Here are the FDL Action health care reform highlights for Friday, December 4.
1. Jane Hamsher points to a new Mason-Dixon poll indicating that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid trails two potential GOP opponents. This doesn’t make Hamsher particularly sad, to put it mildly, given that she believes Reid “is doing what he always intended to do – take the public option out of the bill.”
2. Jon Walker warns that “unless we do health care right, every private sector union will be dead in nine years.” The reason? “Manufacturing in this country will not expand or even survive as long as health care insurance is an ever-growing overhead cost,” which means “there simply will not be a manufacturing sector to unionize.” I’d add that there won’t be a healthy economy in general if health care costs continue to rise and health care expenditures make up an ever-growing portion of our GDP.
3. Jon Walker has Part 5 of his series on “what the Senate bill does better.” In this episode, we’ve got the fact that “the risk adjustment mechanisms in the Senate bill (page 226 – 238) are slightly better [than in the House bill].” Well, that’s something at least. 🙂
4. Jane Hamsher announces that “Blue America is going to be working to get single payer candidates on the ballot in every Congressional district across the country.” Also, “Tomorrow at noon ET, Blue America will host Jonathan Tasini, a long time single payer advocate who is running for the US Senate in New York.” That should be interesting, check it out.
5. Jon Walker writes that he has been “watching the debate on health care reform for the past five days, and it is amazing how much time and effort the Republican party has dedicated to defending massive government waste and huge corporate giveaways.” Walker is talking, of course, about Medicare Advantage, “a network of private plans that the government pays to provide Medicare-eligible seniors with health insurance instead of covering them with traditional Medicare.” The problem is that “[a]s the result of a broken payment formula (put in place by the Republicans), the government overpays these private insurance companies by roughly 12%.” It’s a huge corporate giveaway, in other words, which certainly helps explain why Republicans are so enthusiastic about it!
7. Speaking of Blanche Lincoln, Jon Walker says that she’s trying to “shake her corporate shill image with [a] faux-populist amendment,” but that “it is unlikely that most insurance companies will even be affected by this amendment.” Walker concludes, “Sorry Blanche, but no amount of meaningless symbolic amendments will change the fact that you are doing everything you can to defend the profits of the private insurance industry.”
8. Finally, Jon Walker predicts that the Senate “like all entrenched institutions, will only change when there is a crisis.” And, Walker believes, “[t]his is the perfect moment for the progressives to force the crisis needed to change how the Senate works.” Walker believes that if this doesn’t happen, it “will pretty much guarantee not a single piece of really progressive legislation is passed during Obama’s presidency.” On that cheery note, have a great weekend! 🙂