanges with McCain and Alexander, and for not much else to come of it except people will know of at least one CSPAN televised discussion of health care reform between the parties.

I hope the GOP gives more attention to Paul Ryan and less attention to Eric Cantor, but I doubt that’ll happen.

I didn’t hear then say that Americans don’t want HCR*. They said they didn’t want the current bill, which I think the polls do support. Here’s your cite. Here’s a sample:

“Suppose the two sides do not reach agreement on a bill. Would you strongly favor, favor, oppose or strongly oppose Congress passing a health care bill similar to the ones proposed by President Obama and the Democrats in the House and Senate?”

StronglyFavor 11%
Favor 32%
Oppose 26%
Strongly Oppose 23%
Unsure 9%

2/23/10
*It’s HCR, not HRC (Hillary). I make that mistake all the time.

Good summary. I pretty much agree. As for Dingel… did he recently have a stroke or something? He didn’t seem quite right.

Not sure, but I think he’s old enough to be McCain’s father.

Dingel has been like that for a long time. But he was very sharp for a guy who has been doing it for so long.

The problem with such stats, John, is that those of us who believe that the HCR bills as currently being considered are weak tea might well answer “opposed” because we dont believe that they go far enough. I, myself, waver on that point. I might favor fighting it out and risking a total loss, were it not for the millions of people who’s well being hangs in the balance. Hampered by conscience, I suppose. Perhaps the happiest day in Pinnochio’s life was the day he discovered that crickets make excellent bait.

Its somewhat like people who claim that the Dems are in big trouble for losing the independent voter, without mentioning that many of the newly independent voters haven’t changed their opinions, but just don’t want to call themselves Republicans. Not quite the same thing.

Possible, but not likely. Consider this one:

“Do you want Congress to pass major health care reform legislation this year or would you rather Congress do nothing on health care for now?”

Pass: 46%
Nothing: 50%

At any rate, the Republicans are saying that Americans don’t like the current bill (which is what the whole debate in Congress is about), and that’s true. I think many people saw the process that got us to the current Senate bill and got turned off.

I’m not getting your point here, John. I suggest that many of the people who would truthfully say they oppose the current bill because its a gecko when they wanted a Godzilla. I lean in their direction, as I noted, because this watered down crap bites it. You tell me that is implausible and show me another statistic much like the other, that people are opposed to passing the bill.

A bill is suggested to have a hunting season for IT professionals (they don’t breed much, so cullling the herd is seldom an issue, but hypothetical…). You oppose it on humanitarian grounds, I oppose it because it would waste perfectly good ammo. The pollster asks, we both truthfully respond that we oppose any such bill. By no stretch of the imagination is that an agreement about the nature of IT professionals.

Can someone please help to exlain this “pre-existing condition” issue to me?

But first background.

In New Zealand, we have UHC. But it is a little over-burdened and slow, especially for non life threatening conditions.

Many people will buy private insurance as it gives faster access to hospitals (and nicer rooms)

Naturally, before you take up the insurance you must pass health test, and certain “pre existing conditions” may be excluded, based on that health test or on known history. But that’s (sort of) ok as there is always the public option. And anyway, you wouldn’t want the case of someone finding out they have a tumour and then buying insurance so anyway…

For the US, I understand that insurance mostly follows the employer. So say I work for employer A. During my employment it turns out I develop Kidney problems - fully covered by insurance so no worries.
Now let’s say I want to change emloyers. The new employer has a different insurance company. They, quite rightly, exclude my kidney condition as a “pre existing condition”.

So how?

Golden Rule: they guy who’s got the gold, makes the rules. Pretty common, really, but we Americans have a special enthusiasm for it.

There are 2 sides of the pre-existing condition issue that are important in the US

  1. It is used to deny people health insurance
  2. It is used as an excuse to cut off people’s health care when they actually use the insurance

In the US we have employer insurance, public insurance (for the elderly, some poor people and some government employees) and we have private market insurance. Only private market insurance has pre-existing condition clauses. Employer insurance covers pre-existing conditions, and so do public programs like medicare, SCHIP and medicaid. So if you get a job with insurance I’m 99% sure they are required to take you. Public plans are too. But private market plans can deny you for pre-existing conditions.

Another issue is that if you get a heart attack (or cancer or any other expensive disease) insurance companies will go over your application with a fine tooth comb and look for any technicality they can to rescind your coverage. So if you got treated for acne 13 years ago and didn’t put that on the paperwork, they will say ‘you had acne as a pre-existing condition but didn’t mention it. We are cancelling your policy’.

So both of those aspects are important as far as pre-existing conditions go. People are denied insurance in the first place due to it, and when they use it it is used as a technicality to deny care.

If you have a job, and you switch jobs, I think as long as your insurance has been in effect for 12 or 18 months, your new job’s insurance covers your pre-existing conditions. Basically, as long as you’ve been insured for at least 12 months and get a different job that has health insurance, they cover your pre-existing conditions on day one (I think).

If you buy new insurance and they cover your pre-existing condition, there is usually a 12 month waiting list before you can get treatment. So if you have cancer and the insurance company agrees to cover you, you have to pay premiums for 12 months before you are able to get cancer treatments.

You left off the flip side of the coin - it is also the main line of defense the insurance providers have against the slugs that don’t bother with purchasing insurance until they have a health issue.

Ahh…clearer.

So my follow questions for understanding…

  1. Who covers any problems in the 12 - 18 months while I am waiting for the “new” insurance to kick in?
  2. How does price enter into this if it is mandatory? (or just common practise) that employer insurance covers pre-existing, how does that work?

My experience has been you are uncovered by benefits for 90 days. I have had other jobs that cover more quickly, but 90 was pretty common.