Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Is The Senate Selling Out? Dropping Public Option.

Carefully parsing his words, Harry Reid, Senate Majority Leader said the Senate had reached a "broad agreement". That is double speak for throwing in the towel. Other Senators leaked the details to the press and the "broad agreement" includes dropping the public option on health care in favor of "non-profit" private insurance option overseen by the federal Office of Personnel Management. That is a similar deal to what federal employees get...similar is the key word.

One bright spot is that Medicare would be extended to people 55 and older.

My suspicion is that this alleged not for profit deal insures that insurers will get at least the cash flow if not the complete profits from this bill. Cash flow can be a profit center, especially if you are skilled at bilking every dime of interest and add-ons as insurance companies are.

What a lot of people forget is that one of the biggest insurance companies in the country started as a "not for profit" alternative to private health insurance. Blue Cross & Blue Shield was started prior to my birth back in the depression. It was a product of Baylor Hospital who wanted to find a way to provide insurance for working class folks like teachers and to make sure they got paid for their hospital services. It was not for profit up until the 1980's (thanks to the Regan-Bush years) when it became the big time money maker it is today.

So don't expect that non profit thing to last. Meanwhile, the another bright spot was the defeat of an anti-abortion amendment that would have denied coverage for abortion to people covered under the bill. That little gem was another attempt by the GOP to take away a woman's rights. I suspect most Republican men would like to see women's sufferage repealed. But that is another story.

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