The Problem With The Public Option: Blue Dogs Object To Cost Savings

TPMDC reports:

According to Martin Paone, a legislative expert who's helping Democrats map out legislative strategy, a more robust public option--one that sets low prices, and provides cheap, subsidized insurance to low- and middle-class consumers--would have an easier time surviving the procedural demands of the so-called reconciliation process. However, he cautions that the cost of subsidies "will have to be offset and if [the health care plan] loses money beyond 2014...it will have to be sunsetted."

And there the irony continues: Some experts, including on Capitol Hill, believe that a more robust public option will generate crucial savings needed to keep health care reform in the black--and thus prevent it from expiring. But though that may solve the procedural problems, conservative Democrats have balked at the idea . . .

(Emphasis supplied.) That's not irony. That is a farce.

Speaking for me only

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    I read the whole thing (5.00 / 3) (#1)
    by The Last Whimzy on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 03:22:15 PM EST
    The public/victim should look at that and conclude that the process was purposefully made this opaque so that no one would have to be held accountable.  


    I think it's absolutely true (5.00 / 4) (#3)
    by andgarden on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 03:24:32 PM EST
    that the obstructionists have used process to their favor. And the reformers have apparently not even tried to fight back.

    Thanks (none / 0) (#11)
    by The Last Whimzy on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 04:00:13 PM EST
    You put it better than I did.

    Whatever cynicism there is in society about government comes precisely from crap like this and it's totally fair to point out that the conservative rally cry of "small government" effectively exploits that cynicism.

    We have to convince people government works.  They don't.


    Words (none / 0) (#15)
    by mmc9431 on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 04:11:17 PM EST
    I think even more damaging than the rights cry of small government was their use of the word socialism. Years of being conditioned that it's a dirty word still prevail. That's in spite of the fact that S.S. and Medicare are socialist programs. People don't think of them as "socialist". Even moderate Dem's that I know parrot that fear.

    I wrote something about that elsewhere (none / 0) (#16)
    by The Last Whimzy on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 04:20:41 PM EST
    And I've been struggling trying to figure out if it would be appropriate here.  Or how I could get my point across without crossing any lines.

    Maybe I should just blurt it out and if it's not ok then I would totally respect that.

    I came across this the other day:

    "I'll say nothing against him. At one time the whites in the United States called him a racialist, and extremist, and a Communist. Then the Black Muslims came along and the whites thanked the Lord for Martin Luther King."

    and my perspective on this debate changed radically.  Health care reform needs a Malcolm x to put Obama's (analogous to MLK above) advocacy in the right context.


    Whatever "ism" you use (none / 0) (#17)
    by Samuel on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 04:23:24 PM EST
    they're all just unfunded liabilities.

    I don't think it's Socialism or smaller government (none / 0) (#30)
    by cpa1 on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 06:59:51 AM EST
    I think the problems are centered in the middle and upper middle classes who have good medical insurance and do not want to lose access to their doctors and they don't want to pay for this entire program, without substantial tax increases to the wealthy.  The republicans have no intentions of raising taxes and that's why they are fighting this.

    Until Obama grows a set of balls and stops trying to be Ronald Reagan, there will be no growth in this country.  You can't run a country wirh the wealthy paying a 15% tax rate (not to mention writing off and deducting every pennny they spend.  This is one of the reasons why I didn't vote for Obama in the primaries.

    He needs to bring the realization to Americans that a major tax bracket restructure is needed starting at $300,000 of taxable income for singles and $400,000 for married filing jointly raising the rates as high as 60% in many steps.  It will not be making tax preparation too difficult because anyone who makes that much money has their taxes prepared by a computer and mostly through accountants.  He needs to get this on the table once and for all and make the misery, the tears and the threats of leaving the country from these wealthy jerks visible for everyone to see.  

    Waiting for the Bush tax cuts to expire, as he  said he'd do during the election, is a stupid and cowardly thing to do.  Taxing the prima donna class and knocking them off their high horses will only make America stronger, not to mention making the perception of us being stronger to those outside America.

    I like Barack Obama but I don't respect him. I think he fooled the kids and that is how he got elected because the cowardice he showed in the Senate continues.  So far he is George W. Bush II.  Blue dogs schmoo dogs, he needs to tell America what it needs to do and he is smart enough to know what that is but he is afraid of the conservatives and the republicans.  People trust him....but he is losing that trust too damn fast because he's not fixing America and challenging Democrats to fight for the only way to fix this economy.  Health-care will not happen if the burden falls on the middle and upper classes who already have good insurance.  How much more can we take away from the middle class?

    If passed because of it's unsustainability financially without big tax increases to the wealthy it will mean that things like enod of life care will have to be stopped.  The wealthy will be laughing all the way to the bank getting all the special medical care they need and their lives will end a good deal later than those who are bound to this new system.

    I don't remember the numbers but we have much less doctors her per capita than most civilized countries.  Until we can add an additional 50% of qualified doctors and nurses, it will take a decade.  I believe all this must be done, without question, but where I differ is along with Health-care legislation I think we must once and for all repair the damage done to the Treasury that was so destroyed by Reagan and the Bushes.


    Good luck with that.. (none / 0) (#31)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 08:30:08 AM EST

    We have to convince people government works.  

    "Working" for Medicare seems to include cuts in service levels for baby boomers that have been paying in their entire adult working lives.  Are those boomers Selfish Socialist Seniors or marks that are just now figuring out who the suckers are?


    If in order to make "good" on the (none / 0) (#33)
    by The Last Whimzy on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 08:57:16 AM EST
    Boomers.  I don't know if I think the choice you outline is valid.  But if it is, then what we are talking about is a reduction in care because a great many people are getting no care at all.

    We always knew those hippies had an I me mine itching to get out.


    False choice (none / 0) (#41)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 11:01:14 AM EST

    But if it is, then what we are talking about is a reduction in care because a great many people are getting no care at all.

    It is just as accurate to say the reduction in care is so the feds can fund the UAW or build more bike paths.


    i agree then (none / 0) (#42)
    by The Last Whimzy on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 11:42:39 AM EST
    false choice.

    so why would any boomer be upset about getting health care to the people who don't have it, when it won't impact them at all?


    Because (none / 0) (#43)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 11:51:23 AM EST

    Because "savings" (cuts) in Medicare are proposed to fund Obamacare.  No one is proposing cuts to the UAW or bike path builders.  

    so not a false choice then (none / 0) (#44)
    by The Last Whimzy on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 12:14:47 PM EST
    so we're back to boomers being selfish.

    Fighting back (none / 0) (#25)
    by SGITR on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 06:54:52 PM EST
    is great, but how do you propose they fight back against the procedural hurdles, particularly the the "sidecar" bill which gives the Republicans a virtual veto? The 51 vote bill is the easy part, but it is the sidecar that is the killer.

    With my reading of the article and the linked to Gregg article it is not the conservative Democrats that pose the problem, it is the Republicans and the sidecar bill.


    Here's (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 03:24:18 PM EST
    the thing a lot of blue dogs object to: anything that might be called a "government program" so in many ways even though it might save money they are too stuck in that mindset to consider it.

    I have yet to see a single (5.00 / 5) (#4)
    by CST on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 03:24:57 PM EST
    substantive critique of the public option.  The only thing you hear are fears of "rationing" which is rediculous on it's face since the whole point of an "option" is that it is a choice.  One that no one can force you into.

    The other argument that it is too expensive is also rediculous since it is the only way to truly keep costs down.

    There is no logical reason to oppose this unless you are a member of the health insurance industry, since you will lose money.

    bingo (5.00 / 3) (#8)
    by lilburro on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 03:43:30 PM EST
    neither have I.  Which is why it's so confounding that Obama is apparently unable to make a coherent argument for the public option.

    dont expect any (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by Capt Howdy on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 03:49:22 PM EST
    remember this is basically the same people who sold the same people on the idea that invading and occupying Iraq was not only a good idea but absolutely necessary.

    Well, part of the problem (5.00 / 4) (#13)
    by dk on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 04:02:34 PM EST
    is that you could say the same thing about single payer with a robust private option, i.e. there is no substantive critique.

    Many of the Congressmen/women who seem to be for a public option know that single payer is a much more logical solution.  Heck, many of them admit as such.  Yet, for various reasons (they are being threatened by the Congressional leadership, they don't think big, they are cowards, they are beholden to insurance company money, etc.), they become proponents of the public options currently on the table in Congress instead.  

    The obvious substantive critique for the "public options" being floated in the bills currently in Congress is that most Americans are not given the option to choose the public option; hence, the pool of members of the public plan won't be large enough to have the desired effect of lowering overall costs.  It's true that this substantive critique is not coming from the right, but I would imagine that those who are advocating for the current public options on the table understand it, and it may be a reason why it is hard for them to defend their public option proposals.


    wow (5.00 / 4) (#5)
    by Capt Howdy on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 03:26:50 PM EST
    you would almost think someone is paying them to do that.

    Can't offer the American public (5.00 / 3) (#6)
    by MO Blue on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 03:36:37 PM EST
    anything too attraction. So says our esteemed Senator from NE, Ben Nelson.

    Nelson's problem, he told CQ, is that the public plan would be too attractive and would hurt the private insurance plans. "At the end of the day, the public plan wins the game," Nelson said. Including a public option in a health plan, he said, was a "deal breaker."

    Seems Senator Nelson has over 608,709+ reasons to want to protect the industry.

    The company Nelson finds himself in is laid out clearly: business, the insurance industry, and Republicans. Of course, this isn't surprising, considering his campaign donation history. Open Secrets says Nelson received $608,709 from the insurance industry in 2007-2008, making the insurance industry his biggest donor group, more than lawyers and even lobbyists. link

    at least he's honest (none / 0) (#7)
    by CST on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 03:39:09 PM EST
    sometimes, I really hate these people.

    It's not an unreasonable position though... (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by BigElephant on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 06:03:30 PM EST
    I think this is something that progressives sometmies miss.  There are many people who have health insurance, who don't want their insurers to be hurt by an option that enrolls additional people.

    Progressives seem to take solace in this messaging, but many hear "your insurance rates will go up and you will get squeezed".  And then they "you may not be eligible for the public option".  

    If our message is NOT that a public option is a plan that lifts all boats, then its a non-starter.  Too easy to shoot down.  Which is just one of the issues it faces today.


    From what I read (none / 0) (#26)
    by SGITR on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 07:17:07 PM EST
    initially for the first few years the public option would only be available to employers with 20 (10?) or less employees and individuals who qualify under the PO guidelines. So in truth those who could buy it are limited.

    Given the proposed limitations on enrollment and no regulation on what the insurance companies can charge for their regular policies the argument in your first paragraph is a valid one.


    Really? (none / 0) (#40)
    by sj on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 10:40:40 AM EST
    There are many people who have health insurance, who don't want their insurers to be hurt by an option that enrolls additional people.

    Do you know any?

    Because I don't.  I don't know one person who is concerned at all about the corporate well-being of their insurers.  

    Unless they're covered by Medicare.  Then they're concerned.


    Nelson has since changed his tune (none / 0) (#14)
    by phat on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 04:06:51 PM EST
    That was in May.

    Tune not so different in Aug. (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by MO Blue on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 04:26:23 PM EST
    Sen. Ben Nelson said Monday he's open to considering health care reform options that gain bipartisan support in the Senate Finance Committee.

    And that includes a member-owned health insurance cooperative that would serve as an alternative for private health insurance, he said.

    "A cooperative approach is better than having a public option," Nelson said during a telephone interview from Washington. link

    I get a little queasy reading (5.00 / 6) (#10)
    by Anne on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 03:55:04 PM EST
    "provides cheap, subsidized insurance to low- and middle-class consumers," because there is no explanation as to what entity is providing that insurance, and whether "cheap" refers to the cost, or to the quality of the coverage.  If the government is the insurer, a la Medicare, I would have more confidence in it actually being less expensive overall, and thus stand a better chance of actually lowering those overall costs.  However, if this is cheap as in bottom-of-the-barrel private insurance, I have little doubt that the insurance companies will be soaking the government in the form of huge subsidies, and the people who have these "cheap" policies will not be getting a whole lot for whatever premiums they end up having to pay.  Both the government and individuals will be hosed, and the insurance companies will be happily filling their coffers for as long as they can before it all falls apart.

    And considering that reform is not even set to start until 2013, and not be fully implemented until 2017, the scary talk about sunsetting it in 2014 is just beyond ridiculous.

    If there were such a thing as leadership, we might not be witnessing a combination of "Who's On First?" and "Through the Looking Glass," but we haven't had any of it from the White House since Day One.  If anyone had bothered to listen to people who aren't heads of major insurance and pharmaceutical companies, or to the lobbyists who represent them, if Obama had closed the door on lobbyists instead of people who actually advocate for CARE, we might have been able to focus on delivering CARE to individuals and not CASH to corporations.  If CARE had been the goal, we would still be talking about health CARE reform and not, as people have been for weeks, health INSURANCE reform.

    Obama and anyone else who has participated in this bamboozle ought to lose their jobs over this.

    Yep, I know the cheap options well (5.00 / 2) (#19)
    by Cream City on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 04:59:32 PM EST
    from having to find something, anything to cover my kids at a reasonable cost when they still were in college past age 25, when they were laid off and lost coverage, etc.  (At least one is on COBRA now, not that it's much better, but it's a bit better.)

    The cheap options are absolutely useless.  The coverage is nigh nonexistent, and the "service" -- the lack of callbacks, etc. -- is even worse.  They just added to health problems by stressing us out.

    Let's just call it "The Olde Okey Doke Option."


    If it weren't so serious... (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by magster on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 04:01:07 PM EST
    ... it would be funny.  Makes me think of this movie scene.

    Someone please explain the economics (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by Slado on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 05:02:04 PM EST
    of health care being cheaper when there are no extra doctors and 30 or so million extra patients.

    I'm not Paul Krugman but I do understand basic economics and when demand goes up and supply stays the same...well you know the rest.

    The idea that a huge government program funded with tax dollars is going to make healthcare cheaper defies logic and common sense.    Clunkers.

    It will be cheaper for the people getting the subsidy from their fellow tax payer but the overall system will see a great rise in healthcare spending.   No wonder the big insurers and durg companies are ready to cut a deal and sign on for the big pay day from the government.

    you are making the argument... (5.00 / 2) (#24)
    by Dadler on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 06:43:55 PM EST
    ...for precisely why health care CANNOT be allowed to remain comodified as widgets.  whether you realize this or not, i don't know.  the insurance companies MUST, essentially, disappear as bloodsucking middlemen, or NOTHING is going to happen that is positive.  the ONLY reason these companies exist is to stand between patients and doctors and reap profit through denying as much care as they can.

    but we are all so addicted to our corporate paradigms we just can't even imagine our lives without them.

    cover everyone in a genuinely fair and equitable manner, a manner that actually promotes health, and the value of money will change for the positive immediately.  after all, money is simply an illusion we all decide to participate in, nothing more nothing less. an illusion.  we control it entirely, but have come to allow ourselves to be controlled BY it.

    but what do i know?  i guess we really can't solve any problems because of paper with numbers printed on it, or blips on a computer screen.

    we're idiots.


    This implies the likely outcome: (none / 0) (#21)
    by Pacific John on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 05:12:11 PM EST
    Someone please explain the economics of health care being cheaper when there are no extra doctors and 30 or so million extra patients.

    ...unless we also change the basic rules of the market. If we could magically design an option open to all that would provide the same or better care at a 25% savings...  oh never mind.


    now now comrade (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by cawaltz on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 05:45:23 PM EST
    Don't you get all socialist and insist the government set ceilings and floors or consolidate some of the red tape that private insurance companies love to use to help control costs.

    Every argument I've heard the right make against the public option exists in some form in the private industry model we have from rationing to incompetence.


    What everyone misses in this debate (none / 0) (#32)
    by Slado on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 08:46:25 AM EST
    is we don't have a private system now.  We have both systems.  Public and private.

    Our government and the insurance industry are working together to create this mess.  G

    You have Medicaid and Medicare, Blue Cross and the public insurers along with the big insurance companies as well.   Then you have all these insane government regulations and requirements that squeeze out real competition.    Put simply it's a mess.

    Now where I agree with my comrades is lets pick a system.   If it's public then so be it.  If it's private then so be it but just muddling up the current system even more and calling it reform won't do anything.   Nothing tells you how unserious this debate is when dems won't even talk about tort reform.   Even mild reform would bring down costs due to defensive medicine but Howard Dean himself says it's not worth the political fight.

    The public option that so many are clamoring for is a joke.  All it is a tax payer funded expansion of Medicare.   We can't afford it, it won't make anything cheaper and the cost estimates about how much it will cost are more then likely about 30% of reality.   Medicare is already insolvent, we're 9trillion in debt and no end in sight when the awful reality of this economy sinks in over the next few years.

    Some would argue that at least it's something.   Pissing on my leg when I'm on fire is "something" but I'm still going to burn to death.  

    We need to start over and start making real fixes to individual problems.   Revamping the whole system that took 100 years to create in one legislative session will simply make things worse and piss off everyone.


    How does it work? (none / 0) (#27)
    by BrassTacks on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 10:32:22 PM EST
    I know that I am dense about this, but adding 40 million more people, how exactly will that save money?  How do we add all those people, and the health care that they need, without increasing the costs?   Where will the money come from, other than medicare savings?  What if they try to squeeze $500 billion out of medicare but the efficiencies just aren't there?  Then what?  

    Personally, I'd recommend getting out of Afghanistan, do NOT send more troops, and use that money for health care.  Get out of Iraq too.  I am sick to death of these expensive wars, both monetarily expensive and in cost of lives.  

    Alot of "health care" (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by cawaltz on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 11:03:48 PM EST
    is administrative costs. Basically, you are paying bean counters to decipher coding and to allot money or decide not to allot money. The algorhythems are switched pretty routinely too. It's pretty common knowledge that insurance companies routinely deny care in hopes that the individual will give up and pay out themselves rather than jump through the hoops. Those hoops cost money.

    "Where will the money come from?" (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by good grief on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 03:00:56 AM EST
    I know that I am dense about this, but adding 40 million more people, how exactly will that save money?  How do we add all those people, and the health care that they need, without increasing the costs? Where will the money come from, other than medicare savings?

    I'm no expert but two big pieces in answer to your question, it seems to me, are the mandate and the public option, assuming the latter survives. Adding 40 million people (maybe it's more than that?) means most of those people will be paying premiums of some amount or other at lower cost than now because of volume and scale, etc. There will no longer be discrimination in price for pre-existing conditions since there will be a mandate (everybody in) under penalty of fines. Many of these 40+ million are relatively young/well consumers whose healthcare needs will be minimal, leaving excess left over which insurers will view as virtually pure profit and we should view as part of what helps us pay for this system, kind of a tradeoff with insurers in return for giving them a captive market (We might even just turn insurers and the entire healthcare system into a highly regulated public utility as they do in Germany and other countries, but I won't go there now).

    Here's where my "wishes" enter the picture on the American scene (as opposed to the weasily way Dems are likely to solve the problem by giving away the store to insurers). Most of the huge "mandate windfall" (see recent LA Times) would be folded over to help cover the low-income margins and unemployed (no, only a minimal percentage of the mandate windfall would go into Wall Street stockholders' pockets if Congress has any brains or balls at all). A small percentage of the low-income margins would be subsidized partially (they will pay something) by taxation of the wealthy and of excess profits of insurance companies and other large corporations. OK that's my wet dream but push the envelope along those lines so the public Treasury is not sandbagged and we use efficiencies of scale and the economic forces of the mandate (setting up an insurance pool) to help the whole system virtually pay for itself -- or try as hard as we can in that direction. No cutting Medicaid or Medicare (except Medicare Advantage which helps insurers far more than elders but cut it gradually and give seniors plenty of time to change policies).

    Finally, a "robust" public option is set up not to fail, say, on a Medicare+5% reimbursement rate in first few years as opposed to "level playing field" of negotiated provider rates in response to bogus insurer claims that they would be put out of business, will afford lower, more affordable premiums.

    All of these factors will help minimize how much must be subsidized by the Treasury or covered by taxes.

    Ideally single payer with its mandate and lower costs would self-insure the system even better without wasting all that money on private insurance profits and advertising and lobbying and inefficient administrative costs and fat cat bonuses etc. But SP is not here yet. I know, I know.

    My main concern with present bills in Congress is that the public option will be strangled in the bathtub (see Anne's comment above), leaving millions of Americans exposed to economic catastrophe, and so few seem to be in the appropriate state of abject horror over that prospect.


    Here's the big problem with your (none / 0) (#34)
    by Slado on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 08:58:57 AM EST

    If 30-40 million people get insurance tomorrow they aren't just going to be paying premiums.

    They are going to become health care consumers.  

    Ask  Massachusetts how their system is working out.

    Mass Disaster

    Once you get the card and the inevitable expansion of "services" that have nothing to do with health you will quickly bust the cost savings scenario you envision.    When you get the chance to buy or use something for free 99.9% of poeple are going to use it and most of those are going to overuse it.   There is simply no logical reason not too.    Feel a little icky, go to the doctor.   Your shoulders a little sore, get a consultation.  On and on these new consumers will consume and they will break the actuarial dream world the public option is founded on.


    Funny thing (5.00 / 1) (#35)
    by CST on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 09:11:27 AM EST
    about the "Mass Disaster" as you put it.  70% of people here like the plan and only 1/10 would choose to get rid of it according to CNN.

    Yes, costs are a problem.  But a big part of the problem is that we have no public option.  However, we would still rather cover those people than not.  I'd rather pay a little bit more than deny someone else coverage.  Of course, it shouldn't have to cost more if you cut out the middlemen.  Those "consumers" you are talking about are real people who actually need care.  Some of us can remember that.

    Not to mention, for all the flack MA gets in the news for being such a "terrible liberal state" we're doing a lot better than a lot of states.  I'd much rather live here, home of good public transit, best public education in the country, fairly universal health care, and "liberal social values", than anywhere south of the mason-dixon line.  Of course the weather sucks but there's not much we can do about that...


    If that's funny (none / 0) (#36)
    by Slado on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 09:40:25 AM EST
    how funny is this?

    Boston Herald says only 27% support reform.

    Interesting and not very funny.  Notice I provided a link.

    Public plan wouldn't help at all.  Only mean more tax dollars going down the drain.

    I wish liberals would just call the "public plan" what it is.   Another big government program that passes out insurance with taxpayer dollars.   There is a real argument to be made that this ist he right thing to do.

    Stop pretending it will bring down costs.  The CBO  isn't buying it but what do they know.


    Here you go (none / 0) (#37)
    by CST on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 09:47:29 AM EST

    Oh and another link.

    Gee, shocking that the Herald says otherwise, I wonder why.  And it's a Ras poll.  HAHAHAHAHA.

    I'm not pretending, all I gotta do as look at other countries and see what they pay.  If a public plan is so expensive than why do we pay more for health care than every other developed country???

    And don't give me that "regulation" cr@p.  we have significantly less regulation than them too.


    FWIW (none / 0) (#38)
    by CST on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 09:51:41 AM EST
    I have no problem calling it a government plan to give insurance to people with tax dollars.

    That's because it IS the right thing to do.


    Also (none / 0) (#39)
    by CST on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 10:00:50 AM EST
    from the Ras poll 37% are not sure.

    That's a whole lot of "not sure's". Hardly a damning statement.