Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Quick Takes from Obama Press Conference

Here's our quick takes from the Obama press conference earlier today on health reform:

1) Health care reform represented the anchor leg of Obama's prepared comments at his press briefing, following his comments first on the situation with the protests of the Iranian election and then the importance of an environment bill. We believe that's meaningful and that the White House is very serious about passing sweeping health care reform legislation, much more so than an environment bill.

2) Obama made it as clear as he ever has before: the bill must be deficit neutral or better over a decade. He will not sign a bill that isn't. What does that mean? The final bill will have to be scored at $1 trillion over 10 years. In other words, if a bill is scored as costing $1 trillion over 10 years and covers 75%-80% of the uninsured, we believe that's a bill that gets signed with a Rose Garden ceremony. The administration, or the next one, can work incrementally to cover the remaining 20%-25% of the uninsured.

3) If the only thing that stands between a health care reform bill and no health care reform bill is a public plan option, the President will sign a bill without a public plan. That was our read of his comments: "Ultimately, I may have a strong opinion but it's too early," to make a decision on the plan, Obama said.

4) Obama demonstrated a real and deep understanding of complex health care issues during the Q&A and we believe that is a positive for health care providers. Why? Because when it's time to make extremely tough decisions on reform, Obama will know exactly how deep the cuts that doctors, hospitals, insurers, and drug/medical product makers are sacrificing for reform and how policy decisions will be impacting the overall system.

5) Obama also showed real teeth when it came to the public plan debate. When asked a tough question about the potential for employers to drop their coverage and send people to a cheaper public plan and the inability of private insurers to compete with a government option, he put all of the onus on the private insurers. He essentially said that any private plan worth its salt should be able to compete ably with a public plan assuming 1) the rules are the same and 2) the public plan is not continually subsidized by taxpayer dollars--it has to be premiums paid by enrollees.

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Michael L. Wagner said...

Sheer Window Dressing!!!

Health Insurance Companies “Win Big” because high risk people will be directed to the Public Plan...

There'll be some kind of competitiveness clause…, and with mandatory insurance the insurers will make out like bandits...!!!

WHAT???!!! Universal Health Care has been implemented by ALL other developed countries!!!

Here Read:

+ Canadian Health Insurance: Lessons for the United States / Government Accountability Office (GAO):

--“If the universal coverage and single-payer features of the Canadian system were applied in the United States, the savings in administrative cost alone would be more than enough to finance insurance coverage for the millions of Americans who are currently uninsured.”

+ Medical Bills Leading Cause of Bankruptcy, Harvard Study Finds /

--“Surprisingly, most of those bankrupted by illness had health insurance.”

+ The Truth About Drug Companies / Mother Jones:

“… Angell attacks major pharmaceutical industry -- whose top ten companies make more in profits than the rest of the Fortune 500 COMBINED -- for using “free market” rhetoric while opposing competition at all costs.”

Why not Universal Health Care with a $25 deductible after the first annual visit???

Also Read:

+ The neutron bomb of health insurance / CNN Money:

--“Imagine being insured...and then not being insured. Such situations are on the rise.”

“Waiting for an overdue reimbursement check is a hassle. Finding that your health insurance has been nullified after you've incurred serious medical costs can be an outright catastrophe.”

“Called "rescissions," … they don't occur in employer-sponsored group plans … the practice appears to be growing.”

+ State Tries To Block 'Fishing Expedition' Against Blue Cross / Los Angeles Daily Journal (ConsumerWatchdog):

--“When the Schwarzenegger administration in July struck a deal with Anthem Blue Cross that required the insurer to resell medical coverage to dropped policyholders and pay a record $10 million in fines, some attorneys questioned if state regulators had offered the company sweet concessions in exchange.”

+ More insurance rescission coverage / LA Times:

*An eroding model for health insurance, 2008,

--“Working Americans once could rely on employer-based benefits. But more people are being forced into the individual market, where coverage is costly, bare-bones and precarious.”

* Former Members Sue Blue Cross, 2006

* Anthem Blue Cross sued over rescissions, 2008

*Healthcare insurance probe grows, 2008

* Health Net ordered to pay $9 million after canceling cancer patient’s policy, 2008

* L.A. sues insurer over cancellations, 2008

* Doctors balk at request for data, 2008,

* Health insurer tied bonuses to dropping sick policyholders, 2007:

--“One of the state's largest health insurers set goals and paid bonuses based in part on how many individual policyholders were dropped and how much money was saved.”

* Complaints spark state hearing on Blue Cross, 2007,

* Insurer cited in policy rescissions, 2007

* Halted health coverage suit may be far-reaching, 2007,

* Doctors, hospitals join Blue Cross suit, 2007:

--“The largest organizations representing California physicians and hospitals joined a lawsuit against Blue Cross of California on Thursday, accusing the state's largest health plan of illegally and routinely refusing to pay them millions of dollars for medical care provided to enrollees whose policies were later canceled.

* Blue Cross cancellations called illegal, 2007

* Blue Cross sued over revoked insurance, 2007

* Health plan review may be intensified, 2007

* Kaiser Told to Reinstate Coverage, 2006,

* Blue Cross Sued Over Claims Refusals, 2006,

* Canceled Policies Prompt Lawsuits, 2006,

* Garamenda to Probe Blue Cross’ Practices, 2006.


Anonymous said...

Come on Ramsey, enough of this leftist propaganda! If Obama really has a "real and deep understanding of complex health care issues," he'd understand that a government-run plan would be able to set the rates it wants, undermining the whole private system. We all know Medicare underpays compared to everyone else, does Obama?
Scott Steinke