Digby's Hullabaloo
2801 Ocean Park Blvd.
Box 157
Santa Monica, Ca 90405

Facebook: Digby Parton

@BloggersRUs (Tom Sullivan)

thedigbyblog at gmail
satniteflix at gmail
publius.gaius at gmail
tpostsully at gmail
Spockosbrain at gmail
Richardein at me.com


Mother Jones
Raw Story
Huffington Post
Crooks and Liars
American Prospect
New Republic

Denofcinema.com: Saturday Night at the Movies by Dennis Hartley review archive

January 2003 February 2003 March 2003 April 2003 May 2003 June 2003 July 2003 August 2003 September 2003 October 2003 November 2003 December 2003 January 2004 February 2004 March 2004 April 2004 May 2004 June 2004 July 2004 August 2004 September 2004 October 2004 November 2004 December 2004 January 2005 February 2005 March 2005 April 2005 May 2005 June 2005 July 2005 August 2005 September 2005 October 2005 November 2005 December 2005 January 2006 February 2006 March 2006 April 2006 May 2006 June 2006 July 2006 August 2006 September 2006 October 2006 November 2006 December 2006 January 2007 February 2007 March 2007 April 2007 May 2007 June 2007 July 2007 August 2007 September 2007 October 2007 November 2007 December 2007 January 2008 February 2008 March 2008 April 2008 May 2008 June 2008 July 2008 August 2008 September 2008 October 2008 November 2008 December 2008 January 2009 February 2009 March 2009 April 2009 May 2009 June 2009 July 2009 August 2009 September 2009 October 2009 November 2009 December 2009 January 2010 February 2010 March 2010 April 2010 May 2010 June 2010 July 2010 August 2010 September 2010 October 2010 November 2010 December 2010 January 2011 February 2011 March 2011 April 2011 May 2011 June 2011 July 2011 August 2011 September 2011 October 2011 November 2011 December 2011 January 2012 February 2012 March 2012 April 2012 May 2012 June 2012 July 2012 August 2012 September 2012 October 2012 November 2012 December 2012 January 2013 February 2013 March 2013 April 2013 May 2013 June 2013 July 2013 August 2013 September 2013 October 2013 November 2013 December 2013 January 2014 February 2014 March 2014 April 2014 May 2014 June 2014 July 2014 August 2014 September 2014 October 2014 November 2014 December 2014 January 2015 February 2015 March 2015 April 2015 May 2015 June 2015 July 2015 August 2015 September 2015 October 2015 November 2015 December 2015 January 2016 February 2016 March 2016 April 2016 May 2016 June 2016 July 2016 August 2016 September 2016 October 2016 November 2016 December 2016 January 2017 February 2017 March 2017 April 2017 May 2017 June 2017 July 2017 August 2017 September 2017 October 2017 November 2017 December 2017 January 2018 February 2018 March 2018 April 2018 May 2018 June 2018 July 2018 August 2018 September 2018 October 2018 November 2018 December 2018 January 2019 February 2019 March 2019 April 2019 May 2019 June 2019 July 2019


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?


Monday, June 20, 2011

She Is?

by digby

Wow, I have to say that this actually stuns me a bit. Discussing Bachman's rather clever new meme about Obama wanting to destroy Medicare, Ezra Klein explains that she's right:

If Republicans can make their peace with the Affordable Care Act and help figure out how to make the Affordable Care Act's exchanges work to control costs and improve quality, it'd be natural to eventually migrate Medicaid and Medicare into the system. Liberals would like that because it'd mean better care for Medicaid beneficiaries and less fragmentation in the health-care system. Conservatives would like it because it'd break the two largest single-payer health-care systems in America and turn their beneficiaries into consumers. But the implementation and success of the Affordable Care Act is a necessary precondition to any compromise of this sort. You can't transform Medicaid and Medicare until you've proven that what you're transforming them into is better. Only the Affordable Care Act has the potential to do that.

So Bachmann is perhaps right to say that the president is moving us towards a day when ObamaCare -- or, to put it more neutrally, "premium support" -- might come to Medicare. He's seeing whether it works in the private health-care market first and, if it does, there's little doubt that the political pressure to extend it to other groups will be intense. The question is why Bachmann and her party are doing so much to stand in his way? The corollary to Bachmann's accusation that the president has a realistic plan to privatize Medicare is that the Republicans, for all their sound and fury over the Ryan budget, don't.

Golly, it sounds like just everybody's on the same page, it's only a matter of working out some of the minor details. But put me down as one liberal who would not be happy about this because it would mean "better care for Medicaid recipients" (always the big gun to our empathetic little hearts) or that it would lead to less "fragmentation." (You know what really would lead to less fragmentation? Medicare for all.)

Indeed, I was hoping (probably vainly) that the Affordable Care Act was the opening act in reforms that would lead eventually to some form of universal, nationalized health care plan that wasn't based on for-profit insurance companies taking a piece of the action at all. After all, that was what we liberals were assured would happen eventually by policy wonks who were exceedingly annoyed whenever anyone raised the possibility that this might not be the best way to go about it.

Truthfully, this would be the opposite of what I'd hoped for and that most liberals hoped for. I certainly do not want elderly people thrust into a health care system where they have to navigate profit making insurance companies, no matter how well "it works" on a macro level or how much "support" they get for their premiums.(And there is ample reason to doubt that it will work for such a sick population anyway.) It honestly never occurred to me that the administration and the promoters of this health care reform were actually designing it with that in mind.

One thing's for sure. Bachman's on to something. I knew her comments had a perverse sort of logic, but it never occurred to me that she was right on the merits. Live and learn.

Update: I should not fail to note something that Ezra and everyone else knows: when it comes to controlling costs, the Medicare program does a much better job of it already. Now, it's true that the ACA is supposed to bring those costs in line. But when I see things like this --- that the dreamers will want to eventually put Medicare into the marketplace as if that's a laudable goal--- I have to wonder once again why in the hell we had to reinvent the wheel. Medicare exists already and it's better at controlling costs than any other program we have. We should have built on that.

True, it was politically difficult and most of us ended up accepting the outcome. Ben Nelson and Joe Lieberman had to have their egos appeased. But the reason liberals were so wedded to the public option was because it, at least, created an obvious path and useful alternative to actual humans once the insurance companies started their inevitable gouging and manipulations. Regulating is hard, and the resistance from our monied class will always be huge so it is going to take decades longer to implement and get the results from this plan than if they'd simply expanded the existing national plan to everyone. There was a better way.