The Health Care Public Option Gets Thrown Under the Bus

The administration is backing away from the public option as a condition of any new health care plan. In fact, you could say they’re running away from it at a fairly rapid pace.


President Barack Obama and his top aides are signaling that they’re prepared to drop a government insurance option from a final health reform deal if that’s what’s needed to strike a compromise on Obama’s top legislative priority.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Sunday that the public option was “not the essential element” of the overhaul. A day earlier, Obama downplayed the public option during a Colorado town hall meeting, saying it was “just one sliver” of the debate.

He even chided Democratic supporters and Republican critics for becoming “so fixated on this that they forget everything else” — a dig at some liberals in his own party who have made the public option the main rallying cry of the health reform debate.

At the same time, Sen.Kent Conrad(D-N.D.), one of six senators involved in bipartisan Finance Committee negotiations, all but declared the public option dead in the Senate.

“Look, the fact of the matter is there are not the votes in the United States Senate for the public option,” said Conrad, who has pushed an alternative proposal to create a network of consumer cooperatives. “There never have been. So to continue to chase that rabbit, I think, is just a wasted effort.”

It will not come as a surprise to you to hear that the liberal blogosphere is going ballistic over this one. The left has been driving the discussion to date and so far has managed to reel the policy debate and bills making their way through Congress back towards their philosophy. I wouldn’t count them out yet.

I think it might end up as questionable as to whether Obama gets any bill at all. Right now, he appears to have lost the August debate about his plans and is in danger of seeing something produced that doesn’t appeal to anyone. He’s spent a lot of political capital on what might end up being nothing much more than symbolic. It’s entirely possible that the left throws in the towel rather than accepting a health care bill that comes nowhere near their expectations.

They may well ask why with absolute control of the votes the Congress and administration don’t force the issue. It’s a valid question and one that the leaders of the party will have a hard time answering.

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About Tom Lindmark 401 Articles

I’m not sure that credentials mean much when it comes to writing about things but people seem to want to see them, so briefly here are mine. I have an undergraduate degree in economics from an undistinguished Midwestern university and masters in international business from an equally undistinguished Southwestern University. I spent a number of years working for large banks lending to lots of different industries. For the past few years, I’ve been engaged in real estate finance – primarily for commercial projects. Like a lot of other finance guys, I’m looking for a job at this point in time.

Given all of that, I suggest that you take what I write with the appropriate grain of salt. I try and figure out what’s behind the news but suspect that I’m often delusional. Nevertheless, I keep throwing things out there and occasionally it sticks. I do read the comments that readers leave and to the extent I can reply to them. I also reply to all emails so feel free to contact me if you want to discuss something at more length. Oh, I also have a very thick skin, so if you disagree feel free to say so.

Enjoy what I write and let me know when I’m off base – I probably won’t agree with you but don’t be shy.

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2 Comments on The Health Care Public Option Gets Thrown Under the Bus

  1. Whack! One more camel with a sore nose no longer sticking it under the tent.

    Obama wants ‘legislative’ success. We want cost-reduction success.

    The ‘essential element’ of health-care reform is to reduce costs of the office, clinic, and hospital procedures themselves before grandiose insurance reconfabulatoryation.

    Begin and stick with reducing physician and dentist malpractice insurance premiums via tort reform. Show demonstrable success there, let us see that reflected in medical bills, then get back to us Obama. If you want to keep your job more than three more years.

  2. Why NOT ?

    1. In an effort to avoid inaction & bankruptcy, there is no denying Single-Payer Plan is the most cost-effective way, and the Public / Private Option is a partial adoption of it. At present, roughly 20 million of the uninsured are young adults, the possible enrollees of lower costs, accordingly, this partial adoption could be more cost-effective than the full one by ratio.

    2. As common sense goes, in terms of fire, preventing it ahead or containing it in earlier phase is the most sensible cost containment of all, and the essential and most cost-saving preventive care programs call for expansive investments of non-profit.

    3. One of three pillars in a new foundation, this health care redesign, to be sure, is going to lead to much-needed massive job creation.

    4. We need to accept Sebelius’ remark this way; If the death panel is true, she is willing to open the door for deficit-driven nonsense.

    5. Good News !

    A staff writer at The New Yorker and some experts have examined Medicare data from the successful hospitals of 10 regions, and they have found evidence that more effective, lower-cost care is possible. Thankfully, the provisions in the reform include more expansive policies than they have.

    Please be ‘sure’ to visit for credible evidences !

    Some have followed the Mayo model with salaried doctors employed, Other regions, too, have found ways to protect patients against the pursuit of revenues over patient.
    And a cardiac surgeon of them said they had adopted electronic systems, examined the data and found that a shocking portion of tests were almost certainly unnecessary, possibly harmful.

    According to analysis, their quality scores are well above average. Yet they spend more than $1,500 (16 percent) less per Medicare patient than the national average and have a slower real annual growth rate (3 percent versus 3.5 percent nationwide).

    Surprisingly, 16 % of about $550 billion (the total of medicare cost per year) is around $88 billion per year, except for Medicaid (total cost of around $500 billion per year), medicare ‘alone’ can save $880 billion over the next decade.

    In addition, under the reform package, along with the already allocated $583 billion, the wastes involving so called “doughnut hole” , the unnecessary subsidies for insurers, abuse, exorbitant costs by the tragic ER visits etc are weeded out, the concern over revenue (below) might be a thing of the past.

    (( Net Medicare and Medicaid savings of $465 billion + the $583 billion revenue package = $1048 billion – the previously estimated $1.042 trillion cost of reform = $6 billion surplus – $245 billion (the 10-year cost of adjusting Medicare reimbursement rates so physicians don’t face big annual pay cuts) = the estimated deficit of $239 billion ))

    In modernized society, the business lacking IT system is unthinkable just like pre-electricity period, nevertheless, the last thing to expect is happening now in the sector requiring the best accuracy in respect to dealing with human lives. Apparently the errors by no e-medical records have spawned the crushing lawsuits (Medical malpractice lawsuits cost at least $150 billion per year), and these costs have led to the unnecessary tests, treatments, even more profits so far. And in different parts of the U.S., patients get two to three times as much care for the same disease, with the same result.

    Thank You !

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