The bigger news, rather, is that Baucus's bill will not contain an employer mandate -- a requirement that employers provide health insurance to their employees -- even though it does contain an individual mandate. Does this look familiar to anyone?
-- No employer mandateIt should -- because this particular permutation on health care reform looks an awful lot like the incomplete draft of the HELP Committee's bill that the CBO scored last month, which also lacked an employer mandate and a public option but contained an individual mandate. That bill, the CBO estimated, would cost about $1.0 trillion -- but would only cover a net of about 16 million people. In contrast, the revised version of the HELP Committee's bill, which did include both a public option and an employer mandate, would cost about the same amount but cover a net of 37 million people.
-- No public option
-- But yes, an individual mandate
TPJ: It seems the "big change" is the success of this bullshit co-op idea, which according to friend of the big health insurance industry and Democratic Party turn-coat Sen. Kent Conrad is, "[P]rivate, consumer-owned, non-profit cooperatives that would provide affordable health care to families, individuals and small businesses."
Conrad says this "bridges the gap" between the GOP-endorsed status quo and the Public Option. In fact, the Public Option is the compromise between the status quo and Single Payer. Conrad is a tool of the Health Insurance Industry Let's get that straight. (TPJ: He also is supposed to be the Democrats point man on these health care negotiations, despite his every effort to destroy the public option pushed by his leader--the president!!) Conrad's Co-ops will be political bodies whose Boards of Directors will be captured and populated by the politically-connected, powerful and wealthy. They'll be riddled with sell-outs, insurance industry shills and apologists. We'll see scandal after scandal develop in these things over the years as health insurance companies will pull out all the stops to pack them with "their people" and bribes, kickbacks, and all sorts of chicanery, both criminal and generally nefarious will eat-up these Co-ops like so many cancers.
[According to Co-op supporters] Small businesses and individuals could purchase health coverage collectively and “strike a better deal than they would by acting separately.” But as a Commonwealth brief points out, most co-ops have difficulty fulfilling their goal of offering small employers and individuals a choice in health plans and reducing costs. That’s because to attract a wide array of health plans and exert purchasing power (bargain on behalf of its members), co-ops must enroll large numbers of employers (TPJ: Which is difficult in rural areas where there aren't many employers in the first place). But without the ability to “offer substantial choice among well-known health plans, it is difficult for co-ops to attract enrolless, who are drawn to co-ops in part because of their ability to offer such choice.” In other words, it’s the classic “chicken-or-egg” dilemma.
(TPJ: It's a vicious cycle of not enough participators causing fewer choices and you can't get enough participants if you don't have enough employers in your town or region and these areas can't do that because they are rural and by definition have few businesses!!!).
Presumably, Conrad’s co-ops would act more like health care plans and less like health insurance exchanges. Unlike the traditional co-op which strives to give its members a choice of plans, Conrad’s co-op might either self-insure or contract out to a third-party administrator. But state-based or regional co-op health plans would be unable to exert the purchasing power of a Medicare-like public option. Whereas a public health care plan could use Medicare’s leverage and Medicare-like prices to negotiate lower prices and — through the miracle of head-to-head competition with private plans — push insurance companies to negotiate more aggressively with providers and dramatically lower health care spending, a cooperative will likely lack the clout to demand lower prices.TPJ: It's the illusion of affordable health care coverage when in reality is it wealth care--not health care, which is protecting the wealth of the big insurance companies. It does this by placating gullible Americans with a band-aid that has a hip, new name "co-op" but is made of tissue paper fibers and thus falls apart when actually used. They might work in places with bigger population densities but only in the sense of being able to attract more businesses. They'll still face the problem of big health insurance sympathizers weaseling in and dominating these co-ops, which is all too likely and if you don't think so then you've never heard the story of why you shouldn't put the fox in charge of the hen house. I'm tired of giving the health insurance industry more chances to "prove" they can monitor and restrain themselves. They can't--they are predators, health care abusers and just like an abusive spouse you can't keep giving them chances to destroy your life.
By the way, I've about had it with these conservative Democrats called, "Blue Dogs" when it comes to health care as they are sabotaging the president, their own party and America. If I had a dog and it turned blue I'd probably consider it dead and bury it. We need to bury these blue dogs on health care if we are to have any chance at passing real reform--not some token change. I'm so frustrated even I'm turning a bit blue--blue in the face from anger!!!