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The long-awaited Senate Finance Committee health care bill is out

As promised, the last of the major congressional committees to put on the tab le their version of the health care bill, is out. It costs less, covers fewer than the House versions or the Senate Health version. It has no “public option” (but it has the co-ops). And it doesn’t seem to be attracting any Repub support.

It’s scheduled for a committee vote next week.

The WaPo piece has several more details. It’s almost exactly what was expected from Baucus. I’ll withhold any commentary or analysis for now but invite your reactions.


Comments (3)

  1. Submitted by John E Iacono on 09/17/2009 - 12:32 pm.

    I’ve read the WaPo piece, and downloaded the bill, but have not yet read the entire bill.

    From what I have read, the WaPo piece seems accurate enough. And from what I’ve read I don’t see how Repubs could support it, even with cosmetic amendments.

    Where is COST cutting (e.g.,tort reform) as opposed to PAYMENT cutting? Nowhere that I can find.

    If improving records keeping and making uniform billing and records available for all is there I have not found it yet.

    Putting high fees on high end policies will just add to the cost of those policies, and result in fewer firms offering them to employees, and fewer employees choosing them, thus reducing the coverage available while doing nothing to reduce costs. Reduced use of the policies will reduce the already exaggerated income from the fees, adding to the deficit.

    These folks seem to forget that the public’s reaction will change for every penalty and cost increase they impose.

    Firms will seek the cheapest way to provide health care, and most currently covered employees will see their options and coverage decrease.

    And individuals, ignoring that “you don’t always get what you pay for, but you never get what you don’t pay for,” will buy into new plans that save a buck now and leave them out in the cold if they get sick (it will be in the fine print).

    And the last state will be worse than the first, due to all the unintended consequences of these short sighted views coming from a punitive and deceptive agenda.

    I believe an incremental approach, just regulating the current insurance abuses and doing tort reform would be the best approach for now, unless one has a “big government” agenda.

  2. Submitted by Bernice Vetsch on 09/17/2009 - 02:49 pm.

    John E: I agree that the first, and perhaps the only, reform Congress should make right now is to limit the insurance industry’s power to abuse its customers by refusing to honor claims for dubious reasons, by refusing to insure anyone who they feel might get sick, by dumping customers who do get sick, by raising premium costs every year without adding any value. These are practices that currently allow 10 mega-companies to constitute a virtual health care oligopoly that rations care in whatever way will enhance their profits.

    The second reform is to enact HR 676, which saves $400 billion per year while creating a system in which payment is public (via taxes and affordable premiums like Medicare) and delivery is private (each person chooses his/her doctor or clinic without having to answer to an insurer; each person and his/her doctor decide what health care is necessary.

  3. Submitted by Richard Schulze on 09/17/2009 - 08:59 pm.

    I think that incremental reform is the best that we can hope for.

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