The latest health overhaul plan circulating on Capitol Hill gives health insurers, drug makers and large employers reasons to heave sighs of relief, sparing them the higher costs and more burdensome rules included in other Democratic-written alternatives.
(The health insurance industry) would score a new, taxpayer-subsidized customer base of millions who don't currently have insurance, thanks to a mandate that everyone purchase coverage – backed up by steep penalties on people who don't. And it wouldn't have to compete with the government to cover people, unlike in the four other health overhaul plans approved this year by Democratic-dominated congressional committees.
Nor would the nonprofit so-called "co-ops" designed to provide consumers with an alternative to private health insurance pose any real threat to their business, according to a nonpartisan analysis released Wednesday. The Congressional Budget Office said those plans "seem unlikely to establish a significant market presence in many areas of the country or to noticeably affect federal subsidy payments."
But health insurance stocks jumped Wednesday at the news of Baucus' public option-free measure. And privately, industry lobbyists acknowledged that the plan is far more to their liking than any of the other measures currently under discussion, and expressed confidence that it would improve further as senators and Obama's team continued to haggle over its details as it approaches a Senate vote.
I don’t believe for a second that this bill will pass, at least in its current form. That said, this bill is the water that will be mixed into the other proposals on the table. It’s mere presence is to weaken whatever strong bill comes forward.
If any of this garbage gets into what could be a strong bill, it will be the third time this year a major industry kills a provision that would be good for American’s everywhere. The first was the destruction of cramdown, which was killed by the mortgage/banking industry. Second, it was that garbage credit card reform bill, written by the nation’s credit card issuers. This will be the third.
There’s still time. We can get a strong bill if we want it. Do you want it?