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kpete Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-21-09 03:54 PM
Original message
Senator Kennedy affirms support for public healthcare plan
Source: The Hill


Kennedy affirms support for public healthcare plan
By Jeffrey Young
Posted: 05/21/09 02:46 PM
Liberals pushing for the creation of a federally run health insurance plan won a major victory Thursday when Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) strongly indicated his commitment to the policy, one of the most controversial elements of healthcare reform.

Kennedy has co-sponsored a resolution introduced by Sen. Sherrod Brown (Ohio) and 26 other Democratic senators that declares the healthcare reform legislation the Senate will consider this summer must include a public plan option people can choose instead of private insurance. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) also co-sponsored the resolution.

Though purely symbolic, this show of strength by 28 Democratic senators sends a clear signal to liberals that a public plan, one of the lefts top priorities and a component of President Obamas healthcare platform, will be part of reform.

Kennedys unequivocal support for the public plan marks a return of sorts to the front lines of the battle for healthcare reform.

Read more: http://thehill.com/leading-the-news/kennedy-affirms-sup...
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suchadeal Donating Member (60 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-21-09 03:56 PM
Response to Original message
1. Thank you, Senator Kennedy

Maybe, finally, we're getting somewhere.
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tooeyeten Donating Member (441 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-21-09 08:08 PM
Response to Reply #1
24. He needs to ramp it up on Obama
Universal, single payer, cut out the greedy insurance companies, and their multi-Millionaire CEO's.
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Honeycombe8 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-21-09 10:07 PM
Response to Reply #24
38. The bill is that the healthcare plan must contain a public OPTION...
that is, a public plan option, in addition to private insurance.

It is not a bill for single payer.

It'll be interesting to see how the healthcare plan shakes out. At least we know it'll be better, since it can't get much worse.
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tomm2thumbs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-22-09 09:10 AM
Response to Reply #1
62. Obama owes Kennedy BIG TIME on this one. Kennedy in the hizz-zay...

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ColbertWatcher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-22-09 03:16 PM
Response to Reply #1
73. Agreed! And welcome to DU! n/t
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SPedigrees Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-21-09 03:59 PM
Response to Original message
2. Yes, indeed! Thank you Senator Kennedy! This news lifts my spirits.
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Cleita Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-21-09 03:59 PM
Response to Original message
3. That's good to hear that he's backed off of Senator Baucus' plan of no
private insurance company or health care organization left behind. Why isn't this being heard in the committee he chairs, The Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions? It seems a more proper venue to study the issue than the Finance Committee headed by Senator Baucus.
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dmr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-21-09 04:56 PM
Response to Reply #3
9. Hopefully this throws a monkey wrench into the Baucus plan to dominate
this issue. I was confused as to why the Finance Committee was the lead in this until I thought that maybe the compromised and the conflict of interest Baucus thought he could control the Congressional discussion.

Now enters the master. A real leader - a well-respected and well-liked leader.

If anyone can sway the Senate, it is Senator Kennedy. He'll work both sides of the aisle tediously. He has waited decades for this very moment.

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The Hope Mobile Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-21-09 05:03 PM
Response to Reply #9
10. I HOPE SO!! nt
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dotymed Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-21-09 09:06 PM
Response to Reply #9
31. What happened to
HR676? We desperately need Kennedy's support, but isn't HR676
the package for Universal Single Payer Health Care?
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John Q. Citizen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-21-09 11:55 PM
Response to Reply #9
43. For someone who talks like they know a lot about the Senate enough to make predictions, it's
interesting that you don't know that all health care legislation has to go through both the finance committee and the health committee.

Baucus and Kennedy have been working together to produce two bills that are very close so they can be reconciled and sale through both committees.

While I have lots to bash Baucus for, one thing I can't bash him for is being lazy. He's done a tremendous amount of work on health care. Have you read his white paper on reform? It's hundreds of pages and it's an outline. It's not fleshed out. It's definitely worth reading if you would like an idea of what the eventual product will look like at least to some extent.

The Dens know how to play good cop bad cop.

Still, it's my analysis that leaving single payer out of the debate was a bad move. It leaves the public option as the target or the bargaining chip.

The public option has about the same amount of support as not voting for the Iraqi war resolution, at least at this point.





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tooeyeten Donating Member (441 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-21-09 08:07 PM
Response to Reply #3
23. Cancel Baucus govt. paid healthcare
Single payer is the only answer.
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quidam56 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-21-09 04:20 PM
Response to Original message
4. We need a cure for health care in America
In East Tennessee and southwest Virginia, Profit Care comes ahead of Patient Care. http://www.wisecountyissues.com/?p=62 The very health care system we depend on and trust are polluting our homes, businesses and schools with MRSA ( Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureaus ) Four or five years ago it was only found in hospitals in cases of extended long term care. Now it's killing children but we just can't figure out how this can happen when they never stepped foot into a hospital, emergency room or nursing home. Hospitals and emergency rooms are breeding MRSA, it's time to take some of that 30% profit margin to pay for administration and get their health care facilities cleaned up.
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Old Coot Donating Member (385 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-21-09 04:36 PM
Response to Reply #4
6. Why do you have a vendetta against Welmont Healthcare?
I have heard nothing bad about them. Why do you keep posting this website address? I have asked you this before.
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Ms. Toad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-21-09 09:10 PM
Response to Reply #4
32. MRSA is a problem,
It has little to do with access to health care, or who provides it.

Within the hospital, its proliferation has a lot to do with not taking simple precautions like adequate hand washing between patients. That has nothing to do with profit, and everything to do with simple human behavior. Lots of people are resistant to washing their hands, and doctors are no exception.

In the community (cMRSA) transmission is not that different, but usually involves a different strain of staph.

Aside from better hygiene, a large factor is misuse of antibiotics that created the RSA in the first place: To "treat" viruses like the cold or flu, in cleansing products (like antibacterial soap which exposes bacteria to antibiotics, but doesn't kill them in sufficient quantity and those that survive learn to resist), and in livestock.
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underpants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-21-09 04:26 PM
Response to Original message
5. Good enough for me
Ted has been on this issue for a loooong time
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Old Coot Donating Member (385 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-21-09 04:39 PM
Response to Original message
7. This is what Senator Baucus has to say about the issue:
I do suspect that a version will be there, Baucus said. Now, by saying that, I dont want to frighten people, particularly on the industry side. All Im saying is, there are ways to skin a cat. There are ways to find a solution.

Why do I feel there will be no viable option to private insurers?
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blaze Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-21-09 06:20 PM
Response to Reply #7
17. Yeah
"I dont want to frighten people, particularly on the industry side"

Yeah. Let's not scare the insurance companies. :eyes:
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Zhade Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-21-09 04:40 PM
Response to Original message
8. Shame Obama doesn't.
NT!

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TheCoxwain Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-21-09 05:03 PM
Response to Reply #8
11. says who?
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The Hope Mobile Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-21-09 05:04 PM
Response to Reply #8
12. Make him listen!

Comments: 202-456-1111
Switchboard: 202-456-1414
FAX: 202-456-2461
TTY/TDD

Comments: 202-456-6213
Visitors Office: 202-456-2121
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cali Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-21-09 05:30 PM
Response to Reply #8
14. he doesn't? Where's your evidence for that?
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Celeborn Skywalker Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-22-09 01:15 AM
Response to Reply #8
46. Dude, what are you talking about?
Obama has backed off on a lot of his promises, but he is still for a public option in healthcare. It's DINO's in congress that may kill the public option.
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SpartanDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-22-09 01:35 AM
Response to Reply #8
47. It's Obama who proposed it in the first place
Edited on Fri May-22-09 01:36 AM by SpartanDem
dumbass
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harun Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-21-09 05:25 PM
Response to Original message
13. Thank you Dem senators! We are paying attention and appreciate this!
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cap Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-21-09 05:57 PM
Response to Original message
15. God sent him back to us so he could bring universal health care home
eom
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mother earth Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-21-09 06:15 PM
Response to Original message
16. Sen. Kennedy has long been our champion for this issue. I
hope we all see victory on this front for him & for all of us.
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bluesmail Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-21-09 06:40 PM
Response to Original message
18. First off I am so pleased he's in remission. I am equally pleased he's
got his priorities in order. I have renewed hope for the future of Americans, especially those w/o any so-called health insurance. :thumbsup:
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Fearless Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-21-09 07:16 PM
Response to Original message
19. The lion's found his roar and now we as a nation need to find ours.
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L. Coyote Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-21-09 07:29 PM
Response to Original message
20. Proud to be REC # 20
Leadership of the sort Obama needs to emulate.
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farmboxer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-21-09 07:58 PM
Response to Original message
21. insurance companies have destroyed enough lives
we do not need those greedy criminals at all. Get rid of them. Baucus sure has gotten a lot of money from those criminals. It's time America become some sort of democracy instead of a plutocracy.
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MasonJar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-21-09 08:04 PM
Response to Original message
22. Thank God! Thank you, Senator Kennedy! If Obama is sold on the public
Edited on Thu May-21-09 08:05 PM by MasonJar
option, why has he not gotten that over to Baucus? Since this is one of his premiere proposals, why is he so silent?
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Bette Noir Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-22-09 09:25 AM
Response to Reply #22
64. Too many balls in the air.
Mr. President is so busy dealing with one crisis after another that important stuff gets neglected. He needs to delegate, and let us know who is dealing with what.
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ProudDad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-21-09 08:12 PM
Response to Original message
25. WTF - Why does the f*ckin' media do that?
"a public plan, one of the lefts top priorities"

This doesn't have SHIT to do with left or right.

It has to do with only a single-payer plan that removes the for-profit health care mafia from the equation will WORK!!!!

The only way to provide Universal Health Care at reasonable cost is Single-Payer!!!

HR.676
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emsimon33 Donating Member (904 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-21-09 08:31 PM
Response to Original message
26. Bless him! Thank you so much.
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imdjh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-21-09 08:41 PM
Response to Original message
27. Baucus' office in Helena said "Only five members support single payer..." when I called. nt
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Canuckistanian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-22-09 08:33 AM
Response to Reply #27
58. You should tell them that 70% of Americans support it
Also a majority of doctors, nurses and other health care professionals.
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David Zephyr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-21-09 08:47 PM
Response to Original message
28. Hal-frigin'-lujah! Finally! Jesus. We have control of the governmnent. This is it.
Edited on Thu May-21-09 08:48 PM by David Zephyr
This is this generation's single shot at ever getting healthcare for all Amerians. This is it. There won't be another chance.

Kennedy has weight. Obama needs to listen to Ted Kennedy instead of the corporate whore sycophants that now surround him in his Cabinet.

The question is: Will Obama do the right thing? I have my doubts.
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Ms. Toad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-21-09 08:47 PM
Response to Original message
29. I'm sorry, but a public plan option is totally worthless.
There should be absolutely nothing controversial about a public plan option under any version of that plan I've heard discussed - specifically that it will compete on a level playing field with private insurance. That means that it will cost roughly the same, and cannot be subsidized - meaning those of us who are uninsurable are still up the proverbial creek without a paddle. ALL it will do, over time, is create a little more competition which may result in the lowering the increase in costs.

That doesn't help my daughter who, at age 18, has $5000-$10,000 in costs every year for routine health care, and will sooner or later be off our plan - sooner if she is unable to work well enough to remain a full time student - later if she can manage to stay in school.

That doesn't help my spouse who is not yet old enough for Medicare, has diabetes, and stage LCIS (which increases your risk for invasive cancer significantly that one treatment option is to have a preventative double mastectomy) - who is insured through my employer solely because they are committed to equal rights, and were willing to continue to search to find the only health care plan that was willing to be convinced to cover same gender partners.

That doesn't help me - even though I'm healthy as an ox, because a generation ago I had a rare condition causes no current problem, is not expected by any medical professional to cause any future problems, and even if it did is easily treated with a $500-$1000 outpatient treatment - but that freaks out people who play with actuarial tables. If I ever lose my employment related insurance, I am uninsurable.

That doesn't help much of anyone who has a pre-existing condition and/or cannot already afford health care. Everyone else is already being served by the health insurance companies for approximately the same cost of a public plan.

Health care reform must provide access to health care without regard to health, wealth, employment, or the ability to maintain status as a full time student. A public plan option does satisfy that baseline requirement.
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maryf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-21-09 08:56 PM
Response to Reply #29
30. Single payer plan is the only way to go...
Edited on Thu May-21-09 08:57 PM by maryf
Everybody in, nobody out, healthcare for people not for profit!!! all the mottoes work when its about taking care of people, not worrying about the insurance industry, and if the businesses would really look into it they'd realize that a single payer national health plan would save them money as well...The public option only if its the only option in other words...
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Ms. Toad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-21-09 09:13 PM
Response to Reply #30
33. And of the two options -
I would prefer single payer (with health insurance companies being the payees - like the Medicaid/Medicare model) to a public plan option (without single payer). Although combining the two and getting rid of the middleman would be the best alternative.
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Cleita Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-21-09 09:28 PM
Response to Reply #29
35. It could be that way, however, the point of the public plan would be that
for those who can't afford insurance the government would subsidize it for them. Anyway that was the way the plan by Edwards was envisioned. In other words the public plan would be for companies and unions to buy into since it could be sold to them for a reduced premium and better coverage than the private insurers. That's because no profit is needed on the government plan. It would also cover the uninsured who don't have company or union coverage by government subsidy. It would give coverage to those the insurance companies have dropped for pre-existing conditions or raised the premiums up so high they can't afford it. However, now that Edwards isn't around to fight for his plan, I don't know what might result.
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Ms. Toad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-21-09 09:43 PM
Response to Reply #35
36. Every discussion I've heard recently
was of a public plan competing on a level playing field. That means no public subsidy. If there is a subsidy for the public plan only, the playing field is not level.
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Cleita Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-22-09 12:10 AM
Response to Reply #36
44. The public subsidy would be helping uninsured and unemployed people
Edited on Fri May-22-09 12:13 AM by Cleita
buy into the plan. It's like the govt. is your employer or your union and they buy the insurance for you if you need help buying it. They could buy private insurance, but since the Medicare option would be less costly that's the one you would get. That does make the playing field level. That is the concept of free market that the corporatists are so fond of bloviating about, underselling the competition.
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Ms. Toad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-22-09 01:00 AM
Response to Reply #44
45. You are confusing a public option plan
- meaning one administered by the government - with a quasi single payer plan. The intent if a public option plan is to drive costs down by competition. To the extent

Who pays the premium (or pays directly for the care) is an entirely different matter - and that is what is currently off the table (the single payer plan). Even if we don't go all the way to single payer, I have not even heard any discussion of expanding Medicare/Medicaid beyond the current population - or of any other plan to subsidize premiums for people who cannot afford it - or who are uninsurable for a variety of reasons(either to purchase private insurance or the presumably cheaper public option).
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Cleita Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-22-09 12:22 PM
Response to Reply #45
68. I'm not confusing anything. I have been studying this problem since l996.
I introduced DU to the PNHP website back in 2002 and have been putting up posts on it regularly since then. However, this morning Senator Bernie Sanders was on the Thom Hartmann show on radio and he directly addressed this. He says he is a member of the Committee on Health Care, Education, Labor and Pensions. Now that the chairman Senator Kennedy is back, they will be taking a more active role in studying the issue. He is also a single payer advocate but says it's not going to happen because of powerful interests on Wall Street, meaning the insurance and PhRMA industries. He says if he has his way, a public option will include all that I mentioned above. I hope he has his way. If you can catch the podcast of the first hour of Hartmann's show today.
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Ms. Toad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-22-09 01:45 PM
Response to Reply #68
70. The issues of subsidies is not inherently a part
of a public health option. A public health option has to do with who administers the plan - not who pays for it. And as I have said, every discussion I have heard by people with decision making/influencing authority limits it to the administering body limits the public health option to the question of who administers the plan.

The PNHP website certainly supports subsidized and/or single payer health care - but the articles I scanned on that site distinguish between a public health option/plan (which drives down the overall price by providing better managed competition) and subsidized/single payer access to health care. Which is my point - we need subsidized/single payer. I don't care who manages it - that has far less impact on whether people who need health care will have access to it than subsidizing it will have. What is being introduced (in every discussion I have heard) is solely over who manages the plan - which is consistent with Obama's position that single payer is off the table.

A merger of the two would certainly be better than nothing - but supporting a public health option is not the same as (nor does it inherently include) making access affordable to individuals who cannot afford it and/or are uninsurable. I will count it as a step in the right direction when I see a statement by Kennedy that what he supports as a public health option must include a subsidy so that it is affordable to people who are currently not able to access health care because it is linked to health, wealth, employment, or ability to maintain status as a full time employee. Until then, this may even be a step backwards because it is no better than what we have now - and gives false hope which undercuts our motivation to push for real change.
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Cleita Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-22-09 01:57 PM
Response to Reply #70
71. Well it won't be universal if everyone is not covered with comprehensive
Edited on Fri May-22-09 01:58 PM by Cleita
health insurance when they need it. Bernie Sanders was very firm in making that point. In order for it to be universal, there will have to be subsidies for those who can't contribute to the program. Real change won't come if we dig in our heels and reject any chance we have to make the system cover everyone with comprehensive health care.

Also, there is no such thing as subsidized single payer. Money for the program comes from various tax schemes like a payroll tax, employer contributions and maybe even property taxes or other ways of raising revenue. Everyone gets a health care card regardless of what they pay in taxes or even if they don't pay taxes, like children, the elderly, the disabled and unemployed. Single payer advocates have targeted the money that insurance companies get to go into the single payer system instead. This money is more than adequate to cover every resident of the USA with complete health care. This is what we are up against. The Wall Street operated for profit health care industry just won't give that gold mine up.
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Ms. Toad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-22-09 04:24 PM
Response to Reply #71
76. That's kind of my point.
"Bernie Sanders was very firm in making that point. In order for it to be universal, there will have to be subsidies for those who can't contribute to the program."

A proposal to have a public health option is not a proposal for universal coverage with subsidies. It is merely a public administered alternative to compete with the private system, for those who can afford to purchase health insurance.

Give me a comprehensive plan that provides realistic subsidies and I'll support it, even if it isn't the ideal single payer option. Just making an alternative plan run by the government isn't any closer to providing access to the people who need it most.

You are correct that true single payer isn't subsidized - but a step toward single payer would be to have something closer to the Medicare system (expanded to cover everyone) - which is a blend of subsidized coverage (meaning the covered individual still pays something, but not the open market cost) and single payer (for the fully covered parts of Medicare). Heck - I'd even go for a Medicare like option open to everyone with a chronic illness that routinely costs more than a certain amount every year or everyone who is rejected by private insurers who is not covered through employment (there are a variety of ways of capturing this option, but the idea is to ensure that poor health is not a barrier to access to coverage for individuals who do not have employment based access to health insurance), and people below a certain income level (regardless of health)
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Cleita Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-22-09 04:57 PM
Response to Reply #76
79. You seem to have made up your mind. Of course the scenario you envision
could happen and it will under our conservative lawmakers who really don't want change under the status quo. However, if Bernie can swing his committee over to making the universal health care idea in fact universal, the only way to do this is to include a government plan that isn't means tested like Medicaid or available only to a part of the population like Medicare. It needs to be available to all who want or need it regardless of ability to pay. Let me tell you years ago when I was at the mercy of an HMO and then subsequently after that uninsure, I would have gladly bought into Medicaid or Medicare if I could have.
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Ms. Toad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-22-09 07:11 PM
Response to Reply #79
80. I am basing it on the proposal Kennedy said he supported -
a public health option; He did not publicly announce (at least not in what was reported) support for universal health care or single payer.

I agree with you about what is needed - access to health care that is not tied to wealth (and I also add not tied to health, employment, or ability to maintain status as a full time student). Medicare/Medicaid for all is just fine with me.

I just don't see that a publicly managed health care plan as even a first step in that direction. Competing to charge me a fortune for my health care does me no good, even if the competition makes the price drop by 10%.
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Lasher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-22-09 08:00 AM
Response to Reply #29
54. I believe a public option that will be obliged to cover pre-existing conditions.
It's pretty clear to me that the insurance companies are running the show. They will allow a public option that is designed to fail so that they can later point to it as proof that single payer doesn't work. Of course this option will be nothing like single payer but that distinction will be lost to most of the public in a haze of obfuscation.

These insurance companies want individual mandate, but what to do with those who are most likely to actually need health care? They sure don't want to cover them. Why not require the public option to take all comers, so that private insurance companies can turn away those they deem uninsurable? This would kill two birds with one stone: The level playing field between the public and private options would be only an illusion, and private companies could continue to weed out applicants as they are doing today. And with the higher public option premiums that would surely result, younger, healthier people would opt for private plans.
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Ms. Toad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-22-09 04:32 PM
Response to Reply #54
77. Private insurers under HIPPA are also obliged to cover
pre-existing conditions.

Not every single insurer, and not necessarily open for enrollment at convenient times, but each state is required to find a way to provide inusrance to uninsurable people (including those with pre-existing conditions). In most states it is called the high risk pool. In Ohio, that runs around $1000 a month - worthless to many people seriously ill enough to need it.

If you have creditable coverage, you are entitled (in most instances) to convert your employment based plan into a private plan. Again, the cost is the issue. My employment based plan for my three person family costs $22,000 a year - not affordable if I've lost my job.

But generally, you are right - having a public health option that is required to take all comers will necessarily be more expensive than the private companies who are (for most of the year) permitted to pick and choose. There will likely be no savings - and the only benefit will be that I can join (and pay my $12,000 a year) at my convenience, instead of waiting until open enrollment rolls around.
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Bette Noir Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-22-09 09:31 AM
Response to Reply #29
65. Obama is firmly committed to eliminating exclusions for pre-existing conditions.
Ihope he won't be talked out of it. He's too prone to "compromise" for my likes. Since the other side's not willing to compromise, the result is that he caves.
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Ms. Toad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-22-09 04:43 PM
Response to Reply #65
78. It doesn't matter if the exclusions are eliminated
if the premiums are prohibitive.

How is my daughter, who will likely be unable to work full time - but will be too healthy for several years to be eligible for SSI/SSD (I hope) going to afford $12,000 a year?

Pre-existing conditions are a problem primarily for people who have not ever had what is known as "creditable" coverage (most traditional plans) - or for those who had them but could not afford to continue their coverage. If you have ever had coverage for a minimal period (perhaps 18 months - I don't recall exactly), insurance companies are obligated to cover pre-existing conditions (provided you don't permit a gap of more than 63 days). The real problem is that the cost is uncontrolled. Unless the cost is controlled, the elimination of exclusions for pre-existing conditions will only help a small portion of those who need help - and then only those who can afford whatever the insurance companies (or the public health option) chooses to charge.

My concern is that we are starting out asking for what is a less than minimally acceptable option - one that gives us virtually nothing to start out with. Negotiation generally winds up somewhere in the middle. If you start below what is even minimally acceptable as an endpoint, you're not going to be able to expand from there. We need to start asking for something that severs access to health care from health, wealth, employment, or ability to maintain status as a full time student. If we have to, we compromise for less. What I'm cranky about is that we're cheering because Kennedy is going to stand firm about asking for the crumbs off the floor.
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bertman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-21-09 09:16 PM
Response to Original message
34. "Though purely symbolic." I don't like the sound of that.
How about the 28 Democrats who signed on to this get together and promise to block one of our President's pet projects. Not something symbolic like the Senate's vote not to fund the Gitmo decommissioning, but something that Mr. Obama really, really wants.

I am so fucking sick of the Democrats being unable to pull off those nasty-ass parliamentary or strategic blockades that the Republicans seem to know how to do from birth. If it's all about compromise and reaching out to the other side of the aisle, then it's about time the President started reaching out to the Progressive side of the aisle.

Sometimes you just have to say "NO FUCKING MORE!!!" until you learn to give us SOME of what we want.

And while I'm bitching I'd like to throw out the idea that Harry Reid should be declared mentally incompetent. He is an embarrassment. Period.

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Lorien Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-22-09 04:03 PM
Response to Reply #34
75. I think this two year period is our one and only chance for real health care
reform We have a significant majority-far greater than that of the repugs when they took out their "contract on America". If Obama and the Dems don't show significant progress on a few key issues-this being one of them-before the next election then I fear many will simply lose all interest in "hope for change" and won't even show up at the polls. Bush didn't wreck America by compromising, Obama won't fix it by compromising either.

And I agree re: Reid.
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Wednesdays Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-21-09 09:52 PM
Response to Original message
37. K&R
:kick:
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Better Believe It Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-21-09 10:16 PM
Response to Original message
39. Senate Reid and Republicans will claim Kennedy needs 60 votes to pass it.
28 votes won't do the job.

Think that's bad? Know how many co-signers are on a Senate bill for single payer, Medicare for All. None. Zero. Nada.

You see, the Republicans might threaten a filibuster and we can't have that!
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earcandle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-21-09 10:27 PM
Response to Original message
40. YOu mean we will come out of the dark ages and be a modern country with health care benefits!
Yes! 
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Better Believe It Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-22-09 08:26 AM
Response to Reply #40
57. Not unless we elect 100 Democratic Senators!
And I'm not so sure that will be enough.
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GoddessOfGuinness Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-21-09 10:50 PM
Response to Original message
41. I'm so happy to see that Cardin co-sponsored...
He's one of mine. :loveya:
It's a pretty good bet that Mikulski supports it too.
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daughter of liberty2 Donating Member (65 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-21-09 11:27 PM
Response to Original message
42. Thank you Senator!!
And welcome back! :applause:
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Vinca Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-22-09 05:36 AM
Response to Original message
48. Good news. I suspect the only way to single payer is via a public plan.
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maryf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-22-09 05:51 AM
Response to Reply #48
49. Why???
HR 676 has taken all into consideration, including the employment of the former insurance workers, the Insurance, Big Pharma companies are the only ones to lose, everybody wins with single payer except for those who profit off the well and sick. People will be able to stay in the hospital to get well vs. the insurance company kicking them out as it cuts into their profit. We are the only country in the world with this form of health care. Our infant mortality rate is abysmal, our longevity is disgusting in comparison...why the incremental steps here?? Massachusetts has this plan and it ain't working for the poor, they are fined for not buying the public plan...Over 60% of the people and 60% of the doctors say Single Payer NOW!!!
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Vinca Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-22-09 05:58 AM
Response to Reply #49
50. I desperately want single payer, but I'm absolutely, 100% sure it will not happen.
If there were more senators on board, maybe. But the blue dogs will never, ever, ever, ever support it. I'm positive of that. The only way to get there is through attrition. If there is a public plan, everyone will gravitate to it once they realize it's not pure evil, as depicted by the sheeple, and then we bring up healthcare again and institute single payer. Trust me . . . you don't have to convince me on single payer. It makes the most sense, but when has that made a difference in public policy?
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maryf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-22-09 09:58 PM
Response to Reply #50
82. If all who desperately want single payer
would wholeheartedly pursue their representatives and insist they want it, we would have over 60 percent of the people. We have to write, email, call our reps often, everybody, everyday...they will listen if everybody calls, of course nothing would happen if everyone gives up. I think the most conservative reps can be convinced if they can be convinced how fiscally healthy this could be for the country...only those investing in the health insurance corps. need to worry...and the reps can invest elsewhere...300 million people screaming are more powerful than all the insurance corporations and big pharma put together, these reps and senators want to keep their jobs...your argument holds no water with me...call write email if you really believe "desperately" in single payer, the 60 people who died today because they didn't have healthcare were perhaps a little more desperate...
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mdmc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-22-09 06:26 AM
Response to Original message
51. God Bless the Great Liberal Lion!
:patriot:
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pmorlan1 Donating Member (763 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-22-09 07:31 AM
Response to Original message
52. Good Job, Senator Kennedy!
At least Senator Kennedy is still willing to stick up for the people. What a shame that we have so many corporate Democrats who do not.
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juno jones Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-22-09 07:48 AM
Response to Original message
53. I hope Kennedy stays in the forefront.
If he can help us get this, in the end, he might leave as big a legacy or perhaps even bigger in terms of consequence to America than his illustrious brothers.

I am glad he is in remission. We can't afford to lose his voice as elder statesman.
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ThatsMyBarack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-22-09 08:11 AM
Response to Original message
55. Teddy Rox!
That is all. ;)
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bluescribbler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-22-09 08:24 AM
Response to Original message
56. That's my Senator! I'm so proud of him.
Be well, Senator Kennedy. We need you, now more than ever.
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Bread and Circus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-22-09 08:52 AM
Response to Original message
59. The public health care option will be the most important advancement of the legislation
that's why the ins. cos. want to bury it.
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snappyturtle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-22-09 08:53 AM
Response to Original message
60. K&R Thank you Senator Kennedy! As much as I'd like to see single payer
acrosss the board, a public option would be a good compromise. Hopefully, eventually, those who stick with private insurance would come to realize the benefits of the public option.
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MaybeLogic Donating Member (2 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-22-09 09:08 AM
Response to Original message
61. An American NHS - hopefully soon
I just wanted to weigh in on this one as it is an issue very close to my heart. I am an American citizen and I live in the UK. The biggest obstacle to my returning to America to live is the lack of a national health care system. I have chronic asthma, the medication for which costs me approximately 15 per month ($25). That includes going to the doctor once a month to renew my prescription and buying the drugs at my local pharmacy.

If I lived in the US, the cost of the medication alone would be almost $1000 per month without health insurance or doctor's visits - plus, we all know that nobody would insure me for a pre-existing condition like asthma. As a freelancer, I can't afford to live in the US and won't ever be able to live in the country I was born in until there is a comprehensive national health care system.

Also, if I may quickly address the debate as it appears to be unfolding Stateside:

The principal argument against a national health service seems to be that it would limit choice for patients, limit doctor earnings and mean huge waiting lists etc. Let me just point out something that nobody seems willing to bring up in the media - a national health service runs side by side with a private one, not instead of it. A national health service would not change a thing for the rich people that can afford private health insurance. They still get to pay top dollar for their treatment. However, a national program would provide free healthcare, prescriptions, emergency services and health advice to everyone regardless of their earnings, meaning that with no money you can still receive life-saving and life-improving care.

The way the argument over national health care has been framed in America is disgusting. How can anyone say that free health care for people with no means to afford private care is a bad thing, socialism, communism or whatever? In the UK, the NHS is not perfect. Yes, there are waiting lists. I pulled a ligament in my knee at the end of February and my appointment with a knee specialist is scheduled for the end of May, his first vacancy. However, if I was willing to go private and accept the additional cost, I would. In the meantime, the painkillers (eight weeks supply) cost me 7 ($10). If I went private, the painkillers would have cost several times that even if my insurance covered the doctor.

In a modern, enlightened society, the right to walk into a hospital or clinic unwell and leave treated without signing forms, paying or messing around with pre-approval should be considered as fundamental as free speech. If America built itself an NHS, nothing would change other than that previously unrepresented people would have access to a decent standard of care. Everything else would stay the same. All this single payer guff is just a waste of hot air. There is NO payer other than the taxpayer. No insurance arrangements with insurance companies, deals with healthcare providers, nothing. Just build some hospitals, hire some doctors and start making people better. Anything they say that seems to require more effort than that is pure BS and politics. I know because I live in a system where nobody even knows what a co-payee or a deductible is. We just go to the clinic or hospital, explain our symptoms, get a prescription, go to the pharmacy, pay a flat rate per item of medication (all branded, not generic) and go home. If the UK has been able to do this since 1948, why can't America in 2009 do the same?

Grab your Congressmen by the throat and don't let go until you have your health, because without thaat, you're finished.
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Bette Noir Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-22-09 09:17 AM
Response to Original message
63. Fingers crossed.
A "plan" that forces people to buy private insurance,with no public option, strikes me as worse than what we have now.
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AllyCat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-22-09 11:12 AM
Response to Original message
66. Thank you sir! We need you now more than ever
Why is this the "most controversial"? Seriously. There is not one thing about this that is controversial. Unless you are Big Pharma or the insurance companies
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jemma Donating Member (43 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-22-09 11:54 AM
Response to Original message
67. That's what a Democrat is supposed to support
And if they don't they are Republicans.
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mod mom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-22-09 01:21 PM
Response to Original message
69. Why "purely symbolic"?
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Mass Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-22-09 02:27 PM
Response to Reply #69
72. Because the bill is a Sense of the Senate, by definition symbolic.
But the more democrats will cosponsor that, the more chances there will be that there is a public option. At this point, only 1/2 of the senators co-sponsor it.
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Faryn Balyncd Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-22-09 03:17 PM
Response to Original message
74. Thank you!!! We've got 28 Senators!!
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Mass Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-22-09 08:12 PM
Response to Reply #74
81. Only 1 out of 2 Dems.
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