You Fight, We'll Fight

"Obama needs to put all Legislators' feet to the fire on HCR, and to support them in real efforts to pass good legislation."

How many times have I heard that lament?

Well, folks, I don't expect much support for the effort to do what has been said "MUST BE DONE!" but at least you'll have the satisfaction of having been asked.

Email from OFA:

QTG,

As we head into an election year, the new strategy for killing reform is claiming that members of Congress who vote for it will suffer at the polls.

For months, our opponents have spread lies about reform to scare voters away. But the simple truth about what reform would actually do -- save jobs, guarantee all Americans affordable, stable coverage, and significantly reduce the deficit -- is something most Americans strongly support.

The question is, come November, will the voters know the facts?

OFA supporters have asked for a way to show every member of Congress that if they fight for reform now, we'll back them up this election season.

That's why we're launching "You fight, we'll fight" -- a volunteer pledge bank where you can commit your time to back up candidates and officials who fight hard for health reform.

We're shooting for 1,000,000 hours pledged to spread the word to fellow voters. And if we get there, we'll publish the total hours pledged in USA Today, so there will be no doubt that health reform is both good policy and good politics.

Can you pledge right away?

 

Mitch Stewart, BarackObama.com

Poll

Can you pledge right away?

| 3 votes | Results

Tags: (all tags)

Comments

22 Comments

I would support it

If...

the proposed health care reform measures were aimed at improving health (or health care).  The metrics I care for are life expectancy at birth (or infant mortality, or number of polio cases per million etc) , or life expectancy normalized by health care dollars spent, or even just the health care dollars spent.

 

I dont care for health care reform that purports to save jobs, or to reduce the deficit.  That can be done more directly.  For instance, the deficit can be reduced by increasing taxes (and, that is how the proposed HCR is going to reduce the deficit anyway).  Or perhaps if you are a lunatic, you can believe that deficits can be reduced by reducing taxes.  Either way, I dont care for a HCR measure whose primary (and only) salient feature is that it reduces the deficit via higher taxes and fees.

 

And as to whether the proposed HCR would "guarantee all americans a stable, affordable coverage", I guess that all depends on what one means by "all" and "stable" and "affordable".

 

Course, I dont expect any serious response to this!!

by Ravi Verma 2010-02-11 02:17PM | 3 recs
RE: I would support it

Improving acess to quality HC is a big part of the bills. If you want to examine metrics - we know there is strong difference in how different race & income groups fair in relation to life expectancy and infant mortality. Low income and Black/Latino/Native groups tend to be on lower end of the life expectancy and higher end of the infant mortality for example.

It's also NOT a coincidence that these groups have the lowest access to health insurance. For example of those <65 years, 12% of whites have no insurance compared to 20% of Blacks and 33% of Hispanics. Those earning less than 40K, 30% have no insurance (it's 36% for those lower than 20K), compared to only 7% for those earning more. At the FPL level, the insurance rate is 25% for those lower than 200% FPL, while it's around 13% for those higher (above 400% FPL it's a mere 4%).

All stats are from the Kaiser Helath facts webiste.: facts.kff.org

Getting access to insurance is one thing - whether putting more people on medicaid or providing subsidies to they can afford their choice of private insurance. The Bill also includes funding for "wellness" programs that encourage healthier life-styles.There is also money for more training of primary care doctors and the establishment of community health centers.

p.s: you missed another way of reducing the defeicit - cutting benefits to social programs like Medicare/Medicaid/Social Secuirty, like the GOP budget proposes. Now Medicare and Social Security might be sacred cows and the GOP dream of cutting benefits might be a pipe dream, but Medicaid is not. Medicaid is already underfunded and will and can be considered for cuts esp. if money for Medicare and SS start to fall short (as they will in a couple of decades).

by vecky 2010-02-12 02:54AM | 1 recs
Are you

suggesting that HCR be used as a means of redistributing wealth more equitably ?  I would suggest that there are more direct ways of accomplishing that as well.  In any case, if that is the aim of the HCR, then I would like to hear it's protoganists say so!

 

No HCR measure can "improve access to quality HC".  That access today, is perfect ~ everyone has access to the best health care, provided they can pay for it.  So, the real question is whether a proposed HCR measure makes the quality HC more, or less affordable.  You can do that either by improving everyone's pocketbooks (i.e., growing the economy), or by lowering the cost of that quality health care.

 

Lowering the cost of health care can also grow the economy by freeing up HC dollars that are not being productively used today; so the real metric to focus on is the cost of that quality health care.  In that regard, the key metric is percentage of GDP being spent on health care.

You will quickly find that proponents of the proposed HCR measure prefer not to talk about that metric ~ instead, they will tell that the proposed HCR measures have all the "elements of cost control" (but not the actual cost controls itself).

by Ravi Verma 2010-02-12 01:42PM | 1 recs
RE: Are you

That's because there are no adequate cost control measures in the senate bill. Moreover the Senate is too recalcitrant to pass any such measures by reconciliation. So we are essentially being forced to swallow this crap sandwich with these absurd and even dishonest arguments.

by tarheel74 2010-02-12 01:55PM | 0 recs
RE: Are you

The first article is full of rubbish. I mean like chock full. The second talks about the subsidy levels, not "cost controls". Certianly the subsidy levels can do with improvement, but that's not the point Ravi was getting at.

by vecky 2010-02-12 02:40PM | 0 recs
RE: Are you

Sure, of course it is full of rubbsh because it flies in the face of the OFA and its shills. But keep shilling for the Senate bill, it's enjoyable. However, as Ravi pointed out, the proposed HCR does not reduce cost by an iota, in fact as Wendell Potter says it leaves giant holes to shift the burden on to consumers. The rest is just fluff.

by tarheel74 2010-02-12 02:47PM | 1 recs
RE: Are you

No, it's full of Rubbish because it is full of Rubbish. When some starts arguing that those who make more that 400% of FPL need subsidies too you can tell they aren't being genuine. Only 5% of folk who make more than that amount are uninsured so while I feel sorry for them let's first concentrate our limited pool  of subsidies on those at the 200% level, of whom over 30% are uninsured.

by vecky 2010-02-12 03:05PM | 0 recs
RE: Are you

" Are you suggesting that HCR be used as a means of redistributing wealth more equitably ? "

I don't see where I said or implied that? Certainly the bill does help the middle and lower class, but that's not wealth re-distribution.

" That access today, is perfect ~ everyone has access to the best health care, provided they can pay for it. "


But many people, specifically those lower than 200% of FPL cannot afford to pay for it, and those between 200-400% FPL struggle to pay for it. So how is that perfect?

" Lowering the cost of health care can also grow the economy by freeing up HC dollars that are not being productively used today "

Maybe but not necessarily. More likely it will shift growth from the medical sector to some other sector. So overall growth will be the same. But again, that's neither here nor there.

" so the real metric to focus on is the cost of that quality health care ... they will tell that the proposed HCR measures have all the "elements of cost control" (but not the actual cost controls itself). "

It's true HCR does not nationalize the Health Care system, cut doctor and hospital pay, implement rationing, take away choice of doctor, or do anything else other than nudge the free-market system into a more sustainable direction. Nor is it clear that even if it did all that it would significantly effect costs - the VA system for example, where the government does all of the above, is expensive. Per enrolle it costs more than Medicare and much more than Medicaid despite having a healthier pool of patients. So I'll take the nudge for now, thank you very much. Afterall if the government can't even effect regulation on Health Insurance costs, how can it hope to take on doctors, hospitals and patients who are much more powerful.

by vecky 2010-02-12 02:05PM | 0 recs
RE: Are you

"It's true HCR does not nationalize the Health Care system, cut doctor and hospital pay, implement rationing, take away choice of doctor, or do anything else other than nudge the free-market system into a more sustainable direction."

 

You forgot to mention something else that is true:  the proposed HCR does not reduce costs one bit.  Everything else you said is irrelevant.

 

I have no desire to get into an argument about the pros and cons of a nationalized system, or of the VA.  I also have no desire to get into an argument on whether freeing up HCR dollars would be beneficial to the economy ~ more power to you, if you believe otherwise.

by Ravi Verma 2010-02-12 02:25PM | 2 recs
RE: Are you

" You forgot to mention something else that is true:  the proposed HCR does not reduce costs one bit.  Everything else you said is irrelevant."

Ahh, but I didn't say that becasue it's not true. The CBO estimates that in Medicare for example cost growth will reduce from 8% to 6% per annum with no reduction in benefits or quality of care. That's a 20% saving right there. And that's not including other stuff like payment rate reform, bundling, etc. It may be small in the grand scheme of things which is why I said "it's a nudge" in the right direction.

by vecky 2010-02-12 02:52PM | 0 recs
RE: Are you

Get me numbers on overall per capita spending on health care and then we can talk. 

 

Stating that the HCR reform reduces cost (as you appear to be doing) and then backing it up with a reduction in the growth rate of one segment of the health care segment is an art form commonly known as bamboozlement.

by Ravi Verma 2010-02-12 04:03PM | 2 recs
RE: Are you

Whatever, i've given you facts and figures and you've provided nothing as a counter-arguement.

Fine, leave the Medicare savings aside for now, back in June various private and non-government health care groups pledged $2 Triilion savings as a result of HCR. Granted that was before the death-panels and what-not weakened some of the controls, but it's still there:

June 9, 2009

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Advocating preventive care and streamlining administrative costs are among the steps being promised by the health care industry to help cut $2 trillion in health care expenses over the next decade.

A number of leading industry trade groups -- including those representing insurers, doctors, health care workers and drugmakers -- made that pledge to President Obama on Monday.

I dunno, $2 triilion in savings is nothing to sneeze at... even though it's only about 6-8% of total costs. The Medicare savings are huge too, why do you dissmiss them so quickly?

I also don't see why you dissmissed the whole point of extending coverage as "irrelevant". Without Universal Health Care on the table HCR would not even be contemplated. It's the whole reason Democrats are Democrats dating back to FDR and Truman.

by vecky 2010-02-12 04:54PM | 0 recs
Another reason why I don't take you seriously....

That was June this is January. We have had several iterations of HCR bills since then. What you are doing is just another reason why I don't take you seriously. You have no answer for Ravi's question but bring out pledges and whatnot from what seems like another era. Also I hope you realize that Medicare is a wholly government owned subsidiary and the government can save 2% just by getting rid of the so-called Medicare plus subsidy it gives to private insurers. It however does nothing for the average family or the GDP in general.

by tarheel74 2010-02-12 05:18PM | 1 recs
RE: Another reason why I don't take you seriously....

The HCR bills are essentially the same... there have only been minor changes regarding the taxes and PO and bits here and there.

And yes, the 2% saving in Medicare is a result of the government "getting rid of" the Medicare Advantage plus subsidy. It get's rid of it via legislation, which is this legislation. And yes, normally it wouldn't do something for the "avg. family" other than the deficit, but in this case the savings from the subsidy are being used to pay for increased coverage.

I would assume this is all simple stuff you should know...

by vecky 2010-02-12 05:40PM | 0 recs
Bamboozlement #2

When arguing that a proposed HCR saves or costs money, dont cite pledges to "help cut $2T" that predate the actual proposal itself.  Doing so just makes you look silly !

 

So you wanted facts.  The only reliable place to get such facts is to turn to the CBO.  You can read the entire report here:

http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/107xx/doc10731/Reid_letter_11_18_09.pdf

And a preliminary summary over here

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/11/18/health-bill-cbo-score-849_n_362773.html

A preliminary Congressional Budget Office analysis of the Senate health care legislation finds that the bill will cost $849 billion over the next decade while covering 94 percent of eligible Americans, a Democratic leadership aide told reporters Wednesday afternoon.

 

Get that ?  Cost...$..849...billion !!

by Ravi Verma 2010-02-12 05:26PM | 0 recs
RE: Bamboozlement #2

WTF is wrong with you... ofcourse it "costs"... money for medicare expansion and insurance subsidies don't grow on trees. This stuff isn't free.

And yes, i've read the CBO scores, though that one is slightly out of date. The CBO estimates that costs for the group insurance market will come down by 5%, which is huge considering we are looking at 10% increases year on year currently.The Medicare savings figures are there too.

I don't see where the $2 trillion in savings pre-dates the agreement. They are the agreement.

by vecky 2010-02-12 05:35PM | 0 recs
Actually,

WTF is wrong with you.

 

When you are so clear that things are not free, and there are "costs", why do you have to waste everyone's time insisting that it "saves".

by Ravi Verma 2010-02-12 05:45PM | 0 recs
RE: Actually,

There are both costs and savings, that's how any system works.

Costs = expanding coverage to 30 million more people, or 94% of the populace.

Savings = reduction in costs in existing programs and medical care, which helps pay for the above.

Simple no?

by vecky 2010-02-12 05:50PM | 0 recs
RE: Actually,

great, so perhaps you can show me where the savings are.  should be simple, no ?

And oh, I am hoping for something in the CBO report and not pledges that predate the bills.

by Ravi Verma 2010-02-12 05:54PM | 0 recs
RE: Actually,

The CBO only scores government spending and savings in government programs. I brought up the savings pledged by private industry because you stated that the Medicare savings were only "one segment of the health care segment" and evidently not sufficient. So now that even that is not good enough I guess your hard the please.

But if you wanted to know anyway, the latest CBO score on the final senate bill was $250 billion savings from Medicare. It's score on the house bill was similar.

Dec 20, 2009: http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/108xx/doc10870/12-20-Reid_Letter_Managers_Correction1.pdf

" CBO expects that Medicare spending under the legislation would increase at an average annual rate of roughly 6 percent during the next two decades—well below the roughly 8 percent annual growth rate of the past two decades (excluding the effect of establishing the Medicare prescription drug benefit). Adjusting for inflation, Medicare spending per beneficiary under the legislation would increase at an average annual rate of roughly 2 percent during the next two decades—well below the roughly 4 percent annual growth rate of the past two decades. "

Now I think this is pretty significant. A nudge in the right direction. It's really the biggest cost reduction i've seen - both in government or the private sector. For example the CBO scored Tort reform as a saving $54 billion, or about 11% of the effect the Medicare reforms. And yes considering we will be spending (whole economy) close to 30 Trillion or more over 10 years on HC this is all small bore stuff. But atleast it's steps in the right direction.

by vecky 2010-02-12 06:15PM | 0 recs
Okay,

So you are celebrating a program that increases medicare costs by inflation + 2% as a "savings".

I dont think there can be any further debate, because I am dumbfounded!!

 

 

 

by Ravi Verma 2010-02-12 06:22PM | 0 recs
RE: Okay,

Ofcourse it's a savings! The rate over the past 20 years has been double. Simple math.

If the bank decides to cut your interest rate on your mortage in half you can pass on that extra money to me if you don't want it ;).

by vecky 2010-02-13 01:34AM | 0 recs

Diaries

Advertise Blogads