I've been to about seven town halls. The one chant I heard over and over is a howl of anguish, "what's in it for me?"
Of course, we need get healthcare for every single American, that said, Americans who already have insurance, need and expect immediate relief.
President Obama would be well advised to speak directly to my friend on Wednesday evening. He wants answers and frankly, so do I.
I want President Obama to be unwavering in his support for a public option. No more God damn compromising.
I want to know, when we'll see relief from extortionist premium increases. How extortionist? This extortionist, and it's happening across America.
My best friend just received his insurance renewal. He has a small business (the um, backbone of the American economy), his renewal was 22%. So now he's at $1865.00 a month.
He and I live in New York, one of the more merciful states. Here we have guaranteed issue and community rating, the scum for-profit insurer must issue you insurance, without pre-exisiting condition underwriting, if you've been continually insured.
I also live in New York, my insurance is around $600 a month, I know at my own December renewal, I too will face a untenable and unaffordable renewal.
ALMOST ALL AMERICANS (EVEN THE KNOW-NOTHING TEABAGGERS) ARE DANGEROUSLY UNDERINSURED WITH JUNK INSURANCE:
So what's my friend going to do?
I laid out his really bad options.
I told him to increase the deductible, increase the co-pays, and lower the reimbursement for out-of-network providers, and he could probably reduce the premium increase from 22% to around 10-12%. I also explained that by doing this, he’d be moving deeply into the land of the dangerously underinsured.
He laughed. "Only a 10% increase, how lucky, but business is down 30% this year".
When the dreaded annual premium renewal arrives, scaling way back on health insurance, and going to what amounts to a bare bones policy, has become the only path most Americans can take. The choice is to become dangerously underinsured or drop insurance entirely.
Here's the problem for President Obama. Even I, nyceve, don't know exactly how reform will help me.
2013?! I'm hearing that any reform won't kick in until 2013. 2013, how in the world do we survive until then?
A BRIEF PRIMER ON RECONCILIATION:
Before I end, I'd like to direct you to an article the other day by Ezra Klein on the reconciliation process. He links to another 2007 article from the New America Foundationon reconciliation, which is well worth reading.
More on the Deficit Double-Standard
To say a few more words on the double-standards that afflict Democrats with regard to the deficit, take a look at how Bush passed his tax cuts. Since he didn't have 60 votes for the hefty package he wanted, he used the budget reconciliation process. This was, to observers, a surprise: the idea behind budget reconciliation was that it would make it easier for Congress to do the hard work of deficit reduction. As Kent Conrad told me, reconciliation "was designed solely for deficit reduction." The Senate parliamentarian, predictably, objected to the Bush administration's effort. He was fired and replaced with a parliamentarian that blessed the procedure.
Bush's 2001 tax cuts was the first time the budget reconciliation process had ever been used for a bill that increased the deficit. Ever. Democrats were appalled. When they retook the Congress, both the House and the Senate passed a rule barring reconciliation from being used for bills that increased the deficit.
It seems to me, reconciliation is exactly where we're headed, and I say, good fucking riddance to the obstructionist Democrats and all the republicans.
It will be some spectacle to see Democrats stand up on the floor of the United States Senate and vote for the insurance industry and against healthcare for the American people. I am not the world's finest political strategist, but I see huge money and top-notch primary challenges for these
Using the reconciliation process is going to cause enormous anguish in Washington, but we have no choice. What does it say about our country, that delivering to the people the right to healthcare--a straightforward proposition, if there has ever been one--is going to be a bloodbath for the political establishment?
Making healthcare a right not a privilege in the richest country on the planet, will undoubtedly cause some real hardship to the political class. But keep in mind, this is the same legislative body which has looked the other way, for sixty years, as Americans at every socioeconomic level, have waged brutal, lonely battles against these massive
denial killing machines.
And I won't remind you again, that the generous taxpayer subsidized healthcare we give members of Congress, makes it impossible for almost all of them to have a clue about what it's like for a middle class American running a small business to pay $1865.00 a month for junk insurance. Not. A. Clue.
But don't believe me, here's part one of my interview with Wendell Potter, the CIGNA whistle blower. I'll have the entire Potter interview in the next couple of days.
THE INSURANCE INDUSTRY HAS ONE MISSION, TO GENERATE PROFITS FOR SHAREHOLDERS. THEY DO THIS WITH SKYROCKETING PREMIUM INCREASES AND THE DENIAL OF CARE.
AND WE'RE ASKING YOU TO SUPPORT THIS WORK.
THERE ARE A GROUP OF PEOPLE WORKING LITERALLY DAY AND NIGHT TRYING TO SECURE A PUBLIC OPTION. WE RECEIVE VERY SMALL STIPENDS (FOR LIVING EXPENSES), BASED ENTIRELY ON YOUR GENEROSITY.
PLEASE DONATE WHATEVER YOU CAN. WE RELY ON YOUR FINANCIAL SUPPORT, AND YOU HAVE BEEN AMAZING.
THERE ARE 22,OOO LOBBYISTS,IN A FEW DAYS, THEY WILL DESCEND ON WASHINGTON DC. TO STOP HEALTHCARE REFORM
PLEASE HELP US WIN THIS FIGHT FOR REAL HEALTHCARE FOR ALL AMERICANS.