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A few weeks ago, I went to Congressman Joe Courtney's August 6 town hall in Woodstock, CT with this document in hand, and it helped change what started as a completely disruptive meeting into a contentious but functional one where the public option side clearly won.  

As we are now in the last week of Congressional recess, there is one last batch of health care town halls being scheduled; I will be attending Congressman Courtney's  town hall in Montville tomorrow to push for the public option, and I know many of you will be planning to do the same in your communities.

It therefore seemed a good time to repost and review The Top Ten Health Care Talking Points Every Public Option Supporter Should Know, Rebuttals to The Ten Most Common Opposition Arguments, and how to use these tools effectively at your own town halls.

        The Ten Health Care Talking Points EVERY PUBLIC OPTION SUPPORTER SHOULD KNOW

  1. When you need life-saving care, private insurance companies only profit by denying you and letting you die.  If you have paid your premiums on time all your life, you're as likely to be dropped by your private insurance company when you need life-saving care as you are to get treated.  A public option gives you a lifeline.
  1. Private insurance companies are spending over a million dollars a day to kill the public option by inventing phony citizen groups, and trying to scare the elderly about euthanasia and pro-lifers with abortion; they know the only way to kill reform is to get people of good conscience fighting each other over misinformation, while they laugh all the way to the bank.  They don't think very highly of our intelligence.
  1. We pay more than any other country to be 24th in life expectancy: while the average Canadian family spends less than $2000 a year on health care with no waiting periods for life-saving care, the average American family spends $16,800 a year, waiting for private insurance companies to approve life-saving treatments.
  1. Fourteen thousand Americans lose their health insurance every day; over forty-six million are currently uninsured.
  1. Eighteen thousand Americans DIE each year due to lack of health care: THAT'S 50 A DAY.
  1. Nearly two-thirds of American personal bankruptcies are related to health care costs.
  1. Businesses - particularly small businesses - cannot afford to provide health insurance for their employees under the current employer based private insurance system, and will be forced to either drop their coverage or go out of business unless a public option is passed.
  1. One-sixth of all our government spending is on health care, twice as much as any other country spends out of its budget.  Our nation pays $2.5 trillion for care costing $912 billion.
  1. Every independent estimate says the public option will save us money, from saving 150 billion dollars (CBO) to saving 265 billion dollars (Commonwealth).  The Congressional Budget Office estimates the current bill in the House would actually leave a 6 billion dollar surplus  
  1. So - if you'd rather spend more taxpayer money, bankrupt businesses, AND pay $16,800 a year for your family's private insurance coverage in exchange for a policy that can be dumped the second you actually need it, then the current system is great for you.  If you'd rather spend less, wait less, have less of a chance of dying, and want to remove the corporate bureaucrat from between you and your doctor, then a public option is the way to go.  Right now, even if you're lucky enough not to be dropped by your provider when you need urgent medical care, your private insurance company can overrule your doctor's advice for life-saving treatment and only offer to cover something cheaper; a public option would remove that middleman and leave these decisions where they belong, between the patient and doctor.

Any private citizen or elected Democrat making the case for the public option, whether going to a town meeting, speaking on the airwaves, or debating behind closed doors should know the order of these talking points in and out. They're quick, they're effective, they cite non-partisan sources, and when communicated in sequence, they're bulletproof.  Most importantly, they kill every Republican talking point while staying consistently on the offensive.

Notes: The numbers are purposefully lowballed/rounded down in order to avoid a subsequent conversation devolving into bickering that distracts from the main points being made.  The statistic about the average Canadian family paying less than $2000/yr is based on a single Canadian paying $40 a month, as the source reflects, times 12 months ($480/yr) times a family of four ($1920/yr).

                      Rebuttals To The Ten Main Opposition Arguments At Town Hall Meetings

While the top ten list does well in painting a picture that eviscerates the main RW talking points on health care (whether the private system is really broken, the cost of the public option, waiting for health care, a bureaucrat between patient and doctor), there are still certain other recurring opposition arguments that will emerge at these meetings, and if you find them being repeated ad nauseum without being sufficiently rebutted by other citizens or the Congressperson, it is important to speak up and not let them go unchallenged to the ears of the undecided people present.  In those situations, the list below offers you thirty second or less rebuttals that will leave the opposition in stunned silence.  

A quick side note - in completing this list over the last couple of days, I came to the somewhat amusing realization that between the two lists, there is an ironclad retort to shoot down EVERY anti-public option argument you'll ever hear at these meetings; this exposes the opposition as only having so many arguments they must repeat ad nauseum, and only getting away with it because those arguments have thus far gone unchallenged by clear and concise rebuttals that beat them using their own reasoning, so if you can just logically shut each argument down one by one, they're completely out of gas.  I know, I know... some will argue that it's all about convincing undecideds at these meetings - it is - and that you couldn't convince most of the diehard opponents if you were to reason with them for all of eternity - you can't; however, you don't have to convince them, but simply stump them into silence on a point they seemed completely certain of just a moment ago, and watch them give the appearance of effectively forfeiting the point in front of undecideds.  That's the biggest victory possible at these things, in many ways; we often forget that the success of the RW in winning arguments on the airwaves in the eyes of undecideds from 2001-2004 was just as much due to the appearance of stumping Democrats into silence as it was due to language that appealed to undecideds, because watching two sides of the argument go back and forth gives the undecided person the impression that they've given the issue a fair hearing, and witnessed one side emerging as the more credible and confident in its side of the argument.  If you clearly and concisely score a point at these town halls that even momentarily stumps an opposition voice on their own ideological terms, it looks like a loss for the anti-public option side to every undecided in that room.  Never forget that.  It's not just about who is louder (as the yellers think), or about who can give the wonkiest speech with the most numbers (a trap progressives too easily fall into); it is about who can make a clear and compelling argument in less words than it would take to rebut it, and who appears more confident in doing so.

Now, without further ado...

  1. "Where In The Constitution Does It Say That We're Entitled to Universal Health Care?" - Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution says the Congress must provide for the general welfare of the United States; how can the Congress say it is providing for the general welfare when fifty people die a day that didn’t have to?  Now, I know - providing for the general welfare cannot be interpreted as every American being entitled to have the federal government to buy them a house, a bed, and fancy steak dinners every day; such broad interpretations would give Congress absurd powers, just as Madison correctly argued.  General welfare does NOT mean the federal government has to provide us with all our necessities, because such a system would NOT be capitalism - there we agree. HOWEVER, Congress’s obligation to provide for the general welfare under the Constitution, along with the Constitutional provision of equal protection under the law, DOES suggest that Congress has an obligation to ensure that people who work hard and save responsibly have an OPPORTUNITY to get those necessities; a system that has effectively been rigged over the years so that most people are one emergency away from having their insurance policy dropped and being unable to get coverage due to pre-existing condition, and given no options but death when extensive treatment is necessary, cannot be seen as consistent with our government’s role as defined by the general welfare clause and equal protection clause of the Constitution
  1. "I Am Against The Obamacare Bill!" - There is no Obamacare bill.  Obama doesn't have a bill in Congress, or even a bill in Congress he said he supports, so if you oppose "the Obamacare bill", you oppose a figment of your imagination.
  1. "Government Care Sucks; Reform What We Have First!" - Medicare and Medicaid are government run health insurance.  They have problems, they need reform, but every poll shows that people are more unhappy with private insurance than they are with Medicare and Medicaid by double digits, and it makes sense to put out the biggest fire first.  Most Americans aren't eligible for anything but private insurance anyway, so the idea that good solutions like reforming Medicare and malpractice lawsuits are enough on their own is just a slap in the face.
  1. "Just Look At The Mess In Massachussetts!" - Yes, just look at the mess in Massachussetts, a system where health insurance is mandated but still unaffordable and unreliable; it's what every Republican in Washington and every conservative in this meeting advocate when they demand the reform bill excludes a public option, because if you take the public option out of the bill, what's left is just insurance reform with mandates, which is nothing but a giant check to the insurance companies in exchange for FORCING Americans to buy unreliable and increasingly expensive insurance - just like in Massachussetts.  If you hate the system in Massachussetts so much, stop pushing for it.  Republican Governor Romney who signed that into law is the Republican party's establishment Presidential candidate going into 2012, while nearly every Republican in Washington has now said they willing to vote for mandated insurance if the public option is taken out just like in Romneycare.  And you have the nerve to tell public option supporters we should look at the mess in Massachussetts!  We're pushing for an alternative, while you're steering us full speed ahead towards Romneycare nationwide!
  1. "A Public Option Will Put Private Insurance Companies Out of Business!" - No, not if you believe the Congressional Budget Office, who says private insurance companies will get MORE business when a public option is passed.
  1. "Socialism!  I Believe In The Free Market!" - I believe that competition and more choices are good for the market. A public option is one more choice, and more options are good for the consumer and good for the market.  The public option bills being proposed let you keep your private plan if you want, and use the public option if you choose.  If the public option ends up being crap as some here think, people won't choose it - that's what our merit-based marketplace is all about - and if people don't choose the public option because private insurance is so much better, then no money in the program will be spent, and we've lost nothing; so this not a win or lose, but a win or break even, and you have to be pretty timid to be afraid of that.  Besides, if the market is our real concern, how can we compete with other countries if we believe that musicians, artists, and millions of self-employed low-level small businesspeople of all stripes should die because it’s their fault they couldn’t afford an exorbitantly priced private insurance policy; if our most creative minds don’t even deserve to live, how can we remain the country of the most innovation, and not be passed by?  With fifty people dying a day only in America and not among any of our Western competitors, what about the loss of productivity to our economy, the impact on the person’s family and the burdens placed on them, and the subsequent loss of consumer dollars in the marketplace due to the absence of the no longer existing consumer?
  1. "Big Money Interests Are Pushing The Public Option!" - If you want to be cynical and vigilant as a citizen against big money influencing the government, YOU HAVE TO FOLLOW THE MONEY.  On one side, there are BILLIONS of dollars at stake for the insurance companies, because they have the power to drop or deny anyone they please when they need urgent care in order to maximize their profits - of course they don’t want to give that up.  On the other side, you have no financial motive that could even compare - who stands to make billions from the public option?  Contributions to political candidates from unions only deal with money in the millions; they don't have billions of dollars at stake with anything like the insurance companies do.  So against the public option, you have a source of money, you have a motive, and you have planning and mass collusion by the insurance companies for decades to block any reforms, documented repeatedly by various non-partisan sources; on the other side, what even compares?  Being vigilant against big money interests screwing with legislation that affects the people is VITAL, and I applaud everyone here who does so - but you HAVE TO FOLLOW THE MONEY, or otherwise, for all you know, you're fighting against the very things you think you're fighting for.
  1. "I Don't Want To Be A Throwaway!" - Nothing in any bill allows the government to pick the time of death of any American, it would be illegal, and there would be no political gain to anyone in DC doing it in any party, so we really have to use our common sense here.  Right now, if you're an American and your insurance company drops you when you need urgent care, you can't get another policy due to pre-existing condition, and have no options but to die; the only reason that Americans over 65 don't have to worry about that is because of government programs like Medicare.  A public option would give all Americans that safety net.  Nobody should be a throwaway, but it will continue to happen at the rate of fifty dying a day until a public option is passed.  
  1. "This Bill Is Designed To Increase Abortions!" - It is not.  The President of the United States - whoever he is, whatever party he represents - is bound to uphold the law.  Health providers that receive federal funding must abide by federal law - this was true before this bill, it will be true after this bill, and with or without this bill - that's the law.  Roe vs. Wade is a decision many people of good conscience disagree on, but it is established legal precedent, and our elected officials must uphold the law until it is changed.  
  1. "BOOOOO!!!!" - I'm sure that all the people yelling and booing have been lucky, they've never seen someone get denied life-saving treatment or be dropped altogether by their insurance company - or had it happen to themself.  It would be easy for me to say that I hope you become one of those 14K a day who lose their health insurance so you can understand - but the truth is I hope none of you ever have to deal with that, I hope you never have to end up as one of those uninsured fifty people a day who die because they're refused the health care they needed to live.

                                                    Getting Your Arsenal In Order

When you attend your local town hall meetings, please feel free, welcome, and encouraged to print out copies of this newly updated Word document, containing the Top Ten Talking Points, sources, and author information all on one page, and containing Rebuttals to The Ten Most Common Opposition Arguments on another (for printing out on the back of the same page).  The initial page in particular is useful not only as a reference for when you speak but also for the purpose of leaving copies on the table at the beginning of the meeting for undecideds to take; I did this myself and my fiancee saw copies around the room during the course of the town hall I went to, so it does work.  

If you are looking for additional effective information to print out and bring with you to leave as a hand-out, I recommend NWTerriD's list of how the public option benefits people personally, and I also recommend this awesome diagram which makes the case for the public option with thunderous simplicity and efficient minimalism, using the least amount of words and imagery possible.

I can't end this diary without reminding everyone what to do at town halls where people are being disruptive to the point that others have to stop speaking for several seconds at a time; if this happens to you, do what I did, start off by using talking point two to disarm them directly:

(Note: If statements like those in my initial sentence do not apply to you, at least preface your comments by pointing out that you've lived in the district for years if that is the case.)

"I've been an independent voter most of my life, I've lived in this district for most of my life, and I've never been to a town hall before, but I'm here because I am appalled that the private insurance companies are spending over a million dollars a day to kill the public option, including paying off and bussing in phony citizen groups; this bothers me because there are people here from the district on both sides of this issue - for and against - while the sort of people who would bark and yell and prevent others from talking have been seen bussed in by insurance companies to town halls around the country, so we can tell right away who they are.  I suppose it's no surprise that it's happening, though - the insurance companies know the only way to kill the public option is to get people of good conscience fighting each other over lies about euthanasia and abortion and anything else that will work while they laugh all the way to the bank; these guys actually hire people that sit in rooms with focus groups and plan out "what lie would best target pro-life voters, what lie would best target the elderly, what misinformation is most effective as we take a knife and pare off sections of the public to fight amongst each other" - ANYTHING... to keep us distracted, while they laugh all the way to the bank.  They don't think very highly of our intelligence.  But I think that this year - this time - they're WRONG."    

After I made a comment similar to that one as the first audience remark during the town meeting I attended, the majority of the room erupted in applause, with only silence and no booing coming from the stunned wingnuts.

For the rest of the meeting, they still did make SOME noise and still talked back when they heard things they didn't like - but no longer loudly and abrasively enough to disrupt the meeting and interrupt anyone who spoke in favor of a public option to the point where the person had to stop talking.  Their cover was blown.  The meeting remained contentious, with the passion, drama, and - I must admit - entertainment value more reminiscient of a wrestling event than what one would picture as a local Democratic party town hall in sparsely populated area - but a contentious meeting and a dysfunctional meeting are worlds apart, and indeed at opposite ends; one is the ultimate expression of democracy, the other is the ultimate stifling of it.

GO TO THESE TOWN HALL MEETINGS AND CALL THEM OUT, using the same type of language, particularly including the "insurance companies don't think very highly of our intelligence"; they are not prepared to be called out, and it throws them off their game.  There was no doubt leaving the meeting I went to that the public option side in the room had won the debate, and that the opposition actually only represented 25-30% of the room - but the perception could have easily gone the other way had the meeting continued the way it started, with the minority sounding so loud it seemed to be a majority; calling these people out changes them from a fearless amorphous blob of noise that can easily be overestimated to a group of people who instead feel they have to stand and applaud at particular comments to get their viewpoint across, revealing their true numbers to all in the room.

Originally posted to ShadowSD on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 05:54 AM PDT.


A public option

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (15+ / 0-)

    Please go to these town halls; showing up and adding your voice of reason to the crowd is half the battle.  When people say that these are the front lines in the battle for health care, they're not joking, and it's impossible to appreciate exactly how true that is until you've been to one and seen it for yourself.

    77% of voters support a public option, Congress.

    by ShadowSD on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 05:48:41 AM PDT

    •  2/3rds of all bankruptcies are Health Care relate (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:


      Gee, you'd think that would register home with most people in the middle of an ECONOMCI GLOBAL CLUSTERFUCK.

      I still can't understand why the Dems aren't hammering that home, and the obvious benefits to working class Americans that will come with the passage of a PO.

      Great diary, Shadow. Tipped and rec'd

      The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?' - 1984

      by MinistryOfTruth on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 06:06:56 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Framing would be considerably more effective (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      ...if you advocated Medicare-for-All. I would argue advocating a public option does not make a very complete "frame." It's hard for me to imagine arguing ONLY for a public option at a town hall meeting, personally. Do you do this, I wonder?

      I lay out some arguments for this position in

      Advocate National Health Care: It's the Only Way to Build a Mass Movement

      •  It's funny (0+ / 0-)

        My mom, who is informed but relatively apolitical (not a daily blog reader), INITIATED a conversation with me the day before yesterday wondering with frustration why "Medicare For All" wasn't being used to sell the current plan, since it's so obvious and effective.

        You are absolutely right that this the frame to go with when dealing with undecideds only.

        The reason that you are wrong about it applying to town halls is because the undecideds are not the only ones there, and you're baiting the conservatives there with a softball that they will turn right back around as soon as they speak, questioning the inefficiencies of Medicare.  I offer a rebuttal point to that in #3, but notice the way in which I do it, disarming their arguments by acknowledging both the good and the bad, instead of leaving a potentially endless back and forth:

        "Medicare and Medicaid are government run health insurance.  They have problems, they need reform, but every poll shows that people are more unhappy with private insurance than they are with Medicare and Medicaid by double digits, and it makes sense to put out the biggest fire first.  Most Americans aren't eligible for anything but private insurance anyway, so the idea that good solutions like reforming Medicare and malpractice lawsuits are enough on their own is just a slap in the face."

        Boom.  Dead.  No comeback.  They're done.

        Now, if I say Medicare For All along with this, they can easily turn around and say "well you ADMITTED Medicare needed SOME reforms", and while that's stupid and I can rebut them again with the same facts, this extends the conversation and focuses it entirely on the topic of the inefficiencies of government care, which is exactly what the conservatives are trying to do; they WANT to make it an extended detour, along with tort reform, so that there isn't time to talk about anything else, that's is literally the game plan of the insurance company talking points (therefore, our job is to address the merits of their points honestly, pro and con, and shut it down right there).

        The optimal way to deal with their strategy of detouring the conversations at these town halls with a debate of Medicare efficiency is NOT a combination of saying Medicare For All and refusing to acknowledge ANY problems with Medicare, because then one leaves themselves a wide open target to extended debate on the topic.  However, the other option, the combination of saying Medicare For All and acknowledging problems with Medicare as is also unacceptable, because as I pointed out in the paragraph above, that leaves the door open to extended debate.

        Given the options, you can see why in this town hall environment, I had to go with the third option: not using the Medicare For All frame, despite its effectiveness with undecideds.

        The wingnuts were waiting for that.  It's bait to them, and their talking points are custom made to drag out a debate on the issue unless you shut it down.

        Clearly, concisely, admit the pros and cons of a bad approach, and watch your opponents sit stunned in silence.

        Now - if it were only a room full of undecideds, then you would be absolutely right. Instead it is a room full of many different types of voters, including undecideds who will be judging both sides on how the debate evolves; let's be sure it evolves in a way that is strategically benefically to us, and not the opposition.  That means shutting down their points as quickly as possible, and spending the most time possible on OUR points.  Whoever spends the most time on offense wins.  That is the nature of politics.

        77% of voters support a public option, Congress.

        by ShadowSD on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 07:26:35 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I did want to reply to this (0+ / 0-)

          I don't understand why you would not just say, "We can extend Medicare to all. Medicare does need some reforms, but [advantages you list]. Private insurance on the other hand has [disadvantages]." You are acknowledging both advantages and disadvantages, as you state above (and I agree it is important to be honest).

          You are always open to extended debate. I don't really see the distinction. If people want to argue with you despite all the facts then they will do so no matter what.

          What I tried to do at my town hall was just list the obvious points -- preliminary note of "I support HR 3200 and you should too," cost versus other countries, health outcome disparities, polls showing majority support for Medicare-for-All, and finally (to my representative) endorse HR 676 and vote yes later this year.  

          Also in my experience most people at town halls are not crazy extremists. Most of them are just concerned people who may or may not be afraid because of what some jerk said on Fox News. There are always some fanatics but to allow them to shape the debate IMO is a mistake.

          •  One other note (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            Even if there was more extended debate - is that actually bad? To me it is like throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Well, we have cleaned out the tub but now we no longer have the baby (i.e. the truth) either.

            •  Don't misunderstand me (0+ / 0-)

              I meant extended debate as in letting their talking points filibuster the meeting for all intents and purposes.  The insurance company talking points clearly indicate to keep hitting Medicare inefficiences and malpractice lawsuits so that there isn't time to talk about the good in a public option.  I'm simply saying we have to be prepared for them.

              And I agree with you on the ratios.  The town hall I went to, most were for reform and only about 25% were against.  Nonetheless, those people are still capable of scoring unrebutted points in front of the undecideds if we're not careful, so it is vital that we not allow them to "shape the debate" as you say, which is my entire point.

              77% of voters support a public option, Congress.

              by ShadowSD on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 04:53:33 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  Excellent work, ShadowSD. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Very useful.

      They "prefer an America where parents will lie awake at night worried if they can afford health care their children need."

      by TomP on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 06:15:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Bad News Described as Good News (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wilderness voice

    (Cross posted from OT)

    Sen. Max Baucus says "don't worry, there's still a very good chance health care reform will pass - with or without GOP help!"

    Wow.  Balsy, huh!

    But Baucus says the bipartisan deal is still alive. He said he still speaks frequently with Republican Sens. Charles Grassley of Iowa, Olympia Snowe of Maine and Michael Enzi of Wyoming.

    "I think the chances are still good," Baucus told The Associated Press in an interview Monday. "I talked to them, and they all want to do health care reform. But the sad part is a lot politics have crept in. They are being told by the Republican Party not to participate."

    Oh really, Max?  You talked them?  And they said they still "want to do health care reform"?

    Gee, was that before or after Chuck Grassley sent out that nationwide letter asking people to help him kill it?

    An August fundraising letter by Sen. Charles Grassley (R) of Iowa, which has just entered Washington’s radar, asks for support in helping him defeat "Obama-care."

    I'm getting real familiar with the feeling of piss on my shoes ... and it ain't rain.

    "Congress ... please tell me I don't have to shriek louder then they do to get health care reform passed."

    by Detroit Mark on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 06:09:13 AM PDT

  •  post these talking points (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wilderness voice, ShadowSD

    every week. Perhaps every other day.

    People need to have the arguments ready - memorised if possible.

    A loss of politeness, of gentle manners, is more significant than a riot.

    by smallgal on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 06:27:04 AM PDT

  •  Very nice but useless. The people at the "Town (0+ / 0-)

    Hall" I was at last night were talking about Obama not being a citizen.  They hate govm't   and would rather be worse off than see democrats gain their take over of their lives.  The real world I live in would laugh at this diary or spit on it.

    An idea is not responsible for who happens to be carrying it at the moment. It stands or falls on its own merits.

    by don mikulecky on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 06:42:50 AM PDT

    •  Hey, I even had a rebuttal for (0+ / 0-)


      I know these folks.

      I've dealt with them.

      You can't convince everyone, but you CAN shut up the fringe nutcases long enough to persuade everyone else.

      77% of voters support a public option, Congress.

      by ShadowSD on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 07:32:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  There was no "everyone else." They were all (0+ / 0-)

        "fringe".  Like I said, welcome to reality.  You clearly don't know what you are talking about.

        An idea is not responsible for who happens to be carrying it at the moment. It stands or falls on its own merits.

        by don mikulecky on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 01:05:46 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  This PO has been gutted by blue dogs (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ShadowSD, nickrud, khin

    I am a retired union steamfitter with excellent healthcare partly subsidized by my active union brothers. In just two years I will be eligible for medicare.  I have the time to read about this stuff and attend the town halls and forums.
    The current PO has been gutted by the blue dogs at the behest of the insurance companies and pharma.  To compare it to single payer systems in other countries is a waste of time.
    The eligibility has been severely restricted.  If you don't like the insurance you get from Walmart you have to keep it.  You will not be eligible for this PO.  The PO does NOTHING to "reduce the 350 billion/year in unnecessary paperwork and administrative overhead"  The reimbursement rates for services have to be negotiated with the providers, thanks blue dogs!  The original proposal was medicare rates plus 5%.  Doctor's participation is voluntary in the PO.  The PO will cost as much as the private insurance plans thanks to the blue dog members.
    To quote Matt Taibbi:

    The party could now sell voters on the idea that it was offering a  "public option" without technically lying, while at the same time reassuring health care providers that the public option it was passing would not imperil the industry's market share.

    I believe the current bills will not solve the problems and present a smoke screen to prevent frank discussion of the only feasible plan: Single Payer.
    Read Sick and Wrong by Matt Taibbi Rolling Stone #1086 September 3 2009 for more on this.

    •  Without Medicare rates (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ShadowSD is certain that this public option will go nowhere. In fact the CBO report that estimated only 10 million enrolled by 2019 (under certain assumptions) was based on Medicare rates. Without Medicare rates I am not even sure if this public option will exist. It may be completely stillborn.

    •  You don't mention which bill in particular (0+ / 0-)

      that the Medicare rates part was taken out by the Blue Dogs.  Could you specify?

      77% of voters support a public option, Congress.

      by ShadowSD on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 07:30:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  House Commerce comm bill tossed medicare rates (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        See Taibbi, Matt, Rolling Stone 9/3/09 #1086 page 62.

        That move bumped the PO cost "$1,800 a year for a family of four."

        •  However, the Medicare rates remain in other (0+ / 0-)

          House bills, correct?

          77% of voters support a public option, Congress.

          by ShadowSD on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 07:53:01 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Commerce Comm bill on center stage (0+ / 0-)

            You can try to track the bills, good luck.  The Senate HC effort headed by Baucus may pass a PO, gutted, and neutered...

            In the real world, nothing except a Single Payer system makes any sense.  There are currently 1,300 private insurers in this country, forcing doctors to fill out different forms and follow different reimbursement procedures for each and every one.  That drowns medical facilities in idiotic paperwork and jacks up prices.  Nearly a third of all health care costs in America are associated with wasteful administration.  Fully $350 billion a year could be saved on paperwork alone if the U.S. went to a single payer system-more than enough to pay for the whole goddamned thing, if anyone had the balls to stand up and say so.

            -Taibbi, Matt, Rolling Stone #1086 9/03/09 page 60

    •  and this says it all (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sybil Liberty

      I am a retired union steamfitter with excellent healthcare

      Yes, you have excellent health care and, therefore, the luxury of being a purity advocate on health care and flinging inflammatory rhetoric based in nothing but the writings of a Vicodin-chugging reporter whose actual expertise when it comes to health care policy is nonexistent.

      •  Who are you? (0+ / 0-)

        I was honest about my situation and that it provides the opportunity to track this issue.  I sense there are industry shills who do not like the facts I present.  Tell me up front who you are and I will listen.

  •  foreigners come for healthcare (0+ / 0-)

    I've heard Beck say this repeatedly...if "their" systems are so great why do heads of state come to America for their care?

    The USA has some of the best research and teaching hospitals in the world.  Mayo, Johns Hopkins, etc are world famous.  No one would dispute this.  Of course no of this has aything to do with insurance companies.

    But the question I would ask is what is the purpose of government.  Forget healthcare, national security, et al. - if a 6 yr old said what does government do - what would a be simple answer?  I would say that government's primary responsibility was to ensure and promote the general welfare of its citizens.

    I think we can all agree that there is a healthcare crisis in America.  One may argue the numbers 8 million vs 47 million uninsured.  One could argue that some people - young adults - may not want to pay for insurance.  But there are literally lives being destroyed because people can't pay the costs of their required care.

    Now 3 years ago I was in pretty rough shape and the  specialists I was seeing arranged for me to go to the Mayo in Minnesota to see a leading expert.  This would be mostly covered by the Ontario government through our provincial universal insurance.  Good for me :o)

    And for people in other countries with personal wealth or public/private insurance plans which can cover the costs of treatment in america...good for them.

    But what about Americans?  Why should I as a Canadian have access to care in America that your own citizens can't afford?  This makes no sense.  For the uber-nationalists at Fox noise...shouldn't Americans come first?  If you argue for the status quo aren't you saying you favor a society where some Americans are second class citizens to non-citizens?

    Contrast this with the Hospital for Sick Children here in Toronto.  World famous - the difference being that when Americans/Brits/etc come for care here - their care and access to care is exactly the same as any Canadian kid has.  We welcome those in need but we care for own as well.

    Free speech is not a license to lie.

    by kaplan0562 on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 06:59:19 AM PDT

    •  America has the best health care in the world (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      farmerhunt, ShadowSD

      was a constant refrain I heard from those on the right at townhalls.  They use it to justify the incredibly higher costs we pay for care and medicines.  "Those profits money goes to pay for American research, that makes America have the best health care in the world".

      You can hear something in their brain snap when I point out that 6 out of the top 10 pharmaceutical companies selling drugs in this country are actually foreign.  Worse than that, they're actually European - from countries with universal healthcare.

      So, I point out, we Americans are paying these foreign companies multiple times more for the same drugs that they charge their fellow citizens, for what?  

      Not for good old American medical research, but for all those nice profits to sail right back to Europe.

      •  great point. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Catesby, ShadowSD

        Whenever people use logic and facts to base their arguments instead of hysteria and distortions I can hear St.Ronnie's ... "oh there you go again ..."

        Conservatives in Canada don't seem as ass backward as they do down there. Most of my buddies on the right are astounded by the lunacy in your town halls.

        All I can offer is my best wishes that the side of reason will one day prevail.

        Free speech is not a license to lie.

        by kaplan0562 on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 08:15:30 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Here's there clincher... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ShadowSD, LI Mike

    ... and that is that 'private' insurance companies are actually owned by soveriegn wealth funds owned by the Communist Chinese and Saudi Muslim government. So the 'choice' between public and private is moot. All insurance is government run either by the the Chinese Communist government, the Saudi Muslim Government, or the United States of America government, take your pick.

  •  This is a very well done diary. Thanks. I'd (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eloise, ShadowSD

    like to make a suggestion or two.  This is a long diary with the context of town meetings in mind, but even shorter answers are possible, especially for the purpose of one-on-one encounters.  For instance,T.R. Reid, author of The Healing of America, has a very disarming way of parrying many of the most teeth-gnashing BS arguments.  For example (I paraphrase): "Sure all these govt sponsored health care systems ration health care, but theirs is not profit driven by non-medically trained insurance clerks as is ours, and their outcomes, including end of life are much better (quote a couple of amazing stats here)"  His first hand experience, as a world-traveling govt official, with all kinds of public health systems, is a real gold mine of similar, very cogent counter-arguments.  

    Check out the NPR, Fresh Air interview Reid from a few days ago.  

    You'll love it.  I especially liked his examples of the CONSERVATIVES in many other countries who are the champions of public health care.  They've discovered that it's a great way to win elections!  Our local independent bookstore is pushing this book very hard.  We've got to get our verbal act together, and quickly - standing still,  just pissing in our pants, is a luxury we cannot afford.  Never go to war with a dull knife.

  •  how can the insurance company (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    be convinced to drop a 2200 dollar fee for delivery that cost 6600?

    any suggestions?

    the couple is in dire financial straights and man isnt working and wife will take maternity leave soon

    this system aint working!

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