July 16, 2009


Health Care Vote Illustrates Partisan Divide (ROBERT PEAR and DAVID M. HERSZENHORN, 7/15/09, NY Times)

A party-line Senate committee vote on legislation to remake the nation’s health care system underscored the absence of political consensus on what would be the biggest changes in social policy in more than 40 years.

The bill, which aims to make health insurance available to all Americans, was approved, 13 to 10, by the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. The panel was the first Congressional committee to approve the health legislation.

“If you don’t have health insurance, this bill is for you,” said Senator Christopher J. Dodd, Democrat of Connecticut, who presided over more than three weeks of grueling committee sessions. “It stops insurance companies from denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions. It guarantees that you’ll be able to find an insurance plan that works for you, including a public health insurance option if you want it.”

The bill would also help people who have insurance, Mr. Dodd said, because “it eliminates annual and lifetime caps on coverage and ensures that your out-of-pocket costs will never exceed your ability to pay.”

As Senator Dodd says, it's just about Democrats spending more money. Unfortunately for them, the theory of health care reform is that it's supposed to save money.

Wanting The Impossible On Health Care (John Zogby, 07.16.09, Forbes)

Here are some examples from the Texas/Zogby survey:

--84% are satisfied with their current health care.

--53% agree that health care is a human right.

--But only 39% would be willing to pay any more in taxes to insure every American. Opinion is split on whether taxes should be increased on families earning more than $250,000 per year as a way to accomplish that goal.
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--People also oppose cost-cutting measures such as rationing expensive care, increasing deductibles and co-pays, raising the age for Medicare from 65 to 66 and decreasing payments to doctors and hospitals. [...]

--A plurality opposes requiring everyone to purchase health insurance, with assistance for those who cannot afford it, by a 48% to 42% margin.

--However, when asked to rate the importance of insuring all, reducing costs or improving care, insuring all had the highest percentage of first-choice rankings with 42%. For both the other two, 28% ranked them first.

--Taxing employee health benefits for those who have expensive plans is very unpopular, with 52% saying it's a poor idea and just 7% saying it's an excellent one.

--There is consensus on the damage being done to our economy by health care costs, as 79% believe rising health care costs are hurting American businesses.

--As for requiring employers to offer coverage choices and paying two thirds of the costs, 16% call that an excellent idea but 32% call it poor.

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 16, 2009 7:53 AM
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