Tales from the Trail

Looking under the hood of “Cadillac” usage in healthcare debate

For car buffs, “Cadillac” and healthcare are probably not a natural mix, even in the context of financing.

For healthcare debaters, “Cadillac” has come to describe high-end insurance plans that either need to be taxed or left alone depending on the viewpoint. GERMANY/

Well, according to several (online) dictionaries, the word Cadillac used in this manner is actually slang.

Cadillac, those dictionaries inform, is the name of the French founder of Detroit — Antoine Laumet de La Mothe Cadillac — after whom the luxury car was named.

Cadillac in the American psyche conjures up a symbol of success and luxury from a time when the long cars roamed the streets without worrying about gasoline prices — so perhaps the word has a bit of an old-fashioned ring now.

Democrats fire back at Republican health plan

Democrats, who have been on the defensive in a partisan battle over their sweeping healthcare overhaul, are firing back now that Republicans are preparing an alternative in the U.S. House of Representatives.hoyer-and-pelosiHouse Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told reporters that Republicans will get a vote on their proposal when the House considers the Democratic-written legislation possibly later this week.Hoyer, a Democrat, did not shy away from offering his own opinion about the Republican bill, saying it would allow insurance companies to sell policies across state lines and would “gut consumer protections and encourage a race to the bottom.”Republicans argue the provision would inject more competition into the market and help lower premiums. But Hoyer said insurers would flock to states with the fewest consumer protections, sell their policies at low prices and that many consumers would discover in the middle of a health crisis that their policies don’t offer adequate protection.Other provisions in the bill, as outlined by House Republican Leader John Boehner, would encourage insurers to “cherry pick” and enroll the healthiest people, Hoyer said.The Republican proposal also leaves out major market reforms contained in the Democratic bill that would bar insurers from denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions or charging more based on medical history.A summary of the House Republican proposal is to be made available here.Boehner argued that the Republican plan aims to rein in soaring insurance premiums, but Hoyer and other Democrats say it would do little to expand coverage or make healthcare more affordable.”It doesn’t provide for insurance availability for all Americans,” Hoyer said. “It does little to expand access to coverage or address the $1,000 to $1,100 extra that every American is paying for people who do not have coverage and therefore add to the uncompensated care in hospitals.”Click here for more Reuters political coveragePhoto credit:  Reuters/Joshua Roberts (House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer is greeted by Speaker Nancy Pelosi at healthcare event)

House Republicans aim to kill Democratic health bill

Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives are gearing up for an epic battle against the sweeping healthcare reform that Democratic leaders hope to bring to the House floor for debate later this week.

boehner“Our goal is to make this as difficult as possible to vote for it,” said House Republican Leader John Boehner. “We think this bill is the wrong prescription for what ails our healthcare system in America.”

Representative Mike Pence, who heads the House Republican Conference, said the campaign against the bill unveiled last week by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi began over the weekend with Republican members delivering copies of the huge 1,990-page bill to public libraries. Also, Republican women are speaking against the bill this week on the House floor.