Streams

Reich's Progress

Monday, October 19, 2009

Robert Reich, University of California at Berkeley professor of Public Policy, author of Super Capitalism: The Transformation of Business, Democracy, and Everyday Life and blogger, discusses health care reform, the state of the economy and other news of today.

Guests:

Robert Reich

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Comments [13]

Vic from Chester, NJ

Dear Brian,
Thank you for re-broadcasting these segments from President Obama's Saturday address concerning health care and the insurance industry.
The discussion that followed with Prof. Reich was no less interesting.
So, who are we dealing with, and what are we up against: ( ? )
organized business or organized crime ( ? )

Oct. 20 2009 01:36 AM
eva

BTW,
if anyone hasn't read Maggie Mahar's "Money-Driven Medicine" I strongly recommend it. And if you get a chance to hear Mahar in person, she's an unbelievable public speaker.
(Would be great on Brian's show.)

Oct. 19 2009 01:18 PM
eva

adfs,
I'm still listening, but late, here in California.
Swamped with HCR work, and happily so.
We had a great seminar in September, and I just went to the CAHPSA seminar at Berkeley.
We're working with the med students and nursing students now, too. Seminars, sit-ins, you name it. We're trying anything as long as it's legal and non-violent. We had a Bush advisor come in and sing the praises of the public option. Talk about counter-intuitive.
We've made some crazy progress. Dianne Feinstein turned some huge corners in the last few weeks, in large part due to pressure we put on her. Constant pressure. (The stick vs. the carrot.) So as a reward, we gave her a carrot. Actually, a carrot cake for her staff, and one for security staff that had to put up with our week-long sit-in last summer.
I think we're closer, but it's a long slog. We heard Maggie Mahar speak recently, and she said this will be a 10-year transformation.
I guess I should just get used to it.

Oct. 19 2009 01:16 PM
Helen Northmore from Staten Island, NY

Health insurance companies operate without anti-trust regulations, and there are few attempts in any of the current Health Reform bills, to hold down what health insurance companies will charge the new market of at least 20 million subscribers for health insurance purchased on the Exchange.  

One House bill requires government approval before raising premiums more than one and half times over medical inflation. Medical prices rose at an annual rate of 3.6 percent for the three months ending in June. 

Wouldn’t that mean for one billion dollars ($1,000,000,000) in health insurance premiums paid to health insurance companies, that would be a fifty million dollar ($50,000,000) increase to health insurance companies?

Federal subsidies to the insurance companies would need to increase to cover the difference in the cap an individual can pay that is written into most of the current bills, and what the insurance companies charge. 

Only one House bill limits the amount of health insurance premiums that companies could keep over the cost of the health care that they paid to providers; but it does not limit the amount of premium charged. 

If that House bill were to take effect, insurance companies would actually have to pay 85 cents of every dollar in premiums for health care.  The remaining would be theirs to use for their costs and profits. 

Fifteen percent of one billion dollars in premium minus eight hundred fifty million dollars ($850,000,000) in claims paid leaves one hundred fifty million dollars ($150,000,000) for the health insurance company.

In 2008, the uninsured cost about $42.9 billion in taxpayer funds to pay the bills for medical care they received, much of it at hospitals.  If each of 20,000,000 uninsured paid $2,000 each a year wouldn’t that be $40,000,000,000 towards paying that bill?.

Oct. 19 2009 11:19 AM
adfs from

eva you still listening to this show? chrs

Oct. 19 2009 11:18 AM
John L. from Brooklyn

Shouldn't the fine for not having insurance equal the cost of the Public Option premium? Then allow healthcare providers to be reimbursed for "uninsured" by the Public Option system? -- Avoids the "cost shifting" that is such a big problem when hospitals have to treat uninsured patients.

Oct. 19 2009 10:24 AM
Susan from Kingston

Thank God for people like Robert Reich!

Oct. 19 2009 10:22 AM
James from Brooklyn

To play devil's advocate, wouldn't the public option's ability to operate nationally, as opposed to private options that are bound by state laws, be a competitive advantage?

Oct. 19 2009 10:21 AM
Hugh Sansom from Brooklyn NY

If you think there should be private health insurance in the US (I'm fine with a private option as an alternative to the public), then whatever happened to "Market Economics"?

Why shouldn't people be free to choose NOT to buy something, like insurance?

Requiring people to be insured certainly hasn't done anything to contain auto insurance premiums. And state regulators haven't done anything to contain premiums either.

With a federal mandate that everyone have insurance, insurers would have a captive population.

Oct. 19 2009 10:18 AM
Hugh Sansom from Brooklyn NY

If you think there should be private health insurance in the US (I'm fine with a private option as an alternative to the public), then whatever happened to "Market Economics"?

Why shouldn't people be free to choose NOT to buy something, like insurance?

Requiring people to be insured certainly hasn't done anything to contain auto insurance premiums. And state regulators haven't done anything to contain premiums either.

With a federal mandate that everyone have insurance, insurers would have a captive population.

Oct. 19 2009 10:18 AM
Hugh Sansom from Brooklyn NY

BRAVO, President Obama! What a nice change from a man who has shown little spine to date.

With regard to health insurer immunity to anti-trust law: Is it also the case that health insurers are immune to law suits from We the People? In other words, you can appeal your insurer's denial of your claim, but you can't sue them over that.

Oct. 19 2009 10:12 AM
hjs from 11211

and then axelrod said, well, maybe not

Oct. 19 2009 10:11 AM
Gabrielle from brooklyn

great guest! thanks!

Oct. 19 2009 09:29 AM

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