Friday, November 27, 2009

Liberals rip health care bill

The media doesn't seem to have noticed, but a number of liberal thinkers have come out against the health care reform bill. I'll quote a few of them:

Marcia Angell, M.D. Harvard Medical School:
It also provides for some regulation of the industry (no denial of coverage because of pre-existing conditions, for example), but since it doesn't regulate premiums, the industry can respond to any regulation that threatens its profits by simply raising its rates. The bill also does very little to curb the perverse incentives that lead doctors to over-treat the well-insured. And quite apart from its content, the bill is so complicated and convoluted that it would take a staggering apparatus to administer it and try to enforce its regulations.

Robert Kuttner,economist, The American Prospect:
On the minus side, the plan leaves most people dependent on employers for health coverage and reinforces the political and economic power of the private insurance industry. It subsidizes insurers with more than half a trillion public dollars over 10 years, mainly using tax credits. And it gets most of that money by requiring savings in Medicare and other federal health programs of about $400 billion and by taxing so-called Cadillac insurance policies -- many of which are actually Chevrolets that cost a bundle because of the present system's inefficiency and tendency to penalize older and sicker policyholders.

Robert Reich, former member of the Clinton administration, also at The American Prospect:

That and other deals cut with industry -- including promises to Big Pharma that Medicare wouldn't use its bargaining clout to reduce drug prices, to the AMA that doctors wouldn't have to face larger cuts in Medicare reimbursement rates, and to private insurers that the White House wouldn't fight hard for a public insurance option -- will make the resulting reforms far more costly. These extra costs will be borne by those Americans who will be required to buy insurance but won't qualify for federal assistance, along with Medicare beneficiaries who will be paying more and receiving less. These people may not know they're indirectly paying the costs of buying off these industries, but they'll know they're getting shafted.

(Post updated 12-18)Dennis Kucinich, leftist congressman:
But instead of working toward the elimination of for-profit insurance, H.R. 3962 would put the government in the role of accelerating the privatization of health care. In H.R. 3962, the government is requiring at least 21 million Americans to buy private health insurance from the very industry that causes costs to be so high, which will result in at least $70 billion in new annual revenue, much of which is coming from taxpayers. This inevitably will lead to even more costs, more subsidies, and higher profits for insurance companies — a bailout under a blue cross.

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