FDL Action Health Care Update: Friday (12/11/09)

Here are the FDL Action health care reform highlights for Friday, December 11.

1. Jon Walker says that the “‘Medicare buy-in’ idea might not really be Medicare at all, it might in fact be fake Medicare, one which “would lack almost all the benefits of Medicare.” Walker adds, “A Medicare buy-in program that does not actually allow people to fully buy into real Medicare is a farce.”

2. Jane Hamsher writes that Harry Reid, “who is solely responsible for crafting the bill that he introduced in the Senate, decided that there should be a limit on lifetime benefits.”  Meanwhile, “Reid is also manipulating procedure to keep the Dorgan drug reimportation amendment, which would save both the government and consumers hundreds of millions of dollars, from coming to a vote.” Hamsher wonders why “Reid never uses the powers he has against Joe Lieberman.”  

3. Jon Walker believes that, “For the past few days, Obama and Reid have rather publicly fought against bringing down America’s health care costs.”

4. Jane Hamsher writes a letter to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation, calling on them to “ask Hadassah Lieberman to step down as a ‘Global Ambassador’ for the organization in light of the inherent conflict of interest her continued presence brings.” Hamsher invites everyone to sign a petition urging the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation to do just that.

5. Jon Walker writes that Harry Reid has “quietly gutted one of the most important consumer protections in the bill, the ban on annual limits.”  Walker argues that by adding the “‘unreasonable’ qualifier {Reid} added is a loophole you can drive a school bus through.” Jane Hamsher adds that the Department of Health and Human Services knew about this and even has been “quietly promoting” it for a while now.

6. Jon Walker reports that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has concluded that the “new excise tax on employer-provided health insurance will result in most people getting worse health insurance from their employer, insurance that covers less.”  Walker adds that if “this excise tax is the core of the plan to ‘bend the cost curve,’ it is a failure.”

7. Jon Walker argues that the “reason Reid dropped the annual limit from the Senate bill was to make his bill appear cheaper in the CBO score, and make insurance premiums appear lower.” “Of course,” Walker points out, “eliminating the ban on annual caps makes a mockery of the entire idea of ‘insurance.'”

8. Finally, Jon Walker has highlights of CMS’ analysis of the Senate health care bill. Overall, Walker concludes, “the report is a mixed bag,” with “very slightly higher” national health expenditures in 2019, but on the other hand it “shows a bad bill can still greatly expand insurance coverage without noticeably increasing our national health care spending.” Ergo, Walker concludes, “Imagine what could be done with a good bill that is not full of massive corporate give aways.”