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A Bipartisan Healthcare Bill in Both Chambers?

August 28, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

It’s sounding likely. The Democrats think they have a Republican in the Senate they can work with to vote “yes” on healthcare reform. No surprises here – it’s Sen. Olympia Snowe [R, ME]. The New York Times reports:

Ms. Snowe says she wants the public to understand that there is a serious problem, that the health care system is in crisis and that even people who are happy with their current coverage will not stay content for long, given rapidly rising costs and steadily shrinking benefits.

“They may say they are satisfied now,” the senator said in an interview, “but it is going to get worse, given the skyrocketing increases that are only going to persist. Something needs to be done to remove the deep anxiety that people find themselves in because of the lack of health insurance.”

As for the details, Ms. Snowe has been the rare Republican willing to show any interest in a public health insurance plan as an option, though she favors a trigger to institute such a government-operated program only if private health insurers do not make coverage more affordable.

She said Maine’s experience with insurance exchanges to create more flexibility for consumers had persuaded her that for less-populated states, the exchanges had to extend beyond state borders. She also thinks the idea of a reinsurance program to have the federal government absorb the risks of some catastrophic health care costs in an effort to lower private premiums is worth exploring.

Senator Snowe votes with her party only 58 percent of the time. In the past couple years she’s crossed the aisle to vote with the Democrats on stem cells, children’s health insurance, cap-and-trade, the stimulus, tobacco regulation, The Edward Kennedy Serve America Act, and much more. You can view her complete voting history here.

There is also at least one Republican in the House that is looking like a likely “yes” vote on health care. Freshman Rep. Anh Cao [R, LA-2] said on August 15th that he is “leaning” towards voting for the bill as long as it is explicit that no federal money originating in it could be used to fund abortions.

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Comments

  • Boodix 08/29/2009 3:55am

    If the health care bill included new rules for litigation ( reducing mal practice insurance rates), and another curtailing the drug comp[anies from over charging for drugs, and had a public option, It would be monumental! We need a Health Care Bill, NOW!

  • oderintdummetuant 08/29/2009 8:48am

    Health care is a privilege not a RIGHT. What is a RIGHT is the opportunity to provide health care for yourself. America is the land of opportunity not the land of the hand out. You can’t afford insurance? Work harder, improve your own life. You can’t because you made choices that put you in the position you find yourself in? Your fault not mine. Improve your life and your circumstances, maintain responsibility for your own life and condition. I’m cold and calloused? Why is it my individual liberty is expendable because you have a right to have me provide for you?

  • Comm_reply
    pandawa 08/30/2009 8:11am
    Link Reply
    + -2

    You are cold and callused. I’m going out on a limb and make a judgement about you. You are older than 30, a male, and vote conservatively.
    Well lemme tell you something. There is a right to healthcare that all humans have, and for you to say to poor people “screw you, you get to die” (which alot of people are doing now)or “you get to lose your house so i can continue to pay my increasing premiums to get un-needed cosmetic surgery” is what I call “tonterías”. Compassionate conservatives who respect life, where is that respect now!

  • Comm_reply
    sea_shell 08/30/2009 9:45am

    Foreigners are becoming less enthusiastic about buying our debt, and creating another open-ended welfare program when we cannot pay for what is already in place, will not help.

    There are limits to how much government can tax before it kills the host. When govt attempts to subsidize prices, it has the net effect of inflating them instead. The economic reality is that you cannot distort natural market pressures without unintended consequences. Market forces would drive prices down. Government meddling negates these pressures, adds regulatory compliance costs and layers of bureaucracy, and in the end, drives prices up.

  • Comm_reply
    sea_shell 08/30/2009 9:50am

    2
    The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates the health-care plan will cost almost a trillion dollars over the next 10 years. But government crystal balls always massively underestimate costs. It is not hard to imagine the final cost being two or three times the estimates, even though the estimates are bad enough.

    The result of Medicaid and Medicare price controls and regulatory burden has been to drive more doctors out of the system – making it more difficult for the poor and the elderly to receive quality care.

    Make no mistake, government control and micromanagement of health care will hurt, not help health care in this country.

    If it really would accomplish all they claim, paying for it would still plunge the country into poverty. This solves nothing. The government, like any household struggling with bills to pay, should prioritize its budget.

  • Comm_reply
    sea_shell 08/30/2009 9:51am

    3
    If the administration is serious about supporting healthcare without contributing to our skyrocketing deficits, it should fulfill promises to reduce our overseas commitments and use some of those savings to take care of Americans at home instead of killing foreigners abroad.

    The leadership in Washington persists in a fantasy world of unlimited money to spend on unlimited programs and wars to garner unlimited control. But there is a fast-approaching limit to our ability to borrow, steal, and print. Acknowledging this reality is not mean-spirited or cruel. On the contrary, it could be the only thing that saves us from complete and total economic meltdown.

  • Comm_reply
    Anonymous 08/30/2009 11:26pm
    Link Reply
    + -1

    Sea Shell you rattle off the usual counters to health care reform like a pro. First, the trillion dollar debt incurred in health care reform. The AMA has stated in its 2009 Health Insurers Report Card, that the multi-payer,for profit, health insurers added an extra $200 billion in cost to medical care. The reason listed was inefficient administrative procedures.

    http://www.ama-assn.org/ama/pub/physician-resources/solutions-managing-your-practice/coding-billing-insurance/heal-claims-process/national-health-insurer-report-card.shtml

  • Comm_reply
    Anonymous 08/30/2009 11:35pm

    Sea Shell you say, “The result of Medicaid and Medicare price controls and regulatory burden has been to drive more doctors out of the system – making it more difficult for the poor and the elderly to receive quality care.” On February 28,2008, then chairman of the committee on Energy and Commerce wrote the following letter in which he points out the $576 billion cuts to Medicare over a ten year period. The cuts were made by the Bush administration. The unnecessary regulatory burdens were put in place by the Bush administration. The regulations were so prohibitive that Ted Kennedy introduced a senate resolution to protest them. What damage has been foisted upon Medicare and Medicaid was done by the right wing, conservatives who seek to fulfill their self proclaimed directive against government to starve it until it can no longer function, also known as “starve the beast.” http://energycommerce.house.gov/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=63&catid=18:platforms&Itemid=58

  • Comm_reply
    Anonymous 08/30/2009 11:36pm

    In response to this statement by Sea Shell: “The economic reality is that you cannot distort natural market pressures without unintended consequences. Market forces would drive prices down. Government meddling negates these pressures, adds regulatory compliance costs and layers of bureaucracy, and in the end, drives prices up.” The market forces you allude to are those that have managed to incorporate the profits generated by health insurance premiums into the larger umbrella organizations. If market forces dictate that my premiums are to be divided up at the end of the year and paid out in dividends to shareholders without regard for my right as a policy holder to expect that a certain amount be set aside in the form of “pools”, “reserves” and the “precious safety net” we, the consumer, were led to believe existed, then I say the forces have turned to the dark side.

  • Spam Comment

  • Comm_reply
    oderintdummetuant 08/31/2009 3:23am

    Really? Am I asking too much to require others to be responsible for themselves? And in whatever language you like, requiring others to be responsible for themselves is not foolishness, its called accountability, but I’m sure you don’t think thats fair. As for you assessment of me, you are wrong about the age and the voting. I always to further the cause of liberty. Gays should be allowed to marry, abortion should be a matter of choice and drugs should be legal for adults as a matter of freedom. Morally I don’t support those things but as a matter of liberty…, with regard to what this nation began as, well its a matter of choice. Compassion? I love that you consider this a matter of compassion or social responsibility rather than individual responsibility and individual liberty, clearly you understand neither.

  • Comm_reply
    oderintdummetuant 08/31/2009 3:29am

    Again, for the sake of those have never read this.
    http://www.nationalcenter.org/1775DeclarationofArms.html
    This along with our Declaration of Independence should give a clear picture of who we are and what this nation was founded for and on. Say what you will, this is no less an infringement on the freedoms of Americans than was the Patriot Act or countless other pieces of legislation. I fear of government that wants to do for me but doesn’t want me to see who, how or all the details of what’s being done.

  • Comm_reply
    oderintdummetuant 08/31/2009 4:57am

    Really? Am I asking too much to require others to be responsible for themselves? And in whatever language you like, requiring others to be responsible for themselves is not foolishness, its called accountability, but I’m sure you don’t think thats fair. As for you assessment of me, you are wrong about the age and the voting. I always to further the cause of liberty. Gays should be allowed to marry, abortion should be a matter of choice and drugs should be legal for adults as a matter of freedom. Morally I don’t support those things but as a matter of liberty…, with regard to what this nation began as, well its a matter of choice. Compassion? I love that you consider this a matter of compassion or social responsibility rather than individual responsibility and individual liberty, clearly you understand neither.

  • Comm_reply
    oderintdummetuant 08/31/2009 4:57am

    Again, for the sake of those have never read this.
    http://www.nationalcenter.org/1775DeclarationofArms.html
    This along with our Declaration of Independence should give a clear picture of who we are and what this nation was founded for and on. Say what you will, this is no less an infringement on the freedoms of Americans than was the Patriot Act or countless other pieces of legislation. I fear of government that wants to do for me but doesn’t want me to see who, how or all the details of what’s being done.

  • Comm_reply
    mkail666 08/31/2009 8:11am

    If health care (i.e. service of health care professionals) is a right then the health care providers are our slaves. If we can’t pay they have to treat us anyway. If we want a procedure they don’t approve of they have to perform it anyway. If they’re tired, overworked, underpaid, and there are still sick people to be treated they get no break.

    Sounds wonderful. Can’t wait to see the new numbers on medical student enrollment.

  • Comm_reply
    Euclid_543 08/31/2009 12:18pm

    We are already paying for the poor to receive health care, so THAT IS NOT WHAT THIS LEGISLATION IS ABOUT. It is about government control, ONLY.
    What is wrong with asking others to work hard to better their own lives? My grandfather was a coal miner with a third grade education, but my father worked his way through law school, giving me and my siblings a leg up. He then demanded we take our family “to the next level,” and not to rest on his accomplishments.
    Many of the “poor” you cite have iPhones and cable TV. Have you seen the welfare recipients wearing $300.00 sneakers? It is a matter of what a person feels is important enough to have. Health insurance is not a right, or Life Insurance would also be a right. What else is a right? Owning a newer car; Cash for Clunkers. Gaaahhhh!To find out how the story ends, read “The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire.” They were the first superpower to collapse under the weight of a welfare state.

  • JohnB 08/29/2009 4:07pm

    There is one important matter missing from this healthcare bill, there’s no tort reform. They need to put limits on lawyers and law suits.

  • sea_shell 08/30/2009 9:48am

    2
    The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates the health-care plan will cost almost a trillion dollars over the next 10 years. But government crystal balls always massively underestimate costs. It is not hard to imagine the final cost being two or three times the estimates, even though the estimates are bad enough.

    The result of Medicaid and Medicare price controls and regulatory burden has been to drive more doctors out of the system – making it more difficult for the poor and the elderly to receive quality care.

    Make no mistake, government control and micromanagement of health care will hurt, not help health care in this country.

    If it really would accomplish all they claim, paying for it would still plunge the country into poverty. This solves nothing. The government, like any household struggling with bills to pay, should prioritize its budget.

  • Anonymous 08/30/2009 10:47am

    This is a budget question that is emotionally charged. Can we try to take the emotion out of this question long enough to answer, how much this is going to cost each tax payer? “Nothing” is certainly not the answer. What is the payback projection, that each taxpayer will expect to pay over the course of his/her lifetime? And then how does that carry forward for our children and our grandchildren? Like a mortgage, a car loan, or any kind of loan, there is a payback plan. I would like to see it laid out so that I can decide if I want to agree to commit to this obligation.

    I’m concerned. Isn’t this kind of mindless agreement to “more than we can afford” the problem that blew up the real estate market? Are we not going to learn anything from this? Our government, that has criticized the problematic housing market, seems to me is pushing us into an “interest only” loan that can never be repaid.

    I’m all for health and care. But this solution seems irresposible.

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