Woo Hoo?

by , posted on Thursday, September 23rd, 2010 at 10:16 am

It’s a special day in insurance news so lets all celebrate, ok?

Not long ago I had a lengthy conversation with a representative of my representative in which I asked what Democrats in general – not my representative specifically – had done for Progressives, or to forward any Progressive issue at all. The immediate response was “Well, what about Health Care Reform?”

I think my knee-jerk, and admittedly smart-assed, response to that was “What about it, are Democrats going to get around to enacting some sort of Health Care Reform?”

Because let’s be honest, they have not. And I do want to give the Obama administration and Democrats in Congress credit for at least this much honesty: they stopped calling it Health Care Reform and started calling it Health Insurance Reform rather early on. But now they would seem to want to have it both ways; whenever I, a pretty damned liberal liberal, ask what Democrats have done for me lately, the response is Health Care Reform.

Sadly, I think they think we (meaning liberal liberals) really see some “advance” in this. Eh, not so much. I don’t presume to speak for all liberals or progressives or whatever you want to call us, but the aforementioned conversation quickly degenerated into me saying something about forcing all Americans to participate in a giant giveaway to the most hated and feared of all industries: health insurance and a mention in passing that nothing – not a bit – of the health insurance reform to date, has done a thing to get me coverage. There was an immediate protest: “no, no, the provision to cover the uninsurable in pools has already taken effect.”

Uh-huh, and is being largely unused, because the people least likely to be able to afford high premiums for low services – those already financially devastated by illnesses which grant them the “High Risk” designation, are least likely to be able to afford high dollar premiums in exchange for miserable coverage. Like me, many of uninsurable have to pay out of pocket for medical care – and we are least likely to be able to do that if we are paying the protection money to the insurance racket.

So today, while we are “celebrating” many provisions of the health care legislation taking effect, items such as coverage for students under their parents policies until they are 26, or the prohibition against denying coverage to children for pre-existing conditions (which is causing some insurers to drop policies for children altogether to protect their bottom line in the for-profit insurance world, in a move anticipated by many and sure to be repeated in the future) I want to take a moment to check in with the reality of the world for the uninsured again.

Imagine yourself for a moment as having some pre-existing condition that prevents you from getting traditional coverage – are you with me? Now go here and calculate your premium. Be sure to check the “traditional” box because that’s the thought experiment we are dealing with here – premiums for people who can’t buy coverage otherwise for any cost.

Then, if you are curious what those dollars buy you, go here and check out what you get for your premium dollars.

Woo Hoo?


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5 Responses to “Woo Hoo?”

  1. bored now says:

    well, the only way that moderate or conservative dems are going to know that they’ve failed to enact progressive reforms is if progressives (or liberals or liberal liberals) keep telling them to their faces. they aren’t going to read it on the blogs and they aren’t going to find it in the polls (for the most part). so it’s good that you told them. but you’ll have to tell them again. and again.

    but i was always told that obama’s proposal wouldn’t cover everyone (i believe the upper end of the scale was 95% coverage of the country, not 95% of the uninsured). we still don’t believe that health care is a right in this country, and i personally still believe that we won’t get single payer until the corporations in this country decide that we are at a competitive disadvantage with the rest of the world, which doesn’t take health care out of their (corporate) revenues. we have to disengage health care from insurance companies first, clearly a radical idea in this country. as far left as you imagine yourself to be, most of the country thinks obama (and his health care plan) are out there with you. i suspect that will be a very difficult perception to change…

    • Downtowner says:

      I’ve heard that estimate too – 95% coverage – I think it was a GAO estimate. But the thing is that 95% was most definitely not “Obama’s proposal” which is what you are referencing. Obama’s proposal, to wit, was:

      (note the “affordable, accessible health care to all” bit) and said additionally “If you don’t have health insurance, you will have a choice of new, affordable health insurance options.”

      The link is here http://www.barackobama.com/pdf/issues/HealthCareFullPlan.pdf

      But I wasn’t really talking about Obama’s proposal, you brought that up. Whether or not “we still don’t agree that health care is a right” and that “most of the country” thinks Obama and his health care plan are out there (to the left I presume) with me is not something I can agree with you on – it’s a flip centrist talking point that polling data just does not bear out.

      For example:
      Time Poll conducted by Abt SRBI. July 27-28, 2009. N=1,002 adults nationwide. MoE ± 3 (for all adults). 7/27-28/09

      “Would you favor or oppose a health care bill that provides for the following? . . .”

      “Creates a government-sponsored public health insurance option to compete with private health insurance plans.”

      Favor 56 Oppose 36 Unsure 8

      “Creates a national single-payer plan similar to Medicare for all, in which the government would provide health care insurance to all Americans.”

      Favor 49 Oppose 46 Unsure 5

      I could find a lot of like-polls, but I’m sure you’d prefer to keep living in the centrist party-line bubble which says that only loony-lefties like me (and most definitely NOT 56 percent – what do they call that again? – oh yeah, a majority!) have an issue with being forced to do business with the most reviled of all American corporations.

      Quite frankly I can’t think of anything dumber the Dems could have done than enact this legislation – they have pissed off both ends of the political spectrum, pleased no one, and have massively overspent the amount they might have contained reform to had they cut the biggest bloodsuckers in the universe out of the loop – or at least provided them with some competition.

      Sure, you might have had trouble convincing the American people (well, okay a minority of them) of that until they saw the proof – but when 2014 rolls around and what we have is increased insurance rates for everyone, really sick people who still don’t have coverage, insurance companies finding ever more creative ways out of paying claims, climbing insurance company profits and well…that covers the gist of what the American public will be “perceiving” about this “reform” because that, in fact, is what this legislation provides for.

  2. bored now says:

    i apologize, i was actually referring to newer polling data, and trends, not isolated specifics from a year ago. part of the reason i care about trends is that, well, winning is everything. losing sucks.

    Newsweek Poll conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International. Aug. 25-26, 2010. N=1,029 adults nationwide. MoE ± 3.7.

    “We’d like your opinion of the way Barack Obama is handling certain aspects of his job. What about [see below]? Do you approve or disapprove of the way Obama is handling this issue or problem?”

    Health care Appr Disa Unsure
    8/25-26/10 43 51 6
    6/23-24/10 43 51 6

    “As president, do you think Barack Obama has governed more as a practical problem-solver, OR a political liberal?”

    Date * Pract Liber Neither/Both Unsure
    8/25-26/10 36 44 10 10

    barack was using the 95% was the figure i remember from the numerous speeches he gave when joe biden was an opponent. i have no idea how the cbo scored the bill. it wasn’t something i was that interested in.

    but it’s hard not to believe that this won’t be the most leftward point that the country’s government extends in our lifetime. the conservative brand is so strong right now, progressives don’t appear to have a real interest in expanding their brand and independents look to be shifting towards republicans.

    what’s ironic is that i think these facts should be a call to arms, but i guess it’s easier to ignore them and retreat. i’ll never forget all the “hippies” i found in iowa in 1980 who had basically dropped out of politics after having such high hopes for the future. and it was a result i thought we could forestall this time. after all, foster may be the best democrat who could be elected in your district, but alan grayson was the best democrat to be elected in the equally swing, traditionally republican and far more conservative district where my family has their home. i keep trying to be positive when i write here, but i’m starting to think that it just annoys y’all. but you got me thinking, which was my purpose…

    • n0madic says:

      Ah, “hippie punching.” How timely. Not exactly what I’d characterize as “positive,” mind you, but certainly timely.

    • Downtowner says:

      Oh, and I thought when you said this:

      “we have to disengage health care from insurance companies first, clearly a radical idea in this country”

      you were referring to, oh, you know, disengaging health care from insurance companies, since that’s what you said, and referring to doing so as a “radical idea in this country”

      Since the most recent polling you referenced covers legislation that does not even seek to begin to dance around the edges of “disengaging health care from insurance companies” but rather is based on polls about the big giant giveaway to insurance companies, I went further back – to when we were at least still asking in polls what American citizens wanted in health care reform, and it turns out they never did really think the idea of disengaging insurance companies from health care was all that “radical.”

      What the American people appear to find radical, if you ask me, is the idea that we’ll get health care reform when corporate America finds doing otherwise to be so burdensome that they decide they are damned good and ready to grant it to us peasants. How was it you put it?

      “i personally still believe that we won’t get single payer until the corporations in this country decide that we are at a competitive disadvantage with the rest of the world”

      i.e. we won’t get single payer when the people want it – as they clearly showed in polls they did, and more strongly even than that they at least wanted a public option – but rather when corporations decide to grant it to us because it is adversely affecting their bottom line.

      And here may be a point of agreement between us – I think this is so as well. But whereas it enrages me that our democracy has apparently failed, since our elected bodies and officials do only the bidding of corporate America, and this clearly despite what it can be demonstrated that the people want, it appears to strike you – and most of the Democratic Party – as an acceptable reality we are all just going to have to work within. Find a reason to get the corporations to say “make it so” and THEN we can make it so.

      Sorry, that’s not change I can believe in. I can believe in it, because I see it every day across an array of issues. But it isn’t change. It’s business as usual.

      If Democrats are wondering why the conservative brand is so strong right now, they need look no further than their failure to accomplish any of the things they have been implying they would.

      I don’t agree with Republican ideology at all, but they aren’t shy about being the party of business, and they are forwarding their agenda.

      Democrats are forwarding the Republican agenda too. They just like to pretend they have a different agenda.

      So who looks like they are getting things done to, say, all those independents who are shifting right?

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