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A few more data points on the cost of the healthcare reform debate. To say that they are obscene is really understating the case, particularly since so much of the fight over reform swirls around now much it costs.

First and foremost, what's going into the policy-makers' coffers from the industry:

During the first half of 2009, health industry groups contributed almost $1.8 million to 18 lawmakers overseeing the House side of the action on an overhaul bill.

For 15 of the 18 congressional leaders, health-care-related PACs accounted for the largest or second-largest contributions each lawmaker received from any industry during the first six months of 2009, a CQ MoneyLine analysis of campaign finance reports shows....

Leading this year’s contributions from PACs representing a range of health care companies and professional associations were donations from doctors, who gave the top leaders $426,150 in the first six months. Pharmaceutical manufacturers gave $352,500, and hospitals followed with $134,800 in donations over the same period, the analysis shows.

That's both sides of the aisle, by the way, because both sides are taking every advantage of every month this process drags out. It's a gravy train for them, with industry pouring in all the money they can while they think (ok, know) it will make a difference. But some of it is slightly more targeted:

House Republican Leaders John Boehner (Ohio) and Eric Cantor (Va.) have taken roughly $60,000 from the health insurance company that owns the research firm the Lewin Group, regularly cited by opponents of health care reform, according to Federal Election Commission filings.

Cantor, meanwhile, recently urged his Republican colleagues, at the top of a summer-strategy memo, to refer voters to an "[i]ndependent analysis by the Lewin Group" that makes that case that giving Americans a public health care option would cause more than 100 million people to lose their current coverage....

Boehner and his leadership PAC have taken in $29,125 and Cantor and his PAC have gotten $28,000 from UnitedHealth's political action committee, not including what they've also gotten from the company's executives and employees.

Insurance companies can certainly afford to fight reform, with their "astronomical" profits.

The top five earning insurance companies averaged profits of $1.56 billion in 2008 and reported spending an average of "more than 18 percent of their revenues on marketing, administration, and profits." That year, CEO compensation for these companies ranged from$3 million to $24 million.

All this allowed them to spend more as much as $1.4 million A DAY lobbying against reform during the January to March reporting period, and we're like to find out in the next day or two how much more was spent in the April-July quarter.

No wonder AHIP President and CEO Karen Ignani has completely rejected any form of competition in a plan, even Kent Conrad's watered down "compromise" of co-ops, that great plan that's supposed to bring in Republicans to support the Finance Baucus Committee plan. With this kind of money at stake, competition is the last thing these free-market Republicans want.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Thu Aug 06, 2009 at 07:48 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Boehner and Cantor - bought and paid for. (5+ / 0-)

    It's often said that life is strange. But compared to what? --Steve Forbert

    by darthstar on Thu Aug 06, 2009 at 07:50:42 AM PDT

    •  There are enough Democrats in Congress to pass (4+ / 0-)

      health insurance reform without Boehner and Cantor, or any other GOoPer.  Problem is, Blue Dog Democrats are watering down the legislation so as to protect health industry balance sheets at the expense of sick Americans.  Funny thing about this is that this whole process is making Democrats look so weak that when the next midterms take place in Nov. 2010, the Democrats who lose will be the Blue Dogs in swing districts!  Voters favor winners and reject losers, and they're attracted by strength and repelled by weakness.

      Conservadems are in a tough spot, but I'd suggest that they do what's best for struggling middle-class families and let the politics take care of itself.

      Barack Obama in the Oval Office. There's a black man who knows his place.

      by Greasy Grant on Thu Aug 06, 2009 at 08:02:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  This is the crux of the whole healthcare story (5+ / 0-)

    Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on or by imbeciles who really mean it. --Mark Twain

    by SottoVoce on Thu Aug 06, 2009 at 07:52:24 AM PDT

    •  ... our utterly corrupted political process. (4+ / 0-)

      Reform in this country depends on public financing of political campaigns.  That's not saying you can't give money to your candidate, but it's saying your candidate doesn't need outside money to win.

      Corporate return on candidate investment must be destroyed with prejudice.

      •  The drug companies are getting a nice return (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Mogolori, oscarsmom, polar bear

        on their investments, according to today's NYT FP:

        Pressed by industry lobbyists, White House officials on Wednesday assured drug makers that the administration stood by a behind-the-scenes deal to block any Congressional effort to extract cost savings from them beyond an agreed-upon $80 billion.

        Drug industry lobbyists reacted with alarm this week to a House health care overhaul measure that would allow the government to negotiate drug prices and demand additional rebates from drug manufacturers.

        In response, the industry successfully demanded that the White House explicitly acknowledge for the first time that it had committed to protect drug makers from bearing further costs in the overhaul. The Obama administration had never spelled out the details of the agreement.

        Some men see things as they are and ask why. I see things that never were and ask why not?

        by RFK Lives on Thu Aug 06, 2009 at 08:19:50 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Negotiations on drug prices with the (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Mogolori, RFK Lives, ukeman, ozarkspark

          pharmaceutical companies should be included in the final bill and sent to Obama to sign.  If he doesn't sign the bill he can explain to the American people how he pre-emptively reached an agreement with the drug companies not to reduce their profits any more than they demanded.

          "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

          by SueDe on Thu Aug 06, 2009 at 08:31:19 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  The Senate will never do that (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Mogolori, polar bear

            I'm not sure that the House would, but the Senate will never dare biting the hand of Big Pharma that has fed so many of them.  It's a great idea, but I don't see it happening.

            Some men see things as they are and ask why. I see things that never were and ask why not?

            by RFK Lives on Thu Aug 06, 2009 at 08:38:17 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  oops, i commented before i read the comments. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          RFK Lives

          same thing.  i'm very upset by this, but that doesn't really help.  I hate to admit it, but I may withdraw just a bit, and get recharged somehow.  I'm very tired of everything I fight for being given away to the crooks, even as they are praised.

        •  Yep, it's not obscene that it is so much, (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          SottoVoce

          it is obscene that it is so little. Think about it, there are 18 Congresspeople out there willing to continue to keep sending tens of thousands a year to an early grave for $100,000 in 6 months. A few dollars per early death.

          The FOX is a common carrier of rabies, a virus that leaves its victims foaming at the mouth and causes paranoia and hallucinations.

          by Calouste on Thu Aug 06, 2009 at 10:35:06 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  I was hoping (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ozarkspark, polar bear

      this discussion was going to be about the overall cost of healthcare reform, not the healthcare reform  debate (i.e., More Tales of the Corruption of Congress).

      I'm getting killed out here when trying to convince people who are truly afraid of the cost of the reform effort that it will be better, and that with the reorganizing of the money in the system - and taking the profits away from insurance companies and for-profit hospitals - there would be plenty of money to cover everyone under a public plan.

      Mostly I'm getting blank stares, and then the question comes (again), "But what about the cost?"  These are not wingnut cases or screamers, but people genuinely afraid of the reform's impact on the deficit.  I don't know how to allay their fears, particularly since there is nothing in any of the plans about forcing insurance companies and hospitals to become non-profit.

      "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

      by SueDe on Thu Aug 06, 2009 at 08:26:42 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Pete Sessions (3+ / 0-)

    Received $160,000 from health care professionals last election cycle. His total take was about $1.8 million.

    His opponent's entire campaign cost just over $100k.

    "we must make the rescue of the environment the central organizing principle for civilization" - Al Gore

    by racerx on Thu Aug 06, 2009 at 07:53:18 AM PDT

  •  OT OT..Twitter, Ongoing denial-of-service attack (0+ / 0-)

    "Be convinced that to be happy means to be free and that to be free means to be brave." - Thucydides

    by JasperJohns on Thu Aug 06, 2009 at 07:57:20 AM PDT

  •  Has anyone checked Baucus's freezer lately? (6+ / 0-)

    There might be a trend forming especially the way he seems hell bent on screwing up this bill.

    Have you forgotten about Jesus? Don't you think it's time that you did?

    by uc booker on Thu Aug 06, 2009 at 07:58:10 AM PDT

  •  Grassley cites nothing but Lewin. (5+ / 0-)

    The Iowa Senator was on PBS last night spouting over and over the talking points. Even when the interviewer asked whether healthcare isn't already rationed by insurance companies, all he could do was go back to repeating his talking points. Also, SEN GRASSLEY stated he would be holding 20 TOWNHALLS IN IOWA over the recess. It would be interesting if some real Iowan would ask the Senator if he has read any reports on this issue besides the Lewin Report. Clearly, he hasn't.

  •  These numbers are what is reported, and (5+ / 0-)

    one doesn't have to be a rocket scientist to know that members of the staff, families, and friends are showered with all sorts of gifts as well.

    Trying to understand how insidious corruption inside Congress is impossible.

    The ultimate solution is to outlaw for-profit health insurance, period.

    I've changed my bookmarks from CNN to McClatchy

    by shpilk on Thu Aug 06, 2009 at 07:59:32 AM PDT

  •  but poor Karen has given so so much (0+ / 0-)

    that Ezra Klein "feels for her".  What a schmuck!  What a tool!  What a fool!

  •  Depends on how you define "competition." (4+ / 0-)

    The insurance industry, like much of corporate America, seems to prefer the "conflict" version, which means that, instead of being challenged to do better by the competition, their object is to wipe their opponents off the map.  That's why we keep seeing consolidations and acquisitions on the road to monopoly, where the most rapacious enterprise "wins."

    How do you tell a predator from a protector? The predator will eat you sooner rather than later.

    by hannah on Thu Aug 06, 2009 at 08:04:48 AM PDT

  •  I wonder (3+ / 0-)

    how many people did they turn down medical care for in order to pay for these lobbyists....

    We know they turn people down for care so the bonuses and dividends can be bigger....

    Yes, it is death by Spreadsheet.

    -6.13 -4.4 Where are you? Take the Test!!!

    by MarciaJ720 on Thu Aug 06, 2009 at 08:05:50 AM PDT

  •  What about the profits of tort lawyers? (0+ / 1-)
    Recommended by:
    Hidden by:
    uc booker

    One estimate shows $668 billion every year in "defensive medicine"--the care and tests ordered by doctors for "CYA" (no, not a new disease)--cover your ass--so they avoid any possiblity of being sued by scumbag lawyers like John Edwards. $668 billion could PAY for our healthcare reform! Why does the Democratic party continue its love affair with tort lawyers who so clearly damage our healthcare system?

    •  Sigh...McAllen. Please read McAllen (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      oscarsmom, polar bear, beglin

      Texas has limit medical tort reforms for over a decade now, and the McAllen experience has pretty much refuted the medical liability canard:

      Some were dubious when I told them that McAllen was the country’s most expensive place for health care. I gave them the spending data from Medicare. In 1992, in the McAllen market, the average cost per Medicare enrollee was $4,891, almost exactly the national average. But since then, year after year, McAllen’s health costs have grown faster than any other market in the country, ultimately soaring by more than ten thousand dollars per person.

      "Maybe the service is better here," the cardiologist suggested. People can be seen faster and get their tests more readily, he said.

      Others were skeptical. "I don’t think that explains the costs he’s talking about," the general surgeon said.

      "It’s malpractice," a family physician who had practiced here for thirty-three years said.

      "McAllen is legal hell," the cardiologist agreed. Doctors order unnecessary tests just to protect themselves, he said. Everyone thought the lawyers here were worse than elsewhere.

      That explanation puzzled me. Several years ago, Texas passed a tough malpractice law that capped pain-and-suffering awards at two hundred and fifty thousand dollars. Didn’t lawsuits go down?

      "Practically to zero," the cardiologist admitted.

      "Come on," the general surgeon finally said. "We all know these arguments are bullshit. There is overutilization here, pure and simple." Doctors, he said, were racking up charges with extra tests, services, and procedures.

      The surgeon came to McAllen in the mid-nineties, and since then, he said, "the way to practice medicine has changed completely. Before, it was about how to do a good job. Now it is about ‘How much will you benefit?’ "

      The Cost Conundrum

      Single Payer and WPA 2.0...NOW!!!

      by Egalitare on Thu Aug 06, 2009 at 08:50:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  What about it? n/t (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      WiddieDawg, polar bear, Egalitare

      Save the parrots: Drink shade-grown coffee!

      by oscarsmom on Thu Aug 06, 2009 at 09:02:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  What's the big deal??? (0+ / 0-)

    Prostitues love money and lots of it.  They will do whatever your dirty mind desires.

    What Would Jesus Do? Obviously get Jack Bauer to torture someone!

    by Dahankster on Thu Aug 06, 2009 at 08:06:07 AM PDT

  •  Congress should not be allowed to lead... (0+ / 0-)

    ....on legislation. That's what this post tells me. Obama should have presented a bill to the Congress critters and said "Here is the basebline. Here is the thrust of what we are going to do. Ready it, suggest changes and make them."

    Congress is fucking useless at writing legislation like this out of whole cloth and Obama not doing the above is why the whole thing is on fire right now.

    There's something attractive about invincible ignorance... for the first 5 seconds.

    by MNPundit on Thu Aug 06, 2009 at 08:06:10 AM PDT

    •  Did you read the post? (0+ / 0-)

      Please don't blame all this on Obama.  He's doing what he can the best he can to fight a VERY powerful lobby and a totally corrupt system.

      Save the parrots: Drink shade-grown coffee!

      by oscarsmom on Thu Aug 06, 2009 at 09:03:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Sorry no go. (0+ / 0-)

        This is exactly why I said what I said. With the Congress this compromised and useless normally he should have done what other presidents do, come up with the law himself and then the Congress adjusts it however they want or votes it down whatever.

        The point was, what person thinks things will move either quickly or favorably if you let the CONGRESS of the US take the lead on this matter? It is staggering to me that Obama could believe this. I guess what I am saying is that I would rather have an executive with more power than a Congress.

        I am going to blame Obama because he did something wrong when there is no reason for him to and anyone who thought about it could see that.

        There's something attractive about invincible ignorance... for the first 5 seconds.

        by MNPundit on Thu Aug 06, 2009 at 02:39:54 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  OT Obama frustrated w/ gop on healthcare finally! (4+ / 0-)

    Chuck Todd reporting that President Obama is finally ready to push healthcare reform through on strickly party lines because of a breakdown in negotiations with the gop.  So, he's a little slow sometimes, or maybe he's just being a diplomatic politician, but he finally gets it.

    Have you forgotten about Jesus? Don't you think it's time that you did?

    by uc booker on Thu Aug 06, 2009 at 08:07:13 AM PDT

  •  Money to both sides (3+ / 0-)

    Both sides of the aisle are raking in money.  As much as I would prefer Health Care Reform to happen for the good of All, with Democrats receiving large amounts of cash as well, it no longer becomes an issue of right, but of money.  A very sad commentary on our entire political establishment.

  •  Better use of the money (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    QuestionAuthority

    ... would be on government officials' salaries and opportunities for internships and scholarships.  But then, what percentage of total health-care expense is in these salaries?

  •  As Long As Reps Need 2 Grand a Day Every Day (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jim P, oscarsmom, Egalitare

    just to be able to compete for their jobs, they have to represent their prime sources first and foremost.

    Government doesn't have to leave the people to petitioning for vast sums of tribute money to conduct their most important citizenship duty.

    It does right now--but it doesn't have to.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Thu Aug 06, 2009 at 08:10:47 AM PDT

  •  Bayh Bayh Susan Bayh (3+ / 0-)

    Susan Bayh makes more than 1 million dollars per year sitting on 8 different healthcare company boards of directors.... Reported in none other than the Indianapolis Star.  Why this nugget has not been more widely reported is bewildering.

  •  easy way to pay for it (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    polar bear, beglin

    legalize weed!  it's a no-brainer.

    Quit posting non-sequitur "replies" just so your comment will be high up in the thread. It's effin' douchey. ♥

    by Cedwyn on Thu Aug 06, 2009 at 08:15:36 AM PDT

  •  OK they make money, that's a given, so what (0+ / 0-)

    it sidesteps the merits of the bill. The bill will rise or fall on how the public perceives their cost and benefits. A shit throwing contest will be unconvincing. It will just stink up both sides and obscure the contents of the bill.  

  •  At this rate they are going to end up with the (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    oscarsmom, polar bear

    best legislation that money can buy, and we will end up with a worthless gutted shell.

    "It's just amazing what people will do to get out of being the 2012 Republican Presidential nominee."

    by jwinIL14 on Thu Aug 06, 2009 at 08:20:52 AM PDT

  •  Since the health insurance industry is spending (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    oscarsmom, beglin

    1.4 millions bucks a day on lobbying and expenses to defeat healthcare reform...

    That's what over half a billion dollars a year?

    Why don't we just demand that they re-direct their efforts to pick up the slack in the current estimates of reform.

    Done. A ten year budget shortfall paid for in one year.

  •  THOSE BASTARDS ARE FIGHTING MY FAMILY (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    polar bear

    I'm not afraid.

    We've got a righteous wind at our backs.

  •  Via Andrew Sullivan (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    oscarsmom, polar bear

    Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction.-- Blaise Pascal

    by Pandemoniac on Thu Aug 06, 2009 at 08:30:06 AM PDT

  •  Walking around w/ a big sickle and black robe (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    polar bear

    So if your an insurance adjuster deciding who get what disease covered or someone paying someone else to continue that practice, send someone off to an unjust war, take more than ones share while people die of simple things as food and water and be proud that I have more than you so go starve to death, should they be dressed in black robes w/ sickles?

  •  An Interesting Problem (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    polar bear, beglin

    As the diarist notes, one of the big problems in our current health care system is the lack of competition among access providers.  It seems the government is substantially incapable of ensuring competition in this industry the normal way (rooting out collusion, price fixing, etc.), so they propose to simply compete with them on providing access to health care.  This is different from making cars or refrigerators because nothing needs to be built.  It's essentially recognizing the role of government as a service provider in a largely service economy.

    •  There will be no real free market (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      polar bear

      Until actual patients are informed of what each procedure costs--until hospitals are required to post the prices of each treatment and medicine the way any other shop has to.

      As it is, no one knows anything, and CAN'T know anything, so the insurance companies run everything behind our backs.

      Save the parrots: Drink shade-grown coffee!

      by oscarsmom on Thu Aug 06, 2009 at 09:06:59 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Boehner and Cantor prove my theory that there is (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RustyCannon, polar bear, Egalitare

    more human dignity and integrity in any $2.00 hooker on a street than in the entire republican party.

  •  sounds like popcorn popping in Vegas at the slots (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    oscarsmom, polar bear

    ...the rapture of campaign contributions...."free market" Senate DINO's & Blue Dogs acting out a play for teabaggers and disrupters - just to keep the illicit, unethical and immoral campaign finance bribery mill up and running at full throttle.

    It's kabuki on LSD...The hometown town halls are a stage show enabling "controversy" so Congressmen can go back to D.C. saying "the jury's still out on the 'public option.'"

    I'm sick of their nonsense. The Blue Dogs HAVE NOTHING TO LOSE!!

    They ignored us. Then they laughed at us. Then they fought us. Then - on July 2nd 2009 - we won! [ht: Mohandas K. Gandhi]

    by ezdidit on Thu Aug 06, 2009 at 08:37:00 AM PDT

  •  Conyers, Weiner, Kucinich (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    polar bear

    Will we ever get there?

  •  These numbers are beyond pathetic (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    oscarsmom, polar bear, etbnc

    The top five earning insurance companies averaged profits of $1.56 billion in 2008...

    That's only $7.8 billion at stake for those 5 biggest companies together. But as a nation, we spend about $2.2 trillion on health care each year. How reasonable is it that the entire decision of how we'll spend $2.2 trillion, is driven by whether a handful of companies will get $7.8 billion?

    Let's bring the numbers down to human scale. If you had $2.2 million to invest, would you allow a line item of $7.80 to control your entire thought process?

    Here's a modest proposal, very affordable. We'll just pay those 5 companies their $7.8 billion every year, for which they don't have to do a damn thing. No risk to them, no work for them, just free money forever. Their only deliverable is, they have to shut up and get out of the way.

      •  Oops (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        WiddieDawg, polar bear

        Dead wrong in public is not my favorite place to be.

        If you had $2.2 million to invest, would you allow a line item of $7.80 to control your entire thought process?

        OK, so I made a little error, not important, just 3 orders of magnitude is all.

        Trying again... should be something like, if you had $2,200 to spend on a used car, would you let a price difference of $7.80 determine which car you buy?

        Still a decent point, but not nearly as dramatic, and I did sort of blow the delivery :(

    •  Not a good argument. Get out your pencil (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RustyCannon, polar bear

      and write down those two numbers with all the zeros.

            $7,800,000,000
      $2,200,000,000,000

      You'll see that it is not $7.80 out of $2.2 million.  It is $7.80 out of $2,200.00.

      Also, the $2.2 trillion includes the $7.8 billion, so your method saves nothing, but just pays it out of taxes rather than through premiums.

      I see no reason for these companies to be guaranteed this amount of profit.  We'd do better with legislation that precludes fees paid to lobbyists or PAC contributions from being deductible items.  Let these companies pay for these things out of their obscene profits.

      I'd like to see K Street shut down.

  •  I think the $1.4 million a day lobbying (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    polar bear

    refers to the whole health care industry -- hospitals, doctors, drug companies, insurers etc.  -- based on the reference.  In particular, hospitals are lobbying against the public plan using Medicare payment rates.  It's not in the headlines so much, but it's a key issue.

  •  Talkin' bout money: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    oscarsmom

    I was afraid of this.  It's true, no negotiating for good drug prices.  Talk about holding us hostage (as Arianna does today).

    Drug industry lobbyists reacted with alarm this week to a House health care overhaul measure that would allow the government to negotiate drug prices and demand additional rebates from drug manufacturers.

    In response, the industry successfully demanded that the White House explicitly acknowledge for the first time that it had committed to protect drug makers from bearing further costs in the overhaul. The Obama administration had never spelled out the details of the agreement.

    Deal with the Drugmakers

    Extremely upsetting to me.

  •  Thanks mcjoan-- (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    polar bear, Egalitare

    one of the most important diaries we've had here lately, IMO.  This is the system we have, people.  We have to either succumb to the inevitable results, or fight like hell to counteract the millions the money interests are pouring into it and pray that it works--and/or fight to end the system that allows our representatives to be bought and controlled.

    Sick, sick, sick.

    Save the parrots: Drink shade-grown coffee!

    by oscarsmom on Thu Aug 06, 2009 at 09:00:04 AM PDT

  •  It's a bargain for 'em. Alway is. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    polar bear

    $1.4 mm a day for a few months to protect yearly profits of $8 bn.  A no-brainer.  It's a shame. Not only do this congressmen sell us down the river, they drive a horrible bargain.  

    Under Bush, Rangers from the UP & BNSF railroads gave a few hundred thousand and, low & behold, they were given tax breaks of about $10 bn on diesel fuel.

  •  Obama deal with drug lobby is a killer (0+ / 0-)

    Reports in the NY Times and LA Times indicate that a secret deal was made with drug lobbyist and former Blue Dog founder Bill Tauzin (and subsequent Repugnican) to take $8 billion in annual savings from the drug companies in return for hands off Medicare by Congress. Since we can anticipate drug sales soon of $400 billion, this is only two percent savings.
    Seniors have already been sold out by Medicare D which requires you to pay more than $4,000 a year in co-pays, etc. before you get decent catastrophic coverage. For a retired couple, that's $8,000 - just for drugs, which doesn't count the $1,000 co-pay each time you enter the hospital, or the $1,000 a year from Medicare Part B, or 20% co-pay to doctors, or... Obama's deal won't change the $4,000 out of pocket expense; it will just allow you to buy more drugs before you get decent coverage.
    Obama is weak or corrupt. Hopefully, people will threaten the future of our republic if real reform isn't undertaken, and Obama will lead, rather than trying to make public enemies his friends. - fwdpost.com

    •  $80 billion. still a bad deal, imo. Pharma was (0+ / 0-)

      anxious for a commitment, and that's not good for us.

      What really makes me mad is that Obama is apparently "guaranteeing" the deal.  How can he do that, veto a bill that doesn't have it?  But he's not willing to say he'll veto a bill without a PO?  Steams me.

  •   Baucus hopes the thre Repubs will save his ass (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RustyCannon, polar bear

    He wants to retain the power of his chair and the money by industry to use as campaign clubs to keep his well polished ass in his seat- as Joe Lieberman did.

    So the best way to do that is to push the dire need for bi-partisanship.  
    The meaning of bi-partisanship has changed.  It now means members from across the aisle willing to vote/scratch each others backs to cover each others asses, now and/or in the future.

    Democracy in the Senate is gone.  On both sides.
    And has been replaced by nothing but a series of private quid pro quo schemes.

    Good Job Harry.

  •  is is too many or not enough numbers (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    polar bear

    This health care reform/overhaul debate is just plain frustrating.   I want everyone covered but I can't tell what numbers are the truth.  Yesterday, I read the cost for a family of four is $29,000 and should be used as one of the ten talking points.  Here, they say it's $13,000.

    I also want to know what will it cost a 25 year old student and plumber per month to be covered under the public option and does it matter whether they live in a low cost area like Nebraska or in New York City.

    Also, change the ages for both the student and plumber to 45 and I want to know what it will cost per month.  

    And what if I don't pay or don't have the money in the bank account.  Then what?

    •  Then the insurance company says too bad (0+ / 0-)

      I've been paying out-of-pocket for insurance for several years now. It's a complete joke. As a twenty-something in good health with cheap coverage, I'm currently paying $2K a year just for the premiums.

      Are the numbers you're citing supposed to be all health costs total for the year or just insurance? If it's the former, then $29K seems reasonable but if its the latter, $13K seems about right.

  •  What I don't understand is: (0+ / 0-)

    If industry lobbyists gave 1.8 million to 18 lawmakers in the first half of 2009, and they are spending 1.4 million a day, where is the rest of the money spent?  

  •  Monopoly!! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    beglin

    The Health Mafia doesn't want any competition to enter the system because that would actually cause these giant Corps. to God forbid COMPETE! We are always being endlessly lectured out here by the Rt. about the benefits of the marketplace through competition. The truth is competition is for losers not winners. The winners HATE competition, they want protection for their monopoly positions and they pay for by buying whatever amount of political protection is necessary @ the moment. The whole so called Health reform debate lacks context in this regard. The health Mafia would have us believe it already competes and it doesn't. It would also have us all believe that a Gov't option would put it out of business. It might but that's precisely because it couldn't compete. So why should we care if it can't compete? Our ONLY concern should be about putting into place a system that lowers cost and allows EVERYONE access to care. The health Mafias only concern is their massive profits , earned through political manipulation of the marketplace. They are paying politicians of both parties to Protect their market shares and they want everyone to believe that this is somehow a good thing.

    "It's better to die on your feet then live on your knees" E. Zapata

    by Blutodog on Thu Aug 06, 2009 at 10:19:31 AM PDT

  •  Why not just expand Medicare? (0+ / 0-)

    Instead of calling this single-payer, or reform etc - just call it Medicare.

    Move the entry age from 65 to birth.

    if that's too hard, do it incrementally - lower the age to 18, then 9 then birth...

    its all in the marketing, folks

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