After Spencer Bachus spent all that time last night flogging the single-payer straw man, it looks like we won’t even get a public option.

Insurance companies are delighted with the way “reform” is unfolding. Think of it: The government is planning to require most uninsured Americans to buy health coverage. Millions of young and healthy individuals will be herded into the industry’s welcoming arms. This is the population the insurers drool over.

This additional business — a gold mine — will more than offset the cost of important new regulations that, among other things, will prevent insurers from denying coverage to applicants with pre-existing conditions or imposing lifetime limits on benefits. Poor people will either be funneled into Medicaid, which will have its eligibility ceiling raised, or will receive a government subsidy to help with the purchase of private insurance.

If the oldest and sickest are on Medicare, and the poorest are on Medicaid, and the young and the healthy are required to purchase private insurance without the option of a competing government-run plan — well, that’s reform the insurance companies can believe in.

I guess all those people who were hyperventilating at last night’s town hall meeting over the prospect of “government-run” health care can calm down now.  Especially the ones concerned about their Medicare benefits.

5 Responses to “Sigh”

  1. Jeff (no, the other one) says:

    Guess all that’s left is to privatize Social Security, too! woohoo!

    Jesus wept.

    I read a couple weeks ago (Krugman, maybe?) where Big Inshrnce is already guaranteed to get theirs, no matter what happens with reform.

    We have great BCBS, since I work for the state. Guess I’ll be staying in this job indefinitely for just that reason. Then again, we may have broken the lifetime coverage bank already for Jackson (miracle preemie, for those who don’t know the story).

    What choice do we have? Take up bank robbing? or drug dealing? get elected to Congress? move to England?

  2. I wouldn’t rule out the public option just yet. We might be counting our chickens here, but it looks like Obama wasn’t so chicken after all.

    Basically, it’s an old “give em enough rope” trick. They put the co-ops on the table and made a ton of concessions for the express purpose of having the GOP show that it was in no way interested in negotiating. In fact, according to John Kyl, the GOP will not back anything that the Dems put on the table. So they’ve been left a little too confident to show that they’re really not interested in any kind of reform– period.

    And of course, now that they have a nice little sound bite and proof that the GOP isn’t interested in the better interests of the insured so much as they’re interested in just opposing it, the Dems can strong arm whatever they like through there with a few paper thin concessions to Blue Dogs. This also strikes down the main arguing point of the Blue Dogs– that Republicans can and should be negotiated with. So now the Blue Dogs have even less to bargain with.

    So now, the GOP can gripe all they want to about a public option, and the Dems can say that they were given the chance to negotiate but flubbed it.

    If that’s really what the president is doing, then my hat’s off to him. He’s a lot sneakier and smarter than I ever gave him credit for. Of course, this isn’t necessarily a good thing, because it could mean that the GOP has sabotaged it’s opportunity to provide much needed opposition to when the president NEEDS to be shot down on something. In fact, they may have just given Obama a free pass on everything, and I wasn’t too fond of the way that played out when Bush got it.

  3. Kathy says:

    I hope you’re right, but I heard the White House “walking back” Emanuel’s remarks this afternoon. I feel like a yoyo. :)

  4. Renee says:

    I know what you mean about the yoyo effect. Almost makes me want to stick my head in the sand until it’s all over. Just tell me what happened.

  5. Kathy says:

    Jeff, sorry — your comment got hung up in moderation, and I have no idea why.

    I don’t understand the cluelessness out there among people who have insurance now and think that makes them safe forever. Yeah, coverage is supposed to be portable if you change jobs, but what if the new job doesn’t offer any? An individual/family facing the private market without the negotiating and risk-spreading power of a group is likely to find the expense prohibitive. Then we have more uninsured people forced to use emergency rooms for primary care. And so on, ad nauseum. So people should be forced to stay in the same job, whether they like it or not, for fear of losing coverage? I know I’m preaching to the choir here.

    How is sweet Jackson? I need pictures. :)

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