Today, the Senate Finance Committee's "gang of six" (excuse me, what I meant to say is, coffee klatch of three, since no Republican came on board) through Senator Max Baucus put forth a bill on health care reform. Others on this site have reported on what they have come up with, so I need not take time to reiterate that which they have already written. But while I was listening to Senator Kent Conrad describe what's in the legislation, including the preclusion of immigrants from participating, eliminating funds for abortions, mandating that every American have insurance, providing co-ops, giving (lip service) to malpractice reform, and the like, I was thinking, boy, the insurance industry must be licking their chops. They may have potentially millions more customers who must come to them for health insurance coverage. And while none of the three Republicans working with Baucus signed onto this bill, Senator Mitch McConnell was elsewhere, blasting it. The point here is that the Democrats came on bended knee to serve up a Republican platter of goodies, which, while on that platter for all to see, has been scorned and shunned by all Republicans. Democrats, even your "begging" to please your Republican counterparts won't work this time.
While the Republicans want nothing to do with the Baucus plan, the insurance industry stands to gain millions more insureds. This means lots of bucks for those insurance folks. But there is even more legislative largesse to fill the coffers of those insurers. There is not a public option to create effective competition and choice--all in order to contain costs, or more likely than not, to drive costs down. The Baucus basket of sweet things also contains additional regulations, like precluding coverage due to a pre-existing condition. These are really good items. BUT, such regulations mean increased exposures for insurers; increased exposures mean additional costs in the form of payments to insureds and more coverage mandated by this possible new federal law. All this takes away from the bottom line, which would be unacceptable to shareholders. So, what is an insurer to do? Why, raise premiums, that's what. So, with more regulations, millions more insureds, and with no public option, insurance companies will be receiving an early Christmas present with the ability to raise insurance premiums without any effective mechanism to clamp down on this.
To all my Democratic friends: wise up. You are being taken for fools while being led down the garden path by those who either don't care about reforming the health care system in our country, or who want you to do the business of those opposing real reform by giving the insurance companies a field day that every American will complain about about and blame you all for before the next election cycle. Is it so hard to see this? In the interim, while you take off your rose-colored glasses and see what fools you will become if you don't insert a public option, anyone care to tell me how can I become an insurance executive now?
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