Friday, September 11

I got Banned from Sarah Palin's Facebook Page

I should've known it would happen. What was I Thinking anyway?

I decided to post the following on Sarah Palin's Facebook Wall:

You guys do realize that there actually are "Death Panels" - only their really called the Medical Insurance Industry that denies care and claims via Pre-Existing Conditions and Rescission? Obama has promised to Ban these practices - so I think Grandma is going to be just fine.

Lasted about 3 mins. Apparently they couldn't take a little Truthiness in their face?

Now I can no longer post on her wall, all I can do is issue a "Report" to complain about their posts. Maybe I should report them ALL as Libel and Gross Stupidity?

Last week the California Nurses Association released a study that shows that an average of 21% of claims made to Health Insurance Companies are DENIED.

More than one of every five requests for medical claims for insured patients, even when recommended by a patient's physician, are rejected by California's largest private insurers, amounting to very real death panels in practice daily in the nation's biggest state, according to data released Wednesday by the California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee.

CNA/NNOC researchers analyzed data reported by the insurers to the California Department of Managed Care. From 2002 through June 30, 2009, six of the largest insurers operating in California rejected 47.7 million claims for care -- 22 percent of all claims.

So it turns out that Sarah Palin's Death Panel Fever Dream is Real. And it's been going on in the Private Insurance Market for years. Not too surprising that the Palin's response to this wonderful revelation in support of her hysterical claims - is to shoot the messenger.

Here's Dr. Laura Peeno describing her Congressional Testimony (which was shown in SickO) about how she was paid bonuses to deny legitimate care claims.

Here's the Testimony

To be fair not all these denied claims result in death, as they did with both Nataline Sarkisyan and Eric De La Cruz - they usually result in Bankruptcy - but even so, it's not acceptable that we let chronic illnesses drive people straight to the poor house, while Insurance Industries CEO take home salaries of $15 Million and more.


On This Day: Let's Remember the Important Things - All of Them

On this 8th Anniversary of the September 11th attacks on America, let us indeed Remember - but let us not cherry-pick what we recall.

Let us remember the fallen. Let us remember the brave. Let us remember the nobility and the sacrifice of those who fought to take control back of Flight 93, who rushed up the stairs in Tower 2 as it began to collapse and those who rushed back into the Pentagon as it burned.

But let us also Remember the Urgent Memo from Richard Clarke at the NSC to Condie Rice arguing that Osama Bin Laden and Al Qeada were an Imminent Danger. But he was ignored, then demoted.

How George Tenet, Clarke and others rode together in a desperate midnight meeting with Condie to warn her that "We Were Going to be Hit" and how this event was initially hidden from the 9-11 Commission until being revealed by Bob Woodward.

Let us remember the FBI Pheonix Memo which documented that there were some guys learning to fly planes who didn't seem all that interested in Landing them.

Let us remember the 52 Separate Warnings that were received by the FAA of an Al Qaeda Hijacking.

Let us Remember the August 6th PDB, which named the method and targets of an impending al Qeada attack. It did everything but include the date and time.

Let us recall how Osama Bin Laden escaped at Tora Bora, and still hasn't been killed or captured.

Let us recall the Downing Street Memos which revealed that the "Facts were being shaped to fit the Policy" in order to justify an invasion of Iraq, even though there was no evidence connecting that country to 9-11.

Let us recall both Abu Zubaydah and Khallid Sheik Mohammad were providing us with excellent intel before harsh tactics were used - but even after being waterboarded dozens of times (and in KSM case nearly dying at least once) they Still didn't provide any conclusive links between Saddam and Osama.

Let us recall that before the Iraq War began the head of Iraqi Intelligence, Tahir Jalil Habbush, had revealed to us that Saddam told the TRUTH to the United Nations when he said he didn't have any WMD, because he had destroyed it all way back in 1991- and instead of listening, the Bush paid him $500,000 in hush money and had him write a forged letter that attempted to link Saddam to 9-11!

Let us remember that no one suggested there were credible links between Saddam and 9-11 except for Ibn Sheihk al-Libi, and didn't do so until he was Buried Alive.

Let us remember: He Lied.

Let us recall how ABC and Foxnews tried to Blame Bill Clinton for being "asleep at the switch" and causing 9-11.

Let us recall how former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld called all those who criticized his handling of the Iraq War "Morally and Intellectual Confused" - just before he was Fired.

Let us recall how the REAL Joseph Wilson was treated when he dared to point out that the Niger Receipt was probably a forgery and Saddam didn't have - and didn't try to buy any Yellowcake Uranium.

Let us remember the 4000 U.S. Troops - more than those we lost on 9-11 - who died in Iraq for no good reason.

Let us remember that the people that are screaming "Fascist", "Socialism", "Kenyan" and "YOU LIE" at our duly elected President - are the same ones who seem completely incapable of remembering all the above.


GOP = Party of Teh Stupidz!!

Some of us have known this sad sorry truth for a very long time. But more and more, from the Tea Party Screamers having absolute conniption fits about losing "Their America" to Socialist-Commie-Fascism from Kenya - all the way back to when Condie Rice refused to listen to Richard Clarke about the Dangers of Al Qeada. It's always been teh Stupid.

Too Stupid for the August 6 PDB.

Or to put down "My Pet Goat".

Or resist the urge to Kick Somebodies Ass after 9-11, even if it was the wrong ass.

Then came the Kidnapping and Extraordinary Renditions.


Illegal Surveillance of U.S. Citizens.

Secret Assassination Squads.

And still 8 Years Later we still don't have Osama bin Laden, or any WMD's.

Actually STUPID doesn't quite cut it.

Calling this "Stupid" - as the President once described the actions of the Cambridge Police in arresting a man for burglarizing his own house - is actually a compliment, because if these people aren't suffering from Terminal Stupidity, they are something much worse - A Series of Pathologic Delusions fueled by Blind Rage and an Atavistic Fear of Facts.

To this day they think they are the ones who're being unjustly picked-on and muzzled by those damn dirty meany Democrats.

Yeah, right.

They forget about events such as this, when one couple - Nicole and Jeffery Rank - who merely wore T-Shirts were arrested and ejected from a Bush Speaking Event in 2004.

We have only to look back to last year, 2008, when the St. Louis Police used tear-gas against protesters at the RNC Convention. Eight persons were charged with Terrorism and are still looking at prosecution.

Or here in 2007 when Rev. Lennox Yearwood was pulled out of line while trying to enter a hearing with Gen. David Petraeus. When he complained about being singled out he was assaulted and arrested - his injuries included a broken leg once the dust settled. Not for the squimish.

Imagine if Congressmen Wilson had been treated like any of these people, or like Cindy Sheehan was when she wore a T-shirt which counted the number of dead in Iraq to a Bush State of the Union in 2006? (She was Arrested)

Why are the wingnuts so fearful of power in the hands of Democrats being directed against THEM as their political rivals? Because it's exactly what they spent 8 years doing to Democrats for daring to point out the Crimes and Malfeasance of the Bush Administration!

But then, when you believe you are the Righteous Ones Decorum doesn't matter much, does it?

Neither do facts.


Nothing in this subtitle shall allow Federal payments for affordability credits on behalf of individuals who are not lawfully present in the United States.

When confronted with plain English, the GOPers have literally figured out how to get 500 Angels to Dance on the Head of a Pin - in order to justify their ridiculous positions. Just as John Boehner does here, wherein he proclaims that the "Real" Liar - Is Obama.

Boehner: The President said that no will be forced to change their (health care) plan. But if you look at the employer mandate, many employers may choose to simply drop their plan and pay the 8% payroll tax - thereby forcing their employees into the Government Plan


If Employers drop coverage their employees will be able to buy low-cost coverage on their own through the Health Exchange - which includes Private Insurance Plans such as Aetna and Blue Cross exactly in the same way that Boehner himself gets his insurance through the Federal Employees Benefits Program.

They might also have, among those plans, a Public Option. Maybe a Co-op, maybe even the ability to Buy-In to Medicare (Yeah, I"m still hoping) - and unless they happen to be Illegal Immigrants they'll receive Affordability Credits to help them pay for those plans.

So even if your Employer does drop your coverage you'll have a way buy it on your own without having an Employer Dependance. My, Isn't that kinda - Freedom-like - and stuff?

The Bone-man goes on.

Boehner: HR 3200 does not include any restrictions on non-citizens participating in and paying for coverage, weather the citizens are present legally or illegally


Ok, so what's saying is there isn't going to be a Citizenship Test for those people who are buying insurance through the Exchange.


That's EXACTLY what we have now. If an Legal Resident Alien or a Undocumented Alien get into a car accident, it's not like the EMT is going to check their papers and the one who isn't a legal resident is going to be left on the side of the road to bleed out.

Apparently though, that's would Boehner and Wilson would like to happen. How "Christian" of them.

Even though they'll be mandated to pay for health insurance and won't receive federal assistance to help them pay for it - Boehner and Wilson still think either that these people should remain uninsured and be left alone to suffer or possibly remain untreated while they spread Lou Dobbs favorite bogey disease Leprosy to the rest of the population. Not to mention Tuberculosis, H1N! Bird Flue or Monkey Pox.

Sorry Honer - but by definition Health Care IS a Public issue.

And frankly, I think the personal mandate is probably a pretty good disincentive for continued illegal immigration, not an incentive.

Come to America: Now Pay your Bill or ELSE!

But if you want to find the Lord God Queen of teh STUPIDZ - look no further than Sarahcuda The Quitter Palin

"In his speech the President directly responded to concerns I've raised about unelected bureaucrats being given power to make decisions affecting life or death health care matters," Palin wrote. "He called these concerns "bogus," "irresponsible," and "a lie" -- so much for civility."

Obama was the Uncivil One? Isn't that so Stupid it nearly makes your Eyes Bleed?

Would it be "Uncivil" of me to wonder if being a Fracking IDIOT could be considered a Pre-Existing Condition for revoking Mrs Palin Parking Priveleges on the Highway of Public Discourse?

Just like the fact the Illegal Aliens can currently go to the Emergency Room all over the U.S., reimbursement for End of Life Consultation is already a part of Medicare.

Further the wacked-out scenario that she posits on her Facebook page where Government Bureaurcrats encourage doctors to steer patients toward care which is cheaper, but ultimately detrimental to their health - is exactly like what Insurance Companies are DOING NOW!

We already have "Death Panels" - their called the Health Insurance Industry.

Don't believe me, just ask Nataline Sarkisyan or Eric De La Cruz - and if they can't answer you, it's because their insurance companies effectively MURDERED THEM by refusing needed treatments. Nataline who was just 17, had her Liver Tranplant denied by Cigna, and Eric who was only 27 had a pre-existing condition that prevented him getting a Heart Transplant which wasn't covered by Medicaid.

Pulling the plug on "Grandma" is the least of our worries.

But what Obama would do is BAN the practice of denying care via the excuse of a Pre-Existing Condition. Even for you Sarah. He would BAN unreasonable rescissions of care simply because the policy holder had the temerity - TO GET SICK. He would BAN the unreasonable denial of claims which have driven literally Millions of American into bankruptcy after a medical catastrophe.

We Will have Significant Health Care Reform in this Country. It will happen THIS YEAR.

Meanwhile all teh Stupidz will be able to do is Fume. And Flail. And Scream - to an audience that will hear them less, and less, and less...


Thursday, September 10

Obama's Health Care Address to Congress

Wednesday, September 9

I have the Answer: A Triggered Buy-In to Medicare

Ok, bear with me a moment.

Tonight the President will deliver a critical Speech on Health Care to a joint sessions of Congress, and in it he will outline exactly what it is he expects Congress to deliver to his desk. It's expected to be a speech that will either make or break his Health Care Plan.

But I have an answer of my own.

Of course, before you can answer any question (like say "42"), you have to fully understand what the question is.

And in this case the real question is: What can Congress ultimately deliver to his desk when the progressive caucus demands access to a Public Health Care Option and the various Blue Dogs refuse to even consider it?

How about the Best of Both Worlds, the Public Option of Buying into Medicare if and when the Private Insurance Companies Fail to Perform. This I consider a Win/Win Scenario because if they do perform, we Win, and if they don't - We Sill Win.

As things currently stand we have 5 different Health Care Bills in Congress. 4 out of 5 (3 in the House and 1 in the Senate) include a Public Not-For-Profit Health Insurance Option which would be paid for by the premiums of it's members. One Bill from the Senate Finance Committee does not and instead offers some form of Non-Profit Co-ops as an option.

No Bill Currently includes Triggers, or even defines what a Trigger might look like - which leaves open a window of opportunity for us, the progressives, to define what an acceptable trigger might be and how short the time frame for it could have.

Most of the Bills are similar in that they all include a new Nation-Wide Health Care Exchange modeled on the Federal Employees Benefits Program which allows the leveraging of 10 Million Health Consumers to pool and leverage their buying power and keep costs down by purchasing in bulk.

If any of these plans pass, about 250 Million Americans would gain that type of buying power.

All of these plans ban the use of preexisting conditions to block access to care, and the preemptive canceling of care and claims simply because people get sick. Most Insurance Agencies currently spend about 20% of their overhead attempting to find ways to cancel coverage or claims, and has recently been shown by the California Nurses Association an average of about 30% of claim are denied using this tactic. All of the plans in addition to these reforms include some methodology to subsidize those with low-incomes, or those who are either unemployed or their employer refuses to provide Health Care Options for them.

There remains just one major bone of contention, should an additional Not-For-Profit Option be included as part of the Health Exchange and what would that plan look like?

Many different ideas have been debated from Medicare-For-All, a brand new Insurance Plan similar to Medicare Part A with it's own independent Trust Fund or some type of Public/Private Member Owned Co-operative?

The last issue has been whether such an Option should be available on Day One of Year One of the plan, or that it should kick-in automatically in subsequent years if Private Insurance Companies fail to meet certain criteria.

No More Death by Spreadsheet.

With Pre-Existing Conditions and unjustified claim-denials off the table, with a Health Exchange that will allow the type of Interstate Access to Care even Republicans like Mike Pence in the mix - there really isn't much more we can expect out of the Private Companies except better prices.

Some have said that using the Public Option as a loaded gun pointed at the Heads of the Insurance State, ready to fire at will - simply isn't enough.

Or is it?

As I posted a few days ago, there was a period in time when rate of Medical Inflation actually came back down to Earth - and it didn't take a Public Option to do it. All it took was the Threat of one.

In 1996 in the aftermath of the Clinton Era Health Care effort - and within 3 Years of it's initiation - the rate of increase for the cost of Health Care actually dropped below both the Consumer Price Index and the rate of Wage Inflation.

That Should be the Trigger Point.

If within one year of Day One, the Health Insurance Agencies can not repeat what they've previously done and bring costs down significantly - and keep them down - to levels matching or surpassing the CPI and WI the people of that state automatically are allowed to Buy-in to Medicare as an additional Option in their Health Exchange.

If prices begin to rise again in the future, as they did in the late 90's - the Trigger remains Operational and call be pulled at ANY TIME conditions are met.

Five Years, as Bob Dole has suggested, is too long and frankly unnecessary - the Industry has already shown it can move far more rapidly than that when it has incentive to do so.

Some say we shouldn't have to wait a year or two, that we need this NOW - but let's be realistic - a completely new Public Insurance Plan would take at least 2-3 Years to get up on it's feet and running. It would have to be Staffed. it would have to setup facilities and operational instructions. People would have to be trained. It would have to be FUNDED! No matter which way we go - no Option is going to be implemented immediately. So if we have to wait no matter what, we might as well have Medicare at the end of the rainbow waiting for us. It's already staffed, it's already funded - it's ready to go. Medicare would also have the necessary heft to positively impact the Market that the smaller weaker Co-Ops would lack, but would retain the trust of the American people as a system they can rely on.

All we have to do is Pull The Trigger.

I have stated before that I have some concerns with opening up Medicare because of the projected insolvency of it's trust fund, versus establishing an entirely new Public Plan with it's own fund. I still have that concern but it can be tempered. Part of the funds problem relates to the demographics of more an more Baby-Boomers entering the program and using it's services while fewer and fewer young people are paying into the system. Having younger people who would need fewer services buy-in to the fund would help shore it up considerably.

The one immediate benefit, besides saving on the start-up cost and time required for a brand new system is the fact that Medicare is something that people understand and trust. If we tell the screamers we're going to let their kids buy Medicare if they want, I don't think they'll have much left to scream about. (Even though we all know they still find something out in the fever swamp of WND to complain about) Another is the fact that the Savings would be immediate as I've posted before the costs of America current Public Health System (Medicare/Medicaid/VA/Tricare) is significantly less than it's Private System, particularly when compared to costs internationally.

Via the UN.

HDI RankExpenditure on health (% of GDP)PublicPrivateCombined
12United States6.98.515.4
106Occupied Palestinian Territories7.85.213
123Sao Tome and Principe9.91.611.5
22Germany8.22.4 10.6
16United Kingdom71.18.1

On a per capita basis the U.S. currently spends (nearly) twice as much as any most other developed nations for Health Care.

(Top UN Ranked Countries by Human Development Index with Per Capital Health Care Expenses 2004)
1 Iceland 3,294
2 Norway $4,080
3 Australia $3,123
4 Canada $3,173
5 Ireland $2,618
6 Sweden $2,828
7 Switzerland $4,011
8 Japan $2,293
9 Netherlands $3,092
10 France $3,040
11 Finland $2,203
12 United States $6,096

The other part of the issue is yet again, the completely out-of-whack rate of Medical Inflation in the U.S. If we do manage to bring that Inflation Rate down, we improve the solvency of the Trust Fund - so this plan has a two-fer effect of helping to bring overall costs down for everyone and effectively Saving Medicare for the forseeable future.

Medicare isn't perfect, some doctors refuse to accept it because it pays less, and it still has problem with prescription drugs in Part D with the Big Fat Donut Hole and inability to bargain for better prices.

Still, this plan has the benefit that it might be something that both Anthony Weiner and Olympia Snowe could sign on to. Both Ben Nelson and Joe Lieberman oppose the Public Option but have gone on record that they could support it with a Trigger. Rather than further compromise and deal away the P.O. we should make hem ante-up - you get a trigger if we get Medicare for anyone willing to buy-in to it. We could have Everything We Want. How could those who've argued for a Co-Op say no to a Medicare Buy-in as an alternative? We could even toss in some token Tort Reform and Medical Savings Accounts as a sweetener and anything is possible - even significant serious Health Care Reform in our Lifetime.

I'm sure Barack Obama will deliver a barn-burner of a Speech Tonight, but when it's all over - I strongly suspect what comes out of Congress will look a lot like what I've just described here.


Tuesday, September 8

School Speech Hysteria: Reading is Fundi-Mental!

At 2:27 David Sirota to Jim Greer: The Right-Wing Republicans are a bunch of Psychopaths!

As I type this Obama is taking the Stage for his Dreaded School Speech, sadly some children in America have been kept home from school (and will receive an "unexcused absense") while other parents are specifically choosing to pull their students out of class, and out of school specifically so that they'll be able to see the speech.

At 4:25
President George H.W. Bush in 1991 : Write me a letter about how you can help us achieve our goals. I think you know the address.

Psychotic doesn't even begin to describe the craziness of all this.

Let's start by the way with the onerous original Lesson Plan. This weekend on Face the Nation Education Secretary Arne Duncan revealed a terrible secret.

At 4:20 in Video Duncan states that the Lesson Plan Question was "about how you can help the President reach his goal - of having the Highest Percentage of College Graduates by 2020"

Nothing about how you can help the President spread Socialism. Nothing about how you can help the Presient Pull the Plug on Granda. It was all about how you can help the President - by Staying In SchooL.

And how did they change the question? It now says asks: "What can you do to reach your own goals?"


So Ironic that his attempting to make this very statement, has caused potentially Millions of Children to Stay HOME from School today.

Meanwhile Karl Rove has an Uneasy feeling.

Let's be honest, this has nothing to do with what Barack Obama had to say - it has to do with exactly what David Sirota said: The Psychopathology of the GOP.

They would rather inspire their kids to drop out of school, to ignore their teachers, to learn about Intelligent Design rather than Science - instead of hear what the President has to say.

The President's Remarks

That’s why today, I’m calling on each of you to set your own goals for your education – and to do everything you can to meet them. Your goal can be something as simple as doing all your homework, paying attention in class, or spending time each day reading a book. Maybe you’ll decide to get involved in an extracurricular activity, or volunteer in your community. Maybe you’ll decide to stand up for kids who are being teased or bullied because of who they are or how they look, because you believe, like I do, that all kids deserve a safe environment to study and learn. Maybe you’ll decide to take better care of yourself so you can be more ready to learn. And along those lines, I hope you’ll all wash your hands a lot, and stay home from school when you don’t feel well, so we can keep people from getting the flu this fall and winter.

Whatever you resolve to do, I want you to commit to it. I want you to really work at it.

I know that sometimes, you get the sense from TV that you can be rich and successful without any hard work -- that your ticket to success is through rapping or basketball or being a reality TV star, when chances are, you’re not going to be any of those things.

But the truth is, being successful is hard. You won’t love every subject you study. You won’t click with every teacher. Not every homework assignment will seem completely relevant to your life right this minute. And you won’t necessarily succeed at everything the first time you try.
That’s OK. Some of the most successful people in the world are the ones who’ve had the most failures. JK Rowling’s first Harry Potter book was rejected twelve times before it was finally published. Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team, and he lost hundreds of games and missed thousands of shots during his career. But he once said, "I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed."

These people succeeded because they understand that you can’t let your failures define you – you have to let them teach you. You have to let them show you what to do differently next time. If you get in trouble, that doesn’t mean you’re a troublemaker, it means you need to try harder to behave. If you get a bad grade, that doesn’t mean you’re stupid, it just means you need to spend more time studying.

Well he did mention J.K. Rowling and Harry Potter - so I guess the next thing we'll hear from the Fundi-Rightie-Screamers is that the President is not only a Socialist - he supports Witchcraft.

I'm starting to think a massive dose of Electro-Shock Therapy might be a good thing.


Monday, September 7

Mike Pence Endorses HR 3200 and the Kennedy Help Bill - Kinda

On This Week Republican Mike Pence made a Startling Statement.

Pence: There's not a Public Option in the Federal Employee Benefits plan. The reality is that Federal Employees, all 10 Million of us, get to choose between five different private insurance plans. And they're affordable because Federal Employees are permitted to buy insurance on a Nation-wide basis

Yeah, if we could only give people what Federal Employees have...

Rep Pence - for once - is exactly correct. What he doesn't seem to realize is the ability to match what Federal Employees currently have with a Nation-Wide Health Insurance Exchange - is already in HR 3200!

From HR 3200


(a) Establishment- There is established within the Health Choices Administration and under the direction of the Commissioner a Health Insurance Exchange in order to facilitate access of individuals and employers, through a transparent process, to a variety of choices of affordable, quality health insurance coverage, including a public health insurance option.


(a) Access to Coverage- In accordance with this section, all individuals are eligible to obtain coverage through enrollment in an Exchange-participating health benefits plan offered through the Health Insurance Exchange unless such individuals are enrolled in another qualified health benefits plan or other acceptable coverage.

(b) Definitions- In this division:

(1) EXCHANGE-ELIGIBLE INDIVIDUAL- The term `Exchange-eligible individual' means an individual who is eligible under this section to be enrolled through the Health Insurance Exchange in an Exchange-participating health benefits plan and, with respect to family coverage, includes dependents of such individual.

(2) EXCHANGE-ELIGIBLE EMPLOYER- The term `Exchange-eligible employer' means an employer that is eligible under this section to enroll through the Health Insurance Exchange employees of the employer (and their dependents) in Exchange-eligible health benefits plans.

In the Kennedy HELP Bill this is called a "Gateway".

What Rep Penee fails to understand or is willfully misrepresenting - among many things - is that the Public Option would simply be one plan in addition to the others in the Exchange, so when he talks about the possibility of Employers dropping coverage and forcing their employees into the Public Option he simply doesn't know what he's TALKING about. If Employers drop coverage (ala Walmart), their employees can join the exchange themselves as individuals, meanwhile the employer would have to pay an 8% payroll tax which would go to subsidizing those employees who can't afford to buy in own their own with the same buying power that their employer had.

Watch Harold Ford take Rudy Fooliani Apart.

Pence like Rudy (Their gonna Pull-the-Plug On Grandma!) Guiliani and Sarah (Death Panels for my Baby!) Palin seem to continue to hang onto the canard that limits on Malpractice Payouts (Tort Reform) will bring down costs, but there are many logical fallacies with this. Doctors pay for Malpractice Insurance, not patients. Many states which have introduced such reforms haven't seen any savings from them. Studies by the GAO and CBO have also found that such efforts do not reduce costs, in contrast to claims from private studies.


GAO: Because this study was focused on only one condition and on a hospital setting, it cannot be extrapolated to the larger practice of medicine. Given the limited evidence, reliable cost savings estimates cannot be developed.

CBO: When CBO applied the methods used in the study of Medicare patients hospitalized for two types of heart disease to a broader set of ailments, it found no evidence that restrictions on tort liability reduce medical spending. Moreover, using a different set of data, CBO found no statistically significant difference in per capita health care spending between states with and without limits on malpractice torts.

Another thing that has driven the Deathers/Screamers crazy is the fact that Federal Employees, people on Medicare and the VA are excluded from the Exchanges. (Which they confuse with the Public Option and then they scream - Why doesn't Congress have to join the Public Death Option?) But the fact is they don't have to join the Exchange because the Federal Employee Benefits System already IS an Exchange and that a Public Option available to the exchange would also be available to Federal Employees in their existing system.

It's an Option - not a Requirement.

Contrary to what Sen Dole says, the argument that private insurance will need Five Years to remove Pre-existing conditions and other impediments to good care is simply a non-starter. Such practices are Banned on Day One under HR 3200.


A qualified health benefits plan may not impose any pre-existing condition exclusion (as defined in section 2701(b)(1)(A) of the Public Health Service Act) or otherwise impose any limit or condition on the coverage under the plan with respect to an individual or dependent based on any health status-related factors (as defined in section 2791(d)(9) of the Public Health Service Act) in relation to the individual or dependent.

They are also banned from terminating your policy simply because you get sick.


The requirements of sections 2711 (other than subsections (c) and (e)) and 2712 (other than paragraphs (3), and (6) of subsection (b) and subsection (e)) of the Public Health Service Act, relating to guaranteed availability and renewability of health insurance coverage, shall apply to individuals and employers in all individual and group health insurance coverage, whether offered to individuals or employers through the Health Insurance Exchange, through any employment-based health plan, or otherwise, in the same manner as such sections apply to employers and health insurance coverage offered in the small group market, except that such section 2712(b)(1) shall apply only if, before nonrenewal or discontinuation of coverage, the issuer has provided the enrollee with notice of non-payment of premiums and there is a grace period during which the enrollees has an opportunity to correct such nonpayment. Rescissions of such coverage shall be prohibited except in cases of fraud as defined in sections 2712(b)(2) of such Act.

As we move closer to Wednesday's big speech it seems that the big argument isn't about any of these provisions, it's about whether have a public option immediately or we have one automatically triggered somewhere down the road.

To me that's a Win/win.

As was shown during the Clinton attempt at Health Care reform - Simply the Threat of a Public Based system to compete with the current private insurance companies was enough to significantly drive down Health Care costs. It doesn't even have to be implemented to bring the costs down because Hillary care didn't even pass - but it worked.

Here's the proof.

In 1996, after several years of Capital Hill Battles, the rate of Inflation for Health Care actually dropped below the rate of inflation for Wages and the Consumer Price Index. That is what our trigger should be. In fact let's make this simple and take Olympia Snowe's idea and match it with Anthony Weiner's - let's require Private Insurance to get their inflation rate down to and below the CPI and general Wage inflation rate (around 2-3%) within one or two years And KEEP IT THERE or the following year that state has the option to allow all it's citizens - regardless of age - to BUY-IN to Medicare if they want to.

If you listen to Bob Dole - who I suspect is On Medicare right now - that seems like an idea that even some Republicans actually might go for. Even Conserva-Dem Ben Nelson has expressed support for it.

The question is - will Progressives be willing to wait a year or two if we get just about everything we want in the meantime? The Good is not always the Enemy of the Perfect.