US Congress “Public Option” Healthcare Compromise with Insurance Companies Does not Live Up to Promises to American People

Kucinich Amendment May Save Health Reform

By Joshua Holland, AlterNet
Posted on July 17, 2009, Printed on July 17, 2009
http://www.alternet.org/bloggers/www.alternet.org/141404/ 

No time today for a lengthy analysis of the Tri-Committee health bill. My quick-and-dirty take is this.Those who think the bill is a wonderful progressive victory with a robust public option are wrong, and, on the flip side, the charge that it’s a “bailout for the insurance industry” is totally divorced from what the bill would actually do if passed. 

It is the most progressive, comprehensive and significant health care legislation to come down the pike since Medicare was passed in 1965. If it were enacted as written, it’d go a long way to solving a lot of our problems (but by no means all) and wouldn’t break the bank in the process. (I’ll have more next week on the good, the bad and the ugly in the new bill.)  

But it also fails some of the basic criteria that most progressives have long said is a red-line that can’t be crossed. First and foremost, it doesn’t have a public option that can compete with private insurers and result in significant cost savings.   

It has a public plan in which — as far as the statute goes (it can be expanded in 2015 but there’s no mandate to do so) — only 9-10 million people will be eligible to enroll by 2019. Similarly, the publicly-administered exchanges are projected to cover about 30 million by that year. (These relatively small insurance pools will be able to bargain in concert with Medicare to some degree, so their power will be magnified, but still…) 

Continue reading US Congress “Public Option” Healthcare Compromise with Insurance Companies Does not Live Up to Promises to American People

PA 4th CD Congressman Jason Altmire Votes to Deny Pennsylvania the Right to Establish a Statewide Single Payer Healthcare System

House Committee Allows States to Create Single-Payer Healthcare

By David Swanson
July 17, 2009

Kucinich amendment receives bi-partisan support

[EDITOR’S NOTE: This is a victory for single-payer advocates. Our job in the ensuing weeks will be to ensure that this amendment does not get stripped from the final legislation.] 

On Friday morning at 9:45 a.m. ET in the House Committee on Education and Labor, the committee members voted 25 to 19 to pass Congressman Dennis Kucinich’s amendment to the healthcare reform bill. This amendment, if it survives the full House, the Senate, the conference, and the President, will not alter the federal legislation except to allow states to create single-payer healthcare systems if they choose to. If this change to the bill makes news, it will pass the Senate, because there is no legitimate argument against it, and the support for it is bipartisan. 

Continue reading PA 4th CD Congressman Jason Altmire Votes to Deny Pennsylvania the Right to Establish a Statewide Single Payer Healthcare System