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Old Codger
03:48 PM on 12/26/2009
There was some comments about attaching tort reform to this health insurance reform bill . What the MSM is not telling the public is that there are law suits against some of the big merchantdising corporations involving NAFTA and GAT . These law suits are probably the biggest things on the planet and those big merchandising corporations are behind sticking tort reform in this bill because it will effect the pay out by thses big corporations .
03:40 PM on 12/26/2009
Thank you for your invaluable overview and work the last half year.

(Are you sure you're not a plant from the bad guys? I sure hope not, because a lot of people are taking your advice)
03:38 PM on 12/26/2009
Mr. Potter, or anyone else reading, how specifically would this legislation help Eddie's wife? Are you basing that on the Medicaid expansion, and their economic status?

Thanks for your response(s).
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06:34 PM on 12/26/2009
I'm not Mr Potter but yes, if she is old enough, or via the exchange, including the not for profit plan plus government subsidies determined by their income which in Eddie's family's case, cannot be much.
03:34 PM on 12/26/2009
Thank you, Mr. Potter. It is heartening to read your articles and see your appearances in support of universal health care.

One quibble: it is 123 individuals/day dying, not 12 -- a typo in your article that bears correcting. Thanks.
04:36 PM on 12/26/2009
9/11, each month, every month. We went to Afghanistan to get the perpetrators of 9/11. Can't we go to Wall Street or K Street and get the perpetrators of the Health Care Holocaust?
01:15 PM on 12/27/2009
Where do I sign up?
03:28 PM on 12/26/2009
Sen Jim DeMint DECLARED the defeat of this bill as the Waterloo of my President and my party affiliate. That 'line in the sand' is the Grand Canyon to me.
In ONE Party there is SOME 'wiggle room' for saving of the American Middle Class I grew up with and love and that is the Democratic Party.
Big Tent is BASED in debate but 'herding cats' gets harder as passions rise.
The compromises that dictate politics are frustrating but not impossible.
The political tactics that have been employed by the lockstep right have taken 30 years to get to this point and it won't get changed overnight
BUT the SCARIEST words in the conservative dictionary 'Liberal Progressive' is surviving the plan of the Grover Norquists' of our Country who thought they would celebrating the 'drowning in the bathtub our Progressive Liberal Government' by now!
and the Liberal Progressive policies that saved us then WILL WORK again and they know it!
That's why the 24/7 demonizing has gotten so shrill it's making Rush deaf....
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06:36 PM on 12/26/2009
Well said!
HCR Activst & Occupy Groupie
02:43 PM on 12/26/2009
Hi Wendell! "Kill the Bill" is not the same as "Kill the Reform". Few Corporate Senators have used this threat to effect a lobotomy of the bill. There is still time or House Progressives to take a similarly tough stand but for the right cause.

The disingenuous or false statements made by Team Obama and Obama loyalists, to whitewash the Bill are disheartening. Unfortunately many critics are are getting tired and resigned to inevitability of a flawed bill. Some of the most egregious half truths going unchallenged are:

1) Subsidies and exchanges etc start in 8014, thus all this sobbing about 45k dying is at best crocodile tears. If true should we not be talking any other topic at all. Are 15 911's not a National Emergency?

2) Insure 31M (not 47M) by 2019, not exactly a crash program, is it? Why do they not point out that tax payer money will be squandered on bone crushing premiums (more than proportionately higher subsidies) to further grow 111% by Ins Industry's own estimates.

3) President has not ensured that alternatives to Public Option, which provide "the same" cost lowering and competition, are in the Bill.

4) The differential of older people with pre-existing conditions can be upto 300% of the regular prmium200%. Comparable number is 20% per Vermont state regulation. At this number people higher than 400% poverty level will not find it affordable. For those eligible for subsidies, tax payer will be hit for obscenely high amounts.
02:09 PM on 12/26/2009
Let's keep the bill, but only if we regroup and fight even harder for a Public Option, we must have one.
We also will need the Federal Government to act like one and make sure that all States are complying and implementing laws and benefits correctly.
02:43 PM on 12/26/2009
If you want public option why not merely move to one of the countries with an already established public option? Canadians speak english, have jobs and being in canada is pretty similar to being in the US.

Why change the US system and impose what you think people should do on the rest of us when better, more clearly established public option utopias already exist. France is #1m why not France?

I and others who oppose this bill are not changing a system out from under you or using political force against you. You clearly have a choice, we don't. The US is the last place on Earth for us individuals.
02:56 PM on 12/26/2009
So, Are you saying the majority of U.S citiezens who do want Public Options should leave the U.S?

No one is changing the system, the system nees to comply with the fundament rights of individuals, we voted and demanded public option.

With arguments like that 'move' are not going to get very far.
03:07 PM on 12/26/2009
Why don't you move to a 'neo-conned' model of conservative policies where you can go bankrupt if you get sick............whoops, you live in THAT country NOW and the only other country close is Iraq.
Hyperbole aside,
The most 'conservative' countries out there right now have stadiums for there Sunday morning executions...
yea, let's be like them.
01:46 PM on 12/26/2009
I agree with Mr. Potter that we probably have before us what is politically feasible in terms of Health Care Reform and agree that we should take what we can get, even if we have to hold our noses as we do so.

To me, there are two bottom lines when it comes to health coverage in general and in the US in particular.

One, all countries, even high marginal tax rate countries, ration health care on the basis of price. For example, France with a robust program providing baseline coverage for all also allows for a second tier of coverage whereby the affluent can purchase differentiated treatment.

Two, as much as many might not like it, poll after poll shows that the US is essentially a Center-Right country politically; the Center rules and over time leans a little to the right. This is a Center that views a 35% or 38% marginal income tax rate as about as high as it will accept and that also rejects a national VAT as long as income tax rates are in that range. Until the national consensus on taxation changes (not likely in the foreseeable future), it will be impossible to provide all Americans with the kind of care that the affluent can afford.
02:49 PM on 12/26/2009
What percentage of retirees LOVE their SocSec and Medicare?
That PERCENTAGE are PRACTICING 'Socialists', I don't care what they TELL you.
Issus by issue MOST people are Liberal.
The GI Bill
Public Education
the Commons
REGULATED Capitalism
the EPA
Unemployment insurance
Social Security
Medicare......and it goes on and on!

You want POLLS?
What countries POLL as the HAPPIEST citizens on the planet?
The ones practicing the American Social Democracy that came as a gift along with the Liberal Marshall Plan that was PART of the Liberal Foundation PERPETUATED by every President UNTIL Reagan.
After 30 years of being 'demonized' by the 'noise machine' WE Liberal Progressives are STILL STANDING and much taller than the 'neandrethal' right.
04:38 PM on 12/26/2009
Public education is a fiasco. We rank 44th and pay the most per child almost.

FDIC is a safety net that must be eliminated as is the basis for nearly every economic collapse. You cannot tell a market place they can do whatever they want then bail them out when they screw up.

The same EPA that will force us to buy CFLs against our will and regulate our carbon foot print?

Social security, an entitlement obligation that will cost the US over 35 tril to fulfill. Taking money people could have invested themselves for retirement and instead putting it into a giant ponzi scheme is not helping people.

The same SEC that didn't do its job when it came to Maddoff and actually endorsed Maddoff?

Sorry but all you've advocated is messed up systems on top of messed up systems so you can boast about your well intentioned merit badge.
01:42 PM on 12/26/2009
It's almost too shockingly unbelievable to think that some liberals are opposed to the bill because it's not liberal enough. Never mind that a vast majority of Americans are opposed to it because they rightly believe it will take their choices away and make them worse off than they are now, as demonstrated by one of the nation's most accurate polling firms ( Despite this, our corrupt senators, all bought and paid for, will ram it down our throats anyway.
03:58 PM on 12/26/2009
Just because Americans have been manipulated to think something doesn't make that something true. What choices do Americans with health problems have now? Hope to find and employer and become part of a group that has health insurance (often as part of a union contract or the collateral effect of a union contract) or just be richer. Most Americans will fail at either, since fewer employers are providing health insurance and job instability makes it real hard just to be richer. Your point is that Americans are clinging to an idealized world in which thew have some nebulous "choice". Try being at the crux of health problems and unemployment. Your choices are few and far between.
01:38 PM on 12/26/2009
This is an important article by a smart man who knows both sides of the issue. We should heed his advice. I have seen and heard Mr. Potter several times on MSNBC, notably the Ed Show. I have really enjoyed Ed Schultz's enthusiasm. I, too, feel very strongly about the issues. Being both an MD and a Navy veteran I know two things first hand: 1) The unnecessary suffering of the American people that have to live without affordable health care, and 2) the high quality and efficiency of the VA health care system, which is, of course single payer and government run.

As an MD I could have afforded any private plan but I elected to use my VA benefits because their medical care is so much better than any private plan available and, of course, because it is free*. I started using my VA benefits in 2001. I had three preexisting conditions, one very serious, none of which disqualified me. Over these eight years my VA doctors have saved my live on three occasions. Every day I am stunned at the brutal, heartless attitudes of Republicans, a few conservative Democrats, and above all, the insurance cartel. How they can continue to deny decent health care to their compatriots just for the sake of money or politics, is beyond me.

*See my description of the VA system and its efficiencies elsewhere.
04:33 PM on 12/26/2009
Truly amazing. The US currently has all models of health care delivery in action:

1 Socialized - government owned and operated - the VA
2 Single payer - private providers, government payer - MediCare
3 Private insurance - for profit payers, private providers - most employer provided
4 Private pay - Rich people, who don't waste money on insurance companies and poor people, who don have any money - the rich get care, the poor, probably not

The least costly and best outcomes are from the VA Medical system and the country would have apoplexy if you even proposed that we should adopt it for everyone. Next best is MediCare and Congress won't even talk about making everyone part of that system. What a nation of goofballs we are.
Return to reality.
01:34 PM on 12/26/2009
Look how much money went to the Republicans hand. So now go vote Republicans they are perfect. You got to be kidding.
01:20 PM on 12/26/2009
I'm not sure whether this is "half a loaf" or a couple of moldy slices of week-old bread, but it's pretty clear that politically the senate bill is the best we're going to get. There are not 60 votes in the senate for a public option or even for an extension of Medicare, so that's a pipe dream.

Based on my understanding, the bill covers another 30 million Americans, does away with lifetime limits on payments to an individual and does away with "pre-existing conditions" for children immediately and for all in 2014. Those are all "good things."

It also seems to have a lot of fuzzy arithmetic around cuts in Medicare paying for many of its provisions (I'll believe that when I see it) and seems to imply much higher premiums, assuming that the eligible 20-somethings opt to pay the absurdly low $750 "fine" and thereby deprive insurance companies of the demographic that typically helps fund coverage for older folks. Medicare cuts will drive more and more doctors away from accepting the Program and result in reduced availability of care for the elderly. Those are "bad things."

I think that the "good things" outweigh the "bad things," even though we can't fully understand the implications of the latter.
01:12 PM on 12/26/2009
Thanks for all your great efforts to inform the American public about the downright, sheer treachery, and premeditated "profit uber the lives of Americans" tactics of the 'health' insurance industry you once worked for, Mr. Potter, but you are incorrect on this one:
< Congress must send the president a bill to sign -- and soon. >

Why "MUST" Congress send an atrocious bill up to the president to sign?

Because the DC Democrats MIGHT SQUANDER those impressive House and Senate majorites they won in 2006, and again IMPROVED upon in 2008?
They have already SQUANDERED their approval ratings, and this ABYSMAL, 'health-care' NON "reform" plan will only make things WORSE - it will PAINT "Liberals" and Democrats as the DICTATORIAL DEMAGOGUES that Right-Wing PR has been TRYING to paint Dems with for 5 decades now,
for at least an entire generation (15-20 years) to come.
12:46 PM on 12/26/2009
How come 'weak' but liberal, democratic and capitalist countries likeCanada and France (because they run a similar health system) are able to keep controls over their Health Insurance Corporations and the U.S cannot?
01:15 PM on 12/26/2009
Don't forget Israel.
01:53 PM on 12/26/2009
Because those countries enjoy a different national consensus on the role of Government in providing services for their populations than we do in the US and are willing to pay the price both in terms of taxation and of patience with the limitations of large, national healthcare bureaucracies. In language your namesake would understand, they view the Moral Imperative differently than we do in the US.
12:38 PM on 12/26/2009
I am really worried, our government is fast dissapearing.
Virtually every Developed and Newly Developed countries lead by establishing basic rights that no one can trespass, not even corporations. When it comes to healthcare, France, Singapore, Canada, the UK, Sweden, Spain etc (they are all less powerful than the U.S) are not told by Corporations how health should be established, everyone knows that health is the government's realm, the government dictates not the corporations.

Do not be confused, just because we do not want to allow corporations into running our health does not mean that we are curtailing capitalism; health should not be corporations domain, they have their domain of running other industries, but they not to get out of this one.

Our government needs to set up clear divisions of what is government and what is business. Separate the two, and corporations need to stop wanting to have a piece of everything. There should be clear lines that they need to respect and health is one of them.