I'd like you to keep this quote in mind as you read. "You don't want to take from nothing to a Cadillac."
Markos writes about Rewarding good behavior. I'm going to talk about condemning bad behavior.
Look, I don't like to be the bearer of bad news, and I consider all our Democratic candidates imperfect angels, but this doesn't mean we just roll over and play dead.
So you're wondering what I'm talking about?
I'm talking about this article in the New York Times.
You're also wondering who's "them"?
Them is us. Them is the American people. You and I are them, to the political class. We need to be dealt with. We need to be placated. If the truth be told, they want us to shut up and sit down. They plan on throwing us crumbs. They plan on offering many of us high deductible junk insurance which we know is insurance in name only.
Here's what Professor Guber who is advising several Democratic presidential candidates had to say. I appreciate his brutally frank words. I also think he's delivering a message. I suggest you read the entire article so you can place him in proper context.
I'll give you my interpretation. Since the politicians to take them (that's you and me), from nothing to a Cadillac, let's just throw them some junk insurance. We'll call it insurance and we can all say, problem solved. Yes, I know I've become quite cynical.
Health Plan Used by U.S. Is Debated as a Model
In order to make insurance affordable to a greater number of the 47 million who currently have none, experts say, the coverage might have to be much more limited than even the most basic federal employees option, and be designed to protect mainly against catastrophically high doctor or hospital bills.
"You don’t want to take them from nothing to a Cadillac," said Professor Gruber, who noted that affordability was a vital component of the Massachusetts plan, which he helped develop. The lowest-priced options in that state are as much as one-third cheaper than what is currently available through the federal employees’ program, he said.
So who is Jonathan Guber? He's an MIT professor advising various Democratic presidential candidates on ways to tweak the Federal Health Benefits Program and make it available to Americans who can afford it.
Jonathan Guber is also the man who helped Mitt Romney craft Mandated coverage in Massachusetts
"What Hillary proposed is in many ways the Massachusetts plan gone national, and I think that's great," said MIT economics professor Jonathan Gruber, an early adviser to Romney on the healthcare reform law who has consulted with all the major Democratic presidential candidates. "We are the shot fired around the world again - there's a whole new movement in healthcare started by what we did here. And rather than claiming credit for it, Romney's running away from it."
Once again, I don't want you to believe me so I'll turn to the experts at PNHP. This is what PNHP had to say on Romneycare and Massachusetts "reform".
Forcing Mandating people to buy high deductible junk insurance is simply throwing money at the insurance industry and does nothing to address the healthcare catastrophe in the United States.
Americans need more than affordable insurance; they need affordable health care. California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger plans to copy the Massachusetts reform in shrinking the numbers of uninsured people by forcing them to buy stripped down, bare-bones policies.
With premiums for family coverage now averaging $10,000 a year, the only way that states can make premiums affordable is to strip down the plans, which then forces policyholders to pay out of pocket when they get sick. High deductibles, co-payments and benefit reductions are destroying the financial protection that insurance should provide.
Half of U.S. bankruptcies are a result, in part, of medical illness or medical bills. Three-quarters of Americans who are forced into medical bankruptcy had health insurance at the onset of the illness that bankrupted them. Worse, suffering and death can occur when patients cannot afford the care that their private insurance does not cover.
The big winners in the Schwarzenegger and Massachusetts health plans are private health insurance firms. The new insurance mandates will hand them billions in wasteful administrative fees that do not occur in government insurance programs such as Medicare. Private insurers will continue their cream-skimming, enrolling primarily the low cost, healthy workforce and their families, while leaving the costs of the unprofitable sick and elderly to the taxpayers.
Affordibility is the operative concept.
Now, I want to tell you what's really going on here. It's courtesy of George Lakoff, and it's called Surrender-in-Advance. Maybe this notion of surrender in advance could characterize the bizarre behavior that many of us find so abhorent about our current crop of Democratic leaders.
Perhaps refusing to surrender-in-advance is what we find so mesmerizing about Chris Dodd's recent display of spine.
I recommend you read Lakoff's analysis of the American healthcare catastrophe, it's among the best I've seen and hopefully the message will be widely disseminated.
The Logic of the Health Care Debate
Neoliberal thinking can lead to a dangerous trap. We call it the Surrender-in-Advance Trap. With an exaggerated emphasis on system-based solutions, neoliberal thought may lead one to surrender in advance the moral view that drives an initiative in the first place. Those who pragmatically focus on appeasing what they assume will be unavoidable political opposition to their proposals also run the risk of moral surrender. For instance, assuming strong, possibly insurmountable, conservative resistance to government-based health care solutions, they will embrace profit-maximizing insurance solutions because they believe that 1) political opposition can be muted; and 2) the "free" market, properly regulated, can serve moral purposes, such as providing health care for all Americans. Proponents of these neoliberal solutions often overlook the fact that the very source of the health care crisis is the structure of insurance: the less care they authorize the more profit they make, and profits come first and are maximized.
. . .There is an additional danger. As a strategy, surrender-in-advance puts advocates in the weak position of starting negotiations by going half way or more toward what the other sides want. No one would think of taking that approach when bargaining in the marketplace.
Returning for a moment of the futility of maintaining our for-profit healthcare system. I'd like you to know how well UnitedHealth is doing. Wall Street is happy.
UnitedHealth Posts 15% Profit Increase and Raises Its Full-Year Forecast
The UnitedHealth Group reported a 15 percent rise in profit on Thursday and said it would buy back more of its stock, but it said it had given up some health insurance customers to stay profitable rather than go too low on prices.
UnitedHealth’s total enrollment was up from a year ago to almost 71 million people under a range of health and drug plans. But the number of people served by United Healthcare, which manages health coverage for self-insured employers and is one of UnitedHealth’s most important segments, declined by 80,000.
The president and chief executive, Stephen J. Hemsley, said that was partly by design. He said the company had held firm on pricing in the commercial benefits market "even at the cost of membership growth."
UnitedHealth said its medical care ratio, or the percentage of each dollar of premiums it pays out for health care, was 79.5 percent for the quarter, down 1.6 percentage points from a year earlier.
Let me remind you again about the medical care ratio. This is the amount of money the insurer spends on paying for our healthcare.
Every dollar they spend on your care or mine, goes against the bottom line. So it's a very good day for wall Street when the medical loss ration declines.
You and I are losses to the bottom line. You and I are the enemy of profit.
This system cannot be fixed by maintaining the status quo.
This is the dirty secret the politicians know but dare not say.
The only solution to our national catastrophe is single-payer healthcare and they know it.
Why do they always surrender-in-advance?