Without A Public Option, The "Reform" Part Of the Health Insurance Assistance Bill Is Worthless

Ezra Klein, Village Blogger Extraordinaire, continues his disingenuous assault on the public option:

Dylan Matthews beats me to the punch with some well-deserved shots at Howard Dean's contention that absent the public option, "this bill is worthless and should be defeated." No, it isn't, and it shouldn't.

Ezra's willful misreading of Howard Dean is simply another example of his utter dishonesty in this debate. He is not to believed on this issue. What Dean is saying is not that expansion of health assistance to the less well off to allow them to get health insurance coverage is worthless. What Dean is saying that the "reforms" in the bill are worthless and that the individual mandate is too high a price to pay for Ezra's precious (and worthless) Exchange. More . . .

Ezra describes the limitations on the public option AS IT EXISTS in the present bill. Obviously, the idea is to GROW the number of persons eligible for the public option.

To buttress his false attacks on Dean, Ezra hold the public option to a standard he refuses to apply to his precious Exchange. He states the the public option is "limited to 2million people." Of course that is not true. The CBO PROJECTS that only 2 million people will use the public option. But the public option will be available to everyone eligible for Ezra's precious exchange. And BECAUSE of that, the private insurance options on the exchange will be subject to competition from a public option.

But let's go further. Ezra misleadingly asserts that:

This is a bill that cuts premiums costs. That extends insurance coverage to more than 30 million Americans. That cuts the deficit. That establishes an expectation for near-universal health-care coverage. [. . .] That makes better insurance cheaper for the poorest Americans. If passed, it will be, without doubt or competition, the largest piece of progressive social policy since Lyndon Johnson established Medicare and Medicaid. If this isn't worthwhile, then progressives should pack up and go home, because nothing Congress passes in the foreseeable future will even come close.

Nothing in the "reform" portions of the bill cause any of this. This is all caused by the "assistance" part of the bill. The reason insurance would be cheaper for the poorest Americans is because the government will either pay for it (through Medicaid expansion) or will subsidize the purchase of insurance for the less well off. The "reform" in the bill has nothing to do with it.

Ezra makes outlandish claims that the "reforms" will "really dig[] into delivery-system reforms. That take[] the first, halting steps away from the fee-for-service system." Nonsense. This is all wishful nonsense from Ezra. And it all is based on the regressive and punishing excise tax.

We all know now the Exchange has little reach and no positive effect on the premium prices of participants. The Village Bloggers have flat out misled about the effect of the Exchange on insurance premiums. The CBO reported that premiums will increase by 10-12% in the Exchanges.

I do not begrudge the Village Bloggers their opposition to the public option and their support for the "reforms" in the health assistance bill.

I strongly resent their deep dishonesty in arguing against the public option and for their beloved reforms.

Speaking for me only

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  • Display: Sort:
    The Village bloggers are expert liars now (5.00 / 3) (#1)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Dec 01, 2009 at 06:43:54 PM EST
    And I will say so every day until this issue is resolved.

    It is sickening what they are doing.

    Unfortunately (none / 0) (#4)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Dec 01, 2009 at 06:55:20 PM EST
    it seems no one is telling the truth in this whole debate. The "socialized medicine" commercial is running in heavy debate in my area right now.

    Well (none / 0) (#5)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Dec 01, 2009 at 06:56:58 PM EST
    I think Howard Dean is telling the truth. you might not agree with him, but he is not lying like Ezra and Co. are.

    Well (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Dec 01, 2009 at 07:02:32 PM EST
    I wasn't talking about Dean. I was talking about all the bloggers like you are, some of the Dems and most of the GOP and their allies. Why can't people just tell the truth and we all have a discussion. I guess that's just naive and too much to ask on my part but I yearn to have that discussion.

    Anyway, this all boils down to what I've thought for quite a while: You have to defeat the opposition. You can't bargain with them or reason with them.


    Wow. (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by inclusiveheart on Tue Dec 01, 2009 at 06:48:36 PM EST
    The claims he makes are totally unsupported by the facts of the situation.

    I hope whomever is paying him to spin this is paying him well because if this bill passes, he will need the extra cash to cover his premiums.

    yes it is, and it should be (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by cpinva on Tue Dec 01, 2009 at 11:30:18 PM EST
    No, it isn't, and it shouldn't.

    without the public option, HCR has no reason to exist, aside that is, from pouring more millions into the health insurance company coffers.

    From what we know about how (none / 0) (#13)
    by Anne on Wed Dec 02, 2009 at 07:29:02 AM EST
    the public option is currently being configured, and the likelihood that it will get weaker, not stronger, as it moves through the Senate and into reconciliation, I would maintain that the bill is already essentially worthless.

    I'm still steaming after receiving a love note from CareFirst that my premiums, beginning in January, will be going up almost 20%.


    Hmm . . . Let's See (none / 0) (#7)
    by The Maven on Tue Dec 01, 2009 at 07:47:35 PM EST
    Ezra Klein has what, at most between 4-7 years worth of potentially relevant experience in dealing with these issues, versus 30+ years for Dr. Dean?  Sometimes experience in observing the implementation of complex legislation really does matter.  This is one of those times.

    No no (none / 0) (#10)
    by jbindc on Tue Dec 01, 2009 at 08:37:12 PM EST
    We were told ad nauseum that "Experience doesn't matter" - at least for the presidency.  Why should it matter for a blogger?  All that matters is that someone has access to be with the cool kids....

    From the comments section of the Post article: (none / 0) (#8)
    by DFLer on Tue Dec 01, 2009 at 07:48:01 PM EST
    Ezra article

    Ezra is a member of the "village", bought and
    paid for by his corporate bosses at the Washington Post, a newspaper way past its prime and getting smaller. He is also a liar when writing about this issue. Go to talkleft.com and see the comments by Big Tent Democrat if you really want to understand this issue. Dean is telling the truth. Ezra and his fellow liar bloggers are propagandists. You are dishonest Ezra...and I hope everyone stops reading this crap...because we are all getting hurt. Keep remembering that these smart bloggers brought us Obama, by lying to us in the primaries and discrediting Hillary. Hillary would have fought for real reform. Obama and Ezra not only could care less...but they are dishonest about it. Punish them.

    Posted by: klassic34 | December 1, 2009 8:39 PM | Report abuse

    Oh yeah!

    Oy (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by andgarden on Tue Dec 01, 2009 at 07:49:25 PM EST
    I wonder when Ezra will wake up and (none / 0) (#11)
    by Anne on Tue Dec 01, 2009 at 10:18:27 PM EST
    realize that his man-crush on Obama rendered him stupid, and he wasted his platform being a shill, when he could have been using it to make a real difference educating the public.

    Then again, he would only have had that WaPo platform for about eight minutes if he had.

    The lot of them could collaborate and each contribute a chapter to a book entitled, "How I Found Obama and Lost My Mind."

    Totally, utterly, USELESS.

    Yep (none / 0) (#14)
    by lilburro on Wed Dec 02, 2009 at 09:23:54 AM EST
    they are hypocrites:  the exchange has little reach now, the public option has little reach now.  But the PO must be killed.  I don't think you can get much more ideological than that.

    Three thoughts (none / 0) (#15)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Wed Dec 02, 2009 at 09:36:59 AM EST

    1. Dump the mandate.  Replace it with a refundable tax credit of $2,500 per person for up to 110% of the cost of health care insurance.  This means there is a penalty for turning down health insurance, and catastrophic coverage in reach for most all.  It will get the young and healthy in the habit of buying health insurance.

    2. Expand qualified plans described in the bill to include any plan OKed by any state insurance commission and any ERISA plan.  This is necessary so that a bare bones option is available at low cost.

    3. Create a national market by allowing any state approved plan to be purchased in any other state as well.  National scale will reduce insurance cost and national competition will ensure those reduced costs are reflected in reduced premium prices.