This forum post is hidden because you have chosen to ignore clydeupton. Show Details
This forum post is hidden because you have submitted an abuse report against it. Show Details
President Obama’s address to Congress about health care reform on Wednesday is the moment for him to stand tough for a large and comprehensive plan. This is no time to yield on core elements of reform or on the scale of the effort in search of enough Republican support to provide the veneer of bipartisanship, or even the one or two Republican votes needed to overcome a filibuster.
As a political tactic, Mr. Obama has thus far simply issued broad principles for reform and left it to Congress to flesh out the details, leaving great uncertainty as to what reforms he considers essential. Given the raucous, often ill-informed attacks on Democratic proposals over the past month, and the clear aim of most Republicans to oppose any bill, no matter how much he compromises, Mr. Obama now needs to spell out in some detail what he wants and how it would benefit both the uninsured and most other Americans as well.
Mr. Obama needs to highlight the concerns that got many people agitating for government help in the first place — the rising premiums and co-payments required for their health insurance policies, and the likelihood that, if forced to buy insurance on their own, perhaps after losing a job, they would be unable to afford it or even be denied coverage because of pre-existing conditions.
At a minimum, we believe Mr. Obama should declare himself in favor of covering as many of the uninsured as possible in the near future; should insist that insurers grant and renew coverage without regard to health status; and should insist on new insurance exchanges in which people without group coverage and those working for the smallest employers could buy insurance at large-group rates.
Despite calls from Republicans that he jettison support for a new public plan to compete with private plans on those exchanges, he should not do so now. If he decides to bargain it away later, he should insist, minimally, that a strong public plan be introduced if private insurers fail to hold costs down in the future.
We are alarmed at reports that the price for winning over Republicans and conservative Democrats might be a drastically scaled-down plan that would cost not $1 trillion over 10 years but perhaps only $700 billion or much less. That big a reduction would be a mistake. The insurance reforms that people most want — and the insurance industry is willing to accept — depend on achieving near universal coverage to spread the risks over a large group of healthy and unhealthy people.
The big costs of reform involve expanding Medicaid to cover more of the poor and providing subsidies to help those with low or modest incomes buy insurance on the new exchanges. Scaling down too far would most likely result in subsidies too limited to really help people. Imagine the backlash if millions of Americans were required to carry insurance and found they could not afford to buy it.
The other major element of reform is slowing the rise in medical costs while improving quality. Mr. Obama should say whether he believes pending bills need an extra dose of cost-cutting reforms, or pilot projects, in Medicare. Nobody in either party has a sure-fire solution to rein in medical inflation. Mr. Obama should insist on an independent commission to monitor reforms, expand those that work and drop those that do not.
If Mr. Obama is reaching out for broader support, he may be too diplomatic to point out the cynicism of Republican opponents who are late-blooming advocates of deficit reduction. The Bush administration and a Republican-controll ed Congress enacted a Medicare prescription drug benefit that will cost the government almost $1 trillion over the next decade without raising or saving a penny to pay for it.
They also passed tax cuts for wealthy Americans that will cost more than $1.7 trillion over 10 years, again without making provisions to offset the costs. Now they are complaining that $1 trillion for health care reform — fully paid for over the next 10 years — is too much to spend on a problem that has been festering for decades.
Rather than yield to Republican intransigence, the Democrats ought to resort to a parliamentary maneuver known as “budget reconciliation,” which would allow them to push through most reforms by majority vote.I love my President!!
Our party leaders know if they pass this without Republican support they will lose a lot of seats in 2010 and if we lose these seats they will be hard to get back. The other thing is if we pass this with only Democrats and we have rationed care we will be blamed. The other big problem is the cost. When has the government ever been correct on cost for anything? They also know that this isn't a budget matter and if they pass it under reconciliation it could end up it court for years. The other thing is the American people don't like this bill because 80% like what they have. Young people don't like being told they have to pay for health insurance and they are the ones that elected President Obama. We need to step back and start over with thing all can agree on. Tort reform is one thing I think could be done to bring down the price of health care but no body want to take on the trial lawyers.www.aarp.org/community/editor/fckeditor/editor/images/smiley/msn/angry_smile.gif" />