Thursday, July 30, 2009

Talking Points from Herndon Alliance

Positive Talking Points

Reform will deliver security and stability to Middle America:

You will get stable coverage that you can count on to be there.

-You will always have options for coverage, even if you change or lose a job.

-If you can't afford insurance, you'll get help with your premiums. If you hit a rough patch, you'll get help to maintain coverage.

-If you run a small business, you'll get tax breaks to buy coverage for yourself and your workers, and you'll have a choice of affordable options.

You will have stable costs that won't eat more and more of your paycheck.

-If you fall ill, your premiums won't go up just because you've been sick.

-As you grow older, your insurance will remain affordable.

-If you work for yourself or a small business, what you pay for coverage will be the same as what large companies pay.

You will have peace of mind that you can always get the care you need, when you need it, and from the doctor you choose.

-You'll never be denied coverage because you fall sick.

-You will have choice of your doctor and health plan

-You'll never leave the hospital with a bill too big to pay because your benefits have run out.

-Your doctors will be paid to make you well, not to order up procedure after procedure.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Obama's Doctor: President's Vision For Health Care Bound To Fail

Obama's Doctor: President's Vision For Health Care Bound To Fail
"The White House has said that the president moved away from a single-payer approach both because of philosophical objections (consumers should be allowed to keep their coverage) as well as political realities (limited support for the proposal in Congress). The administration's position increasingly resembles the maxim, Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

"It's a good question," Scheiner said, when asked if having watered-down reform become law was better than getting a single-payer system stalled in Congress. "Is something better than nothing? That is a hard one for me. That is a difficult one, because, in the end, I think [Obama's] program is going to fail.""

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Who Has Access To Max Baucus? : NPR

Who Has Access To Max Baucus? : NPRIf you have contacts in Montana, let them know about this! He is so far in the pocket of health care insurance companies he has forgotten what our democracy is supposed to be about.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Bill Maher: New Rule: Not Everything in America Has to Make a Profit

Bill Maher: New Rule: Not Everything in America Has to Make a Profit: "But like everything else that's good and noble in life, some Wall Street wizard decided that hospitals could be big business, so now they're run by some bean counters in a corporate plaza in Charlotte. In the U.S. today, three giant for-profit conglomerates own close to 600 hospitals and other health care facilities. They're not hospitals anymore; they're Jiffy Lubes with bedpans. America's largest hospital chain, HCA, was founded by the family of Bill Frist, who perfectly represents the Republican attitude toward health care: it's not a right, it's a racket. The more people who get sick and need medicine, the higher their profit margins. Which is why they're always pushing the Jell-O."

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Article on all the graft

Industry Donations Directed To Key Senators
from Kaiser Foundation
[Jul 21, 2009]

Health companies and their employees gave Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., nearly $1.5 million in 2007 and 2008, just as the Senator was readying the Senate Finance Committee to consider health reform, The Washington Post reports.

Baucus and his aides say they began refusing contributions from health care political action committees after June 1. "But the policy does not apply to lobbyists or corporate executives, who continued to make donations, disclosure records show. Baucus declined requests to comment for this article. Spokesman Tyler Matsdorf said the senator 'is only driven by one thing: what is right for Montana and the country.'" The health care sector gave "nearly $170 million to federal lawmakers in 2007 and 2008, with 54 percent going to Democrats, according to data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks money in politics."

Other Senators, including Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, have also been the target of health care giving. "Grassley, the Finance Committee's ranking Republican, received more than $2 million from the health and insurance sectors since 2003. House Ways and Means Chairman Charles B. Rangel (D-N.Y.) took in $1.6 million from the health sector and its employees over the past two years; ranking Republican Dave Camp (Mich.) received nearly $1 million."

"But Baucus, a senator from a sparsely populated and conservative Western state who is serving his sixth term, stands out for the rising tide of health-care contributions to his campaign committee, Friends of Max Baucus, and his political-action committee, Glacier PAC. Baucus collected $3 million from the health and insurance sectors from 2003 to 2008, about 20 percent of the total, data show. Less than 10 percent of the money came from Montana. Top out-of-state corporate contributors included Schering-Plough, New York Life Insurance, Amgen, and Blue Cross and Blue Shield; individual executives such as Richard T. Clark, chief executive and president of drugmaker Merck, have also made regular donations" (Eggen, 7/21).

Sen. Chris Dodd, acting chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, has also taken money from health care lobbying interests, The Hill reports.

"Dodd ... has branched out his fundraising operation by tapping healthcare-related companies for more than $112,000 in the second quarter of 2009. The sum represents a good chunk of the more than $450,000 Dodd accumulated from PACs in the second quarter. In addition, fundraising records reviewed by The Hill show that Dodd accepted contributions from 32 lobbyists representing healthcare interests between April 1 and June 30, the weeks preceding Dodd's markup of legislation overhauling the nation's healthcare system."

Dodd's spokespeople say he has taken the money without letting it influence his policymaking (Bolton and McCaffrey, 7/20).

The revelations come as the drug lobby is spending more money than other health organizations as reform ramps up, The Associated Press reports: "With the fight over President Barack Obama's effort to revamp the nation's health care system escalating, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America said it spent $6.2 million lobbying in April, May and June, according to reports to Congress due Monday. Pfizer Inc., the New York-based producer of numerous drugs, ranked second in the health care sector at $5.6 million. In reports filed by 11 p.m. Monday, 22 health-related associations and companies had reported spending at least $1 million each lobbying during the quarter."

"According to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics, the health sector reported spending $127 million in lobbying during the first three months of this year, more than any other area." PhRMA has spent $13.1 million on lobbying this year and Pfizer has spent $11.7 million (Fram, 7/21).

The AARP spent $5.3 million in the same time frame, CQPolitics reports: "AARP, a highly visible participant in the contentious debate, has backed a plan by the drug companies to reduce prescription costs by $80 billion over the next decade. The group also has praised the $1 trillion plan developed by three House committees that would provide near-universal health insurance." Wal-Mart has spent $2.58 million and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce spent $7.4 million (Roth and Knott, 7/21).

Roll Call: "America's Health Insurance Plans reported spending $3.9 million, compared with $3.7 million for the first half of 2008. 'Our central focus is on comprehensive health care reform,' said AHIP spokesman Robert Zirkelbach. 'The numbers reflect that there's a lot more focus on health care this year.'" (Palmer and Ackley, 7/20).

The lobbying firm winner is Patton Boggs, which took home $18.5 million in the first half of 2009 in revenues, Politico reports. The Podesta Group, run by Tony Podesta -- brother to Obama transition team head John Podesta -- took $11.6 million (Abrahamson, 7/20).

In the meantime, biotech firms too have stepped up their own efforts on lobbying as legislators work to allow generic biotech drugs, The Boston Globe reports: "Pharmaceutical interests alone, including many from Massachusetts, spent more than $66 million on lobbying in just the first quarter of this year, up 25 percent from last year, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics. Drug companies accounted for more than half of all healthcare lobbying. 'They are on pace to obliterate their total lobbying expenditures from any other previous year,' said Dave Levinthal, the center's communications director" (Wangsness, 7/21).

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Why We Must Ration Health Care -

Why We Must Ration Health Care -
This is a long article but a good one on the tough topic of what rationing means or could mean. We do ration now - based on what you can afford. It is interesting that so many seem to want to be able to get life extending treatments that they can afford or that their insurance will pay for but at the same time we have millions working on health care directives to avoid being subjected to tube feeding and other life extending measures for their own quality of life. Seems contradictory and makes me wonder where the truth lies.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

We Cannot Afford the Middleman

Insurance companies are the middleman. The experiment of using insurance to pay for health care has FAILED. They now are spending over one million a day to lobby and pay off politicians in D.C. to stop any reform that takes money out of their highly paid execs. pockets (those people make millions a year per person and it is paid from our personal payments in premiums/co-payments/deductibles and in our tax payments (much more tax money goes to them than you can even imagine). The only way to afford this is to change how we pay for medical care. Cut the red tape and the welfare dole to the rich insurance execs. Create one payer and provide that any citizen can get the care they need. Access to care should not depend on where you work, whether you have a job, how sick you are, where you live or how much money you have. Access to necessary medical care should be automatic in this great country of ours. It should not depend on the middleman. Remove the middleman and we remove the source of the problem -- in fact we remove the problem itself.

Monday, July 6, 2009

HELP Is on the Way - Krugman

Op-Ed Columnist - HELP Is on the Way -

"....last week the budget office scored the full proposed legislation from the Senate committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP). And the news — which got far less play in the media than the downbeat earlier analysis — was very, very good. Yes, we can reform health care."

Krugman sounds optimistic here. He still says it will be mostly in the hands of the insurance companies but at least even with that he says it will be affordable relative to current projections continuing business as usual. I just wish he hadn't caved and gave up on the possibility of single payer.