Theodore's World: Sebelius ~ Gov.Ins.Plan Not Essential OOPS Nope Obama Says She's Wrong on That!

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August 17, 2009

Sebelius ~ Gov.Ins.Plan Not Essential OOPS Nope Obama Says She's Wrong on That!

Sebelius Says Government Insurance Plan Not Essential

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said providing citizens with the option of government-run insurance isn’t essential to the Obama administration’s proposed overhaul of U.S. health care.

“What’s important is choice and competition,” Sebelius said today on CNN’s “State of the Union.” The public option itself “is not the essential element.”

Asked if a cooperative plan is a possible replacement, Sebelius said she didn’t know what alternatives Congress would settle on among competing versions of the health legislation now under consideration. The Senate Finance Committee is discussing cooperatives, or networks of health-insurance plans owned by their customers, that would get started with government funds.

Sebelius’ comments suggest that the Obama administration may be considering backing off its commitment to create a government-run health insurance system to operate alongside private insurers in order to get health legislation passed.

“There are not the votes in the Senate for the public option, there never have been,” North Dakota Senator Kent Conrad, one of the lead Democratic negotiators on health care in the Finance Committee, said on “Fox News Sunday.”
“To continue to chase that rabbit, I think, is just a wasted effort,” he said.
“President Obama and his cabinet have read the tea leaves,” said Senator Richard Shelby, an Alabama Republican, on the Fox program. The American people “don’t want a government- run program,” Shelby said. Shelby also said that the creation of co-ops, while “that would be government involvement” would be “a step in the right direction.”

The effort hit trouble this month as people across the country went to town hall meetings held by members of Congress to oppose what they call a government takeover of health care. Polls show Americans increasingly disapprove of the measure that may cost $1 trillion over 10 years.

Opponents at the meetings “are not really representative of America,” Senator Arlen Specter, a Pennsylvania Democrat, said on ABC’s “This Week” program. “We have to be careful here not to let those town meetings make the scene that influences what we do on health policy,” he said.

‘Up in Arms’

Senator Orrin Hatch, a Republican from Utah, disagreed, saying “I’ve found people just up in arms everywhere I’ve gone on health care.”
Hatch also predicted that the administration’s plan will result in rationing of health care for the elderly. “I don’t want a bunch of nameless, faceless bureaucrats setting health care for my aged citizens in Utah,” said Hatch on ABC.

Enter the Cooperative Compromise

The stage appears to be set for a great, deceptive compromise which would address the concerns many Americans, most congressional Republicans, and apparently many congressional Democrats have with increasing government involvement in our health care system and which would, behind the scenes, also provide a path to a completely government-run system that President Obama and most congressional Democrats prefer.

As evidence of just how much traction the opposition to a government takeover of health care has gotten, consider that a few days ago my Democratic congressman stated in a letter to me that “I do not support a government-run, single payer system.” Although he is representing a historically Republican district he is not listed among the 50 plus members of the Blue Dog Coalition. Based on his past performance, I assume he will be a solid vote for any health care reform bill endorsed by the Democratic leaders; however, at this point he is clearly stating his opposition to a “government-run” system. He would clearly be most comfortable voting for a health care reform bill that appears to avoid enlarging the government's role in health care.

Now imagine a compromise health care reform bill that seems to prevent a government takeover of health care but at the same time provides a platform for transitioning to a government-run system. That’s a bill that President Obama could endorse and that virtually all congressional Democrats, including the Blue Dogs, and many Republicans could vote for. And, there’s no need to imagine this bill. It’s being crafted right now by three Republican and three Democratic senators, who are members of the Senate Finance Committee. The key to this compromise bill is the provision for “health care cooperatives,” which would replace the “public option.” In recent days several members of this group of six senators have made it pretty clear that health care cooperatives will be a key provision in their bill.

In an interview on July 27 with Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Senior Republican on the Finance Committee and one of the three Republicans working out final details in their committee’s health care reform bill:

Notice that in this interview Senator Grassley likes to point out that his committee is restructuring one sixth of the U.S. economy, which goes to show just how important the health care industry is to our economy. He also sees his committee’s role as that of crafting a workable compromise health care bill based on health care cooperatives that can be supported by many Republicans as well as Democrats. He prides himself as being ahead of the curve in helping produce the compromise that many Republicans will end up supporting this fall. And, he’s also very certain of success in getting this bill approved by the full Senate. He points out that only once during the past ten years has a compromise bill crafted by Senator Baucus and himself failed to pass in the full Senate.

So, in light of the Democrats’ current difficulties in getting health care reform legislation with a public option (read government-run competition to private insurance plans) passed in either house, it seems likely that Grassley's health care cooperative compromise will be incorporated in the health care bills that are actually voted on by the full Senate and House this fall, either in the initial bills or in a final conference report bill.

I won't take the time in this article to document how well the concept of health care cooperatives engenders thoughts of private, non-governmental, consumer-driven health care. That's what Grassley and the other senators working on this compromise are counting on to make their health care bill attractive to congressional Republicans.

What's more interesting is how these health care cooperatives could be used as a transition to a completely government-run health care system.

First, here's an interesting perspective on why these cooperatives would be doomed to failure:

What would Conrad’s non profit (really for-profit, tax-exempt) co-ops be able to do that the Blues plans couldn’t and didn’t? How would they cut costs more than Kaiser’s plans (non-profit insurers that make their docs rich)? The simple answer is that they wouldn’t survive long, and they wouldn’t make health insurance more affordable, because politicians would require them to provide incredibly expensive coverage with low co-payments and deductibles. Consumers would have no incentives to curtail health care expenditures, and the co-ops would have tremendous incentives to be the most rigid and nasty HMOs in history until shell shocked politicians put them out of business.

Second, here's a very interesting analysis of how the cooperatives could easily lead to a government-run health care system in an article entitled, "Co-opting the Co-op: That kooky health care cooperative idea is still the Democrats' best shot at bipartisanship." Here's the very telling conclusion:

Still up in the air is what a national co-op would look like. Would it be truly nationwide or would each state have its own? How much startup funding would it get from Congress? Will the government have a hand in running it, or will it be entirely patient-controlled? Would it have the power to negotiate the best rates, to make it competitive with private plans?
Depending on the answers to these questions, the cooperative proposal could be the Democrats' greatest defeat or biggest victory. It could be as unambitious as adding another private plan to the mix. Or it could be nearly synonymous with public-option itself. (emphasis added)

So there you have it. The cooperative compromise proposal could end up being "nearly synonymous with public option itself." Which means that the cooperative compromise proposal could end up ensuring passage by Congress this year of a comprehensive health care reform bill that would lead to a completely government-run health care system over time even though most grassroots Americans and congressional Republicans would have been deceived into thinking the bill would prevent a government takeover of health care.

The bottom line for those of us who are opposed to a government-run health care system is that we cannot be content to rail against a "government takeover" of health care. The Democrats are already well aware that a government-run health care system doesn't play well with the American public. And, key Republicans, such as Senator Grassley, are already hard at work crafting a health care reform bill with a deceptive, health care cooperative compromise which they expect will be passed by Congress with bipartisan support. So, we need to be opposing "health care cooperatives" in addition to "government takeover," "government-run," "single payer," "universal" health care legislation. Although health care cooperatives could be useful theoretically, in our political and regulatory environment they would only prepare the way for a government-run system.

Click here to contact your representative and senators in vigorous opposition to President Obama's and the congressional Democrats' "public option" health care proposals and also the Republican "health care cooperatives" alternative.

Sebelius misspoke....Obama still wants public option

Administration Official: "Sebelius Misspoke."

An administration official said tonight that Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius "misspoke" when she told CNN this morning that a government run health insurance option "is not an essential part" of reform. This official asked not to be identified in exchange for providing clarity about the intentions of the President...

A second official, Linda Douglass, director of health reform communications for the administration, said that President Obama ... had not backed away from that belief, and that he still wanted to see a public option in the final bill.
"Nothing has changed.," she said. "The President has always said that what is essential that health insurance reform lower costs, ensure that there are affordable options for all Americans and increase choice and competition in the health insurance market. He believes that the public option is the best way to achieve these goals."

A third White House official, via e-mail, said that Sebelius didn't misspeak. "The media misplayed it," the third official said.

On Saturday, Mr. Obama defended the public plan before an audience in Colorado Springs. At the same time, he said that the government option was not the single critical element of reform, pointing instead to the provisions preventing insurance companies from discriminating against people, requiring them to offer plans to everyone, and capping premium increases....

"The public option, whether we have it or we don't have it, is not the entirety of health care reform. This is just one sliver of it. One aspect of it," Obama said.


Wild Thing's comment......

Heh Heh. Someone is not pleased. Not pleased at all.. Sebelius will she be headed for a bus, or was this a trial balloon. Looking at the video above, I don't see ow the media misplayed it. hahaa But I do so love the in fighting when it is on THEIR siide.

This just gets better and better. It reminds me of that old song on the rout of another enemy: “And they ran through the briars and they ran through the brambles, and they ran through the bushes where a rabbit couldn’t go. They ran so fast, the hounds couldn’t catch ‘em, on down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico.”

If any Health Care gets through, it will be just the beginning. Once in, it will change to what they really want.

....Thank you Mark for sending this to me.

3rd Mar.Div. 1st Battalion 9th Marine Regiment
1/9 Marines aka The Walking Dead
VN 66-67

Posted by Wild Thing at August 17, 2009 06:48 AM


My wife has worked as a Nurse in two separate communiites. In Warren Ohio and here in rural Pennsylvania. Common to both is a health care cooperative, and it seems to work. The committee that runs it, is private and is limited to the people who belong to it. In each instance, when the patient is discharged a representative from the committee shows up and pays the bill in cash. And we are not talking a small amount these are good size bills.

This cooperative, of course is the Ahmish. They pay in cash for any medical procedure immediately upon discharge. If there is any corruption no one knows about it and I am sure that individual is drummed out. Because they run a very efficient and honest system.

As obama pointed out in an analogy, a very bad analogy, about FED-EX and UPS they are successful companies and the Post Office is not. His own analogy is an enigma in itself the Government can't run any business effectively, yet they think they can run the Healthe care system.

There is no system that could be created by the Federal Government that could even approach this kind of efficiency. They are too concerned with their own welfare, greed and money laundering. A government sponsored system would drive the price out of site and the projected budget for it would be small in comparison.

Posted by: Mark at August 17, 2009 08:23 AM

Pretty hard to deny spoken words in front of the nations camera's, facts are hard to sweep under the rug and some people are awake and paying attention, maybe the house of cards is starting to tremble and it's all on their watch. Psst Dhimmis, ya gotta prep your press, ya arseholes!!!

I'll pony up. I'm good for 20 gallons of gas and a whole box of matches, all I want is a ringside seat for their self immolation.

Mark, great example. Most people don't or won't think about healthcare, we on fixed incomes have to. I've ran an internal 'escrow' in my checking account for years, it's usually seeded from IRS refunds, sometimes it lasts the entire year sometimes not. But that tiny amount bolsters the sudden dental trip, a run to the bone crusher or some off the wall event not covered by insurance. Last year it went to a transmission rebuild as a sudden expenditure, this year it has been massive dental expenses. Neither are covered under health care insurance. I don't have my Starbucks, I don't go to the concerts, movies are rentals or none, my gambling is down to about $4 a month, no Friday nights at the local bar and I'm not paying $5-$6 bucks a day a pack for tobacco. I have to budget my lifestyle, pay taxes and support my wife and I without outside income, yet I'm expected to step up to the plate and pay for someone else's medical expenses so they can play and piss away their income.

Posted by: Jack at August 17, 2009 08:49 AM

This crap has to end and soon. Bring on the firing squads and lets start from scratch.

Posted by: Eddie (Obama Hater) at August 17, 2009 10:12 AM

No compromise. A compromise just opens the door for the Dems to add amendments that finally tally up to equal or surpass the original bill the Dems wanted. We have no idea what the compromise has in it and it would not surprise me if the Senate votes on it before the public can see it in it's entirety.

Posted by: TomR at August 17, 2009 12:48 PM

Mark, thank yo uso much for the imformation.
There is a lot no one knows about this
stuff if they are not directly involved
and it helps to have more facts.

Posted by: Wild Thing at August 17, 2009 11:49 PM

Jack, good one.

Posted by: Wild Thing at August 17, 2009 11:51 PM

Eddie (Obama Hater), he can't even
stay off the TV screen for one day.
Just one day, he can't give the
country a break. GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR

Posted by: Wild Thing at August 17, 2009 11:53 PM

Tom, yes and they cannot be trusted at all.

Posted by: Wild Thing at August 17, 2009 11:54 PM