Breaking: Kent Conrad Opposes Government Run Health Insurance (Medicare)

Here's a shocker - Ezra Klein gets Kent Conrad to admit he opposes government run health insurance programs like Medicare:

[KLEIN:]Do you support the public option?

[CONRAD:] No. [. . .] I don't think a government-run plan best fits this culture. A plan that's not government-run has the best chance of succeeding in being passed into law. [. . .] [T]he public option as defined by the committee of jurisdiction in the House, the Ways and Means Committee, is tied to Medicare levels of reimbursement. [. . .] If my state is tied to that reimbursement, every hospital goes broke.

The solution seems obvious to me - North Dakota should be exempted from Medicare and all government run health insurance programs.

Speaking for me only

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    Obviously, my Breaking is (5.00 / 5) (#1)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Sep 24, 2009 at 07:37:34 PM EST

    It was just so funny to listen to Conrad deny he had a position on the public option and insist the issue was moot.

    He also said he was "tasked" with the job of coming up with his useless co-ops idea when it was obvious he was the problem.

    Next up -all the other phony Dems who are afraid to admit that they too oppose Medicare.

    In any event, this presents a new strategy for public option advocates - no raising the reimbursement rates for Medicare without a public option.

    Apparently a shock to Bowers (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Sep 24, 2009 at 08:30:13 PM EST
    who is predicting Conrad as a Yes vote.

    Pretty funny/


    heh (none / 0) (#15)
    by andgarden on Thu Sep 24, 2009 at 08:39:59 PM EST
    I'll bet all 5 on his list vote no on the Rockefeller amendment.

    Absolutely (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Sep 24, 2009 at 08:47:44 PM EST
    Reconciliation is really the only way this goes.

    I wish the House would preempt Finance (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by andgarden on Thu Sep 24, 2009 at 08:54:47 PM EST
    with a strong bill. I told them to do that 6 weeks ago!

    Have you ever considered that Baucus and (5.00 / 3) (#21)
    by MO Blue on Thu Sep 24, 2009 at 09:57:13 PM EST
    Conrad etal. will be involved in "reforming" Medicare in order to realize the $400 - 500 billion dollars in savings slated to pay for their Insurance Industry Profit Protection and Enhancement Act.

    Somehow, as a soon to be Medicare recipient, I do not find that comforting.


    The 48th state by population (5.00 / 8) (#2)
    by Cream City on Thu Sep 24, 2009 at 07:37:42 PM EST
    does not get to decide this for the rest of us.

    Heck, why not exempt it from all government-run benefits programs.  I've read that N. Dakota is one of the leading welfare states, with farmers' subsidies.  That might make N. Dakota rethink this.

    I think if WY and MT and SD (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Sep 24, 2009 at 07:42:29 PM EST
    were also included in that....it would be okay too.  Make WY and MT pay for their own welfare out of their oil and coal taxes.  I'm tired of them financially burdening me with their impoverished day in and day out.

    Do you know why the wind is so bad (5.00 / 4) (#10)
    by athyrio on Thu Sep 24, 2009 at 08:26:49 PM EST
    in Montana?? Because North Dakota Sucks!!! :-)

    Opinion from a Montana resident lol...


    I miss the mountains so much (5.00 / 3) (#14)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Sep 24, 2009 at 08:32:51 PM EST
    I miss Crazy Woman Canyon outside of Buffalo WY the most, it's almost a spiritual place for me, but of course it would be :)  I do not miss the politics and the insane willful blindness.  I miss the wild spaces though.

    Was just in that canyon this last summer (none / 0) (#18)
    by athyrio on Thu Sep 24, 2009 at 09:28:15 PM EST
    and I agree it is very special...

    God I'm so jealous!!!!!!!!! (none / 0) (#19)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Sep 24, 2009 at 09:34:40 PM EST
    Welcome back. I smile whenever (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by oculus on Fri Sep 25, 2009 at 12:38:41 AM EST
    I see your user id.!

    Thanks (none / 0) (#32)
    by athyrio on Fri Sep 25, 2009 at 07:06:19 AM EST
    Oculus...Glad to offer you a smile for the day!!

    Hey Athyrio! (none / 0) (#41)
    by jbindc on Fri Sep 25, 2009 at 09:29:25 AM EST
    Nice to see you back!

    Thanks (none / 0) (#45)
    by athyrio on Sat Sep 26, 2009 at 02:48:40 PM EST
    How r u all doing?

    We are hanging in (none / 0) (#46)
    by jbindc on Sat Sep 26, 2009 at 03:38:04 PM EST
    But still miss some of the rest of the old gang!

    i think that's an excellent idea. (5.00 / 2) (#5)
    by cpinva on Thu Sep 24, 2009 at 08:11:33 PM EST
    those states opposed to medicare, etc (all those "socialist" gov't run programs), should be able to opt out. of course, they won't be able to drive anywhere, buy a house, drink the water or breathe the air, but i submit those are a tiny price to pay, to have the heavy, jackboot of the fed. gov't off their necks.

    perhaps grayson can propose this legislation?

    Why wouldn't they be able to drive... (none / 0) (#33)
    by kdog on Fri Sep 25, 2009 at 07:44:30 AM EST
    breath, drink, and live?  Mankind was doing all that before the USA existed, if you count horse and buggy as drivin'.

    We can bill them for the roads built by federal funding if ya want...and let 'em live how they want free from federal interference from here on out.  I'm kinda curious to see who would end up with the more healthy society.

    Sh*t if the anti-fed states legalized drugs I might move.


    horse and buggy, yes, (none / 0) (#42)
    by cpinva on Fri Sep 25, 2009 at 09:54:01 AM EST
    motorized vehicles, probably not, since they'd lose all that federal transportation funding. given the mining industry's propensity for ruining the the air and water surrounding its operations, the lack of even minimal federal standards would result in the slow but sure pollution of those two resources.

    absent federally backed mortgage loan guarantees, and most of the people in the sparsely populated western states will be back to living in sod shacks.

    aside from that, and the near total lack of medical care, wyoming's populace will live short, brutish, but healthy(?) lives.


    One way to find out... (none / 0) (#43)
    by kdog on Fri Sep 25, 2009 at 10:05:31 AM EST
    who knows, you might be able to get medical care in the anti-fed states in exchange for couple dozen eggs in a few years, like the old days before the corporations bought the fed.

    And the mines might run cleaner without the federally accepted levels of pollution around anymore...again, one way to find out.  What have we got to lose, these states typically take more than they pay in...might work out for everybody:)


    And once again (none / 0) (#40)
    by jbindc on Fri Sep 25, 2009 at 09:28:45 AM EST
    Aaron Sorkin was ahead of his time (why is it issues on "The West Wing" are still relevant?)

    Gov. Ritchie: My view of this is simple: we don't need a Federal Department of Education telling us our children have to learn Esperanto, they have to learn Eskimo poetry. Let the states decide, let the communities decide on health care, on education, on lower taxes, not higher taxes. Now, he's going to throw a big word at you - "unfunded mandate." He's going to say if Washington lets the states do it, it's an unfunded mandate. But what he doesn't like is the federal government losing power. But I call it the ingenuity of the American people.

    Moderator: President Bartlet, you have 60 seconds for a question and an answer.

    Bartlet: Well, first of all, let's clear up a couple of things. "Unfunded mandate" is two words, not one big word. There are times when we're fifty states and there are times when we're one country, and have national needs. And the way I know this is that Florida didn't fight Germany in World War II or establish civil rights. You think states should do the governing wall-to-wall. That's a perfectly valid opinion. But your state of Florida got $12.6 billion in federal money last year - from Nebraskans, and Virginians, and New Yorkers, and Alaskans, with their Eskimo poetry. 12.6 out of a state budget of $50 billion. Now, I'm supposed to be using this time for a question, so here it is: Can we have it back, please?

    Seniors have him by the balls (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by Exeter on Thu Sep 24, 2009 at 08:18:33 PM EST
    Lot of old people in ND. And he does have a valid point in Medicare reimbursements-- states like ND get screwed.

    The opposite (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Sep 24, 2009 at 08:29:01 PM EST
    it seems to me.

    He just came out against Medicare. Said it will make  hospitals go broke in ND.


    A couple of things (none / 0) (#22)
    by MO Blue on Thu Sep 24, 2009 at 10:12:02 PM EST
    The House is talking about using some of the $80 billion saving  realized by adopting a public option to address regional reimbursement disparities.

    Also, I think that Congress needs to fully analyze the reimbursement rates to identify all the components of why the rates do not meet some regions needs. This needs to occur whether or not a public option is tied to Medicare +5 happens or not. Think they will just throw some money at the problem without fully understanding it but that is not the best solution.  


    Maybe if the people of (5.00 / 6) (#8)
    by Anne on Thu Sep 24, 2009 at 08:19:34 PM EST
    North Dakota were punished by not having any government-run health care, they might wise up and decide what kind of Democrats they ought to be electing.

    Exactly (5.00 / 2) (#11)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Sep 24, 2009 at 08:28:56 PM EST
    I lived in the area for eighteen years and it is high time they finally got what they vote for election after election.  I'm tired of working so hard to save them from themselves only to hear Beck style fairytales about how they've saved me.

    Group punsihment (none / 0) (#28)
    by Wile ECoyote on Fri Sep 25, 2009 at 04:55:54 AM EST
    I knew "progressives" dug it.

    Reality Check (5.00 / 4) (#31)
    by mmc9431 on Fri Sep 25, 2009 at 06:14:50 AM EST
    I don't believe it's group punishment. Maybe if people had to live with the consequences of their vote, they'd weigh the issues more seriously before they cast their ballot.

    Too many people seem to still live in the fantasy world that Republican equals a small, less intrusive form a governing.

    Welcome to the 21st century. Those days have gone the way of the buggy whip. The new Republican party advocates warrantless wiretapping, veiwing your medical records, bank statements and surveillance cameras on every corner.

    GWB and company also ushered in the largest government this country has ever seen. (To say nothing of the largest deficit in our history)

    So Republican's get the NRA to whip up a smoke screen about gun rights. They get Fox News and all their pundits start screaming about fiscal responsibility. And too many people put on blinders as to what is really going on.


    Fiscal responsiblity is (none / 0) (#44)
    by Wile ECoyote on Sat Sep 26, 2009 at 02:40:51 PM EST

    Ezra lets him off easy, too (none / 0) (#4)
    by andgarden on Thu Sep 24, 2009 at 08:07:44 PM EST
    Gotta coddle your sources, and all. (American journalists are often afraid of pressing important people; access above all).

    I think not (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Sep 24, 2009 at 08:18:28 PM EST
    Ezra let Conrad bury himself.

    Depends on who the intended audience is (none / 0) (#9)
    by andgarden on Thu Sep 24, 2009 at 08:20:15 PM EST
    My preference would be for Conrad to walk away in a cold sweat.

    I can't figure out if you (none / 0) (#20)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Sep 24, 2009 at 09:51:03 PM EST
    are trying for sarcasm or truly don't know that he is talking about the PO and not Medicare..

    Oh well enjoy your game.

    Government run health insurance (5.00 / 0) (#35)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Sep 25, 2009 at 08:18:22 AM EST
    Psst, Medicare is government run health insurance.

    What I really love about you is yuour claim to be for single payer. Pssst, that's government run health insurance Jim.


    Conrad (none / 0) (#23)
    by eric on Thu Sep 24, 2009 at 10:18:57 PM EST
    is saying that he doesn't like Medicare because it pays to little.  Medicare is a bad program because it doesn't pay ND hospitals enough.  Expand it, they will go broke.  But he IS saying that Medicare is bad.

    Nope, he doesn't say Medicare is bad (none / 0) (#30)
    by jimakaPPJ on Fri Sep 25, 2009 at 06:09:12 AM EST
    he says the reimbursement for his state and states like that is not enough and if you add more via a PO they will go broke.

    Second, and this is very important to my thinking, the public option as defined by the committee of jurisdiction in the House, the Ways and Means Committee, is tied to Medicare levels of reimbursement. My state has the second-lowest level of Medicare reimbursement in the country. If my state is tied to that reimbursement, every hospital goes broke.

    People say, "Just fix it." I've been on the Finance Committee more than 15 years. I've been trying to fix the unfair aspects of Medicare reimbursement all the time. We run into the House. Membership is determined by population, and the big population states write levels of reimbursement that unfairly treat hospitals in states like mine. My hospitals get one-half as much as urban hospitals to treat the same illnesses.

    What about a public plan that can't use Medicare rates?

    There are discussions going on about that. Obviously, it would be very important that it would be clear that it's not tied to Medicare levels of reimbursement. Those of us in low-reimbursement states would have our health infrastructure put at risk.

    Heh (none / 0) (#36)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Sep 25, 2009 at 08:18:38 AM EST
    Well, you know (none / 0) (#24)
    by lilburro on Fri Sep 25, 2009 at 12:21:26 AM EST
    Ezra is irrelevant to the debate...

    Sorry (none / 0) (#25)
    by lilburro on Fri Sep 25, 2009 at 12:29:07 AM EST
    I find that attitude perfectly rippable.

    Ezra gets the sources.  No one holds his opinions accountable.  FDL, to a degree, good for them.  You've got Kent Conrad talking about f***ing waiting lines.  Interesting that Kent can't explore why all those other countries are down with "his lines."  

    Anyway.  Ezra, you know, the Sunday shows are just dying for you.  It's faster to read your blog, but it's irrelevant unless its boobtoobable.  Le sigh.


    FINALLY (none / 0) (#26)
    by lilburro on Fri Sep 25, 2009 at 12:38:34 AM EST
    and I'm sorry, this has taken three comments

    but you interview KENT CONRAD

    and you don't ask why the co-ops suck according to the CBO?

    Guess what folks.  Fox News has a new blog.


    Anyone who (none / 0) (#29)
    by Wile ECoyote on Fri Sep 25, 2009 at 04:58:15 AM EST
    complains about the upcoming bailout of the post office should have their post offices removed.

    Naw, keep the post offices. (none / 0) (#34)
    by Fabian on Fri Sep 25, 2009 at 08:14:22 AM EST
    Just stop home delivery of mail.  Everyone gets a post office box and has to pick up their own mail.  It'll save the USPS a bundle in fleet costs and keep the cost of postage down.

    I mean, if we are worried about costs and all that, just use the health care model and shift costs, shift costs and shift costs some more.  


    Where I grew up (5.00 / 1) (#37)
    by eric on Fri Sep 25, 2009 at 08:32:26 AM EST
    on the prairie, we had a PO Box.  I could hardly believe it when I moved to the big city and saw that people had mail delivered to their homes.  What a luxury!

    At this point, however, I would have to vote against the PO Box idea.  Practically, I'll bet a lot of people would simply stop checking their mail.  I know I would.


    It was all in snark. (none / 0) (#38)
    by Fabian on Fri Sep 25, 2009 at 09:14:37 AM EST
    Home delivery of mail is essential for anyone who is mobility or transportation impaired, especially in rural areas.  Stopping home delivery would, however, shift the costs of delivery to the patrons - kind of like copays & payment caps shift health care costs to consumers and away from insurers.

    I think the best way of thinking about the health care system is to see where the profits are - and aren't.  Essentially, the entities making the biggest profits are doing so by shifting costs onto others.  If you follow the money, you can find out where the biggest savings can be realized.  Trim the fat?  Oh, yes.  I'm all for that - the potential irony is that the fat is in the private sector, not the government.


    Our RURAL part of (none / 0) (#39)
    by athyrio on Fri Sep 25, 2009 at 09:19:11 AM EST
    Montana only gets home delivery three days a week on Monday, Wed. and Friday...So we drive the 30 mile round trip to the post office when we want the mail...