Senate to Begin Health Care Debate Monday

The Senate will begin debating the health care bill Monday.

The New York Times today has a long editorial on why it should pass, and opines the limited public option should not be an impediment:

Even a weak public plan would be better than no public plan. It would expand the choices available to millions of Americans and could help slow the relentless increases in the cost of health insurance.

It also lays out what the public option would and would not do in both the House and Senate versions.

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    I think that NYT editorial is (5.00 / 3) (#1)
    by Anne on Sun Nov 29, 2009 at 06:33:44 PM EST
    filled with half-truths and even as it makes a tepid case for passing a bill with a public option, it also says:

    If the public plan gets into financial trouble, it should simply raise its premiums or close.

    When it says this:

    Both bills would create new insurance exchanges, with an array of plans to choose from, for a limited number of Americans -- those who lack group coverage and must buy policies directly from insurers and those who work for small employers, about 30 million people within a few years. With millions of potential new clients, all major insurers are expected to participate. And Congress willing, a new public plan would also be available.

    it makes no mention of when the public plan would be available, or how many years it will be before these "30 million people" would be able to participate.

    But, wait: there is a little nugget of info almost at the end:

    As a result, the current weaker versions could find it difficult to compete with well-entrenched private insurers. The Congressional Budget Office believes public plan premiums would actually end up higher than the average private plan premium. This is partly because the public plan would probably attract the sickest patients, whose bills are highest, and who might fear that private plans would find some way to jettison them.

    All told, the C.B.O. estimates that the House bill's public plan would attract only six million enrollees. The Senate version, which would allow states to opt out, might attract only three million to four million.

    Would I want to help even three to four million people who need help?  Of course, I would.  But where in the glib assessment of the NYT that if the public plan gets into trouble it can just raise its premiums or fold, is the concern for the millions of people who needed it in the first place?  Then what do those people do?  The Times is remarkably and willfully silent on that one.

    I'm sorry, but the NYT is adding nothing to the debate; for all the light it sheds on the pros and cons of the legislation, the board might just as well have said the Congress should pass a bill with a public option "because" the NYT says so.

    But the Times also runs an Op-Ed... (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by lambert on Sun Nov 29, 2009 at 08:25:30 PM EST
    ... that argues that Democrats and liberals should be willing to trade [a|the] [[strong|robust] triggered?] public [health insurance]? [option|plan] away for more important stuff.

    Tepid, and then cooling.


    It is an unfixable disaster (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by azhealer on Sun Nov 29, 2009 at 06:44:07 PM EST
    The bill is nothing more than the Health Insurance Industry Endless Welfare Act.

    Democrats would be wise to stand with the people they represent, vote no... and get to what matters most to Americans now:

    It's the economy, stupid.

    Yes, dump this bill and fix the economy! (none / 0) (#5)
    by BrassTacks on Mon Nov 30, 2009 at 02:23:15 AM EST
    Voters are worried about JOBS and the increasing deficit.  It's appears that Congress is wasting time, many months, over this useless HCR bill that won't help a single person until 2013!  And even then it won't help many, while it will send others to jail.  Now they are going to spend at least another month dicking around with this weak, nearly useless bill.   I can guarantee you this is NOT what people want them to do.  

    Why can't our leaders get it?  Why can't they get that it's the economy?  Are they just that out of touch?  Or do they just not care about the millions who are hurting while they dither around on this silly bill that won't do anything?  

    People are getting more angry by the month.  Congressional approval is in the toilet, with good reason!  


    Then there's "pay now, benefit later" (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by lambert on Sun Nov 29, 2009 at 08:31:39 PM EST
    AP doesn't mention single payer, of course, but there's this:
    If Congress makes history and puts a bill on President Barack Obama's desk by Christmas, how long before the uninsured get medical coverage?

    If you said three years or more, you'd be right. Yet many people don't realize that to keep costs down, lawmakers made compromises that might not appeal to consumers.

    "There's going to be a long period of great expectations and very modest deliveries," said economist Robert Reischauer, president of the Urban Institute public policy center. That's assuming Democrats prevail.

    If only I were a bankster! Then I'd get totally immodest deliveries NOW NOW NOW! But I'm only a citizen...

    From the Times' editorial (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by lentinel on Mon Nov 30, 2009 at 06:19:50 AM EST
    "If the public plan gets into financial trouble, it should simply raise its premiums or close."

    And then what?

    France has a simple system.
    Everyone is covered with a basic policy by the government.
    It's cost is minimal and is based on the individual or family income.

    An insured person is able to purchase additional insurance from private insurers - often offered by banks - if they so desire. This cost is also relatively minimal.

    But absolutely everyone has basic protection and access to services.

    So why do we have to settle for this uncertain mess?
    If there is an explanation other than the grip that Big Pharma and the for-profit Insurance companies have on all of our pols - including Mr. Obama - I should like to hear it.