James Pethokoukis

Politics and policy from inside Washington

Healthcare endgame on Capitol Hill

July 28, 2009

A Capitol Hill source tells me that a public healthcare option is dead, dead, dead in the Senate and thus dead overall. While some healthcare reform proponents hope to use the August recess to rally support, more likely it will be that the Dems will be telling the troops and interest groups that if you want some kind of healthcare bill, give up pushing for a public option. At this point, it is a waste of time, energy and money. But this does not mean Dems still might not push through some pretty big changes. As another source put it:

We might end up seeing something similar to what we chatted about before (individual mandate, highly regulated insurance market, major subsidies).  I see this as mostly a symbolic victory, as the Dems can get most of what they want without calling it a public option, frankly. Pretty close (to the Massachusetts model), I’d assume.

Comments

We don’t need a public OPTION, we need HEALTH CARE FOR ALL. I am sick of people who HAVE decent, government run health care, voting to deny it to everyone else, and acting like it is some kind of controversial, problematic system. If it is, they should give it up!

Such hypocrites. They make me sick.

Posted by Beverly Alexander | Report as abusive
 

I agree with Ms. Alexander. If my tax dollars can pay members of Congress, who in turn purchase healthcare from a “government run” plan,then query me this Batman,why is that plan not good enough for the people who actually pay for the plan.

As the lyric of the song says “freedom of choice is what you want, freedom from choice is what you got”. I believe the artist was Devo. Which was short for de-evolution.

This cooperative idea equates to doctors continuing fee for service compensation and insurers get to buy their distribution channels via “non-profit” cooperatives. This means virtually no real market cost containment elements are in place. For instance AARP is a lackey of United Healthcare. UHI recently reported profits of 3 billion for the quarter as the full effect of their alliance with AARP forged several years ago really kicks into gear. AARP gets a fee for signing up its members. Blue Cross Blue Shield operates as a non-profit in all 50 states and then has an affiliate company that handles the financial administration. This is more of the same dressed up in “we are for the people” rhetoric.

As that fabled social critic Fred Sanford would say the Senate is nothing but a bunch of “Jive Turkeys”.

Posted by Alphonso Whitfield | Report as abusive
 

Excuse me, could someone get Mitt Romney on the horn to pronounce that the great Massachusetts experiment failed?

“Been there, we hoped we tried, mandated, but it failed we cried, done that, it should have died.”

Posted by Hank Reardon | Report as abusive
 

I guess we will just go on working for the insurance companies.

Posted by George King | Report as abusive
 

As someone who moved from the United Kingdom to live in the US, and who has unfortunately had experience with both systems (my wife badly broke her leg on holiday last year), I can honestly say AMERICANS SHOULD BE ASHAMED.

It is absolutely mind-boggling that politicians can sign away billions of dollars in aid to banking institutions that will only affect the public’s lives through abstract means, and yet balk at spending a fraction of that money on providing universal health-care.

It strongly underlines the attitude that the USA does not put great value in saving lives, a fact that should invite derision and scorn from the rest of the civilized world almost on principle.

The “public healthcare results in poor service” is a bogeyman of yesteryear and any reasonably unbiased analysis – be it statistical or anecdotal – will show those who repeat that mantra ad nauseam to be simply deceiving themselves more than anything.

Once again, this brave new government fails to take the bold steps needed in order to fix the problem.

Posted by Andy | Report as abusive
 

What the U.S. desperately needs is Single Payer health care as expressed in HR 676, “Expanded and Improved Medicare for All.” The siuation in the Senate clearly shows why. Any “solution” that includes input from the health insurance companies will fail, because they want it to fail, so they can continue to amass bloated profits at the expense of the rest of society. It’s like inviting all the Mafia dons to fashion a plan to combat organized crime. The motivation isn’t there.

Posted by David Ackerman | Report as abusive
 

Um, the government (ie: congress) does NOT have a “public healthcare” or a “public plan”. Congress gets their insurance through PRIVATE insurance companies, in a co-op, hence it’s less expensive. That is what the Rebuplicans are currently suggesting, giving the American public EXACTLY THE SAME benefits as they currently enjoy!!!

Posted by Tania | Report as abusive
 

Post Your Comment

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
  •