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Health Care reform is taking a nose dive. In the most simplest of terms,  Baucus, Snowe and Nelson (x2) suck. The Senate's version of the Health Care Reform Bill is a shameless Corporate Welfare Bill written by health care lobbyists.

Average people look at health care from the perspective of going to the doctor or hospital. We want care. We don't think about insurance until we're denied care. We don't want the hassle. We don't want to worry if we can afford the health care prescribed for us. We don't want to worry about the doctor or hospital ordering unnecessary care. We only want to get well.

We have Senators saying the average person is clueless about health care, but we aren't clueless. We know a bad deal when we see one.

One. More. Time.

                        Health Insurance Is Not The Same Thing As Health Care!

All the diaries written over the last 10 months have eroded to where we are today. We are losing the core message.

                        We Want Health Care More Than We Want Health Insurance!

We want a health care system that provides access to everyone. What we have allowed Baucus et al, Republicans and the media to muddy the waters.

The Baucus Plan doesn't deliver Universal Health Care.
The Baucus Plan has an individual mandate without ensuring all can comply with the mandate.
The Baucus Plan can leave people with insurance and no money left to pay the copays in order to use the insurance.
The Baucus Plan pushes junk insurance for minimal coverage and doesn't ensure adequate minimum coverage.
The Baucus Plan doesn't offer a robust Public Option available to anyone who wants it starting in 2010.
The Baucus Plan falls short.
The Baucus Plan makers are trying to con us into believing this is the best that can be hoped for.

That's Bull Crap, Horsefeathers or balogna.

The problems with Baucus’ plan are TMTC (too many to count), but chief among them is the pass the Senate Finance committee gives to insurance companies regarding Insurance Company Medical Loss Ratio’s (aka medical benefit ratios). There's no reimbursement reform, inadequate pharmaceutical negotiations, no regulation of malpractice insurers and no regulation on executive compensation in corporate health care. The Baucus plan calls for 65% to go toward medical claims which will suit Wellpoint just fine, but not for Assurant or Cigna. The ratio is too low by 20% - and that’s if we choose to give insurer’s break.  If we raise the MLR, we would reduce the costs of health care insurance by about 15%. If we required similar regulations on malpractice insurers, we'd save even more.

The problem with focusing on the coverage misses the point of getting health care when you need it.

The most pressing problem facing people who want to go to the doctor without a hassle is that there is no patient lobby group. AARP has too much interest in maintaining their license fees from lending their name to insurance companies. nyceve and Jane Hamsher work for us but they are 2 against hundreds. The result is confusion and the insurance companies are gaining the upper hand. Insurance companies lie and too few of us call them out on their lies. Too few of our Congressional members are speaking out for effective health care reform.

:::: ::::

Our message needs to be clear.

  1. We have an insurance company bureaucrat between us and our doctor.
  1. My insurance company makes too many of my health care decisions that go against my doctor's advice.
  1. Our current health care system kills 45,000 people per year.
  1. An individual mandate requiring everyone to obtain insurance is no guarantee we will have access to health care.
  1. An insurance mandate without a Public Option made available immediately to anyone who wants it, won't be effective health care reform.
  1. Most physicians want a Public Option.
  1. The McCarren Ferguson Act exempting insurance companies from monopoly laws must be repealed.
  1. Most Americans want the Public Option available immediately.
  1. Consumer Driven Health Care Plans give a false sense of security.
  1. Progressives believe Private Insurance should remain an option for anyone who wants it.
  1. News organizations (tv, radio and print) stand to lose millions in revenue when health reform is finally passed, so it's in their interest to keep the drama and uncertainty going.

:::: ::::

We need to be pointed on our questioning

  1. What benefits do private insurers bring to their customers? What is the advantage of paying a 15%-30% surcharge on the costs of medical claims to private insurance companies?
  1. Why do we want a profit seeking insurance bureaucrat making our health care decisions?
  1. Will you, Rupublican Congressman, vote to repeal the McCarren Ferguson Act's insurance company exemption?
  1. Will you, Republican Senator, disenroll from your federal health plan and take a Consumer Driven High Deductible Health Plan as an example to your constituents?
  1. What would be your suggestion, Republican Pundit, (should we create a  law where people can buy insurance across state lines) and someone buys a PPO insurance from miles away and is then hit with "out-of-network" charges that are 4 times the premium payment savings?
  1. How do you separate the extra services ordered due to "defensive medicine" from the unscrupulous doctor who over orders services for patients with "good" insurance that will pay for these extra services?
  1. What are you going to suggest to the victim of medical malpractice when they run out of money to care for their injury because we capped malpractice awards?
  1. What is your response to the fact that the U.S. is responsible for 44% of global pharmaceutical revenues, but only represents 1/20th of the world's population? Shouldn't we be getting a massive volume discount instead of paying premium prices?
  1. What are you going to suggest, Republican Strategist, when a public hospital has to close because they can't get compensation for people here illegally, but have to get treatment under EMTALA?
  1. What's wrong with offering Americans a public insurance along side private insurance choices much like we offer a choice between public and private education?
  1. How do you plan to pay the estimated 19% increase in your insurance premiums for 2010? What are your plans when private insurance premiums hit $24,000 per year ($2,000 per month) for a family of four in 2015?

:::: ::::

The health care debate can come out of this nose dive. We have to stay focused. We have to reply intelligently to the bat crap craziness the opposition is flinging at us. It's galling how poorly practiced we are at defending our goal of health insurance for everyone.

Reply Socialized Medicine Barbs

We're spending too much effort talking about health insurance and not enough time talking about getting everyone health care. It's a travesty that the richest nation in the world cannot make health care available to everyone in the country. It's wrong to make people lose everything because they got sick.

or,

I have no problem with making Medicare available to anyone who wants it.

or,

I have no problem giving people a choice between private and publicly offered insurance.

Reply for Market Driven Solution meme

The McCarren Ferguson Act, EMTALA, ERISA and the Stark Amendments among many other laws make the U.S. health care system anything but market driven. The current laws unfairly favor health insurers and corporate health care. The patient is left out in the cold. We need to even things up, not give insurance companies and the rest of corporate health care a bail out.

Reply for a Call for Tort Reform

Tort reform needs more than simple caps to achieve effective reform. First, we should require malpractice insurers to pay out 80%-85% of their revenues on malpractice claims. Then, we need to determine what part of over utilization is blamed on defensive medicine, but is really due to fee for service reimbursements and change the reimbursement dynamic to counter those activities. We also know that a few doctors are sued over and over again for malpractice, but often settle out of court. We need to review these settlements on the state level and insist the States recind these physician's licenses to practice until they are retrained. Finally, we should go along the lines of what John Edwards proposed and have a panel that reviews malpractice suits for merit and lawyers that bring more than 3 meritless suits are then barred from representing malpractice until the lawyer is retrained in the process. That would achieve tort reform in a far more effective manner than simply capping awards to medically injured people who need the money to deal with their injuries.

Here's an all purpose counter argument

Health care reform is an academic argument for pundits, reporters and Congressional members who often earn well above $100,000 per year and have good access to health care and pay less than 10% of their total income for their health care; but the median income in the U.S. is only about $52,000 per year and 150 million people earn near or below that figure. $52,000 is above the federal poverty level and people earning that will likely receive no assistance. People with family incomes of $80,000 per year are having a lot of trouble dealing with health care costs now and reform needs to address these needs. Patients, doctors and hospitals have been tapped for cost reductions over and over for the last few years. It's time health insurance and pharmaceutical companies pony up.

:::: ::::

We need to email news reporters our positions regularly. Use these talking points to advance our cause. Please continue to call, write and email your Representative, your Senator and the White House. I've given you plenty to say.

Originally posted to JDWolverton on Mon Oct 12, 2009 at 04:50 AM PDT.

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