As promised, I watched as much of the President's Summit as I was able. It really doesn't take a long time to sum up the Summit. The Republican plan will only insure 3,000 of the 30 million uninsured and will do nothing to reduce the escalating cost of medical care.
Heaven forbid that they would reign in the out-of-control insurance industry. Regulate them under the Fair Trade laws? Perish the thought. The insurance industry is exempt from that law, by the way. Why?
Oh, but the R's have a grand idea. Let people buy their insurance across state lines. Whoopee! As Paul Krugman states in his op-ed piece in the New York Times, that will just make it harder for those with serious medical problems to get insurance. To fully understand the folly of this measure please click on the link below:
With proper regulation of the insurance industry the R's plan to buy coverage across state lines has some merit, but will not reduce premiums by much since the big insurance companies now control most of the policies. (Too big to fail - does that ring a bell? Does Anthem Blue Cross ring a bell?) The key word is 'regulation' and the R's are adamantly opposed to that.
The other pet project of the R.s is tort reform. As one Democrat Senator pointed out, the cost of medical malpractice suits is 1/5 of 1%. So how much do you think it will save? The Senator from Texas proudly proclaimed that tort reform had reduced insurance rates by 4% in his state (this figure is from my sometimes faulty memory so don't hold me to it). No matter what figure he used, the Kaiser Foundation did a study that showed it had not reduced rates at all after three years of being in place. This comes down to 'who do you believe' and 'where is the proof'.
Since the Republicans are not adverse to outright lying with a straight face, I have to take much of their statistics at face value. For example, Lamar Alexander said in his opening statement that the bill would increase premiums for policyholders. The reality is that the CBO (Congressional Budget Office) said it will reduce premiums. How can Lamar make such a bald face statement in the face of those stubborn things, facts? Well, what the CBO actually said is that premiums would rise for a small segment of policy holders because they would buy better coverage, but for the same coverage the premiums would be less.
Another lie repeated by the R side was that the bill included $500 million taken out of Medicare. The amount is not only wrong, but the money saved will be in the form of reform of the Medicare Advantage Plan ( This has been a bonanza for the insurance companies) and cutting out waste and fraud. No elder will see his coverage change, except that it will lower cost of premiums and co-pays and provide better preventative measures such as free cancer screening.
But, all that aside, the Republican plan is a sham anyhow, because their real goal is to KILL the BILL. The mantra repeated by one Republican after another was "Start over." or "take it one step at a time". Of course, we all know what this means. It means 'stall it while we demagogue it some more so the public will believe our lies about a government take over, etc. and oppose it. They have been doing a masterful job of that so far. I will have to give them that.
If I hear one more Republican make the claim (as did Mr.'tanner than thou') that we have the best health care system in the world I will barf. It's true for him, but not for the 30,000 uninsured in our country.
I wrote what the bill WILL do on the previous post so I will not go over that again. As one of my responders noted, it will eventually close the do-nut hole. If you don't know what is in it, please refer back to that post to understand the President's position and the bill as it stands now.
Random facts brought out in the debate: Now it costs every citizen $1,000 for everyone who uses the Emergency Room without insurance . (Another reason to have everyone insured.) Mr. Tanner than thou, Boehner claimed the bill would pay for abortions. Nancy Pelosi set him straight on that. It DOESN'T. Boehner is either a consummate liar or an idiot; or both.
A personal observation on the participants. My two senators, the two Johns, gave a shameful performance. John McCain looked so angry that I wondered if he had a dagger hidden in his suit. Obama reminded him that the campaign was over. That's the only time McCain smiled and it was an embarrassed one. (He's such a sore loser.) John Kyle is a lawyer and very smooth at making his proclamations sound like they are the truth. But he is a liar repeating Lamar Alexander's lie of rising premiums. Thad Cochran was logical and made good points for the R side, but every one of his suggestions were already in the bill. Mitch McConnell whined that the Democrats got more time than the Republicans. (Poor baby) The President pointed out that it was because he was the President and he is the one who took more time. It was, after all, his summit.
After the seven hour summit was over Mitch McConnell and David 'I'm tanner than thou' Boehner proudly proclaimed that they would not support the bill. Is anyone surprised by that?
It is obvious that the bill will not receive one 'aye' vote from the Republican side of the aisle no matter what is in it. I wish the Democrats would put the Public Option back in the bill and pass it as quick as possible under the rule of Reconciliation. Let the Republicans rant that they were excluded and that 'Reconciliation' was a back room deal. (Their claim that it is unconstitutional, et. al, is ridiculous. Reconciliation has been used 21 times by Democrats and Republicans; including the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest 1% of the population.). Then let them explain why not one person on their side of the aisle voted for it.
My final comment on the long day is that our president did a fantastic job of keeping those who wanted to use this format for political posturing from going off on a rant of their talking points. He masterfully brought them back to the subject. He knew his facts and didn't need a teleprompter or cliff notes to reel them off. He was, as usual, articulate and knowledgeable.