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Sen. Jeff Merkley
Sen. Jeff Merkley's (D-OR) office announces his support for Sen. Mary Landrieu's (D-LA) legislation to make sure that people who want to keep their health insurance can keep it:
Today, Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley announced that he is cosponsoring the Keeping the Affordable Care Act Promise Act, a bill that gives consumers the choice to keep their current health plans if they want to continue them. During the debate over the Affordable Care Act, a promise was made to consumers that if they liked their health care plan, they could keep it. Merkley wants to ensure that this promise is kept for Oregonians.
In short, Landrieu's bill (full text here) would require insurance companies to continue offering existing health plans to current customers for as long as they sell insurance in the same market. These plans would be considered "grandfathered" plans, and as such would not be required to meet all the minimum benefits of Obamacare, but unlike a plan supported by House Republicans, they could not be sold to new customers. In addition, under Landrieu's proposal, insurance companies would be required to inform customers that they have different options available on health care exchanges, and that those options would (in most cases) provide superior benefits at comparable if not lower costs.

From a political perspective, the main selling point of the bill is that it gives Democrats in the House and Senate a workable, easy-to-explain proposal that would fulfill the promise that anyone who wants to keep their current insurance can keep their current insurance. Without a plan like this, some Democrats facing pressure over the cancellation issue and rocky exchange rollout could be tempted to support the Republican approach, even though the GOP plan would effectively destroy Obamacare by allowing new customers to sign up for grandfathered plans, a policy shift that would render exchanges moot.

Landrieu's bill also poses a political dilemma for Republicans. If they decide to support her plan, it effectively ends the cancellation issue by shifting the focus back to insurers, where it belongs. In the much more likely scenario that Republicans decide to oppose it, then it puts them on record as opposing the simplest, most straightforward solution to the cancellation problem because they once again tried to destroy Obamacare instead of making it work better.

In an ideal world, we wouldn't even be having a debate about this issue, but like it or not, the debate is here, and Democrats need to stake out a position—and supporting Landrieu's bill is a sensible one to take.

Originally posted to The Jed Report on Wed Nov 13, 2013 at 09:20 AM PST.

Also republished by Koscadia, PDX Metro, and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I don't why this bill is needed. (9+ / 0-)

    I have been told, repeatedly, by very serious people, that what the President said was 100 percent truthful and that the 'cancellations' are - in fact - not cancellations and a very good thing in the end.

    Why would the Democrats need to float to help assuage a promise that was true and fix something that isn't broken?

    Look, I tried to be reasonable...

    by campionrules on Wed Nov 13, 2013 at 09:26:13 AM PST

    •  i used this analogy (27+ / 0-)

      "When we go to the restaurant, you can order anything you'd like."
      The waiter informs us that the chicken is rotten, and it won't be served.

      Landrieu's solution basically ends the situation like this:

      "Fine, you can order the rotten chicken if you'd like."
      "I'll have a steak."

      •  Except there's clearly (12+ / 0-)

        a good chunk of people(millions) who liked their 'rotten chicken'. Probably because it was cheap and they were healthy.

        Telling these people that they are too stupid to know what's good for them, and that paying a bunch more of their income out now is a good thing - is a terribly tone deaf way to approach the American electorate.

        Unless you live in a parallel universe where Democrats hold vast majorities and don't need swing voters.

        Look, I tried to be reasonable...

        by campionrules on Wed Nov 13, 2013 at 09:44:21 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  and their rotten chicken (6+ / 0-)

          costs everyone else more on their insurance policies because it doesn't cover hospital visits and the like, so we end up paying through the emergency room.

          maybe people would like cars without seatbelts in them if they were cheaper, too

          •  If they insist on rotten chicken, (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Sue B

            how about we make them pay for the emergency hospital and Dr expenses? Couldn't there be a list of the rotten chicken insurance policies that triggers the bill being sent to those who demand them? Business as usual since they chose it - let them lose their homes and declare bankruptcy. (Jeeze, I'm losing my empathy lately!)

            •  How do we (3+ / 0-)

              "make them pay"?

              You're assuming they don't already get the bills.  I'm guessing in most cases they do.

              I've been to the emergency room and unless you are bleeding profusely, in labor, or having a heart attack, they make you go through hoops about your insurance before you're seen.  If you don't have it, they will bill you.

              Hospitals expend a lot of resources and energy trying to collect emergency and doctor bills that are never paid.  We pay for that effort even if we don't cover the bill.

              But in most cases, the bill never gets paid, and they are written off and WE pay them.  

              If you have a crap policy for $100 per month and can buy a real policy through the exchange for anything near that amount, you should not be able to keep your crap policy.

            •  And if they don't have the resources to pay? (0+ / 0-)

              People will go bankrupt, and then what happens the next time they're in the emergency room?

              I seem to recall a Republican audience that shouted "let 'em die" in response to this very issue.

              •  Mmmmm, guess I spoke too soon. (0+ / 0-)

                Just so sick of hearing all the crap about how awful Obamacare is, and never a thought for the people it'll be a Godsend for. And if they have one more damn hearing where they gleefully torture Kathleen Sebelius (however it's spelled) for 3 hours, I'm going through those bloody wires and throttling someone! Not decided yet which one. Maybe I should just stop watching CSPAN.

          •  Yes, some of these policies are bad, but ... (5+ / 0-)

            mine is from Blue Cross and seems to not qualify under Obamacare only because of the $10,000 deductible. Doctor visits only require a copay, and the policy pays for preventive services outside of the deductible--so it works for me now. And if I were to have something serious, I could pay the $10,000.

            But Blue Cross says they will cancel the policy in a year, and my visit to the exchange showed that the cheapest Obamacare policy will be $50 more per month. That has a $6,000 deductible, but seeing that my medical needs now don't charge against the deductible, that doesn't matter.

            Well, my point is that some of the policies being canceled aren't bad policies, forcing the policy holder to use emergency room services that they cannot pay for. They just don't in some way meet the Obamacare standards--like apparently having a higher than normal deductible--and may in fact be perfectly fine policies.

            For many of us who are self-employed, $50 per month is real money.

            •  Lies! You are too stupid to realize that (0+ / 0-)

              your policy was junk. You should be happy for your 6000 dollar deductible. ENJOY YOUR QUALITY HEALTH INSURANCE!!!!!

              Look, I tried to be reasonable...

              by campionrules on Wed Nov 13, 2013 at 10:54:34 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Easy, dude (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Edward Adams

                An honest response doesn't deserve a hostile reply.

                What stronger breast-plate than a heart untainted! Thrice is he arm'd, that hath his quarrel just; And he but naked, though lock'd up in steel, Whose conscience with injustice is corrupted. King Henry, scene ii

                by TerryDarc on Wed Nov 13, 2013 at 12:39:45 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

            •  Think of that $50 more as the premium increase (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              you might have paid for the old policy anyway . . . Or have you never had a premium increase foisted on you by your insurer before for the same policy?

              "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

              by bryduck on Wed Nov 13, 2013 at 12:31:34 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Well, again my point is ... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                that some of the policies being cancelled are not junk policies, and people with these policies will not be happy to be paying more on the exchanges for something not much better.

                The discussion here seems to be suggesting that the cancelled policies are all junk policies that don't do the policy holders much good, but that is simply not the case.

                •  If they are decent policies, why (0+ / 0-)

                  don't the companies simply do the obviously small things necessary to align them with the new requirements? Either they aren't decent policies and their consumers are lying about that, or the insurance companies are making political hay about being "forced to cancel" decent policies when they aren't, since all existing policies were grandfathered.
                  We are hearing an awful lot about what must be a very small percentage of policies that are any good at all, imho.
                  Yes, some may not be junk, but surely you agree that any that conform to the new restrictions are not, and that none that exceed those restrictions are getting canceled. Otherwise, the insurance companies are just ripping their consumers off when they don't have a justification for doing so, which isn't the ACA's fault.

                  "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

                  by bryduck on Sat Nov 16, 2013 at 10:27:11 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

        •  Best way to start looking at ACA: (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          PhilW, TerryDarc


          An easy to use tool devised by three geeks in a few days.

          Spread the Word!

      •  there may also be very short-term tactical ... (4+ / 0-)

        reasons for current holders to keep those policies for a couple of months:

        (1) They are relatively healthy, and have made a reasonable choice to use those policies as catastrophic-only.

        (2) They are waiting for the startup problems to settle.  No one wants to think they've finished enrollment, only to find out that they need to debug an enrollment that didn't work for some reason with only days to do so.

        (3) Everyone who wants a subsidy must, I think, go through the exchanges.

        Currently, I think, everyone on a discontinued policy must complete enrollment by 12/15 to be covered on 1/1.  Choosing to hold on to a good-enough-for-now policy for a couple of months to sidestep the thundering herd might be a rational decision.

        •  I don't think (0+ / 0-)

          Landrieu's bill has just a couple of months, though.

          •  you make a fair point (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            I wasn't focused on sunsetting or its lack. I wanted to say that there are legitimate quandaries for holders of to-be-soon-cancelled policies: they are not universally irrational.

            •  I agree. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              auapplemac, Sylv

              I think people may be missing the fact that not everyone being canceled has junk insurance and not everyone being canceled is losing a policy because it doesn't meet the requirements of the ACA.

              A lot of people with decent policies are being canceled by the insurance companies and steered into more expensive policies even though their policies can be grandfathered under the ACA.

              If we stop that from happening, we eliminate a large number of people in that 5% "canceled policy" group - people with good policies being canceled.

              I think grandfathering was an attempt to keep this group from existing.  Expanding grandfathering of respectable policies is one solution.

              I can't see how allowing people to keep junk insurance can be a good idea.  The more people in the exchanges, the healthier the exchanges will be.

              And many people are finding that their junk insurance can be replaced by Marketplace insurance with subsidies bringing their cost in line with what they're paying for junk.

              A huge effort should be made to ensure people have explored the possibility of exchange policies before we allow them to keep a junk policy that costs the same thing and covers more.

    •  Several reasons, most of them political (21+ / 0-)

      The ACA is about reforming and regulating the health insurance industry, in so doing, modestly expanding coverage and reducing overall health care costs.  Grandfathering existing junk policies is a necessary political expedient, and it is far better than deregulating the industry and allowing them to offer junk in the future. It has the following political benefits:

      (1)  Honors the President's (excessively broad) statement that people can continue to keep the insurance they have.  The whole ACA has been a communications fuckup from the start, and Obama should not have said that... but he did.

      (2) Shows the Democrats as the party that is actually trying to come up with solutions, and not just preserve the status quo.

      (3)  Provides a little breathing room so that people who elect to keep junk insurance, and suffer accordingly, can be the subject of television and newspaper articles about how the insurance companies screw them over.  That would, however, require a competent communications team and policy.  See (1) above.

      The downside of course, is that it will undermine the effort to distribute risk throughout the whole population and will cause other policies which are more comprehensive to increase in cost.  The self-employed will be able to continue with cheaper crap policies, but the pool of resources will be less.  Therefore, higher costs for everyone, including when holders of crap insurance go bankrupt and can't pay their bills.

      But we live in an imperfect world, in a country in which we're not able to get single payer or be completely rational about equity and cost in the health care system.  If we were more rational, we would be going for single-payer.  Even Obama recognizes this, but our nation is so fundamentally broken at this point in our history that this is unattainable.

      “If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin.” Charles Darwin

      by ivorybill on Wed Nov 13, 2013 at 09:47:53 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Keeping junk insurance (5+ / 0-)

        does not only affect the person keeping the insurance.

        It affects the efficacy of the ACA.

        We need people to enroll in the exchanges.  That's how cost is kept down.

        If young people keep shit insurance policies because the policies are cheap and they are relatively healthy, the exchange suffers from a shortage of healthy enrollees.

        The exchanges can't survive if too few people are paying in and not submitting claims.

        That is why the GOP has been trying to keep young people from enrolling.

        •  Which is why (4+ / 0-)

          Landrieu's proposal - to allow existing junk policies to be grandfathered, but prevent new junk from being issued - is the only possible compromise at this point. The GOP proposal - allow junk policies - would do as you say, and doom ACA.

          “If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin.” Charles Darwin

          by ivorybill on Wed Nov 13, 2013 at 10:31:35 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I actually don't think (0+ / 0-)

            the insurance companies want a law that will require them to keep these junk policies in force "as long as the premiums are paid".

            They have enjoyed being able to cancel these policies and raise rates with impunity, and continually issue new ones and raise rates on those.

            I'm sure they raise rates every time one of these policies is actually utilized.

            Without the ability to raise rates (is this addressed in the proposed law?), they won't want to continue these policies.

            They don't even want to keep the grandfathered policies in place, and have been misleading people into signing up for policies that they actually offer in the exchanges for a lower premium.

            There is a lawsuit right now because ins cos are tricking people out of their grandfathered policies.  Those are people who are also in the "canceled" group.  not all policies being canceled are junk policies.

            Making insurance companies keep grandfathered policies (that meet ACA requirements re recission and preexisting conditions and caps) in place would go a long way in solving this issue.

            •  We might have to enact Landrieu's proposal (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              If a sufficiently large majority of American want to make a change along these lines, we will have to enact one or the other. Landrieu's proposal is the better one.

              We fight for PPACA as written, but if we lose on that, Landrieu's proposal is our backup.

            •  As ins cos do raise rates on junk plans, ACA will (0+ / 0-)

              be a more attractive option.

              As others have said, not everyone has a junk policy. Friends were on a state pool plan that they were happy with. These people are very health ins savy having worked in the industry. However the plan is being cancelled as of 12/31.

              They have been trying since day 1 to sign up for ACA coverage. They don't qualify for a subsidy so it should have been easier. Yet, it took until today to accomplish this. They did it directly through the insurance company.

              Took about 2hours. Were disconnected twice. Agent could not answer all of their questions. After signing up with the agent, they still had to go to company's  website to complete the transaction.

              Anyone not insurance savy could have major problems just trying to decide which plan from which company is right for them.

              It’s the Supreme Court, stupid! Followed by: It's always the Supreme Court! Progressives will win only when we convince a majority that they, too, are Progressive.

              by auapplemac on Wed Nov 13, 2013 at 11:30:28 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

    •  Thanks. (1+ / 3-)
      Recommended by:
      Hidden by:
      ord avg guy, allergywoman, Lost and Found

      "I have been told, repeatedly, by very serious people..."

      This is going to keep me chuckling for the rest of the day.

      To ravage, to slaughter, to usurp under false titles, they call empire; and where they make a desert, they call it peace-Tacitus

      by ActiveMeasures on Wed Nov 13, 2013 at 10:10:39 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  more info (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      officials signaled the president’s strong opposition to calls from across the political spectrum — including one Tuesday from a key ally, former President Bill Clinton — to support bipartisan legislation that would allow people to keep their current insurance plans even after provisions of the Affordable Care Act go into effect next year.

      White House officials refused to discuss in detail what options Mr. Obama was considering. But they made clear that the president was skeptical of any solution that would allow insurance companies to continue selling what officials consider to be cheap and substandard policies.

      "Tax cuts for the 1% create jobs." -- Republicans, HAHAHA - in China

      by MartyM on Wed Nov 13, 2013 at 10:21:42 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  The President's apology is one very good (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      reason. It's all about politics now.

      •  And optics! Never discount the optics. (0+ / 0-)

        It’s the Supreme Court, stupid! Followed by: It's always the Supreme Court! Progressives will win only when we convince a majority that they, too, are Progressive.

        by auapplemac on Wed Nov 13, 2013 at 11:32:08 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Optics is politics spelled backward... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          ...Or was that Serutan?

          What stronger breast-plate than a heart untainted! Thrice is he arm'd, that hath his quarrel just; And he but naked, though lock'd up in steel, Whose conscience with injustice is corrupted. King Henry, scene ii

          by TerryDarc on Wed Nov 13, 2013 at 12:43:36 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Provides political cover (9+ / 0-)

    The need for which was created by Obama's "broken promise."

    "When dealing with terrorism, civil and human rights are not applicable." Egyptian military spokesman.

    by Paleo on Wed Nov 13, 2013 at 09:26:28 AM PST

  •  Be patient six weeks, we'll be back (9+ / 0-)

    to another debt ceiling crisis and this infatuation with the GOP's Obamacare cure will be but a painful memory.

    Once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right.

    by darthstar on Wed Nov 13, 2013 at 09:26:42 AM PST

  •  If the GOP vote against this (10+ / 0-)

    Whether in the Senate or in the House, they will lose the fight over Obamacare.  It's quite simple.

    •  They lost the fight over the ACA a while ago (n/t) (0+ / 0-)
    •  It's a question of exhaustion... (11+ / 0-)

      I don't think the GOP loses by obstruction.  They continue to win.

      Their strategy remains to fight for every inch, basically forever, and prevent the Administration from governing on this issue or on any other.  It's about wearing people down so that they say "the Democrats can't govern" or so that they just give up after years of stalemate and hopelessness, and think "WTF, maybe just let the Republicans try".

      ACA has a rocky start, and we already see that our self-inflicted wounds support the dual GOP message that government can't help and Democrats can't govern.  It's far more important for the GOP to make sure no Administration initiative can be implemented, even at the cost of pissing off a few people who will see it as obstructionism. It's wrecking ball politics, and in six months, the public will not hold them to account.

      “If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin.” Charles Darwin

      by ivorybill on Wed Nov 13, 2013 at 09:56:02 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  But consider the "brillance" of the ACA (6+ / 0-)

        You give Americans not one but two things that they really hate -- insurance companies AND government.  They get the worst of government tone deaf to customer service plus they still get to pay high insurance premiums.  

        I mean I know this is a great deal for low income and the uninsurable but for the middle of the middle class, not so much, at least not now and they should have anticipated that the implementation was going to be difficult and funded higher subsidies to ease the pain of the transition.

        I mean you have to bribe people to accept the increased regulation.  That's the trouble with centrists.  They take away all the old carrots of unabashed liberalism and give Americans eat your peas government instead.

        •  sadly, there's some truth to that... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          auapplemac, greenbell

          A new Quinnipiac generic Congressional poll has the GOP and Democrats tied. We've lost all of what we gained from the shutdown. We need to be up 9 points or more to overcome the gerrymandering. So you might be right... I still think GOP obstructionism is the greatest factor in undermining Democratic ability to function, but combined with middle-of-the-road incompetence and we might end up giving the GOP one last shot at controlling all three branches of government. God help us!

          “If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin.” Charles Darwin

          by ivorybill on Wed Nov 13, 2013 at 10:45:21 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      • is all GOP has as far as legs (0+ / 0-)

        That's why this bill may be at least one tool (if not the only tool) the Democrats can use as leverage against the GOP if it wants to fight Obamacare.

        An argument can be made that because there were problems with people keeping their coverage, Democrats acted in the Senate and if the GOP obstructed, then the folks frustrated with losing their plans can go back and point the fingers at the GOP.

  •  allow them to keep selling.... at what cost? (10+ / 0-)

    When was the last time your employer told you that your insurance plan was going to stay the same and the cost wasn't going to increase?   No insurance company in my memory has done so.  Good luck with this!

    •  I dont think this bill says anything about (0+ / 0-)

      the cost having to remain the same right?

      I'm guessing the costs increase every year with these policies pre-ACA.

    •  Doesn't matter. Nobody wil keep their old plan (8+ / 0-)

      once they see the alternatives.  For 99% of the people who are complaining about this, they will drop their old plan once the website and exchange options are available to them.  This is being done purely for political cover, and in that regard is somewhere between good and harmless.

      Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room!

      by bigtimecynic on Wed Nov 13, 2013 at 09:52:28 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  that's a good point... (0+ / 0-)

        ...once people who can afford it realize that they've been paying for nothing but junk insurance...many of those folks would likely jump at the chance to have real coverage...

        ...this proposal seems like a good way to placate those who insist on wanting to keep their current junk least for a while...

      •  Disagree. The complaints are about the cost of ACA (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        alternatives. PBS Newshour just featured a 58yo self-employed attorney who "liked her old policy" and is now facing a $5000/yr increase for the cheapest Exchange policy.

        She said that the only additional benefits from the ACA policy are maternity and pediatric care... something she simply does not need.

        What she actually said is this:

        "...between the higher premiums and the much higher maximum out-of-pocket costs, will cost me probably more than $5,000 a year more than what I'm already paying for health insurance."
        So it's hard to know if $5k is a repating annual increase, or a worst-case estimate in the event that she hit her OOP Max.

        I suspect that these older, high-income customers were happy paying less for a policy with high deductible, because they have other assets to call on in an emergency (stocks, savings, equity). But at that age, they are saving hard for retirement, so they're sensitive to monthly cash flow.

        Perhaps a better solution would be to qualify them for tax subsidies like the lower-income ACA customers have.

        “It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing
        he was never reasoned into” - Jonathan Swift

        by jjohnjj on Wed Nov 13, 2013 at 11:35:23 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  And the SURPRISE!! Factor (0+ / 0-)

          I think people being hit with these premium increases is coming as a huge surprise.  People expected ACA would make insurance more affordable not surprise them with a sudden cost increase that they didn't budget.  

          That's really not fair to people.  At least if they increased your taxes you could plan for it.  

    •  Maybe... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      astage4444, wdrath, auapplemac

      the insurance companies don't even want to keep the plans.  Very cheap coverage may not pay for much, but it doesn't bring in the revenue either.

      My HMO has been complaining for years about the costs for the individual plans (with pretty good coverage).  They will probably make more money off the new exchanges with their subsidies.  

      Though I've been complaining about the cost increase for my coverage, I'm going to take advantage of the new companies entering the market and dump my HMO for a PPO.  This PPO offers the biggest network on the WA market and includes the specialists I want.

  •  Here we go again... (17+ / 0-)

    ...Democrats turning victories into defeat. What "we" should do is support the ACA's principles of true, effective insurance and not allow insurance companies to continue serving up crap plans. If you like your crap plan, too bad -- we aren't cool with using our taxpayer dollars to pay for your care when your crap plan doesn't cover it -- because that's what happens now and will continue to happen. Not surprised to see this at dKos, but saddened to see DINOs stabbing us (not the president -- he's fine) US in the back once again.

    •  If it were just Landrieu (6+ / 0-)

      you'd have a point.

      Merkley is no DINO.

      •  If it walks like a duck... (3+ / 0-)

        I admit that I don't know all the Senator's positions well enough to determine who is and isn't a DINO with accuracy and should have stayed away from that description. But, my overall sinking feeling of Democrats shooting themselves again clouded my comment. Can you picture any, ANY Republican being so quick to fold on ANY Republican supported legislation? Even when said lesgislation polls at 70-90% approval? Can Dems have this kind of unity just once?

        •  Merkley is one of the most progressive (12+ / 0-)

          members of the entire US Senate, and one without a reputation for being a squish.

          He IS up for re-election next year, but at this point he would be considered the favorite--unless 2014 is another GOP wave.  The GOP doesn't have a deep bench here in Oregon, and neither of the two candidates that have so far expressed interest (a state legislator and a local doctor trying to play the role of Ben Carson) are all that impressive.

          At any rate, Obamacare is not so flawless that it should be considered untouchable.  The House proposal, which would make the individual mandate toothless, is clearly unacceptable.  This proposal limits the policy damage.  

          •  "Obamacare is not so flawless that it should be (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            wdrath, auapplemac

            considered untouchable."

            Careful, you're trodding on sacred ground.

            "When dealing with terrorism, civil and human rights are not applicable." Egyptian military spokesman.

            by Paleo on Wed Nov 13, 2013 at 09:56:14 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Good. (5+ / 0-)

              I'd replace it with Medicare for all in a heartbeat, and so would most of you.

              (And so, I think, would President Obama).

              The ACA wasn't a touchdown; it wasn't even a field goal.  But it was a first down and moved the chains, and I supported it (and still support it) on those grounds; it's far better than the status quo ante.

              Some members of the party, though, when faced with a blitzing defense--think the best strategy is to turn tail and run to their own end zone--better to concede the safety rather than risk getting sacked, I guess.

              If the Democrats were smarter (and too many of them ARE corporate chickens who run screaming from the room every time they see a bad poll), they'd use this opportunity to attack the ACA from the left.  Point out the flaws in keeping the insurance sharks in business, and suggest Medicare for all.  After all, Medicare covers the old and sick already; the remaining population cohort is less expensive to provide healthcare for.

              But many Democrats aren't that smart, and don't recognize an opportunity to move the Overton window in the correct direction.  

              •  Obamacare wasn't a touchdown? (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                it was a fumble in our own end zone.  It was an own goal.   It was a walked in winning run..

                It didn't fix anything that needed fixing except for the one rule,  Pre existing conditions.   That could have been passed by itself.

                No,  HR676 was already written.   All it needed was a vote.   It had the full support of the CPC.  But Obama killed it before it could even get a hearing.  

                Obamacare is the thing no one supports except the insurance lobby and their courtesans.   It's his baby.   And it's a cluster fuck.   Doing the bidding for Bill Clinton isn't the answer either.   Single payer works.   Do it.  

                "I'm ashamed you exist" -Inland 11/8/13

                by Nada Lemming on Wed Nov 13, 2013 at 10:32:07 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Disagree (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  A whole lot of poor people, and those with pre-existing conditions,  who before could not get access to affordable healthcare, now can.  (Depending on what state you live in and how obnoxious the local politics are, of course--many GOP governers would rather turn away free money than let the poor enjoy Medicaid expansion).

                  That, in and of itself, is worth something.  Even if the means are inefficient and problematic.

                  And in some ways, that's a big reason the ACA is politically vulnerable--wealthy and many middle-class voters; the ones who were "winners" under the old system, are in many cases slightly less off.  Many "cadillac" plans offered to middle-class professionals are disappearing, as insurers and employers don't wish to pay the Cadillac tax.  And certain groups who have been essentially freeloading on the system are being told they can no longer do so; many of these groups are more politically active than the poor, who often don't bother to vote.

                  What we are now seeing is those who don't benefit from ACA, complaining that they might be inconvenienced a bit so that the poor can have decent healthcare.

                  •  Was the ACA sold as a poverty program? (0+ / 0-)

                    Were people told that they were going to have the cost of insuring poor shifted on to them?  Were they told the "affordable" in the title did not apply to them?  

                    Do you think a middle class adult earning $50,000 feels rich? Were they told they were going to have to re-budget their "discretionary" income so that poorer people could have healthcare?  Were they told the choice was to tax the wealthy or to screw the person making less than $100K and Democrats decided the middle of the middle class should take the hit?

                    Actually, the Republicans did tell them so who are they going to believe next time?

                    I hope this works out but so far it has all the hallmarks of brain dead centrism which offers the worst of both worlds to the middle class.  The rich get to keep tax cuts.  The middle class gets their benefit cuts.  The poor get some help by making the middle class poorer.

      •  Yes, He Is In Some Ways (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        He is a DINO on some issues.  He is not a liberal.  He leans towards being a libertarian so maybe this is one of those libertarian issues for him.

        "Don't Let Them Catch You With Your Eyes Closed"

        by rssrai on Wed Nov 13, 2013 at 09:38:11 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  That remains to be seen. (0+ / 0-)


        "Show up. Pay attention. Tell the truth. And don't be attached to the results." -- Angeles Arrien

        by Sybil Liberty on Wed Nov 13, 2013 at 09:48:40 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Yeah (10+ / 0-)

      there was no victory on this. Silly to pretend otherwise.

      This is a workable political fix.

      I bet the President supports it but better politics for now for him to say nothing on specific proposals.

      •  No (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        it isn't and it highlights the argument we've been having on the other thread.  (Not stalking, just reading another thread and here you are!)

        We were talking about the difference between Obama and Clinton.

        Clinton would like this proposal because it buys into the meme that allowing people to keep shitty policies means Obama has "kept his promise to the American people".

        The implication of these meme, if not all out stated, is that it's the fault of the damned ACA that people are losing policies that are routinely canceled at the end of the year as a matter of course.   That it's the fault of the ACA that insurance companies are greedy liars.  It's the fault of that damned ACA that you can't continue to get fucked over by your insurance carrier.  

        Thanks Obama!

        According to what Obama has said, he would like to address the issue of canceled policies.  He has NOT said he would like people to be able to keep substandard policies.

        He has not said he "hasn't kept his promise" but instead says that (a) losing your shit policy means you get a better policy through the exchange and (b) there is normal churn in the market that has nothing to do with the ACA.

        Obama's solution doesn't have to be "let people keep piece of shit policies."

        There can be another way to address this without undermining the entire law by allowing young healthy people to opt out of the exchanges.  The Marketplace relies on spreading the cost across all ages and levels of health.  

        ACA fails if you can't enroll young people into the exchanges.  

        The GOP is on an all out campaign to keep young people from enrolling.  Not a coincidence.

        Allowing them to keep bullshit policies undermines the ACA.  

        If Obama agrees to that crap as "keeping his promise", then I will agree with you that Clinton and Obama are proposing the same thing.

        When an ex-President says "He should keep his promise to the American people" - that doesn't have a nice connotation.   Keeping his promise doesn't mean rescinding a tentpole of the ACA.

    •  This isn't just about crap plans (7+ / 0-)

      There are people who buy comprehensive coverage on the individual market who pay lower rates because they don't have preexisting conditions.

      1-2% of the population will be worst off at least short term under Obamacare.  When the exchanges are not working correctly, these individuals will receive all the attention putting Democrats in a tough position.

      Landrieu's bill will help address this issue or at least provide some political cover until the kinks get worked out in Obamacare.

      •  ...and that 1-2% would make a lot of noise (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Stude Dude

        So, yes, at the outset this sounds good.

        However, I agree that those plans should have to include catastrophic coverage. Otherwise taxpayers risk having to pick up the bill anyways.

        “The meaning of life is to find it.”

        by ArcticStones on Wed Nov 13, 2013 at 09:46:16 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  To be fair, they should have (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Stude Dude

      done this to begin with--- grandfather in unacceptable plans.

      It should have been like with car regulations: No one has to sell their unsafe, unclean car when a new reg comes into place, but if they get a new one, it will have to be up to code.

      Republicans have tried to repeal the ACA 42 times now, knowing it would fail. That means we have a party full of people who don't learn from repeating the same mistake 42 times.

      by nominalize on Wed Nov 13, 2013 at 09:50:41 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  No, it's the double fuck up (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      PhilW, auapplemac, wsexson

      The site and the promise that you can keep the insurance you have.  The senators are just responding in a politically rational manner.

      "When dealing with terrorism, civil and human rights are not applicable." Egyptian military spokesman.

      by Paleo on Wed Nov 13, 2013 at 09:52:21 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yeah, Dinos are so stupid. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Stude Dude, reginahny

      They won yet are aiding and abetting the GOP. Even Bill Clinton is back on my ignore list for his shameful move recently.

      Never promote men who seek after a state-established religion; it is spiritual tyranny--the worst of despotism. It is turnpiking the way to heaven by human law, in order to establish ministerial gates to collect toll. John Leland

      by J Edward on Wed Nov 13, 2013 at 09:52:49 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  yes (0+ / 0-)

      And I see that this is from such a noble and hallowed progress area, the home of the great Portland.

    •  We also allow people to pay a very low penalty (0+ / 0-)

      Instead of buying any insurance.  When a person buys any of the existing plans they are helping the ACA far more than those who pay the penalty.

      The penalty for not getting insurance needs to be significantly raised, otherwise too few healthy and young people will buy insurance to balance the risk pool.  The penalty needs to be raised to 5% of income now, not with a phase in.

      The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

      by nextstep on Wed Nov 13, 2013 at 10:26:34 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Call the House's bluff. (9+ / 0-)

    It will never leave the house. Current narrative over.

    What is so unnerving about the candidacy of Sarah Palin is the degree to which she represents—and her supporters celebrate—the joyful marriage of confidence and ignorance. SAM HARRIS

    by Cpqemp on Wed Nov 13, 2013 at 09:31:55 AM PST

  •  Toothpaste out of the tube. Majority of policies (8+ / 0-)

    already cancelled to prepare for 12/15 open enrollment deadline.

    Unless the bill allows for reinstatement of already cancelled policies, this will do nothing to alleviate the problem.

    •  there isn't really a problem (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bwintx, Cpqemp, JohnnySacks

      besides a political one.

      I think the point of this bill is that, even among the 4-5% of people who do purchase their insurance on the individual market, and the smaller percentage who have plans that aren't legal under the ACA, there are going to be people who raise a stink.

      This is basically saying, okay, you've made your political point. If you really want expensive insurance that doesn't cover anything, fine. That's your choice.
      Since it only affects a tiny portion of the country, it wouldn't make much difference even if every single person eligible took that option.

      Sure it would mean shitty insurance for those people, but if they're going to take terrible insurance to make a political point, then they should be allowed to, I guess.

      •  It's a damn good thing (0+ / 0-)

        that we have direct democracy and not a representative republic. It's not like that 4-5 percent(And this is not counting the inevitable backlash when the employer mandate kicks in) are capable of influencing any electoral outcomes.

        Look, I tried to be reasonable...

        by campionrules on Wed Nov 13, 2013 at 09:46:30 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Can't See Beyond The (Temporary) "Savings" (0+ / 0-)

        I'm inclined to think that, with all the focus on crappy insurance that can lead to huge out-of-pocket expenses, that many of the insured who choose this crappy insurance will now pay much closer attention to the costs that other holders of crappy insurance have to face when they use the crappy insurance.

        This will probably lead to more cheapskates dropping their crappy insurance. You know the old aphorism: "Penny-wise and pound-foolish." Happens to be true when a person makes that type of choice. It's like gambling: The house always wins in the long run.

        Yonder stands your orphan with his gun... Crying like a fire in the sun ~Bob Dylan

        by paz3 on Wed Nov 13, 2013 at 10:05:57 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  But if it pulls the political rug from under GOP (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      then it serves a purpose.

      Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room!

      by bigtimecynic on Wed Nov 13, 2013 at 09:59:03 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I believe that these Democrats (0+ / 0-)

    are acting in good faith,  want to help people who had good plans,  and are losing cheaper coverage,  but it is one thing to order people to buy insurance, but it is impossible to get insurance companies to offer good insurance, it will never get past a Republican filibuster threat or be taken up in the House.

  •  Sure, why not? (0+ / 0-)

    It's not like it isn't already a Rube-Goldberg contraption.  KISS, anyone?

  •  This Is A Bullcrap Bill And President Obama Should (5+ / 0-)

    say it is dead on arrival if it reaches his desk.  

    "Don't Let Them Catch You With Your Eyes Closed"

    by rssrai on Wed Nov 13, 2013 at 09:35:14 AM PST

  •  They already lost the fight, when Obamacare (0+ / 0-)

    Passed and then passed muster at the Supreme Court. after that there was nothing they could really do as long as Obama was in office.

  •  Difference between desire to and ability to pay (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    reginahny, schnecke21

    As these policy cancellation stories get more and more press, I've been wondering if it's a classic example of some wisdom that I learned from those wiser than me: there is a stark difference between desire to and ability to afford something.

    Did these older people choose their low premium policies because they wanted to pay less (despite having enough income to cover a higher priced plan) or truly because they couldn't afford anything else?

    If the former, then it will take a culture change to convince some of these people they need to allocate their budgets differently. If the latter, then we need to educate them on the available subsidies, or health care truly is too expensive.

    •  They may be healthy and have a good rate (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Cardinal Fang, schnecke21

      Since the ACA seems to be relying on smoke and mirrors for funding, they are being forced out of these plans into something more expensive.   Maybe the premiums now go up on the old plans.  I don't know.  

      I think the problem that's lurking out there is that the ACA may not be so darn affordable for the middle class.  The costs of the sick are being shifted onto the healthy middle class with no increase in taxes for fat cats like Bill Clinton and the other elitists who think increasing the financial burden on the middle of the middle class is just swell.  Insurance companies keep their profits.  The rich stay rich.  What's not to like?

      •  Whoever wins messaging wins policy battle (0+ / 0-)

        Sadly, we all know Republicans are way better at that. Others here have rightly stated we need to share the benefits of these new policies. Yes, they may be more expensive, but they cover more, you can't be dropped, no lifetime care caps, no pre-existing conditions, subsidies for premiums.

        But to my point, it's hard to convince someone who thinks they already have a great deal that their excitement is misguided. Dollars talk and are relative: if you and your neighbor are both 55 and he pays $800 a month for coverage but you pay $200, you'll likely think you have the way better deal and not think to dig deep into the nuances of the respective plans.

  •  Doesn't make sense to me (6+ / 0-)

    Insurers would have every incentive to keep customers as long as possible in plans that don't meet ACA standards. And quite a few customers would keep low-cost plans that are basically junk insurance. So this is good for consumers, how? It is really just removing some of the consumer protections that are in ACA.

  •  any bill that starts out as (5+ / 0-)
    require insurance companies
    will most likely not pass the Senate filibuster or the House.

    But, it seems to put the requirement for action squarely on the insurance companies, which is where it belongs.  It seems they are cancelling policies at their discretion, not as required by the ACA, and blaming it on ACA.  This bill might help stop that fraud.

    And I agree with a prior comment - it has to be retroactive to any policy in place as of 12/31/12 not just 12/31/13.

  •  How about a compromise? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ArcticStones, Mike RinRI

    Only existing plans that have catastrophic coverage?

    Using a conservative definition, 62.1% of all bankruptcies in 2007 were medical; 92% of these medical debtors had medical debts over $5000, or 10% of pretax family income. The rest met criteria for medical bankruptcy because they had lost significant income due to illness or mortgaged a home to pay medical bills. Most medical debtors were well educated, owned homes, and had middle-class occupations. Three quarters had health insurance. Using identical definitions in 2001 and 2007, the share of bankruptcies attributable to medical problems rose by 49.6%. In logistic regression analysis controlling for demographic factors, the odds that a bankruptcy had a medical cause was 2.38-fold higher in 2007 than in 2001. […]
    In 2007, before the current economic downturn, an American family filed for bankruptcy in the aftermath of illness every 90 seconds; three quarters of them were insured.

    Since 2001, the proportion of all bankruptcies attributable to medical problems has increased by 50%. Nearly two thirds of all bankruptcies are now linked to illness.

    How did medical problems propel so many middle-class, insured Americans toward bankruptcy? For 92% of the medically bankrupt, high medical bills directly contributed to their bankruptcy. Many families with continuous cover- age found themselves under-insured, responsible for thou- sands of dollars in out-of-pocket costs. Others had private coverage but lost it when they became too sick to work. Nationally, a quarter of firms cancel coverage immediately when an employee suffers a disabling illness; another quarter do so within a year. Income loss due to illness also was common, but nearly always coupled with high medical bills

    •  Yes! -- require catastrophic coverage (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      -- It upholds a minimum standard.
      -- It doesn’t let people keep crap plans.
      -- It silences the small minority of people who actually do have good, cheaper plans.

      And those noisemakers in the latter group would otherwise make a lot of noise during the 2014 elections. I can already see the TV-ads...

      “The meaning of life is to find it.”

      by ArcticStones on Wed Nov 13, 2013 at 09:53:04 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  2014 is shaping up to be worse than the 2010 (6+ / 0-)

    Elections, not because of the botched ACA rollout itself but simply because the administration is so inept in defending the law. I have never seen this much ineptness in simply finding a concrete plan in refuting all the lies about Obamacare--instead the president goes out there and apologizes only to stoke up more lies.

    I'm so sick of Obamcare stories and so called sticker shock nonsense that I've washed my mind of, of it. If the president can't defend his own law, why should scared democrats do it?

    •  And maybe Bill Clinton could shut his yap. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Brooke In Seattle, askew

      That might help as well.

      Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room!

      by bigtimecynic on Wed Nov 13, 2013 at 09:56:12 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  It's so frustrating. (0+ / 0-)

      President Obama is still counting on goodwill from the other side. Mr President, the fever didn't break after the election. Time to fight fire with fire.


      What is so unnerving about the candidacy of Sarah Palin is the degree to which she represents—and her supporters celebrate—the joyful marriage of confidence and ignorance. SAM HARRIS

      by Cpqemp on Wed Nov 13, 2013 at 10:32:41 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Why Don't The Democrats (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    reginahny, Cpqemp

    do the right thing and float a bill that will fund the transition and let the GOP filibuster it or not bring it up in the House.  Then they own the problem.  What the fuck is worng with the Democratic Party?

  •  I'm sorry but (6+ / 0-)

    Landrieu's bill is crap.

    People would be able to keep insurance that doesn't meet the ACA requirements.

    Which ones?  

    No yearly or lifetime caps?
    No recission?
    Require co-pay for mammograms?
    Actually have to provide service?
    Cover hospitalization?

    What happens is that young healthy people will keep their crappy insurance, and will not enter the exchanges, which will make it difficult to keep premiums down.  

    We will continue to pay for hospitalizations and other services because these policies don't cover them.

    Even the better policies are just a way for insurance companies to offer the same policies for more money outside the exchanges.

    Any capitulation on coverage standards is a step in the wrong direction and undermines the ACA.

  •  If I ran an insurance company (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rejoinder, reginahny

    and this bill passed, I'd stop selling new individual policies immediately. I'd cancel all individual policies, old and new, and get out of the individual business.

    The insurance companies have already set their rates, assuming a certain mix of subscribers. Now you're taking away the cheap healthy customers from the mix.  How can this possibly work?

  •  Democrats return to form... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The problem here is not the law, or that folks are being bumped off of substandard's the complete and utter ineptitude of the administration when is comes to defending their own law.

    I'm all for requiring insurance companies to be upfront about why these plans are ending and what inexpensive alternatives are available. But grandfathering in these crappy plans will ultimately weaken the whole system by allowing continued substandard care, and reducing the risk pool.

    I am so frustrated with the national party I am ready to support term limits...seriously!

  •  All aboard the Culsterfuck Express. (3+ / 0-)

    There will be no stop at Single Payer Station.  

    The tent got so big it now stands for nothing.

    by Beelzebud on Wed Nov 13, 2013 at 09:45:40 AM PST

    •  The worst thing is that a plan (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Simplify, Willa Rogers, bryduck

      that was formulated by the Heritage Foundation, and put into legislation by Max Baucus, is being attacked as a "failure of progressive government."

      If they're going to make such an attack, it would be nice if the legislation were actually progressive.

      "When dealing with terrorism, civil and human rights are not applicable." Egyptian military spokesman.

      by Paleo on Wed Nov 13, 2013 at 09:59:59 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  That's what happens when the political discourse.. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        greenbell roughly limited to the space between Lieberman's and McConnell's world views.

        Back when Dems were mocking KEEP YOUR GOVERNMENT OUT OF MY MEDICARE there was a wonderful opportunity to pitch expanded single-payer programs already in effect, but Dems were too busy laughing at olds in Rascal scooters.

  •  You have got to be *(@^#$ kidding.. (3+ / 0-)

    Requiring, much less allowing the insurance companies to continue these plans that severely limit medical coverage and drive people into the poor house will undermine the ENTIRE PURPOSE of the Affordable Care Act, which is to RAISE THE STANDARDS OF COVERAGE AND LOWER THE COSTS.

    There is absolutely NO positive benefit to this bill.  It is a fucking gift to the GOP and the HMO/PPO/Pharma usurers.

  •  Disagree. This gives imbeciles the ability to (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ahumbleopinion, Cpqemp, Rejoinder

    keep crappy insurance, but still gives smart people the option of switching over to an ACA-covered plan. These "grandfathered" plans will die out quickly from lack of demand, which in the end will be a political victory for the ACA.

    Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room!

    by bigtimecynic on Wed Nov 13, 2013 at 09:54:30 AM PST

    •  Not An Imbecile (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cryonaut, OrganicChemist

      I am an insurance actuary who is quite capable of understanding the health policy I had and all of its provisions. It has been canceled and I am forced to move to a policy that includes elements that I, at my age and gender, simply do not need and that costs quite a bit more. To say that I am an "imbecile" and therefore too stupid to understand what I had and what I am now forced to buy is insulting. You have no basis for your statement save to repeat the meme that all cancelled health insurance policies were "crappy."

      •  then you are quite aware (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        that even individual policies were not cafeteria plans where you could pick and choose the "elements" of insurance you thought you would need.

        I'm really sick to death of hearing the complaints about how men will now have to pay for maternity care, or whatever else people complain about.  

        •  Also Married (0+ / 0-)

          My wife is also 60 so we don't need maternity care and, previously, there was a wide range of policy choices that allowed me greater choice, more tailored to my individual needs, than does the ACA. One size does not fit all.

          •  so tell me Mr. Actuary (0+ / 0-)

            when the cost of maternity coverage is spread over a large risk pool, how much do premium costs increase?

            •  Hard to Say (0+ / 0-)

              Every feature in a policy adds an incremental cost. The point I'm making is that I'm perfectly capable of choosing a policy that fits my needs. I am not a proponent of someone else mandating what my choice must be.

              •  you choose (0+ / 0-)

                from what the insurer offers.  Now every person getting insurance can be assured of at least a basic level of health services.    You have choices within the plans offered.  And since the individual market will function like a large risk pool like the employer market the benefits will be like employer provided benefits.  I've never heard one person who got employer provided insurance complain that they were paying for something they would never use.  

  •  Wow, Senator Landrieu does something cool! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ahumbleopinion, Cpqemp

    First off, you people complaining about the potential bad effects of this bill are way off base.  This bill has no chance of even being brought up in the House.  Speaker Boehner won't bring it up for a vote due to the Hastert rule.  He has made occasional exceptions, but only under extreme pressure.  So there's no chance of this bill passing, or even reaching President Obama's desk.

    Second, since this bill has no chance of passing, it's really a brilliant political ploy.  It nullifies the Republican line of attack.  Republicans are stuck either:

    1) Pretending to support the bill, but then for some mysterious reason they're too scared to even put it to a vote when it comes right down to it.


    2) Openly opposing the bill, which basically means they just plain lose this issue altogether.

    Even if for some bizarre reason Republicans start to seem to actually support the bill, all President Obama needs to do is then say he welcomes the bipartisan support and publicly say he's in favor of the bill.  At that point, Obama derangement syndrome kicks in and the Republicans suddenly flip flop.  And the bill dies due to the House Republicans.  And as a bonus, the House Republicans look like even worse hypocritical craven bastards than they do already.  They're already in single digit approval territory...this sort of flip flopping could sink them even further...

    •  If two front-pagers are already promoting... (0+ / 0-)

      ...Landrieu's legislation, I'd reckon the cue for that is coming from the top. Just a hunch, mind you.

    •  3) Republicans in the House agree to the bill, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      with modifications, amendments.  Democrats push back, Republicans claim Democrats are intransigent, uncompromising, etc.
      4) some Republicans happily engage in this game of chess.  More distraction, more riling up of the angry mob, on and on.

      (My son has been on a private HMO, decent coverage and premium.  The HMO offered to grandfather him, same coverage, same premium for the coming year (got it on paper); he decided to stay with his doctors and HMO, satisfied with the status quo.  We looked at the exchange and the subsidy he would be eligible for, and determined that staying with the HMO, at least for the coming year, would be best for him).

      •  lol (0+ / 0-)

        No, don't see it.  The House Republicans, as well as their awesome leader Senator Cruz, are horribly horribly bad at trying to play that game.

        Harry Reid knows how to play (and win) that game.  The House Republicans don't.  This was made painfully clear during their shutdown debacle.

        The basic problem is that House Republicans repeat their mistakes rather than learn from them because they're stuck too much in a reality-denying delusion bubble where even losing is really winning.

        A resulting problem is that the House Republicans have no interest or ability to regain the institutional memory of how to actually legislate, that they lost during 2006-2010.  They're idiots and they're damn proud of it.  But they're facing an opponent on the other side of the aisle which has proudly retained their institutional memory of how to legislate.  This opponent has taken to learning from its mistakes and adjusting its tactics rather than just mindlessly repeating the same thing over and over again.

  •  ... because a Public Option was "impractical." (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Paleo, ferg, Willa Rogers


    Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room!

    by bigtimecynic on Wed Nov 13, 2013 at 09:55:23 AM PST

  •  Gotta love that passive voice (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Simplify, Willa Rogers

    " a promise was made "

    yes, it happened in a vacuum, by parties unknown and unknowable.  There are reasons of intellectual integrity that foreclosed partisanship as an option to me almost 40 years ago.

    “Washing one's hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral. ” ― Paulo Freire

    by ActivistGuy on Wed Nov 13, 2013 at 09:56:08 AM PST

  •  I could not (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    reginahny, Brooke In Seattle

    disagree more. There's no reason to show weakness now, it's like you took the pacifier away two weeks ago and just when it's going to be another day or two before the kid forgets all about it, you cave in and give it back. Now you'll have to go through the whole process again. It's not going to pass anyway, so why even bother? Way to go Democrats, again trying to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

  •  Gotta love Mary Landrieu (2+ / 0-)

    That woman is a survivor.  One hell of an opportunistic, cynical, survivor.  She knows she's probably a dead-woman-walkin' next year in Obama's second midterm.  But, like a cat, she always finds another life.
    She was lucky to be elected the first time in 2002, by turning her election from a Bush-led referendum on support for the Iraq war (which she'd have lost) to an election about some obscure local issue that allowed her to survive in a run-off.  Then, she gets to run for re-election in the Obama year 2008, when he brings blacks and kids to the polls in record numbers, and the Bush collapse is happening all around us, to help carry a Dem back to the Senate from LA.

    If there was ever a blue Senator from a red state that could only be explained by cynicism and providence, then it is her.  

    All of that said, this is a good idea, politically.  It puts the GOP on the defensive on this issue, at least for a while.  But, the GOP would be crazy to let this pass, and give up the issue for 2014.  I heard a commentator on a pop radio station the other day (not a political show at all) say that "only" 50,000 people have been able to sign up for the "President's healthcare plan" in the first month, while "millions" have tried.  This isn't going to be fixed anytime soon.  There's your bumper-sticker ad for 2014, which will resonate with the GOP base, who are the only ones who turnout in these midterms, anyway.

    Any Dem that thinks the ACA roll-out is not going to be a millstone in 2014 is in for a rude awakening.  Just look at Obama's approval numbers.  They'd better hope the GOP does something else really stupid between now and then, or we could be looking at a new Senate majority leader in 2015.

    •  Umm...just look at Obamacare's approval numbers (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      The fact is that ACA's approval numbers are holding steady, regardless of what the beltway press wants to say, and what the Republican losers wishfully delude themselves into believing on blind faith.

      The Democrats SWEPT the Virginia elections.  The Republicans who ran on opposing Obamacare LOST the Virginia elections.  And this is despite the most intense media storm trying to convince everyone that Obamacare is a disaster.

      But the truth is, Obamacare's approval numbers have remained steady throughout this period.  It wasn't a top issue to the voters, except for hardcore rightwingers who weren't going to vote for a Democrat anyway.

      Opposing Obamacare is a millstone on the Republicans.  And the Republicans are too stupid to realize this.  They'd rather hide in their reality-denying delusion bubble and keep doubling down on their LOSER tactics than admit and adapt.

  •  Hey! As long as we are "fixing" the ACA... (4+ / 0-)

    would now be the best time to suggest putting a Public Option in there for people losing their insurance?

    What's that you say?  Too many Democratic congressmen (and All Republicans) are still corporate stooges so we couldn't get the votes?  Yeah, good point.

    Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room!

    by bigtimecynic on Wed Nov 13, 2013 at 10:02:42 AM PST

  •  But taking the long view (3+ / 0-)

    if the Affordable Care Act is worth it's salt, which I truly believe it is, then people will be drawn voluntarily to the better plans. What this is really addressing is people's inherent fear of the unknown and change. It's like many years ago, decades now, when I was in an office that went to computerized scheduling. I hated it, thought it was stupid. I wanted to keep my old trusty paper scheduling. Irrational? Of course, but not in my mind at the time. I've long since abandoned that fear and now, if you tried to take away my cloud based Calendar on my iPhone, I would fight you!!

  •  I agree that this debate is stupid but (0+ / 0-)

    this does get at something fundamental for a lot of Americans:  the right to take risks balanced against the limits that society imposes on such risk taking.  

    In this particular issue, it isn't about the numbers of people who are being affected; the numbers are actually relatively small. Far more people are being impacted by sequester cuts just to put it in perspective.  However, the distribution of impacted people is across political geographies and makes it relevant to those running for office or reelection to office.

    Some individuals want to have the right to pay a low premium for a policy that is below ACA standards and take the risk that they will stay healthy and not have to deal with medical bankruptcy.  I think if there is a way to accommodate that while gradually incenting people to move into the exchanges then it is politically worth doing.  That's what the Landrieu bill achieves.  If people have time to think about options and proper information most will choose the exchange plan.  

    Global Shakedown - Alternative rock with something to say. Check out their latest release, "A Time to Recognize": Available on iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, Spotify and other major online music sites. Visit

    by khyber900 on Wed Nov 13, 2013 at 10:07:03 AM PST

  •  Pass it. Gets Obama/DEMS out of this overly (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cpqemp, IsaacKuo

    over-the-top issue. These people can have their crappy policies and eventually they will see the light too and change over. This affects so few people. Do it. Make the teabaggers vote on the Landrieu bill.

    •  Yes, but... (0+ / 0-)

      Yes, but we can't make the teabaggers vote on the Landrieu bill.  Only Speaker Boehner can do that, and he won't because he's chicken.

      The only times when he has broken the Hastert rule is when he was under great pressure to do so.  In this case?  No big pressure.  The Democrats don't really care much whether or not this thing passes.  They just want the issue to go away so we can get down to other more important business.

  •  I'm sorry, I just think this is all nutty. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    askew, reginahny, Matt Z

    The magnitude of this 'problem' is not in line with the solutions being offered here.  Personally, I don't know why anyone wants to keep their shitty plans if they are really shitty, but the ACA has language in it that already had grandfather provisions.  It was just at the option of the insurance companies and clearly they chose not to take it.

    So now the GOP, with the willing help of blue Dog Dems, are back dooring changes to the ACA.


    •  Even if the premiums are lower (0+ / 0-)

      if the out of pocket costs (deductible) are higher and/or the coverage is not as wide, I can't blame someone for wondering why they have to change plans.  Especially since they were told that they could keep what they had.

      And, as witnessed by Merkley, it's not just blue dogs.

      "When dealing with terrorism, civil and human rights are not applicable." Egyptian military spokesman.

      by Paleo on Wed Nov 13, 2013 at 11:15:17 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Medicare age (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    This wouldn't have been a real issue if the POTUS had pushed for dropping the age when you are eligible for medicare to 60 or even 55.  Insurance rates take off when you hit these and folks just put off having things done until they are have Medicare.  

    Instead we hear talk about raising the save money!  What a joke.

    •  We have Joe Lieberman to thank for that (0+ / 0-)

      At least with ACA, we've been able to establish a stronger regulatory standard for insurers to obey. In this way, we've both disincentivized bad policies (which would be nulled and cut from the knees if we enable junk policies to exist) and mandated a better standard, cutting out many negatives. We lacked the presence of true progressivism during the formative weeks of the health care law. We need a Medicare expansion in a shift towards an effective public option over the long run.

      "Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell." ~Edward Abbey ////\\\\ "To be a poor man is hard, but to be a poor race in a land of dollars is the very bottom of hardships." ~W.E.B. DuBois

      by rovertheoctopus on Wed Nov 13, 2013 at 10:47:18 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Ask Joe Lieberman why that didn't happen. n/t (0+ / 0-)

      "Politics is not the art of the possible.
      It consists in choosing between the disastrous and the unpalatable" J.K. Galbraith

      by Davis X Machina on Wed Nov 13, 2013 at 11:01:34 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Maybe it's me, but I don't see how this prevents (0+ / 0-)

    an insurer from canceling, changing, or raising the premium on anyone's policy.

    If we insist that the promise, "If you like your health insurance, you can keep it," must literally be kept, then what is required is nothing less than a full Government Takeover of Health Care™.

    In order for the President to be able to plausibly guarantee that no insurer will ever under any circumstances or for any reason change, cancel, or raise the premium on any consumer's insurance policy, that you can keep forever your current policy and never pay a penny more for it, then he has to be able to control every insurer directly. The law has to make it not only illegal, but impossible for any insurer to do that.

    If this is what we truly want, viz., a mandate that every insurance policy currently in effect must remain in effect, with the same terms, at the same premium rate, in perpetuity, at the consumer's option, then fine; I'm all for it. I don't see how that can be done without the government taking over and directly controlling all of the insurance companies.

    Is the GOP-controlled House prepared to pass a real government takeover of health insurance? Because that's what it will take to accomplish this goal.

    •  Ironic, because the President's orginal promise (0+ / 0-)

      was composed as catchy rebuttal to endless GOP fear-mongering about a "government takeover" of healthcare.

      “It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing
      he was never reasoned into” - Jonathan Swift

      by jjohnjj on Wed Nov 13, 2013 at 11:59:31 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Personally (0+ / 0-)

    I think it would be politically smart to get behind the Landrieu/Merkley "Fix" Bill for the following reasons:

    - I don't see it doing any real harm to the ACA.  It will only apply to a very small group of people, the majority of which will probably drop their "grandfathered" policy for something better and cheaper they find on the ACA exchange, once the bill forces insurance providers to tell them that there are better options.

    - I am sure President Obama did not deliberately mislead people when he repeatedly said you could keep your existing insurance if you choose (although I'm also sure most right-wing wackos believe he deliberately lied).  This is simply one of those little "weedy" details he knew nothing about and was never intended to hurt anyone.  So as I see it the bill just restores the original intent of the ACA.

    - Next (I like this one most of all), it puts the Republicans in a bind.  Either they can support this common sense fix or they can continue their thinly disguised attempt to kill the ACA by pushing for their bill to allow insurance providers to continue to offer ACA-substandard "CRAP" policies that cover virtually nothing and screwing policy holders.

    - Lastly, it gets rid of a major Republican Anti-ACA talking point, leaving only the web site problem for them to complain about, and we all know that will get fixed.

    Anyway, that's my take, for what its worth!

    "Some men see things as they are and ask, 'Why?' I dream of things that never were and ask, 'Why not?"

    by Doctor Who on Wed Nov 13, 2013 at 01:05:03 PM PST

  •  Sounds like a good bluff call to me. (0+ / 0-)

    No way to lose.

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