Matthew Holt

Rantology: Sympathy for the blue devils?

6a00d8341c909d53ef0105371fd47b970b-320wi I do have some vague sympathy for the Blue Dogs, the group of mostly red-state Democrats who have to pretend that they care about fiscal responsibility. They, like me, think that we shouldn’t be increasing taxes on the non-health sector to pay for universal coverage. Unlike me they think that we should be reducing any commitment to universal coverage by reducing the level at which subsidies for people mandated to buy health care coverage cut off—which will leave us in a situation with lots of people who forgo coverage because they can’t afford it. I of course think that we should be finding the money to cover the uninsured from within the 16% of GDP we already spend on health care and then ratchet that overall number down, but then again I don’t have to get elected to Congress.

But I do have one modest question. Where were the dogs/devils’ concerns about the deficit when George Bush was borrowing for the future to pay for income and dividend tax rebates for the very wealthy, by invading Iraq and hiding the accounting, and by creating the boondoggle that was the Medicare Modernization Act. Now it’s late at night and I’m not going to go chasing voting records from 2001–3. But I sure have my guess….

More on the politics of health care reform:

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americans are so dumbGreg PawelskiPrescottDeron S.Peter Recent comment authors
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americans are so dumb
Guest
americans are so dumb

You people are so stupid is fun. I have government healthcare, you don’t have anything you are dumb fat and Christian. You spend all you money on a HUGE military to defend me and I don’t give a shit about you and you don’t have any healthcare at all I love it. You are so stupid. Listen if you lose your job you lose your healthcare. God bless American and all its HUGE guns. Please stay really dumb the rest of the world needs you stupid. If you think I’m not right… how in the world would I know you… Read more »

Peter
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Peter

“But in the political payback deal of the century, Congress guaranteed premium pricing for pharmaceuticals, by prohibiting Medicare from negotiating drug prices, and it provided hundreds of billions of dollars in U.S. taxpayer subsidies to pay for these premium drug costs.”
Greg, I can still see a grinning Congressman Billy Tauzin holding up his $2 MILLION check in “Sicko” as his first “installment” of a lobbying job after he pushed the bill through.

Greg Pawelski
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Greg Pawelski

It has been difficult for the Medicare program to contol the substantial costs of cancer drugs. In an issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, an article by Dr. Peter Bach stated that the costs to Medicare of injectable cancer drugs given in doctors’ offices increased from $3 billion in 1997 to $11 billion in 2004, an increase of 267% at a time when the costs for the entire Medicare program increased 47%. The MMA was supposed to change how the CMS paid for medical oncologists’ services. It called for rewarding medical oncologists to communicate with patients and to… Read more »

Prescott
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Prescott

It is worrying these things, because a time ago behind wise that the medical services were a problem for many persons and up to the moment they neither find they do not even give any solution, apparently the government forgot what promised and it is now where it is that to there be remembered, before that is very late, the medical assurance is important for many people, like that they indicate it in findrxonline, where they deliver a lot of information about this topic.

Deron S.
Guest

Amen, tcoyote. GW meant ratings for much of the media and they are desperately clinging to it. How many times do we need to hear Obama say “I inherited…”? It’s almost become a safety net for him.
I’m thinking we need a tcoyote/Peter ticket in 2012. You guys would balance each other out nicely!

Peter
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Peter

“the people who are going to fuck this up are your people, Matthew. . . ” “What does it mean to impose taxes on the “non-health sector.” At present we do not have any kind of VAT applied to the health sector or any other sector.” “What happened to expanding Government Employees Health Association, Inc. benefits to any comer.” “The spinelessness that most liberal Democrats have exhibited by refusing to support taxes on high cost health benefit plans is just as hypocritical as conservative Republicans who never met a tax cut they didn’t like.” “Most Blue Dogs understand what is… Read more »

Donald E. L. Johnson
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Matt,
We were correct in opposing the Medicare and Modernization Act of 2003. It’s a financial disaster even though it supposedly has cost the gov less than projected at the time.

Donald E. L. Johnson
Guest

ON a more serious note. WaPo has an expose of the news that Lewin is owned by UnitedHealth Group, which Modern Healthcare reported when the deal was done in June 2007 and Columbia Journalism review covered a month or two ago. Anyway, the news release announcing that Lewin was acquired by UnitedHealth’s Ingenix subsidiary doesn’t say who owned the consulting firm before Ingenix bought it. I know Lewin’s had several owners, but Google’s no help in tracing its previous owners. Just curious.

jd
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jd

I love the posts on policy but I hate that it brings out the yahoos and crackpots. tcoyote, you often provide good insights into Washington, but I had to laugh at this one: “Most Blue Dogs actually understand business, because businesspeople fund their campaigns. They are enterprise oriented Democrats, and if there is sanity to be brought to this process, it is where it will come from” Most Blue Dogs understand what is in the short-term interest of the businesses that fund their campaigns. I get no sense that they understand what is in the long-term interest of business any… Read more »

Mary
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Mary

Listening to Obama tonight, I’ve came to the conclusion that Obama has ADHD. He wants something done in 2 weeks, but he doesn’t know what it is nor can he provide any information about it. I saw how he rushed to waste my taxpayer dollars with the stimulus, and I don’t even remotely trust him with health care. Obama touching Health Care is simply a scary thought!

Sam Adams
Guest

You should go back a few decades to the Great Depression when politicians broke a fundamental rule of the Republic by paying for today with tomorrow’s dollars. That it continues to this day is a shame on American Citizen’s for their continued antipathy and lack of accountability in their lives, much less holding elected officials accountable.

Bill Carew
Guest

Here’s the thing: we all want everyone to have good, affordable health insurance. But we also want to keep what we currently have, we want to get whatever care our doctor recommends whenever he/she tells us to get it. And, as much as we might want to, none of us can afford to pay for anyone elses care-let the “rich” do that. Oh-and this is really important–I REALLY REALLY REALLY want to keep my job. So please don’t do anything that puts extra burdens on my employer that might put my job in MORE jeopardy. But other than that-I am… Read more »

Family health insurance
Guest

I think we need health plans with high deductibles, say 2,500 – 5,000 and individuals should cover all medical expense up to that point. Insurers covering all expenses after that point. Employers can offer medical savings accounts to attract employees, medical plans would become very simple to understand. The system would be very standardized. As people would be paying for all expenses up to the deuctible they would be more inclined to be aware of what things cost, and what treatments/tests are nessecary.
Whatever happens this is going to be a problem fixed over the long term.

Caitlin
Guest
Caitlin

Obama’s new deadline of August 8th could end up shooting him in the foot. According to ABC’s chief Washington correspondent the “votes aren’t there right now.” http://www.newsy.com/videos/the_health_care_bill_urgency Obama needs to allow some time for the Checks and Balances system to play itself out fully. This bill is too costly and too huge for congress to simply glance over it. In the long run it could hurt Obama’s reputation as president.

Paul
Guest
Paul

Matt: What happened to expanding Government Employees Health Association, Inc. benefits to any comer. Most moderates who voted for Obama read this option on his campaign website and have not heard a peep about it since then. The Federal Government is the largest employer in the world and each of it’s employees has benefit of this insurance collective. Why does the congress think they need to recreate the wheel with health czars and all the other crap when the billing technology and other infrastructure is already in place here. The benefits put any other plan to shame and any employer… Read more »