The latest Senate health care bill has no public option. No expansion of Medicare. And it does too little to guarantee that uninsured Americans will actually be able afford the coverage they’ll be required to purchase.
But it’s not too late to fix the bill. And as Joe Lieberman has shown, just one senator willing to stand in the way can force legislation to be changed dramatically.
Senator Bernie Sanders has already made clear that he’s opposed to the legislation in its current form. I just signed a petition urging him and other progressives to block it until it’s fixed. Will you join me?
The Senate bill would allow for things called “nationwide plans.” These plans would be based in one state, and could sell in any other state, while ignoring those other state’s regulations. To quote the bill section 1333:
(b) Authority for Nationwide Plans-
(1) IN GENERAL- Except as provided in paragraph (2), if an issuer (including a group of health insurance issuers affiliated either by common ownership and control or by the common use of a nationally licensed service mark) of a qualified health plan in the individual or small group market meets the requirements of this subsection (in this subsection a `nationwide qualified health plan’)–
(A) the issuer of the plan may offer the nationwide qualified health plan in the individual or small group market in more than 1 State; and
(B) with respect to State laws mandating benefit coverage by a health plan, only the State laws of the State in which such plan is written or issued shall apply to the nationwide qualified health plan.
It clearly says right there in the bill that Aetna could set up shop in Indiana and sell insurance in New York that only meets Indiana’s lower standards. This could produce a race to the bottom. The worst part is that it is an “opt-out” and not an “opt-in” program. States would not be able to act in time to prevent their regulations from effectively being gutted by “nationwide plans.” Nationwide plans nullify state laws regulating what kinds of health insurance must be sold in their state.
The following article was posted as a comment to an earlier post about the closing of Commonwealth Medical Center in Aliquippa. It deserves to be at the top of our page. – Randy Shannon
Hi this is Erin Bradovich the dedicated former employee of Commonwealth Medical Center Inc. and I just want to say Merry Christmas to all the other former Employees of CMC that I considered my extended family and miss so much.
There still is no resolution to this scandalous, indecency brought upon us by the greedy former executives of CMC. Even today which is December 18, 2009 I know for a fact that not one single dedicated employee who was let go from that hospital where we all worked so hard to keep open and available to serve the needs of the public, even now 1 year later, still have not received our paychecks that we worked so diligently for. Just ask my family, my mom, my sisters and my neighbors who had to sit with my 3 young daughters while I faithfully worked sometimes mandatory 12-16 hour shifts in the end how much I loved my job.
I really don’t mean to sound regretful, because I really loved my job, and my work there changed my life, but while I was hard at work like all the other faithful employees striving to serve the community of Aliquippa and their medical needs, my children were at friends and relatives homes while mommy was out EARNING a living and had I known that there was going to be no compensation for the time that I / WE devoted to the employers who have deceived us all, then I would gratefully had been home spending Quality time with my girls, making memories especially at Christmas Time.
Long story short then: CMC you not only robbed me and all of your other former employees of our earned paychecks but you have stolen away precious time i could have shared with my children. How can you sleep at night. Here’s your opportunity to make it right – better late than never huh- all I want THIS Christmas is the paycheck I earned LAST Christmas.
Oh and my New Year’s Resolution is never give up the fight for justice — Slavery was abolished in 1865. My fellow citizens of AMERICA, and to my extended family of former co-workers and friends Stay Strong in these tough economic times I miss you all. Merry Christmas to you, Erin Bradovich and her Family
Merry Christmas from Senator Bob Casey! Yesterday the US Senate defeated 51-48 (60 votes to pass) an amendment to allow reimportation of US drugs from certain foreign countries. Senator Casey voted with the drug lobbyists against the people of his state.
Democratic Sen. Dorgan has introduced this bill repeatedly over the years. When the Democrats were in the minority and could not pass the bill, they all voted for it. Now that there are enough votes on both sides of the aisle to pass this bill, key Democrats voted against it.