To put it quite simply, if the final bill that passes the House of Representatives and the Senate to be signed by the President doesn't have a strong public option, it will be nothing more than a forced bailout of the murder-by-spreadsheet industry with 47 million new captive customers. Without the public option, the revenue and profits of the for-profit insurers and non-profit insurers such as Blue Cross Blue Shield are set to soar to the tune of $1.39 trillion of new revenues over the first eight years of the proposed health bill.
And you know what's worse? The proposed co-ops in the Senate Finance Bill would allow insurers such as Blue Cross Blue Shield to become a regional co-operative, which allows it to suck up even more money out of the proposed start-up money for these co-ops, and subsidies for low-income individuals and families.
There will be no real competition without a strong public option, and premiums will rise unabated for the next decade, thus choking the financial livelihood out of millions of Americans.
As I've written before, without the public option as a check on private insurance companies, monthly premiums are going to rise unabated, and there wouldn't be real competition among these insurance companies in the national insurance exchange. You know that might happen in the national insurance exchange without the public option? Right now, we have about six major insurance companies that dominate much of the country's health insurance market in most states. What's going to happen to these six major insurance companies in the national insurance exchange?
Will they really compete with each other? Or instead, buy each small insurance company up to the point that there are now six major insurance companies offering hundreds of different insurance plans within the national insurance exchange?
They'll become too big to fail, just like the companies on Wall Street.
That's not real competition. That won't bring down prices of your monthly premiums. What it is is nothing more than a mandated bailout of the murder-by-spreadsheet industry with 47 million new captive customers. When Americans don't see the cost of their monthly premiums being lowered, you know who they'll blame for not making health care reform affordable for them? The Democratic Party.
Sure, the insurance regulations are great. So you're stuck with an insurance company that can't drop you for pre-existing conditions, and they're now required to pay only 65% of claims rather than the 80% or the 90% that they used to pay, and can't rescind your policy if you get too sick. However, your monthly premiums will continue to rise. In the past year, there's been a 20% jump in the cost of monthly premiums, and that's doubled almost with every year. It's an unsustainable situation for us financially without the public option.
And yes, this is a test of the Democratic Party as to whether they stand on our side or on the side of these major insurers such as UnitedHealth, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Cigna, Aetna, and WellPoint.
It's becoming clear which side some Democrats are on, especially so-called Democrats like the Blue Dogs, Ben Nelson, Kent Conrad, and others when they push co-operatives that have shown NOT to bring down premium costs, but acts as another way for non-profit insurers such as Blue Cross Blue Shield to funnel down even more revenue off our backs.
And when we have Democrats like these on our side, we need to support them, and encourage them with our support for their refusal to vote for any bill, including the conference report, that does not include a strong public option in it.
Once again, here's a Democrat, Rep. Pete Stark, for us to support when he tells the truth like this below:
Moderate Blue Dog Democrats ''just want to cause trouble,'' said Rep. Pete Stark, D-Calif., who heads the health subcommittee on the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee.
''They're for the most part, I hate to say, brain dead, but they're just looking to raise money from insurance companies and promote a right-wing agenda that is not really very useful in this whole process,'' Stark told reporters on a conference call.
And Rep. Stark calls out the co-op scam for what it is--a scam by private and non-profit insurers:
"There aren't many of you listening who remember the co-ops in the '30s, which was kind of a Roosevelt outfit, rural electric co-ops, phone co-ops," Stark said. "But, as I say, there is no real example of either the regulation, or how you would establish them, or where they would get enough people to have a purchasing base. So you might as well talk about unicorns. You know, what is a medical unicorn? My kids all know what a unicorn is. But you don't. You have never seen one. So I think this co-op is just a way of ducking the issue of having the public plan."
Thank you, Rep. Stark, for telling the truth! It's a pity that you're one of the few Democrats to do so in Congress. Rep. Pete Stark is currently at $4,390 on ActBlue. Let's push him over the $5,000 mark today!
And you can call Rep. Stark's office at 202-225-5065 to thank him for telling the truth about the co-ops and the Blue Dog Democrats. Also let Rep. Stark's office know that you've donated to him on ActBlue as a healthcare hero.
And here are the action items today for you to follow:
- Go to these townhalls to THANK our progressive Democrats for saying that the public option is a necessary cost containment on making health insurance premiums affordable! Thank them for saying that the public option is the line in the sand for them, and show as much support as you can!
- Also bring a print-out of this diary (just click on the link to print out), and a link to Jacob Hacker's paper explaining why regional co-operatives are an unacceptable alternative to the public option! Print out as much as you can and take them with you to the Democratic townhalls to pass out to the audience and to your Representative.
- Use the FDL Recess Event Tracker Tool to find other townhall events near you. And if you know of a townhall event that's not listed on the FDL Recess Event Tracker, please enter in that information.
- Report back to us at FDL about what happened at the event, and upload any videos or photos from that event. Also, if you go, don't forget to ask questions like these of our Democratic officials, and make the best case as you can as to why the public option is a necessary cost containment on insurance premiums, otherwise it'd be a mandated bailout of the murder-by-spreadsheet industry with no end in sight to your rising premiums.
- Read ShadowSD's diary for his excellent defense of the public option, and the rebuttals to the most common conservative talking points. Please bring a copy of his diary with you and your friends when you go to a townhall event.
And please let Senator Kennedy's death remind us of what is right--helping make health care affordable for millions of Americans by working to get the public option in the final bill.Otherwise we do the memory of Senator Kennedy a great disservice if all we get is coverage with no affordability for the middle class and low-income Americans that he worked so hard for his entire life.
This is the test of our Democratic Party as to whether they stand for us or for the corporations. We'll see if the House leadership, the Senate leadership, and the White House will pass this test.
PLEASE recommend this diary so others can see the townhall events of these brave health care heroes and thank them! Also don't forget to donate to our ActBlue page for our health care heroes!
And don't forget to donate to our public option fund at FDL since Nyceve, Jane, I, and others are working hard night and day on this issue for us all!
UPDATE: Democracy For America is looking to hire political organizers to go out in these states and advocate strongly for the public option as an essential part of health care reform! If you're interested, please applyhere.