Uncategorized

Where’s THCB’s share of the money? Or does Stuart Browning feel left out?

My lefty friends at Moveon.org emailed me (and a few million others) appalled that Rick Scott’s group is going to be spending $1 million running ads attacking the as yet officially non-existent Baucus/Daschle/deParle/Obama health plan. Now that’s not exactly a surprise. Rick Scott has been on the offensive for a while now and in the spirit of inclusiveness (or the more cynical among you might say, to start a fight in an empty house) THCB ran his op-ed a while back. Frankly it was pretty tough to figure out what he was “for” but it’s clear what he’s against—the evils of Canada and the UK.

Yesterday I had a little fun teasing some Norwegians over here to learn about the US health care system. I asked them what they wanted to learn about, and one of them said “what about the 48 million uninsured”. I told her that Americans were a kind and generous people, and that there couldn’t possibly be anyone here uninsured or suffering because of it, and obviously the two Michael’s at Cato and the nutjob prof at Harvard prove me right about uninsurance being a) voluntary and b) the fault of three Medicaid clerks in New York state who forgot to print the enrollment forms in Spanish. OK, OK, I changed my tune a little a few seconds later.

But that remains basically the screed of the Canada bashers. They say that those evil Stalinists in the UK and Canada are the same (even though they’re not), and no one gets any care. Whereas here it’s all sweetness light, teddy bears, puppies and all the MRIs you can eat.

However, I am beginning to tentatively that the lack of mainstream industry support for Rick Scott signals a couple of things—besides the fact that the mainstream is somewhat nervous of being led by an unconvicted fraudster man whose company settled with the government for $1.7 billion after it fired him.

First, the Dems in the Senate have decided to play tough on the reconciliation rule. That means they only need 50 Senate votes not 60 to pass health reform. As Jon Cohn points out (and he is writing some of the best purely political health reform stuff over at TNR’s The Treatment) this means that the industry is going to have to accept that something will probably pass. Which means that they’d better be making sure that they pursue the “least bad” rather than the “no bill” option. AHIP has been chasing down this road for a while, even though it probably means casting aside their smaller members. And I think for now most of the other big health care lobbying groups will follow suit.

Second, the health care industry—which has pretty diverse interests—thinks that it can punt on the delivery system reform part of the package. Almost all of the chatter has been about coverage, albeit disguised in Obama’s rhetoric of how we’re going to save average families money. But it’ll be coverage with more money coming from outside health care. I may be reading the tea-leaves wrongly, but the hard Peter Orzsag-led conversation about Medicare payment reform—e.g. paying less for “flat of the curve medicine”—seems to be unconnected to the wider coverage issue. That’s where the real fight is gong to be.

This leaves the opposition to “universal coverage the industry can live with” in the hands of the ideologues and loons.

And it leads me to my two questions. 1) Having diligently plowed this loony furrow for several years, how does Stuart Browning feel now that someone even richer, crazier and balder than him has come and stolen his thunder? And 2) THCB is a media outlet too, and we gave him our version of his 15 minutes of fame (whatever Maggie Mahar thinks of my motives). So where’s our share of Scott’s million dollars?

CODA: How the hell did I miss this? Cannon & Brownlee going at each other on Bloggingheads.tv!

Livongo’s Post Ad Banner 728*90

6
Leave a Reply

6 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
6 Comment authors
PeterSteve M Parker JrPKinSFLAAnn Malone RN MSNStuart Browning Recent comment authors
newest oldest most voted
Peter
Guest
Peter

Steve, the CPRs four pillars with government run single-pay sounds like a good plan.

Steve M Parker Jr
Guest

The real issue here is that our government is attempting to fund a plan that does not exist. That is the EXACT problem! I think I remember the former administration funding two other “issues” without a plan (let’s call those the war in Iraq and the bailout of the autos and financial industries). Funding without a plan should not be allowed in ANY country, ANY industry or in ANY situation. Forget your political affiliations for a moment and begin to question WHY. WHY would we allow our leaders to pass anything (or fund anything) without a proper plan that is… Read more »

PKinSFLA
Guest
PKinSFLA

Mr. Holt, I do not think that 1 million on ads is anywhere near close to what it would cost to buy enough media ads to convince Americans that our present system is just fine and dandy. I hope he runs those ads in the day time when many of the unemployed and now with no health insurance citizens can watch them. For some strange reason, I have this gut feeling that there is another story here with the Senator arlen Spector switching to the Democratic party. He will be soon nearing 80 and has had several health issues. His… Read more »

Ann Malone RN MSN
Guest

Let’s follow the KISS principle and use this as our reform guide: Health care for people, not for corporate profit.
That should take care of fraudsters like Rick Scott and Stu Browning; they can nibble around the edges and peddle add-on insurance policies for things like cosmetic surgery and the newest purple pill, etc…

Stuart Browning
Guest

Matthew, Thanks for granting me an extension of my 15 minutes of fame here on your little collectivist blog. Actually, I don’t feel so bad that someone else is helping to alert Americans that they will be waiting in a long line for gall bladder surgery or dying of neglect like those unfortunate elderly British patients in a Brighton hospital as shown in a recent BBC Panorama special. And how about this little jewel last week out of the UK? “Girl, 3, has heart operation cancelled three times because of bed shortage” (http://tinyurl.com/cs2frf). That’s “by design” as you undoubtedly know.… Read more »

Tom Leith
Guest
Tom Leith

> So where’s our share of Scott’s million dollars? Well, now that Swiss banking is not so secret, I’m sure we’ll find out in due course. 😉 > Cannon & Brownlee going at each other Sort of. Thanks for pointing it out. Cannon thinks Medicare can’t drive reform of physician behavior because of regulatory capture (cf. Stigler). Shannon thinks Medicare can change physician behavior, but maybe not if Medicare’s Board of Directors is literally “congress” — I think what she is hinting at is Ezekiel Emmanuel’s “Medicare Fed” sort of a structure to make CMS act like a “rational consumer”… Read more »