Podesta: The Progressive case on health bill

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John Podesta from the Center for American Action Fund recommends passage of the Senate health bill despite its many flaws

The Center for American Progress Action Fund is the sister advocacy organization of the Center for American Progress. The Action Fund transforms progressive ideas into policy through rapid response communications, legislative action, grassroots organizing and advocacy, and partnerships with other progressive leaders throughout the country and the world. The Action Fund is also the home of the Progress Report.

By John Podesta

Since Joe Lieberman demanded stripping the public option and Medicare buy-in provisions from the merged Senate bill, some strong progressives like Howard Dean have argued that without a public option or a Medicare buy-in provision, the bill is a giveaway to private insurers and should be killed. Other progressive leaders like Senators Jay Rockefeller, Tom Harkin and Sherrod Brown believe that the bill represents the best chance for passing health care reform in the foreseeable future. "I'm going to vote for it," Brown told reporters. "I can't imagine I wouldn't. I mean there's too much at stake.”

Change of the magnitude envisioned by health care reformers does not come easily. There have been many frustrations and there will be more. But, as a senior White House staffer with a ringside seat for the slow death of comprehensive care in 1994, I am keenly aware of the real alternative to the bills now before us: millions more Americans without health care and billions more for health care spending as the same challenges President Clinton tried to resolve continue to metastasize unchecked.

So while I have great respect for Governor Dean, and we have worked together to provide the strongest health care reform bill for the American people, I come down on the side of the Senate passing the bill.

Here’s why:

The Senate health care bill is not without its problems. But if enacted, it would represent the most significant public reform of our health care system that Congress has passed in the 40 plus years I have worked in politics. The bill will give health care coverage to a record 31 million Americans who are currently uninsured, lay a foundation that will begin to lower costs for millions of families, and provide all Americans with the access to adequate and dependable coverage when they need it most.

All of us are anxious to see the final language from the Senate. And a final bill must ensure that the subsidies provided are sufficient to make insurance truly affordable for working families. But based on what we know, here are my top ten reasons for why progressives should support the Senate passing the bill:

1. Largest Expansion Of Coverage Since Medicare’s Creation: Thirty-one million previously uninsured Americans will have insurance.

2. Low/Middle Income Americans Will Not Go Without Coverage: For low-income Americans struggling near the poverty line, the bill represents the largest single expansion of Medicaid since its inception. Combined with subsidies for middle income families, the bill’s provisions will ensure that working class Americans will no longer go without basic health care coverage.

3. Insurance Companies Will Never Be Able to Drop or Deny You Coverage Because You Are Sick. Insurers can no longer deny coverage because of a pre-existing condition. They can’t rescind coverage or impose lifetime or annual limits on care. Significantly, the bill also ends insurer discrimination against women — who currently pay as much as 48% more for coverage than men — and gives them access preventive services with no cost sharing.

4. Lowers Premiums For Families: The Senate bill could lower premiums for the overall population by 8.4%. For the subsidized population, premiums would decrease even more dramatically. According to the CBO, “the amount that subsidized enrollees would pay for non-group coverage would be roughly 56 percent to 59 percent lower, on average than the nongroup premiums charged under current law.”

5. Invests in Keeping People Healthy – The bill creates a Prevention and Public Health Fund to expand and sustain funding for public prevention programs that prevent disease and promote wellness.

6. Insurers Can’t Offer Subprime Health Care: Insurers operating in the individual and small group markets will no longer sell subprime policies that deny coverage when illness strikes and you need it most. Everyone will be offered an essential benefits package of comprehensive benefits.

7. Helps Businesses Afford Coverage: Small employers can take advantage of large risk pools by purchasing coverage through the bill’s state-based exchanges. Employers with no more than 25 employees would receive a tax credit to help them provide coverage to their employees. The bill also establishes a temporary reinsurance program for employers providing coverage to retirees over the age of 55 who are not eligible for Medicare.

8. Improves Medicare: The bill eliminates the waste and fraud in the Medicare system, gets rid of the special subsidy to private insurers participating in Medicare Advantage and extends the life of the Medicare trust fund by 9 years. It also closes the doughnut hole that affected 3.4 seniors enrolled in Medicare Part D in 2008.

9. Reduces The Deficit: Not only would the bill expand coverage to 30 million Americans without adding to the nation debt, it would also reduce the deficit by up to $409 billion over 10 years.

10. Reduces National Health Spending: A CAP-Commonwealth Fund analysis concludes the bill could reduce overall spending by close to $683 billion over 10 years – with the potential to save families $2,500. Even the most conservative government estimates conclude that the bill would reduce national health care expenditures by at least 0.3 % by 2019.

Comments

The only thing that need be said about this ridiculous article is - BULLSHIT.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Dec. 17, 2009 @ 7:56 am

Groups That Have Retained Podesta Group:Client Total Subsidiary (Lobbied For) Industry
Aero Astro Inc $70,000 - Air Transport
Akin, Gump et al $40,000 - Lawyers/Law Firms
Alcatel-Lucent $80,000 Alcatel USA Telecom Svcs/Equip
Alfred Mann Foundation $240,000 - Pharm/Health Prod
Alliance for Quality Nursing Home Care $360,000 - Hospitals/Nurs Homes
Altair Nanotechnologies $120,000 - Chemicals
American Assn of Motor Vehicle Admins $120,000 - Civil Servants
American Cltn for Clean Coal Electricity $200,000 - Misc Issues
Amgen Inc $240,000 - Pharm/Health Prod
Amphastar Pharmaceuticals $80,000 - Pharm/Health Prod
Amylin Pharmaceuticals $150,000 - Pharm/Health Prod
BAE Systems $330,000 - Defense Aerospace
Bank of America $20,000 - Commercial Banks
Berkshire Hathaway $220,000 Netjets Inc Air Transport
Boeing Co $150,000 - Defense Aerospace
Borisch Manufacturing Corp $110,000 - Defense Electronics
BP $240,000 BP America Oil & Gas
CA Institute for Regenerative Medicine $110,000 - Unknown Business
Career College Assn $150,000 - Education
Career Education Corp $210,000 - Education
CH2M HILL $160,000 - Construction Svcs
Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma $270,000 - Casinos/Gambling
Children's National Medical Center $270,000 - Hospitals/Nurs Homes
Cintas Corp $150,000 - Misc Mfg/Distrib
City of Berkeley, CA $20,000 - Civil Servants
Clean Tech Open/Acterra $80,000 - Unknown Business
Coeur d'Alene Mines Corp $50,000 - Mining
Community Fdtn for Natl Capital Region $60,000 - Non-Profits
Corrections Corp of America $180,000 - Misc Business
Council/Indep Tobacco Manufacturers/Amer $30,000 - Tobacco
Crawford Group $60,000 Enterprise Rent-A-Car Automotive
Credit Suisse Group $40,000 Credit Suisse Securities Securities/Invest
Cubist Pharmaceuticals $210,000 - Pharm/Health Prod
DaVita Inc $270,000 - Health Services
Deloitte LLP $80,000 - Accountants
Dosal Tobacco $30,000 - Tobacco
Duke Energy $110,000 - Electric Utilities
Eisai Co Ltd $150,000 Eisai Inc Pharm/Health Prod
Emsat Geolocation Technology LLC $90,000 - Telecom Svcs/Equip
Enviance $90,000 - Environmental Svcs
Forsyth Institute $150,000 - Human Rights
Fortress Investment Group $240,000 - Securities/Invest
Franklin & Eleanor Roosevelt Institute $60,000 - Non-Profits
Friends of Liberty & Fort Stewart $30,000 - Unknown Business
Funai Electric Corp $90,000 - Retail Sales
General Dynamics $420,000 - Defense Electronics
General Electric $120,000 NBC Universal TV/Movies/Music
Genzyme Corp $390,000 - Pharm/Health Prod
Gilead Sciences $60,000 - Pharm/Health Prod
Google Inc $450,000 - Computers/Internet
H&R Block $80,000 - Misc Finance
Harrah's Entertainment $360,000 - Casinos/Gambling
HDNet $90,000 - TV/Movies/Music
ICBC Broadcast Holdings $120,000 - TV/Movies/Music
Independent Film & Television Alliance $250,000 - TV/Movies/Music
ING Group $240,000 ING North America Insurance Co Insurance
Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries $180,000 - Misc Mfg/Distrib
Internet Corp for Assigned Names/Numbers $180,000 - Computers/Internet
Internet2 $60,000 - Computers/Internet
Investment Co Institute $90,000 - Securities/Invest
Ion Media Networks $120,000 - TV/Movies/Music
J David Gladstone Institutes $240,000 - Health Services
L'arche Green NV $90,000 Heineken USA Beer, Wine & Liquor
Leadership Conference on Civil Rights $0 - Human Rights
Lesley University $60,000 - Education
Lockheed Martin $300,000 - Defense Aerospace
Louisiana Disaster Recovery Foundation $40,000 - Civil Servants
MBIA Insurance $190,000 - Insurance
McGraw-Hill Companies $200,000 - Publishing
Merck KGaA $180,000 EMD Serono Inc Pharm/Health Prod
Metro Sacramento Air Quality Mngmnt Dist $30,000 - Civil Servants
Miami Project to Cure Paralysis $180,000 - Non-Profits
Michelin North America $180,000 - Automotive
Millennium Pharmaceuticals $150,000 - Pharm/Health Prod
National Assn for Home Care $130,000 - Health Services
National Assn of Broadcasters $240,000 - TV/Movies/Music
National Confectioners Assn $90,000 - Food & Beverage
National Public Radio $90,000 - TV/Movies/Music
National Tobacco $60,000 - Tobacco
Nestle SA $150,000 Nestle USA Food Process/Sales
Newspaper Assn of America $0 - Publishing
Northrop Grumman $30,000 - Misc Defense
Novartis AG $180,000 Novartis Corp Pharm/Health Prod
Novo Nordisk Pharmaceuticals $180,000 - Pharm/Health Prod
Oracle Corp $180,000 - Computers/Internet
Orange County, FL $90,000 - Civil Servants
Oshkosh Corp $20,000 - Trucking
Ounce of Prevention Fund $20,000 - Non-Profits
Pacific Open Markets Coalition $0 - Business Assns
Parents Anonymous $60,000 - Human Rights
Phelps Dunbar Llp $120,000 - Lawyers/Law Firms
Policy Studies Inc $100,000 - Health Services
Private Public Solutions $20,000 - Business Services
Professional Services Council $130,000 - Business Services
Property Casualty Insurers Assn/America $110,000 - Insurance
Prosper Marketplace $210,000 - Computers/Internet
Raytheon Co $80,000 - Defense Electronics
Reed Elsevier Inc $240,000 - Publishing
ReFlow Management Co $150,000 - Misc Finance
Rehabcare Group $210,000 - Health Services
Roche Holdings $160,000 Genentech Inc Pharm/Health Prod
Root Cause $120,000 - Business Services
S&M Brands $60,000 - Tobacco
SAP Aktiengesellschaft $140,000 SAP America Computers/Internet
Securing America's Future Energy $160,000 - Misc Issues
Shaw Industries Group Inc $90,000 - Home Builders
SLM Corp $200,000 Sallie Mae Finance/Credit
SolarReserve $150,000 - Misc Energy
Space Exploration Technologies $30,000 - Defense Aerospace
Spartanburg Regional Health Svcs Dist $150,000 - Hospitals/Nurs Homes
Sunoco Inc $180,000 - Oil & Gas
Sunshine in Government Initiative $150,000 - Non-Profits
Synthetic Geonomics $240,000 Synthetic Genomics Misc Energy
Textron Inc $180,000 - Air Transport
Timothy C Harrison Realty & Development $120,000 - Real Estate
TJX Cos $240,000 - Retail Sales
Tyco Electronics $150,000 - Electronics Mfg/Svcs
Tyco International $190,000 Covidien Ltd Pharm/Health Prod
Tyco International $160,000 - Business Services
United Technologies $130,000 - Defense Aerospace
Univ of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center $220,000 - Hospitals/Nurs Homes
Universal American Corp $230,000 - Insurance
University of Pittsburgh Medical Center $180,000 - Hospitals/Nurs Homes
US Chamber Global IP Center $60,000 - Computers/Internet
US Chamber of Commerce $20,000 US Chamber Institute for Legal Reform Business Assns
Wal-Mart Stores $310,000 - Retail Sales
Washington Post $10,000 - Publishing
Winning Strategies Washington $160,000 - Lobbyists
Xcaliber Intl Ltd $30,000 - Unknown Business
Zurich Financial Services $90,000 Farmers Group Insurance

Posted by marcos on Dec. 18, 2009 @ 7:48 am