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According to a recent AP story (link) discussing the new health care legislation,

In the House, Republicans produced a draft health care bill that focuses on bringing down costs rather than extending coverage to nearly all Americans.A 230-page draft was obtained Tuesday by The Associated Press. A spokeswoman for Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, said changes were still being made before the bill would be finalized in time to offer as an alternative when Democrats begin floor debate on their bill, possibly at the end of this week.The bill leaves out a number of the key features of the Democrats' 1,990-page legislation, such as new requirements for employers to insure their employees and for nearly all Americans to purchase insurance. It also doesn't block insurers from denying coverage to people with pre-existing health conditions, as Democrats would do.Instead, the Republican plan increases incentives for people to use health savings accounts, caps non-economic jury awards in medical malpractice cases at $250,000, provides various incentives to states with the aim of driving down premium costs and allows health insurance to be sold across state lines."As Leader Boehner has made clear, our proposal will focus on the No. 1 concern of the American people - reducing health care costs, and we do it at a price tag our nation can afford," said spokeswoman Antonia Ferrier, though Republicans have not said how much their bill would cost.Democrats immediately dismissed the Republican plan as insubstantial.The GOP alternative "does little to provide security and stability to all Americans, doesn't provide insurance availability for all Americans, does little to expand access to coverage," House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., told reporters."Ours is vastly superior and we think the American public will think that," Hoyer said.
It's pretty frustrating to hear any alternatives proposed by the right are immediately dismissed by the left, as seen here. It's sad that people like Hoyer are either so poorly informed or so hellbent on grabbing power that they completely dismiss viable alternatives to lower our healthcare costs and improve access.Everything that is mentioned here, such as increased use of health savings accounts, caps on non-economic awards, and allowing interstate sales of insurance would help control some costs and increase savings in areas. Things like a public option and an individual mandate just drive up prices and drive down competition. It's pretty sad how stupid most of our elected officials are. But it's equally sad how stupid the average American is, that they don't have any idea what the difference is between party rhetoric and sustainable solutions.Also, a good article on the 'cost' of medical care.
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I don't think it's the #1 problem, but it's a huge, huge problem.The question is, how do we go forward and build a better system?As is standard, you take the high-flying ideological position, whereby

From Ezra Kline at WashPo.On Friday, I sat down with Kaiser Permanente CEO George Halvorson to talk about health-care reform. The conversation was long and ranging and will take a while to transcribe. But before we really got into the weeds, Halvorson handed me an astonishing packet of charts. The material was put together by the International Federation of Health Plans, which is pretty much what it sounds like: an association of insurance plans in different countries. But it showed something I've never seen before, at least not at this level of detail: prices.doctorvisit-thumb-454x317.jpegctprices-thumb-454x324.jpegThe packet's 36 pages are mostly graphs showing the average prices paid in different countries for different procedures, diagnostics and drugs. There is a thudding consistency to the pages: a series of crude bars, with the block representing the prices paid by American health-insurance plans looming over the others like a New York skyscraper that got lost in downtown Des Moines.Lipitor-thumb-454x314.jpegThere is a simple explanation for why American health care costs so much more than health care in any other country: because we pay so much more for each unit of care. As Halvorson explained, and academics and consultancies have repeatedly confirmed, if you leave everything else the same -- the volume of procedures, the days we spend in the hospital, the number of surgeries we need -- but plug in the prices Canadians pay, our health-care spending falls by about 50 percent.In other countries, governments set the rates that will be paid for different treatments and drugs, even when private insurers are doing the actual purchasing. In our country, the government doesn't set those rates for private insurers, which is why the prices paid by Medicare, as you'll see on some of these graphs, are much lower than those paid by private insurers. You'll also notice that the bit showing American prices is separated into blue and yellow: That shows the spread between the average price (the top of the blue) and the 90th percentile (the top of the yellow). Other countries don't have nearly that much variation, again because their pricing is standard.The health-care reform debate has done a good job avoiding the subject of prices. The argument over the Medicare-attached public plan was, in a way that most people didn't understand, an argument about prices, but it quickly became an argument about a public option without a pricing dimension, and never really looked back. The administration has been very interested in the finding that some states are better at providing cost-effective care than other states, but not in the finding that some countries are better at purchasing care than other countries. "A health-care debate in this country that isn't aware of the price differential is not an informed debate," says Halvorson. By that measure, we have not had a very informed debate. But download this pack of charts (pdf), and you'll be a bit more informed.More linked stories at the washpo site.
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Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office tells THE WEEKLY STANDARD that the speaker will not allow the final language of the health care to be posted online for 72 hours before bringing the bill to a vote on the House floor, despite her September 24 statement that she was "absolutely" committed to doing so.

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The democrat’s vote to take over the nation’s health care system may be delayed.Speaker Pelosi apparently has bought off enough blue dogs, yet.MSNBC reported:House Democrats acknowledged they don’t yet have the votes to pass a sweeping overhaul of the nation’s health care system, and signaled they may push back the vote until Sunday or early next week.Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., told reporters in a conference call Friday that the make-or-break vote on President Barack Obama’s top priority that had been set for Saturday could face delay.The apparent problem: Democrats have yet to resolve intraparty disputes over abortion funding and illegal immigrants’ access to health care.
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http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142405...=googlenews_wsj The health bill that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is bringing to a vote (H.R. 3962) is 1,990 pages. Here are some of the details you need to know. What the government will require you to do: • Sec. 202 (p. 91-92) of the bill requires you to enroll in a "qualified plan." If you get your insurance at work, your employer will have a "grace period" to switch you to a "qualified plan," meaning a plan designed by the Secretary of Health and Human Services. If you buy your own insurance, there's no grace period. You'll have to enroll in a qualified plan as soon as any term in your contract changes, such as the co-pay, deductible or benefit. • Sec. 224 (p. 118) provides that 18 months after the bill becomes law, the Secretary of Health and Human Services will decide what a "qualified plan" covers and how much you'll be legally required to pay for it. That's like a banker telling you to sign the loan agreement now, then filling in the interest rate and repayment terms 18 months later. On Nov. 2, the Congressional Budget Office estimated what the plans will likely cost. An individual earning $44,000 before taxes who purchases his own insurance will have to pay a $5,300 premium and an estimated $2,000 in out-of-pocket expenses, for a total of $7,300 a year, which is 17% of his pre-tax income. A family earning $102,100 a year before taxes will have to pay a $15,000 premium plus an estimated $5,300 out-of-pocket, for a $20,300 total, or 20% of its pre-tax income. Individuals and families earning less than these amounts will be eligible for subsidies paid directly to their insurer. • Sec. 303 (pp. 167-168) makes it clear that, although the "qualified plan" is not yet designed, it will be of the "one size fits all" variety. The bill claims to offer choice—basic, enhanced and premium levels—but the benefits are the same. Only the co-pays and deductibles differ. You will have to enroll in the same plan, whether the government is paying for it or you and your employer are footing the bill. • Sec. 59b (pp. 297-299) says that when you file your taxes, you must include proof that you are in a qualified plan. If not, you will be fined thousands of dollars. Illegal immigrants are exempt from this requirement. • Sec. 412 (p. 272) says that employers must provide a "qualified plan" for their employees and pay 72.5% of the cost, and a smaller share of family coverage, or incur an 8% payroll tax. Small businesses, with payrolls from $500,000 to $750,000, are fined less. Eviscerating Medicare: In addition to reducing future Medicare funding by an estimated $500 billion, the bill fundamentally changes how Medicare pays doctors and hospitals, permitting the government to dictate treatment decisions. • Sec. 1302 (pp. 672-692) moves Medicare from a fee-for-service payment system, in which patients choose which doctors to see and doctors are paid for each service they provide, toward what's called a "medical home." The medical home is this decade's version of HMO-restrictions on care. A primary-care provider manages access to costly specialists and diagnostic tests for a flat monthly fee. The bill specifies that patients may have to settle for a nurse practitioner rather than a physician as the primary-care provider. Medical homes begin with demonstration projects, but the HHS secretary is authorized to "disseminate this approach rapidly on a national basis." A December 2008 Congressional Budget Office report noted that "medical homes" were likely to resemble the unpopular gatekeepers of 20 years ago if cost control was a priority. • Sec. 1114 (pp. 391-393) replaces physicians with physician assistants in overseeing care for hospice patients. • Secs. 1158-1160 (pp. 499-520) initiates programs to reduce payments for patient care to what it costs in the lowest cost regions of the country. This will reduce payments for care (and by implication the standard of care) for hospital patients in higher cost areas such as New York and Florida. • Sec. 1161 (pp. 520-545) cuts payments to Medicare Advantage plans (used by 20% of seniors). Advantage plans have warned this will result in reductions in optional benefits such as vision and dental care. • Sec. 1402 (p. 756) says that the results of comparative effectiveness research conducted by the government will be delivered to doctors electronically to guide their use of "medical items and services." Questionable Priorities: While the bill will slash Medicare funding, it will also direct billions of dollars to numerous inner-city social work and diversity programs with vague standards of accountability. • Sec. 399V (p. 1422) provides for grants to community "entities" with no required qualifications except having "documented community activity and experience with community healthcare workers" to "educate, guide, and provide experiential learning opportunities" aimed at drug abuse, poor nutrition, smoking and obesity. "Each community health worker program receiving funds under the grant will provide services in the cultural context most appropriate for the individual served by the program." These programs will "enhance the capacity of individuals to utilize health services and health related social services under Federal, State and local programs by assisting individuals in establishing eligibility . . . and in receiving services and other benefits" including transportation and translation services. • Sec. 222 (p. 617) provides reimbursement for culturally and linguistically appropriate services. This program will train health-care workers to inform Medicare beneficiaries of their "right" to have an interpreter at all times and with no co-pays for language services. <a name="U10251162001B7C">• Secs. 2521 and 2533 (pp. 1379 and 1437) establishes racial and ethnic preferences in awarding grants for training nurses and creating secondary-school health science programs. For example, grants for nursing schools should "give preference to programs that provide for improving the diversity of new nurse graduates to reflect changes in the demographics of the patient population." And secondary-school grants should go to schools "graduating students from disadvantaged backgrounds including racial and ethnic minorities." • Sec. 305 (p. 189) Provides for automatic Medicaid enrollment of newborns who do not otherwise have insurance.
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They will just shove the abortion funding back in during the conference... The stupak admendment just give the Blue Dogs cover...I predict any blude dog that voted for this disaster will be out in Nov 2010 and so will Cao - R from New Orleans

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Would love to see someone try and defend this disaster
We've asked a number of times, and nobody will step up and defend it, to explain why this huge government program, after 100 years of failure, will be the one that finally works.I even have some lefty friends who would kiss Obama's feet if they saw him, and even they think it's a piece of garbage.
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The Dems have convinced themselves that they MUST pass HC Reform. They are beyond reason on this. Even if HC Reform is needed (I still don't think so) this isn't "Reform". This is the only thing they know how to do. It is a frightening display of how things work in Washington (Repubs included). They'll keep coming back to the table with the same stinking sort of thing until it finally passes and they can claim victory. The amazing thing is most Americans seem to agree that this process in general and this bill specifically are not what they want. But we don't seem to know how to change this. Why do we allow our politicians to take us down paths we do not approve? Why do they INSIST on doing it in the first place? What is their motivation in doing this sort of thing?When will this madness end?

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Here are the 31 So Called "Blue Dog" Democrats who voted for the Health Care BillArcuri, Mike (NY-24)Baca, Joe (CA-43)Berry, Marion (AR-01)Bishop, Sanford (GA-02)Boswell, Leonard (IA-03)Boyd, Allen (FL-02)Cardoza, Dennis (CA-18)Carney, Christopher (PA-10)Cooper, Jim (TN-05)Costa, Jim (CA-20)Cuellar, Henry (TX-28)Dahlkemper, Kathy (PA-03)Donnelly, Joe (IN-02)Ellsworth, Brad (IN-08)Giffords, Gabrielle (AZ-08)Gordon, Bart (TN-06)Harman, Jane (CA-36)Hill, Baron (IN-09)McIntyre, Mike (NC-07)Michaud, Mike (ME-02)Mitchell, Harry (AZ-05)Moore, Dennis (KS-03)Murphy, Patrick (PA-08)Pomeroy, Earl (ND)Salazar, John (CO-03)Sanchez, Loretta (CA-47)Schiff, Adam (CA-29)Scott, David (GA-13)Space, Zack (OH-18)Thompson, Mike (CA-01)Wilson, Charles (OH-06)

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The Dems have convinced themselves that they MUST pass HC Reform. They are beyond reason on this. Even if HC Reform is needed (I still don't think so) this isn't "Reform". This is the only thing they know how to do. It is a frightening display of how things work in Washington (Repubs included). They'll keep coming back to the table with the same stinking sort of thing until it finally passes and they can claim victory. The amazing thing is most Americans seem to agree that this process in general and this bill specifically are not what they want.
I think they bill actually has about 50/50 support from the general public.
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I think they bill actually has about 50/50 support from the general public.
42% as of Monday according to Rasmussen...Gauranteed to drop this week!Joe Six pack doesn't wake up until it hits them in the face...
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I think they bill actually has about 50/50 support from the general public.
I saw a survey result over the weekend, where they asked "Do you think Congress should pass this bill as is, pass it with minor changes, pass it with major changes, don't pass it at all?"Only 25% thought pass it as is or with minor changes.It was the clearest question I've seen. The ones that ask "Should Congress pass a healthcare bill that guarantees coverage for everyone and creates a public option that competes with the private option?", then about 50% say yes. Since this bill has nothing to do with that question, it seems strange to be asking it.
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It is really too bad this guy sold his soul to run for VP. I actually think he is a real independent.

If a government plan is part of the deal, "as a matter of conscience, I will not allow this bill to come to a final vote," said Sen. Joe Lieberman, the Connecticut independent whose vote Democrats need to overcome GOP filibusters.
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