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The Chances of Reform Are Now – You guessed it – Zero

A couple of weeks ago I did a post, The
Pretend Presidential Debate on Health Care–The Health Care
Press Needs
to Force the Presidential Candidates to Get Real on Health Care
"Change".
In it I made the point that facing a $500 billion
budget deficit next year, the sunset of the Bush tax cuts in 2010,
fixing the alternative minimum tax problem once again, and the cost of
the Freddie and Fannie bailout, the presidential candidates needed to get real abouthealth care reform. Instead of giving us their rote health care talking points, I said they needed to start telling us how they were really going to deal with health care reform in the face of all of these challenges.Just when you think things can’t get any worse….Two
weeks later you can add the AIG bailout and as much as a $700 billion
bailout of the financial system now being considered by the Congress to
the reasons why the health care plans of both candidates are no longer relevant.

On
top of that $500 billion deficit in 2009, the Congress is now being
told it must take on a total of almost $1 trillion in government
long-term costs to try to turn the financial system around.

I would suggest that lots of things have changed since each candidate offered their health care reform plan.

Obama’s health plan will cost at least $100 billion a year. That’s now a non-starter.

McCain’s
health plan counts on deregulation of the health insurance industry. Do
I even need to explain to you why that is a political non-starter in
this environment?

I don’t know about you, but watching both Obama and McCain
I feel like they are living in a parallel universe from the one the
rest of us are in. We are living in the midst of the greatest financial
crisis to face this country since the Great Depression–the outcome
unknown and able to tip either way–and these guys are out there on the
hustings as if this is all just another partisan reason to beat up on
the other guy. I’m not seeing a lot of leadership here. Instead of
making meaningless political speeches in the Heartland, why aren’t they
on the Hill this week leading their respective party–and the
country–to a solution?

These guys have the greatest opportunity of any presidential candidate ever to demonstrate to voters why they should be President by taking their seats in the U.S. Senate and showing us their leadership skills.

On health care, they need to get just as real.

What
are their plans to reform health care that actually make sense and can
be implemented in the face of all of the things this crisis has changed?

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Stephen M. BeckwithLynnAndyScott KozickiJack Lohman Recent comment authors
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Stephen M. Beckwith
Guest

I can direct you to one Company that delivers on the promise. The Company Is part of the Consumer Driven Health Care movement and offers a viable alternative to The Health Care Crisis. We often hear HEALTH CARE Discussed as a Political issue by the Candidates but yet nothing ever gets done despite all the promises. The Company I am going to introduce you to offers affordable benefits for everyone in the Household for 1 low monthly fee. The medical personnell contracted to accept services receive a discounted fee at the time the service is rendered to the Consumer. Physicians… Read more »

Lynn
Guest
Lynn

You fail to take into account the fact that we already are paying through the nose for health care. I’d be happy to transfer my $400/mo premium that still leaves me paying out of pocket for thousands of dollars in healthcare for a flat $400/mo no-copay buy-in to a not-for-profit healthcare system with a choice of doctors. Arguments like this completely forget that we already pay bigtime for healthcare.
How about an opt-in plan where we can keep our private insurance, or opt into a single payer system for the same premium? I’d be there in a heartbeat.

Peter
Guest
Peter

Andy, where did I state Freddie and Fanny had no role in the financial crisis? Consistantly partisan? You mean my REJECTION that un/de-regulated markets work? If that points to Republicans then that’s ok by me. I’ve consistantly said that lobbyists and money in ALL parties pervert the system, but Republicans have had control of the White House AND Congress until the recent elections. Republicans have always said they could do a better job and had higher ethics and ideals (God was on their side), but they presided over the biggest glut of lobby money and government financial nepotism we’ve ever… Read more »

Andy
Guest
Andy

Peter, Fannie and Freddie always had an implicit guarantee from the federal government. They also had lobbyists paying off congressman of both parties to look the other way as they bought subprime loans and re-sold them to Wall Street. They successfully lobbied Congress in the late ’90’s and early 2000’s to avoid further regulation. Democrats in Congress opposed this regulation by demonizing it as an attack on minority home-ownership and affordable housing. To state that Fannie and Freddie had no role in the financial crisis is blatantly wrong. Your consistently partisan comments are disingenuous, and detract from an otherwise solid… Read more »

Scott Kozicki
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Scott Kozicki

I think Vince gets it right from a high level. Any more money poured into the existing way of doing things is akin to outfitting a horse drawn buggie with jet engines. The system is architecturally confounded. Real reform = scraping it and redrawing the blueprints. This is the role for government. Not “regulation”. You shouldn’t get a $ unless you deliver a positive reportable outcome. Stop paying for the system to look busy and lie to you. If you architect the system so that it competes on value, then you’ll have little need for “in the weeds” regulation. I… Read more »

Jack Lohman
Guest

And besides, we shouldn’t let them frame this as a necessary over-expense just to keep people employed in the insurance industry.

Jack Lohman
Guest

I disagree, Matt. The only thing standing in the way of true healthcare reform is campaign cash. The only way to overcome that — short of public funding of campaigns — is massive turnover in November and massive pressure on the newcomers.
Jack Lohman
http://MoneyedPoliticians.net

Ron Hammerle
Guest
Ron Hammerle

Don’t prematurely write off the potential of a private sector transformation of healthcare. The nation may soon see an unexpected leader do for healthcare what it has done for a half dozen other industries.

matt
Guest

The biggest thing working thing working AGAINST true reform is that in reducing / redistributing healthcare spending will impact (reduce / redistribute) jobs in the healthcare sector at a time of high unemployment.

Ken Terry
Guest

I agree that both Obama’s and McCain’s plans are nonstarters in this environment. McCain’s proposal, aside from involving deregulation, also requires that people pay tax on the value of their health benefits–which is going to be very difficult to explain to consumers, even if that’s balanced by a tax credit. But to jump from there to Vince Kuraitis’ conclusion that our current economic woes will prompt a reform of the delivery system is a stretch. While Vince is right that this is what we really need, major players, including hospitals, doctors, and drug companies, will mightily oppose any attempt to… Read more »

Peter
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Peter

“why would greedy bankers make subprime loans to people that were likely to default? Stupidity or philanthropy? If the answer is – because Congress created Freddie/Fannie to guarantee such bad loans – I think you’re right.” Tom, Freddie and Fanny are private investment companies who don’t guarantee loans but buy loans. FHA is the government arm that guarantee loans. If this were just FHA then these loans would already be guaranteed – hence no problem. This happened because not only Freddie and Fanny were not scutinizing the loans they bought but banks such as Washington Mutual heavily lent to the… Read more »

Antoine Clarke
Guest
Antoine Clarke

You mean the financial sector didn’t have oversight? SEC, SOX, Federal Reserve, Treasury? If this lot didn’t work, what makes anyone think that hiring more chumps will?

Tom H
Guest
Tom H

Seems to me that deregulation preceded a boom in the banking business and economy, including the roaring ’90s. Ask yourself – why would greedy bankers make subprime loans to people that were likely to default? Stupidity or philanthropy? If the answer is – because Congress created Freddie/Fannie to guarantee such bad loans – I think you’re right. The banking business seemed to be doing just fine until someone claimed there was an ‘affordable housing crisis’, then the government got involved, now look at the mess.
So you were saying about healthcare…?

Jack Lohman
Guest

I agree with the other comments. This may be exactly the time that reform will pass. Corporations and the country are more in need than ever before.

Deron S.
Guest

What exactly does “government oversight” of healthcare look like? That is such a general statement that I just had to ask.