Burning the Midnight Oil for the Next American Revolution
crossposted from The Hillbilly Report
From some online dictionary somewhere:
Robustness is the quality of being able to withstand stresses, pressures, or changes in procedure or circumstance
So: (1) Public Choice
"No Taxation without Representation". Every single person facing an individual mandate must be provided with the choice of a publicly administered plan. Otherwise the government is forcing the citizen to pay without the elected representatives of the citizen controlling the spending.
The system is not politically legitimate if it requires payment to for-profit commercial corporations.
It cannot be lumbered down with any restrictions not faced by private insurers.
Update: I called my Congressman today, asking what was his stand on an individual mandate to buy health insurance if there is no public choice available. The staffer said a reply would be coming by snail mail, but at least the question is in. See slinkerwink's diary, They Need To See Our Support For The Public Option!!!
So, regarding point (1):
You want to put a trigger on the public option. Fine, except the exact same trigger applies to the individual mandate.
You want to restrict access to the public option to some smaller group? Fine, except the same restriction applies to the individual mandate.
And, regarding point (2):
State by state public options? Really? You are really prepared to restrict the corporations to firms with no commercial activity across state lines? If they are free standing state by state public options, it has to be state by state for profit corporations. Oh, not allowing UHC into the exchanges defeats the purpose of lining private pockets at the public expense? Yeah, kind of thought so.
Of course, nothing stays simple when it comes down to parliamentary tactics
What does and does not constitute a robust public option - while it still requires the grunt work of going through specific legislative language to sort into "yes" and "no" bins, its reasonably straightforward.
The hard question is how to accomplish it. The standard script is for the House to pass something, the Senate to pass something to the right of the House, the House to cave in conference and the House progressives get arm twisted on the basis of "a half a loaf is better than none".
How does the Progressive Caucus gain credibility in the negotiations if all concerned assume that they will make brave noises and then fold at the end?
It would seem that it is necessary for the House Bill to include language that specifically states that the public choice does not face any restrictions not faced by commercial corporations with plans in the exchange, and explicit language that nobody can be subject to a mandate unless they have access to the public choice.
With that language in there, a conference report stripping it out would require a provision doing the dirty work. AFAIU, while an amendment cannot be added to the amendment proposed by the conference report, a provision can be struck by the House when the conferees report.
That is, again AFAIU, a conference report includes the laundry list of amendments to each sides bill to make them the same bill, and while no new amendments can be offered, a chamber has the right to strike a provision.
That might result in a second conference, but so be it: it seems highly likely that the Senate conferees will not believe that the House progressive caucus will really, truly stand up for what were, after all, the very first "progressive" principles in our history as a nation-state - until they, in fact, do so.
Midnight Oil "Dreamworld" video