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Forcing everyone to purchase private products from our uniquely American health unsurance industry with no right to Medicare is analogous to forcing every American to purchase private retirement plans from Wall Street banksters (or pay a fine) instead of enjoying the right to Social Security. I find it unbelievable and demoralizing that this bill is supported by progressives.  

Here's how Obama could have become an unbeatable hero of the people plus ended up historically looking like a moral hero and fiscal genius: 1. Announce that he, his family and all government employees were going to join traditional Medicare in order to add a younger healthier group to help save the program for American seniors (we could watch how fast they make it even better for themselves than it already is); 2. Then ask his good buddies such as Oprah, Tom Hanks, etc. etc. to join a public relations campaign explaining the truth, evidence and facts to the American people (the truth would ring clear as a bell if anyone in power would only try telling it); 3. Allow every other American to join.

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Comment Preferences

  •  The Rs got half way to the gotta buy private (3+ / 0-)

    pensions when they set up the 401k program which is where your pension can got when your employer kills your pension program. All of the 401k folk are firmly in the grasp of the Wall Streeters, and don't both sides know it after the current recession which killed a lot of those plans for a lot of people, after they had earned pension rights.

  •  Tell us about the President's celebrity friends (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Demi Moaned

    I am SO interested.

    •  I'm not sure what you mean. (0+ / 0-)

      I'm just saying if Obama wanted his celebrity friends to help with a public relations campaign (to explain the evidence and facts to the American people regarding private profit-driven health unsurance that has proven itself to be the worst, most expensive coverage model in the world by far vs. public not-for-profit which has proven to be the best...he could have done so.  I'm pretty sure most would have been thrilled to help him do so.  Instead the facts and evidence were not presented to the people at all.  Public policy is being based on politics and lies instead of the good of our whole and the truth.

  •  And then he could pull out his magic wand.... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Demi Moaned, Aquarius40

    The executive branch does not make laws.

    Congress makes laws.

    The Executive Branch enforces them.

    The president cannot magically enroll himself in Medicare and he cannot enroll any government employees in Medicare and he cannot change the rules so that every American can enroll in Medicare.

    Congress has to do that.

    What he ought to do is wave his magic wand and force everyone to take a Civics class so that a few people actually understand how our government functions.

    And then use the magic wand to lower gas prices.....

    OK. And now we begin the part of the show where we pull out individual words and phrases of the commenter to try to determine the "real" meaning of the comment.... let the games begin.

    by hillbrook green on Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 10:58:50 AM PDT

    •  He could have presented such a plan to the people (2+ / 0-)

      ...and allowed the facts and evidence to be heard.  He didn't even try.

      •  You might want to go back and listen (0+ / 0-)

        to his stump speeches during the '08 campaign.

        Nonetheless, that doesn't change the fact that it is the CONGRESS which passes laws.

        It is CONGRESS which decides what is in the laws.

        The President only has the opportunity to veto or sign the laws that CONGRESS passes.

        I get it that you are pissed off. Next time you might want to take a few minutes to consider who you should be pissed at.

        OK. And now we begin the part of the show where we pull out individual words and phrases of the commenter to try to determine the "real" meaning of the comment.... let the games begin.

        by hillbrook green on Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 11:31:22 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I know exactly who to be pissed at (0+ / 0-)

          The billion bucks that are going to stop at Obama's desk this election cycle alone are nothing like the ones that stopped at FDR's.  IMO you are defending something that truly is indefensible, but you have that right.

          •  IMO (0+ / 0-)

            perfect is the enemy of good.

            If you want indefensible, keep up your work and maybe we can get a Republican President, House of Representatives, Senate and SCOTUS.

            I'm sure you'll get exactly what you want then....

            OK. And now we begin the part of the show where we pull out individual words and phrases of the commenter to try to determine the "real" meaning of the comment.... let the games begin.

            by hillbrook green on Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 12:12:29 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  We have a Republican president... (0+ / 0-)

              ... cleverly disguised as a Democrat.  Most Democrats have become what Republicans used to be while many Republicans have moved off the chart to the right.  There's barely any left left.

              •  You really ought to (0+ / 0-)

                sit down and take a little time to think things over.

                You are living in a dream world.

                Maybe what you ought to do is go off and found your own country, where everyone agrees with you and no one is allowed to disagree with you. Where you can write your own laws and you can enforce them the way that you want.

                In other words, where everything is "perfect".

                If you don't like the President we have, just keep up your rhetoric and maybe we can get a real (not your imaginary) Republican President and Congress and Supreme Court.

                We'll just see how that works out for you.

                This is a real world, not a dream world. You have to work with what you have. There are no magic wands. Change is incremental and it is very hard to effect.

                OK. And now we begin the part of the show where we pull out individual words and phrases of the commenter to try to determine the "real" meaning of the comment.... let the games begin.

                by hillbrook green on Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 12:56:40 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  No, bad is the enemy of good (0+ / 0-)

              If Obama's health care reform plan even began to point us in the direction we need to go (i.e. expanding the proven best model: public not-for-profit coverage), I would have some hope for our future.  But it doesn't.  In fact it takes us in precisely the OPPOSITE direction of honest reform by enriching and expanding the most horribly broken, unafford-able, unsustainable, amoral part.  More of the same is not change, and more of the problem is not even close to any solution.  This is the biggest piece of corporate welfare crapola (although I admit very cleverly disguised as good for people) ever passed over on a misinformed and unsuspecting public.

              •  good luck on that (0+ / 0-)

                let me know how you are enjoying it when the Republicans take power.

                OK. And now we begin the part of the show where we pull out individual words and phrases of the commenter to try to determine the "real" meaning of the comment.... let the games begin.

                by hillbrook green on Sat Mar 31, 2012 at 12:44:50 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  We're screwed either way (0+ / 0-)

                  The lesser of two evils is still evil.  We're being duped BIG time.

                •  Let me know how you like (0+ / 0-)

                  fake financial market reform, fake health care reform, endless wars, ever increasing (not decreasing) military budgets, ever more unfair trade agreements, obscene national security policies, fake environmental policies, worse energy policies, continued tax breaks for billionaires, NO campaign finance reform, etc., etc.  

                  •  Buh-bye (0+ / 0-)

                    It's been fun, but it seems I'm the only one paying attention to you. Let's see, what did you get? Was it two or three people who actually thought your rant was worthwhile?

                    Just step it up a notch. Then people will start rewarding you with big fat doughnuts....

                    OK. And now we begin the part of the show where we pull out individual words and phrases of the commenter to try to determine the "real" meaning of the comment.... let the games begin.

                    by hillbrook green on Sat Mar 31, 2012 at 02:46:02 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

    •  I have a question for you (0+ / 0-)

      If it is legal to force everyone under age 65 to purchase private health unsurance instead of have the right to Medicare, do you think it might also be legal to force everyone under age 65 to purchase private retirement plans from Wall Street banksters instead of have the right to Social Security?

      •  Congress passes laws. (0+ / 0-)

        The Executive Branch enforces the laws.

        The Supreme Court decides if the laws are constitutional.

        If Congress passes a law such as the one you describe, and the President does not veto it, or if his veto is overridden, then the Supreme Court decides whether the law is "legal" or not.

        Not you.

        Not me.

        Ultimately, the Supreme Court decides what is "legal" or not "legal".

        Once upon a time the Supreme Court decided that slavery was legal. So I would not put anything past them. Especially when it comes to the moneyed interests of this country, a group to which they have been particularly beholden during the 2+ centuries that the Supreme Court has existed.

        You really need to read a little history and study up on how Social Security and Medicare came into existence and while you are at it, maybe study the Constitution and the history of the Supreme Court.

        It is obvious from your initial diary/demand that the President do exactly what you think is right, that you have absolutely no understanding of how the government works in this country.

        You want Medicare for everybody. I want Medicare for everybody. Most Democrats and Progressives and Liberals want Medicare for everyone.

        Altogether that amounts to about 1/3 of the population of this country.

        Until and if you can convince upwards of 1/2 of this country that you are right, or until you can talk them into:

        a) electing approximately 60% of the House of Representatives (allowing for defections) that agree with you; and

        b) electing about 65 Senators that agree with you; and

        c) electing a President that agrees with you for roughly 3-4 terms in a row; so that

        d) he/she can appoint Justices to the SCOTUS that agree with you

        I'm afraid that your opinion is just that - your opinion.

        Of course you have a right to pursue any course and espouse any cause you want regardless of whether or not they are rational or even possible.

        OK. And now we begin the part of the show where we pull out individual words and phrases of the commenter to try to determine the "real" meaning of the comment.... let the games begin.

        by hillbrook green on Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 12:39:08 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  A strong majority want real not fake public option (0+ / 0-)

          The will of the people is being denied.

        •  Obama does not want Medicare for everybody (0+ / 0-)

          ...and neither do most Democrats in Congress.  If they did, we would have it.  Ginsberg just pointed out expanding Medicare would definitely pass constitutional muster.  I'm not sure what planet you must live on (how out of touch with reality you must be) in order to continue to believe such baloney.  Long ago Obama did say he supported single payer, but that was then.  This is now.  I watched a young state senator Obama personally (yes, personally; it'a a story I'll tell you when I have time in a different post) gut honest health care reform in Illinois when he was chair of the insurance committee in our state senate. Democrats have been in complete control here in Illinois for years and nothing has changed.   All they are proving so far is that they can and will rule just as corruptly as Republicans.  Like I said, Democrats are now what Republicans used to be while Republicans have moved off the chart to the right.

        •  If Democrats can privatize this (0+ / 0-)

          they can privatize anything.

  •  Ryan's plan to "reform" Medicare (0+ / 0-)

    by turning it into a taxpayer financed voucher system to benefit private insurance corporations...is essentially Obama's health care "reform" plan for Americans under age 65. Obama's plan is to the right of what Richard Nixon proposed for God's sake.  The part that scares me most is how progressives now support and defend extremely regressive public policy just because Obama does.

  •  I honestly believe had Obama stood up for honest (4+ / 0-)

    reform instead of selling us out before the discussion even started, he would be unbeatable by now.

  •  Obama got the bill that he wanted. (3+ / 0-)

    The "bad negotiator" line just doesn't hold water. He didn't fight for Medicare-For-All because he wanted to shovel graft toward Big Insurance.

    State-by-state single-payer plans — in the years before Baucuscare "locks in" nationwide — remains our country's best chance simply because the entire Washington establishment is dead-set against changing the status quo.

    Tell Congress: DON'T BREAK THE INTERNET! Learn about the OPEN Act.

    by Brown Thrasher on Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 11:55:01 AM PDT

  •  Federal employees have been under part of (0+ / 0-)

    medicare for decades now. They are all required to pay for part A. If I am correct, the law also requires them to have medicare as their primary insurer upon attaining age of 65, which, in effect, requires them to purchase part B as of that age.

    That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

    by enhydra lutris on Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 04:02:19 PM PDT

    •  I know that but that's only for employees (0+ / 0-)

      over age 65, not age 64 and under.  Part B is an option, not a requirement.

      •  There's a lack of clarity in the rules concerning (0+ / 0-)

        part B for retirees over 65, since Medicare is putatively their primary insurer at that point, and if they don't purchase part B, one interpretation is that their other insurer can deny coverage since it is supposed to be the secondary insurer. Federal employees themselves have differing takes on this, some buying part B and some not.

        That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

        by enhydra lutris on Sat Mar 31, 2012 at 08:49:03 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Federal employees under age 65 are covered by FEHP (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      enhydra lutris

      ....privatized Federal Employee Health Plans subsidized with our tax dollars.

      •  Yes, the government, like all employers of old (0+ / 0-)

        contributes to the employees health plan purchase as part of their compensation, a percentage that varies with the actual plan selected by the employees.

        That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

        by enhydra lutris on Sat Mar 31, 2012 at 08:47:05 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  It also varies by employee, etc. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          enhydra lutris

          Last I checked the average yearly cost for a family plan through FEHP was more than $2000 higher than the average cost for private group plans through other non-governmental employers.  My theory is that's because health unsurers know which side of the bread their butter is on, and actually cover federal employees better and more reliably than they do average workers.  They also cover larger groups that they do not want to lose more reliably as well, and IMO this will always be a fact of life as long as they are in charge.  The newly privatized Medicare plans are proving to be fiscal and moral disasters, just like private plans for Americans under age 65.

          •  I called Sen. Durbin's office and asked (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            enhydra lutris

            what percentage of federal employee health plan costs goes to care providers vs. what percent goes to the insurance companies, and was told "that information is not available to the public".

            •  The government's payments under FEHBP go (0+ / 0-)

              to insurers. Employees pick an insurer from a list of available/included insurers, uncle pays part of the premium and the employee pays the rest. Except for Congresspersons, there are no direct payments to providers.

              That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

              by enhydra lutris on Sat Mar 31, 2012 at 09:42:10 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  That was not my question (0+ / 0-)

                My question was how much do their insurers keep for themselves vs. how much do they pay out for medical care?

                •  No way to tell. Even so called medical loss (0+ / 0-)

                  ratios don't really tell one that information.

                  That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

                  by enhydra lutris on Sat Mar 31, 2012 at 10:25:30 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  There absolutely is a way to tell (0+ / 0-)

                    Government as well as insurance actuaries know the exact amounts and percentages.  That information should be public.  The fact that it's not should be an outrage.  The main problem is (almost) nobody even asks the question.

                    What do you mean by "medical loss ratio"?

                    •  Wrong, government does not know. One (0+ / 0-)

                      would have to get deep (as in to the very bottom) into both the cost accounting and management accounting records and nobody currently has the authority to demand production of those records for the purposes of obtaining that information. In fact, privacy laws prohibit that kind of browsing.

                      That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

                      by enhydra lutris on Sat Mar 31, 2012 at 10:58:55 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  I do not believe that is true. (0+ / 0-)

                        Durbin's office did not say that.  If that was true I'm 99.9% certain they would have said so.  They strongly suggested they have that information when they explained it is not available to the general public.  I would be amazed if they didn't have it.  They absolutely know those facts and figures regarding privatized Medicare plans.

                        •  Durbin's office simply put you off with a (0+ / 0-)

                          standardized answer, but you are free to believe whatever you wish to believe. If you wish to sell your fantasies however, you need to come up with an explicit provision of law authorizing somebody to obtain those records and/or that information.

                          That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

                          by enhydra lutris on Sat Mar 31, 2012 at 01:59:57 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  I'm not selling anything. (0+ / 0-)

                            And they're not fantasies.  You had some of your facts wrong but I was polite enough to not jump your case.  And hate to interfere with your own fantasies, but something is legal unless there is a specific provision forbidding it.

                          •  Nope, the government cannot subpoena without (0+ / 0-)

                            specific authority, they have no blanket right to force people or companies to provide basic records, let along massively complicated extractions from internal data sets.

                            Do they know all the details of all of your expenditures? Your employers? Can they get it with no motive but snooping? Even the IRS can't just walk in and demand the information you refer to, nor even the records from which to create it unless they can show some legitimate connection to the accurracy of a tax filing (which they could not).

                            That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

                            by enhydra lutris on Sat Mar 31, 2012 at 04:17:00 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  You appear to take umbrage at the use of the (0+ / 0-)

                            word "fantasies", but you have asserted, wtihout any basis in fact, certain things, such as that the government has, already in its possession, certain information. When I asked under what authority it was obtained, you replied that anything not illegal is legal which is both non-responsive, and, technically false.

                            So now we have the assertions that they have certain information and that they collected it under the doctrine that everything not illegal is legal, but still no known basis in fact for your assertions.

                            I simply did not know what else to call the assertion that the government has information that it has neither reason nor authority to provide that it would have had to obtain from private entities which have no obligation to provide it.

                            That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

                            by enhydra lutris on Sat Mar 31, 2012 at 04:52:36 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  For something to be illegal it has to be illegal. (0+ / 0-)

                            If something is legal, it is not illegal.  You dispute that.  I think some of your "facts" are fantasies.

                          •  Please take a brief glance at the Constitution - (0+ / 0-)

                            it grants the government some powers, not universal power.

                            That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

                            by enhydra lutris on Sun Apr 01, 2012 at 03:14:32 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

  •  The "Illinois Health Care Justice Act" (0+ / 0-)

    ...stated that Illinois would study the problem of health coverage and "shall" implement a solution to cover all Illinois residents by 2007.  The (D) House had passed the bill as written. Senate President Michael Madigan (D) had promised the (D) Senate would pass it as written. Governor Blagoivich (D) had promised to sign it as written.  All it had to do was get through the insurance committee unscathed.  As chairman of the committee, then Senator Obama (D) agreed to change the word "shall" to "may"... thus turning the "Illinois Health Care Justice Act" into yet another meaningless empty shell bill with a great sounding name (Democrats favorite kind of legislation; Republican's favorite kind is none).  A small group of us was paying very close attention.  Basically Obama explained to us (paraphrasing in parentheses) that he tried his best but just could not get the health (u)nsurance industry to go along with the concept (of health care justice, that is), so he couldn't either.  That's the truth.  I was there.  

  •  If Obama's forced privatization plan passes (0+ / 0-)

    ...I'm not sure what would stop the forced privatization of other public services such as Medicare and Social Security.  Obama's taxpayer-subsidized plan to force Americans under age 65 to purchase unreliable defective products from amoral, insatiably greedy private corporations is essentially the same as Paul Ryan's plan to "reform" Medicare for seniors by doing the same.  Seems to me like this could set a precedent to privatize Social Security as well.  Call me crazy, but I think nothing is crazier than progressives supporting and defending this extremely regressive plan (to the right of what Richard Nixon proposed for  God's sake).

  •  What if we don't trust "what we have" as far as (0+ / 0-)

    we can spit (and for extremely good reasons)?  What  then?

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