January 26, 2010

No More Health Care in America!

Hatched by Dafydd

Actually, it's just no more ObamaCare, according to the New York Times; I'm just going along with the media crowd that continually uses the term "health care" as a synonym for "mandatory, government-controlled, grotesquely expensive health insurance that leads inevitably to health-care rationing."

Here's the Times:

With no clear path forward on major health care legislation, Democratic leaders in Congress effectively slammed the brakes on President Obama’s top domestic priority on Tuesday, saying that they no longer felt pressure to move quickly on a health bill after eight months of setting deadlines and missing them....

Mr. Reid said that he and the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi of California, were working to map out a way to complete a health care overhaul in coming months. “There are a number of options being discussed,” Mr. Reid said, emphasizing “procedural aspects” of the issue.

And as we predicted last year, there will be no jam-down of ObamaCare using budget reconciliation:

At the same time, two centrist Democratic senators who are up for re-election this year, Blanche L. Lincoln of Arkansas and Evan Bayh of Indiana, said that they would resist efforts to muscle through a health care bill using a parliamentary tactic called budget reconciliation, which seemed to be the simplest way to advance the measure.

The White House has said in recent days that it would support that approach....

But a plan to win over House members by making changes to the Senate bill in the budget reconciliation process ran into substantial resistance on Tuesday.

Mrs. Lincoln, who faces one of the toughest re-election bids among Democrats, said, “I am opposed to and will fight against any attempts to push through changes to the Senate health insurance reform legislation by using budget reconciliation tactics that would allow the Senate to pass a package of changes to our original bill with 51 votes.”

Mr. Bayh said, “It would destroy the opportunity, if there is one, for any bipartisan cooperation the rest of this year on anything else.”

But they haven't given up entirely on passing something, anything, that they can call a health-care reform bill:

None of the options available to lawmakers, including the use of budget reconciliation, seems viable at the moment. Some lawmakers said they expected Congress to try to adopt a greatly pared down bill once it returns to the issue.

“Frankly, we’re trying to figure out what is possible,” Mr. Hoyer said. “Senator Reid needs to determine what is possible on his side of the aisle, you know, what kind of support he can get. And we’re trying to figure out as well what we can pass."

Sigmund Freud, the founder of modern psychoanalysis, famously expressed his perplexity with the distaff sex:

The great question that has never been answered, and which I have not yet been able to answer, despite my thirty years of research into the feminine soul, is "What does a woman want?"

The obvious rejoinder is -- why not ask her? (Freud actually posed his question in a letter to Marie Bonaparte, Napoleon Bonaparte's great-grandniece and a psychoanalyst herself; so perhaps Freud got his answer.)

Similarly, when Majority Leader Harry "Pinky" Reid (D-Caesar's Palace, 70%) asks, through his spokesman, "what kind of support he can get," he must surely be asking what kind of Republican support he can get... since the go-it-alone, Democrats-only approach failed miserably and humiliatingly.

And the obvious rejoinder is strikingly similar as above to Freud: Why doesn't Reid simply ask the Republicans what they would support?

The GOP has already offered a couple of health-insurance reform bills, which were so sooner debuted than the Democrats arrogantly flushed them. The Republican suggestions are several variations on putting more power in the hands of individual patients and doctors to decide their own treatment, thus removing much of the power that currently resides in government: both the regulatory regime of mandates and diktats and the judicial regime of medical-liability tort law:

  • Medical liability tort reform, to decrease outrageous malpractice verdicts and eliminate the need for "defensive medicine."
  • Insurance portability -- from job to job and from state to state.
  • Greater flexibility for insurance companies to create groups, coordinating small businesses, clubs, and buying blocs into pools of like-minded insurance customers.
  • Removing all government mandates on health-insurance policies, forcing them to cover every imaginable malady, condition, and the normal consequences of poor lifestyle choices. Let's make available a full range of insurance covereage, from minimalist plans to those "Cadillac" plans; you buy what you want and can afford.
  • More emphasis on catastrophic care plus medical savings accounts (MSAs), to put more treatment decisions directly in the hands of patients and their doctors and less in the hands of insurance adjusters.
  • And with all that, we can still take care of the poor by offering refundable tax credits for low-income families to be used to buy health insurance. There is no need for a "government option" and no voter desire for the government to get involved.

Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana already talked about these ideas in a Wall Street Journal op-ed; didn't Harry Reid read it?

Now that even the Democrats have been mugged by reality, perhaps their own sense of self preservation will triumph over their knee-jerk "progressivism" long enough to make common cause with the GOP and enact the health-insurance reform that Americans actually want.

I plan to hold my breath while waiting...

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, January 26, 2010, at the time of 8:11 PM

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A "seminar commenter" on a previous post made an extraordinary claim; he wrote: Tort reform is a non starter, not because Dems have no backbone, but because tort is a very small factor in health care cost issues. Unless you... [Read More]

Tracked on January 28, 2010 6:21 PM


The following hissed in response by: Steven Den Beste

At least the first of those (tort reform) is politically impossible for the Dems because trial lawyers are a major source of campaign contributions. Which of course you know.

Most of those others are also non-starters because they don't lead to big government.

The above hissed in response by: Steven Den Beste [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 26, 2010 11:16 PM

The following hissed in response by: Sabba Hillel

I plan to hold my breath while waiting...

Does your halth care cover resuscitation when you pass out from lack of oxygen?

The above hissed in response by: Sabba Hillel [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 27, 2010 5:20 AM

The following hissed in response by: snochasr

Or, here is another crazy idea. How about Congress reform the 50% of health "care" they already control, through Medicare, Medicaid, SCHIP, etc.? Since the costs of these programs are the proper concern of government, their costs are rising faster than those of the private health insurance market, and at least Medicare is effectively bankrupt as we speak, it seems there is more than enough work to be done without even touching the rest of the health care and health insurance industry.

The above hissed in response by: snochasr [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 27, 2010 9:02 AM

The following hissed in response by: Charles Giltner

Tort reform is a non starter, not because Dems have no backbone, but because tort is a very small factor in health care cost issues. Unless you consider 0.01% of total health care costs an issue.
Compared to nearly 30% of the population not having coverage at all, I consider tort a rhetorical tool, not a major political platform concern. When private insurance companies are excluded from the provisions of the Fair Trade Act, allowing them to set their own rules of conduct, reform is necessary. The rights and protection of citizens are more important than the rights of corporations and protecting their ability to increase profits at the expense of the health of policy holders and the sick. Wake up people, the private insurance industry is playing you for massive profits while denying access to the risk pool. Lets provide health care for everyone and cut off the profit from the unthinking, uncaring, greed-focused CEOs of insurance conglomerates.

The above hissed in response by: Charles Giltner [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 28, 2010 12:42 AM

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