Healthcare

Howard Dean versus the White House

Things are getting hot between Howard Dean, who has called for the defeat of the pending Senate healthcare bill, and the White House, which is very angry with Dean. Here is my take:

I completely agree with Howard Dean about the Senate bill. This has now become an embarrassment for the Democratic Party and the president, who have been neutered by Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.).

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It's all about Joe

The Hill's A.B. Stoddards answers viewer questions about the Senate's healthcare bill and how Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) has changed the Democrats' plan for healthcare reform.



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Healthcare reform, and other clichés

There are certain clichés that can get really, really irritating. The platitudinous baditudinous attitudinous simmers each and every time someone says, "We shouldn't make the perfect the enemy of the good.” Some sort of ridicule is in order, like maybe a "Kick me" sign.

We usually hear it these days from those trying to gut healthcare reform, leaving an almost empty shell. Offenders also include Democratic leaders, who are desperately trying to avoid the embarrassment of outright defeat, which would probably devastate their party, to say nothing of its president.

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Use reconciliation and pass a strong public option

In my column in the paper today I wrote of "Obama's fat cats,” those he spoke against with boldness and daring on "60 Minutes" Sunday night, but addressed with timidity and weakness on Monday morning at his White House meeting with Wall Street and banking CEOs.

Now, with fat-cat insurance CEOs on the brink of a total victory on healthcare that will let them raise their $10 million salaries even as they raise insurance premiums for Americans, under a bill that forces 30 million Americans to buy their product, and taxes them as punishment if they don't, it is time to make a stand.

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Fighting bureaucrats, and other phony battles


"Do you want a bureaucrat to get between you and your doctor?" It's the mantra of Republicans and other conservatives and it is effective. 

It is the chant that can whip up a crowd against any sort of healthcare public option — or any change, for that matter. Never mind the reality that bureaucrats (insurance-company bureaucrats) already get between you and your doctor, that war cry is a blood-boiling banality.

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The end is nigh

And in 2010 we will no longer have to talk about the public option. The end is near; Senate Democrats have come up with what they hope is a fix for the controversial and politically charged public-option problem that has weighted down the healthcare reform debate for months.

The concession is to expand Medicare to patients as young as 55 years old, but it is not without controversy. Hospitals and doctors are up in arms about pouring more people into a nearly broken system that compensates providers at low rates they already deem unsustainable.

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The secret healthcare deal

First, foremost, and above all I am adamently opposed to any secret healthcare deals. Period. What is happening is that Democrats are keeping the secret provisions of the latest healthcare "deal" away from Democrats as well as the media and Republicans. This is wrong. Disregard any and all predictions, forecasts, optimism, or pessimism until the deal is public.

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Medicare for all

In the near future I will have more to say about the illegitimate child created by the union of insurance-industry campaign donors and those they give the money to. Regarding the pending "compromise":

It is now time to have a great national debate about Medicare for all, the true public option, the legitimate heir to Teddy Roosevelt, FDR, Truman, Kennedy and LBJ.

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So, what’s the point?

Most Americans are looking at this healthcare bill that is winding through the Senate and asking the basic question: “So, what’s the point?”

According to a new report from John Thune (S.D.) and his Senate Republican Policy Committee, the point seems, well, pointless.

As Thune says: “Democrats want to spend $2.5 trillion but still leave 90 percent of Americans saddled with the same costly premium increases they can’t afford now. Only in Washington, D.C., is that considered reform.”

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Cutting home healthcare

My brother Brian did a courageous thing several years ago. He didn’t like selling insurance and decided to change his career path. He went back to school and got a degree in nursing, which fits his personality much better than selling insurance. He is good with people, he doesn’t mind blood and he has a scientific mind.

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