Tuesday, May 5, 2009

What The Fuck, Chuck?!

...Scorched by Republican opposition to the idea of a new public program like Medicare, Senate Democrats are looking for a middle ground that would address the concerns of political moderates. One way they propose to do that is by requiring the public plan to resemble private insurance as much as possible.

“The public plan,” Mr. Schumer said Monday, “must be subject to the same regulations and requirements as all other plans” in the insurance market.

...Mr. Schumer said his goal was “a level playing field for competition” between public and private insurers. But Ms. Ignagni said, “It’s almost impossible to accomplish that objective.”

The chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, Max Baucus, Democrat of Montana, asked Mr. Schumer to seek a solution. In his response, Mr. Schumer set forth these principles:

- The public plan must be self-sustaining. It should pay claims with money raised from premiums and co-payments. It should not receive tax revenue or appropriations from the government.

- The public plan should pay doctors and hospitals more than what Medicare pays. Medicare rates, set by law and regulation, are often lower than what private insurers pay.

- The government should not compel doctors and hospitals to participate in a public plan just because they participate in Medicare.

- To prevent the government from serving as both “player and umpire,” the officials who manage a public plan should be different from those who regulate the insurance market.

In addition, Mr. Schumer said, the public plan should be required to establish a reserve fund, just as private insurers must maintain reserves for the payment of anticipated claims. And he said the public plan should be required to provide the same minimum benefits as private insurers.

I'm really, really tired of my senior Senator from New York. It's bad enough he served Michael Mukasey to the Bush administration on a silver platter, now he wants to make the public plan for health insurance as bad as the current private insurers in the guise of free market competition?

Shorter Schumer: The only way we'll put forth a public health insurance plan is if we make it crappy enough that no one will want it.


ZenYenta said...

I guess we should write to him now, huh? And call his office. I think we should. And I think that everyone in New York should.

ZenYenta said...

OK, I just did. I'll be asking everyone I know to do the same.

Annette said...

He get together with Ben Nelson and decide they needed to make things bad.. what the hell is the matter with these jerks.

Matt Osborne said...

Schumer's rhetoric is a pile of crap.

As someone who works on the inside of the insurance/ pharmaceutical world, I can safely assure anyone who cares to listen that a government insurance plan will have to operate just like any other insurance plan.

First, because ANY insurance plan must operate with the standard protocols of insurance: a government insurance card will carry a BIN number, Group number, and ID number. You can take that to the bank because it's how doctors and pharmacies work.

Second, because the larger the number of lives in an insurance group, the more leverage that group has to reduce plan costs. It's why GM workers had a better plan with lower copays than anyone else (and why I don't buy for an instant that Wal-Mart gives a shit about their workers). Obama made this point when he talked about adding Americans to the health system federal workers use.

And last, because 90% of insurance regulations aren't even about the insurer, but the provider.

Once again, the facts themselves are biased!