Thursday, December 10, 2009

Dean Supports Compromise

Howard Dean has thrown his support behind the deal worked out on health care legislation.  At this point, I no longer feel confident enough to call it reform.

howard-dean-dnc Count Howard Dean in among those who support the idea of replacing the public option with Medicare buy-in for Americans between the ages of 55 and 64 along with a set of other measures. His support, however, is contingent on whether the buy-in will be available to people who receive subsidies for health care coverage.

Speaking with Keith Olbermann on Countdown, Dean called the Medicare buy-in "a very good idea," noting that he had proposed the same thing in his 2004 presidential campaign. Dean said the proposal would add more health care insurance choices, albeit only for those between 55 and 64. He also said that one of its advantages relative to the public option was that it wouldn't require the creation of a new bureaucracy,  because it would be built on top of an existing program.

Dean also noted that because Medicare currently exists, people could start getting enrolled in 2010, years ahead of when the public option would have kicked in.

In a separate interview with Greg Sargent, Dean raised a warning flag, however. Dean said that if those opting for Medicare buy-in were not eligible for subsidies, it would render the option unavailable to most people creating a potential "deal-breaker." According to TPM, people choosing Medicare would be eligible for subsidies, but not until 2014 when subsidies for everybody else participating in the exchange becomes available…

Inserted from <Daily Kos>

It may well be that this so-called compromise is an improvement on a public option that was so gutted that it was not public and not an option for more than about three million people.  I understand that Representatives Anthony Weiner and Alan Grayson, both staunch public option advocates, also support it.  Still, the devil is in the details, which Harry Reid refuses to release until it is scored by the CBO.  Therefore, I am still withholding my judgment on the matter until I know much more.


Sue said...

I listened to Weiner last night too. I'm witholding comment til we get the full truth. I'm really growing weary of the constant disappointments. Infidel said it right, it's not that we're unhappy with what Obama hasn't done, we're unhappy with what he HAS DONE.

Pauline said...

real health care reform would require throwing the current baby out with the bath water and getting a new baby

One Fly said...

Did Dean get bought or threatened too??

Lisa G. said...

This is NOT reform in any sense of the matter. This is just an extension of Medicare to include more people. What about the rest of us? We get jack shit like always. Honestly, I sometimes wonder why I bother voting - they're all the same assholes anyway. And what's up with Dean? He should be denouncing this from the highest roof top? I'll wait to see what's in the rest of the bill, but I think this blows.

(Yeah, I'm still in a foul mood!)

Infidel753 said...

Honestly, I sometimes wonder why I bother voting - they're all the same assholes anyway.

With all due respect -- and counting myself as one of those who is disappointed in Obama (while recoginzing the positive things he's done as well as the negative), do you think we'd be getting even this much from a Republican-dominated Congress? Would 2000-2008 have been just as bad if Gore had been President?

We must vigorously criticize and push our leaders when they fall short, but it does matter who is in charge.

What about the rest of us? We get jack shit like always.

What about all the people who wouldn't have been eligible for the public option? The Medicare expansion would cover more people and would come four years earlier. How many people would die due to lack of insurance in four years?

Either way, they're getting what they can get now so as to create a (hopefully) successful program that more people will want to join, so that the political environment will be more receptive to further reform in a few years.

Like TomCat, I'm in a wait-and-see mode. But I'm not ready to declare failure yet.

Tao Dao Man said...

Part of these [compromises] is to keep the Dem Party intact. They are caving in on this, so they can further other agendas. Problem---cave in, after cave in,--- and sooner or later there is nothing left.

Mauigirl said...

I agree with Infidel. While not a radical reform, any incremental reform is an improvement, and vastly better than what we would have had with the GOP in charge (which would be nothing different from what we've had all along).

I like the Medicare buy-in option for those over 55. (Being 56 and about to retire, naturally I would like this). Yes, it may not be subsidized until 2014, but at least in 2014 it would be.

As for the rest of it, we wait and see. Even this Senate bill is not the final bill. But it must pass for them to come up with a compromise bill between House and Senate versions and actually get to President Obama's desk.

Cirze said...

Thanks, TC. Nice summary.

I agree with RZ as well.

But it's beginning to feel like that we "wait and see" as they run off with the loot.


They are caving in on this, so they can further other agendas. Problem---cave in, after cave in,--- and sooner or later there is nothing left.

Joe "Truth 101" Kelly said...

It's goinf to take time. The good news for many people I know who would love to retire and open their jobs up to someone else is that now they may not have to wait until they qualify for Medicare at 65.

The republicans are like dogs. It takes a while to potty train them. But keep rewarding them with what they think are little victories and eventually we'll get where we need to be. And like Medicare and Social Security, once we are on the road to real health insurance reform, it will become so sacred and important to Americans there is no way the republicans can come along and dismantle it.

Patience my friends. We're on the path to victory.

jmsjoin said...

Right now it is being billed as a win for Republicans and insurance companies as we expected it would be all along!

Cellophane Queen said...

Just what does this "buy in" cost somebody who might be qualified?

Qualification is also unclear. I'm 55+ and have insurance through my retirement plan that I pay a cool $500/month for (starting in January). Since I have insurance (ha!) does that mean I couldn't get the medicare option?

Yesterday, I fell down and possibly broke a rib. Everybody said, "go get an x-ray." My answer, despite the $430/month (this year) I pay for insurance, is that I can't afford it. This is sick.

I'm insured, but I can't afford to go to the doctor? I just have to hope that my potentially fractured rib is just a separation and it'll heal on its own.


Tao Dao Man said...

Marva; The last thing i saw yesterday was 600$per month until the subsidies kick in which would be 2014. So if this is true, people will keep their own insurance, and the people that do not have any, as myself. will not be able to afford 500, or 600$ per month. If person is 65 they pay 95$ and change. why the 600 for 55-65. Because the ins corps have to much influence and the dems cave in again.

TomCat said...

Well said, Sue.

Pauline, I agree. Real reform is a single-payer system, but the Dems gave up that before the negotiation started.

Fly, he knows more about what's in the bill than we do.

Lisa, there is one thing more that impresses me, if I understand correctly: a requirement that Big Insurance pay out 90% of their income on benefits. I think the current figure is 78%.

Infidel, you summarized where I am as well.

RZ and Suzan, while I don't see it that way quite yet, I see definite movement in that direction and I feel quite concerned. I'm still in wait and see mode.

Truth, that's a good point, but only if we end up with authentic reform. See today's second article.

Of course it is Jim, but that's a media thing. Keeping the tension high sells soap.

Marva, I don't have those answers for you yet, but am very sorry to learn that you hurt yourself and hope you feel better soon. Your insurance situation is foul. Yesterday I told my doctor to take me off one of my meds. At $578 per month it will push me into the donut hole in no time flat.