Custom Search

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Obamacare Updates And Reactions

Reports are flying our at a mile a minute about the Senate negotiations on Obamacare and last night I posted one late breaking piece via the AP, saying the government run option aka public option, had been dropped.

Democratic senators say they have a tentative deal to drop a government-run insurance option from health care legislation. No further details were immediately available.

Well certain details have started to float around the mainstream media, so we will start with those and work our way to how this new "deal" is being reacted to by both sides of the aisle.

The Politico reports that the government run option will be replaced by a national plan offered by private insurers and that Americans starting at age 55 (instead of 65) can buy-in to Medicare.

The “buy-in” period could kick in as early as 2011 – three years ahead of when the larger set of reforms would begin – although the coverage for the interim period would not be subsidized.

It also appears that Olympia Snowe has gotten her way and there will be a "trigger" to allow a public option if private insurers do not offer policies for the new national plan.

Democratic Senator Ben Nelson's proposal to strengthen restrictions on federal funding for abortion coverage was rejected earlier, so no one is sure if Reid can count on his vote for the broader agreement.

The New Republic reports that another item dropped was the proposed expansion of Medicaid.

This afternoon, Jay Rockefeller said that the new proposal to expand Medicaid coverage for those who are 133% to 150% above the federal poverty line was dropped during a meeting of key legislators this morning. “I was sad this morning,” Rockefeller told me and a few other reporters. “We walked in, and it was 133[%] to 140[%], then it’s staying at 133... So we didn’t get anything.”

Also, their is a proposal in this new broad agreement to enable the importation of cheaper prescription drugs, which the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)says would endanger the U.S. medicine supply.

These criticisms from Margaret Hamburg, President Barack Obama’s FDA commissioner, could prove damaging to an effort by a broad coalition to enact the longstanding goal of easing consumers’ access to prescription drugs from countries such as Canada, where the prices are generally lower than in the United States.

Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) introduced his amendment to the healthcare bill on Tuesday with the support of 19 other senators, including four Republicans, setting up a vote Wednesday.

“U.S. consumers are charged the highest prices in the world for FDA-approved prescription drugs, and that’s just not fair,” Dorgan said in a statement.

But the Obama administration’s declaration on the eve of the vote could derail the amendment despite the fact that Obama co-sponsored Dorgan’s drug imports bill while a member of the Senate and that White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel was a vocal proponent of the House version of the bill when he served as a member of the lower chamber.

This new proposal has been sent to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) for cost analysis.


The White House seems to approve of the grand deal.

Democratic Senator Feingold is none too happy.

“While I appreciate the willingness of all parties to engage in good-faith discussions, I do not support proposals that would replace the public option in the bill with a purely private approach,” Mr. Feingold said. “We need to have some competition for the insurance industry to keep rates down and save taxpayer dollars. I will base my vote on the bill on the entirety of what is in the bill, and whether I think the bill is good for Wisconsin.”

Progressive, far far left liberals.... not so much.

Well, that did not take long. Earlier today, I wrote how closely the new “grand compromise” on the public option at least seemed to closely resemble the theoretical alternative I wrote about several months ago based on several smart ideas. At the time, I predicted that these ideas would be no more tolerable to the conservative Democrats and Olympia Snowe than the public option. The reason is that these senators do not oppose the public option for ideological reasons. They oppose it because they will oppose anything that hurts the health insurance corporations’ profits. It appears I was 100% correct.

Down With Tyranny is a little more blunt (language alert):

What I've been able to piece together is that there's a trade off-- what was left of the worthless, tattered joke of a "robust" public option for an unsubsidized, expensive expansion of Medicare (the new age, starting in 2011 will be 55 instead of 65) and some kind of bogus faux-public option that will someday be triggered by Joe Lieberman and Ben Nelson buttfucking each other on Glenn Beck's show....

Appears to be some anger issues over there.

Other liberals seem cautious, waiting for the final word on exactly what is and isn't in the bill because reports are conflicting, which I believe is the intent. Reid doesn't want to have to deal with liberal outrage and jeopardize the fragile consensus he thinks he may have.

Hot Air explains what the buy-in for the Medicare option means for the economy and remember, experts have already said Medicare is unsustainable and bleeding money as it is.

Instead, Harry Reid and the Senate plan a hair-of-the-dog approach to the entitlement hangover. Instead of finding a way to control enrollments, the Senate will propose a massive expansion of enrollment instead. That will mean more Americans will be in the Medicare system for even longer than previously considered. What does that do to the demographic bomb? It will accelerate its arrival and deepen its impact, leaving us with far greater liabilities in the future than anyone predicted.

Call it the Supernova Option. At the end, it will leave a black hole, sucking cash out of the nation with no way to stop it.

The blogosphere is all atwitter over this latest Obamacare news, so make sure to to go see the blog buzz from both sides of the aisle.