Thursday, February 25, 2010

Reform Rx: Health Care Summit Observations

President Obama uses food safety comparison

President Obama's response to Eric "Can't" Canter that used food and drug regulation costs resulting in safer food and drugs versus being able to get real cheap food and low cost drugs in the great wise efficient marketplace that would of course include dangers to the public. Money spent reforming and regulating health care is not money wasted that drives up taxes but rather an investment in health safety that saves lives.

Tom Harkin speaks to segregation

Senator Harkin made the very astute point that insurance risk pools are segregation based on peoples' health. He's right and that is why a robust public option or better yet single payer is the remedy to eliminate this form of segregation. Even if a majority have health insurance and are happy with their health plans, keeping a system that puts a minority at the "back of the bus" or not even allows them to "sit at the lunch counter" forms a moral impetus to reform health care. Furthermore, the legal establishment of subsidized high risk pools are wrong and would essentially be a "Jim Crow" law keeping the segregated "in their place".

President teaches ECON 101

In President Obama's closing remarks he made two economic points that market-worshiping Republicans need to take to heart.

First he likened buying power of a large group of that gives lower prices Americans to Wal-Mart and the opposite of that power being Mom and Pop stores with higher prices and lower selection. This represents the very same "markets can deliver" talk that conservatives always use. Yet they appear to reject this market mechanism. Will Republicans continue their doublespeak about markets?

Second the President directly challenged the myth of interstate insurance purchasing being an automatic "markets will deliver" solution. He aptly described how, based on credit card company practices of yore, how insurance companies would abandon states with fair regulations to set up shops in weak regulating, anything goes states in order to sell high deductibility, low benefit plans across state lines. This is the unregulated wild-west marketplace approach that conservatives doggedly contend efficiently delivers the best possible results. And it does: for stockholders but certainly not for consumers. Will Republicans continue to embrace even bad markets interests?

And for Maine: All rain, no Snowe

Our own Senator Snowe, who masquerades as putting constituents above party, was invited by the President of the United States to attend today’s to participate in today’s extraordinary public health bi-partisan effort. She refused. According to Fox:

But one of those Republicans who was involved in compromise talks will not be attending the summit. Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-ME, was invited by the White House, but the New England moderate politely turned the President down. Snowe’s spokesman, John Gentzel, told Fox it was because her leadership had not chosen her to attend.

Thus when it came to a choice of extraordinary opportunity to fight for her constituents, take a seat at the table, demonstrate the independence that she asserts is her mark, and place politics above party, Senator Snowe made the choice of absolute loyalty to, rigid obedience to, and unbending conformity to the party of NO over Maine citizens.

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