Health Care Gets Sixty Votes

Monday, December 21, 2009

Over the weekend Senate Democrats reached an agreement on health care reform. Paul Starr former senior adviser for President Clinton's proposed health care reform plan, discusses what's in and what's out.


Paul Starr

Comments [36]

Amy from Manhattan

adsf [20]: Are you serious? Half of people working only get health care? Anyone who needs to pay for rent, utilities, food, clothing, not to mention raising kids & paying for college will continue to work. That is, if they can find jobs--which is a whole separate question.

Dec. 21 2009 11:19 AM
bernard joseph from brooklyn

hey shelley- stephen didn't edit enough. maybe he can edit it off this comments page.

Dec. 21 2009 10:57 AM
JCelardo from Fanwood, NJ

If and when a compromise bill gets through the House and Senate conference committee, will we have to go through this filibuster threat in the Senate all over again?

Dec. 21 2009 10:45 AM
shelley from NJ

part 2 of 2

And then, in a twinkling, I heard up the stairs,
> The sound of an answer to all my prayers,
> As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
> Down the chimney St. Obama came with a bound.
> He was dressed in a suit, from his head to his foot.
> And his clothes were tarnished from obstruction and soot;
> A bundle of promises he had flung on his back,
> And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.
> His eyes, how they twinkled! His dimples how merry!
> The face of a President, unlike John Kerry.
> His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow
> And the gray in his hair was beginning to show;
> Look at the shimmer of the white of his teeth,
> And the flag pin hung on his lapel like a wreath;
> A wink of his eye and a twist of the head,
> Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;
> He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
> And gave me my healthcare, then turned with a jerk,
> And laying his finger aside of his nose,
> And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;
> He sprang to his motorcade, to his team gave a whistle,
> And away they all flew, like a tactical missile.
> But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,
> “Happy Healthcare to all, and to all a good night.”

Dec. 21 2009 10:43 AM
shelley from NJ

(Twas the Night Before Christmas, as edited by Stephen) part1 of 2
> Twas just days before Christmas, when all through the House
> Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
> The Senate was stuck in debate on healthcare,
> In hopes that reform soon would be there;
> The children were nestled all snug in their beds
> While visions of SCHIP danced in their heads;
> And mamma in her kerchief, and I in my cap,
> Wished that coverage would be dropped in our lap,
> When off in DC there arose such a clatter,
> I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.
> Away to CSPAN I flew like a flash,
> To watch the Senators spending our cash.
> The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
> Gave the luster of mid-day to the capitol below,
> When, what to my wondering eye should appear,
> But a cloture vote that’s finally here,
> With a little old driver, on his trusty steed
> I knew in a moment it was Harry Reid.
> More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
> And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;
> “Now, Warner! Now, Carper! Now Nelson and Harkin!
> On, Baucus! On Casey! On, Landrieu and Cardin!
> To the floor of the Senate for a roll call,
> Please come and vote, we’ll need you all.”
> As dry leaves that before the hurricane fly,
> When they meet an obstacle, the moderates cry,
> So onward the compromises they drew,
> With Ben Nelson on board, and Lieberman too.

Dec. 21 2009 10:42 AM
Ana from Summit, NJ

@ adsf: Why would they? Why should employers have to deal with health care at all? To me it's ridiculous that an engineering company has to be shopping for health care for their employees. Every year is the same thing: whatever raise we get gets wipped out by the increase in health care. I believe that employees that don't have to worry about going broke if they get sick, or spending hours on the phone trying to decipher their coverage are more productive. It also makes the economy more fluid since employees won't stay at a job just to get healthcare. Quality healthcare should be a fundamental human right and not part of a benefits package.

Dec. 21 2009 10:42 AM
Robert from NYC


Dec. 21 2009 10:41 AM
Chriss from NJ

Paul Starr sure does LOVE THIS BILL!!!

That scares me.

And enough with all the "there are no Republicans like the old 'good' Republicans stuff."

Like who Reagan?

Liberals hated him too.

This is a liberal Bill.

As an American I hope it does all Mr. Star thinks it will.

I fear, however, that it will be another very costly problem child that will eat up an ever piece of our GDP.....

Dec. 21 2009 10:39 AM
bernard joseph from brooklyn

edward from nj- they will cut employees loose; you're not living in the real world if you think differently. "you don't like it? get another job!" get used to hearing that.

Dec. 21 2009 10:39 AM
Hugh Sansom from Brooklyn NY

The Wall Street Journal went to WELLPOINT? The LARGEST insurer in America for an unbiased opinion?!

That study is a veiled threat. WellPoint is doing a Wall Street -- "If you don't do as we say, we'll screw you royally."

Dec. 21 2009 10:38 AM
Ann Hall Every from Forest Hills

For #16 - Mike from Brooklyn:

I received the following in an email from the White House PR staff - the bullet points are the issues that might help in supporting this bill:

• In the first year, we will make it illegal for insurance companies to drop coverage for Americans.
• In the first year, more of your money will start going where it belongs: towards your care instead of excessive insurance company profits or TV ads. We will start forcing insurance companies to report the proportion of premium dollars that are not spent on medical care -- including profits. If a company isn’t spending enough of its premium dollars providing benefits for families, it will have to issue rebate checks to its customers to make up the difference.
• In the first year, all insurance plans will have to begin covering preventive services, helping to shift our health care from just sickness to wellness. If you purchase insurance on your own, you will receive preventive care from your doctor without paying a co-pay.
• In the first year, seniors will see major relief in paying for prescription drugs. The gap in coverage with Medicare, the so-called "donut hole," will start to close for good.
This bill will reduce premiums for your family, shifting the balance of power from your insurance company back to you.
Health reform extends coverage to 30,000,000 Americans without adding a dime to the Federal deficit.
The final bill hasn't taken shape yet. There are several more steps in the process, and the President is committed to making it the best bill possible to provide security for those who have insurance and affordable, quality coverage for those who don't.

Thanks, and have a great weekend.
Nancy-Ann DeParle
Director, White House Office of Health Reform

Dec. 21 2009 10:37 AM
Voter from Brooklyn

Make no excuses for Senator Snowe, she knew exactly what she was doing and we got snowed.

Dec. 21 2009 10:36 AM
Steph from Brooklyn

How are Flexible Spending Accounts or Health Savings Accounts addressed in this bill? Will I be able to use FSA/HSA funds to pay for what will likely be (for me) a hugely increased insurance bill? Will the limits on FSA/HSA's be raised ot accommodate that?

Dec. 21 2009 10:35 AM
LM from Long Island

Whilst I an not a fan of this bill. I think there are some elements that give me some hope. What I am not seeing is what the GOP is offering as an alternative other than bau!

Dec. 21 2009 10:34 AM
Edward from NJ

All the fears about employers dropping insurance coverage and paying the fines instead seem misguided. If an employer covers people now why would they suddenly stop? That's essentially a pay cut. If you're going to assume that sort of behavior, why don't employers simply cut all their workers down to minimum wage? That fact is employers will give employees more than the bare minimums required by the government if they need those employees.

Dec. 21 2009 10:32 AM
Chuck from Brooklyn

Why doesn't the GOP offer something.

Their talking points just make people nauseous.

Also, Do they read?

Dec. 21 2009 10:30 AM

re 15/Anna Summit, same @ condenast...

...but if we had universal health care wouldn't half of everyone just walk out of their cubes and ...go home?

Dec. 21 2009 10:30 AM
Amy from Manhattan

If the cap on premiums varies w/income, would it actually go down for someone who loses their job? Would it fluctuate for freelancers whose income can vary from year to year? & if it's based on the previous year's income, would it remain high in the year during which the income dropped & the person became less able to afford it?

Dec. 21 2009 10:29 AM

"80 and 85% must go to patient care."

Is there a disincentive for health insurers to simply conspire with pharma and doctors, etc., to increase prices in order to increase profit? Otherwise they may be on the phone as we speak doing just that -- if I were them I would certainly consider doing so.

Dec. 21 2009 10:27 AM
Jamison from Ft Green

I hate hearing "inviolably young people"! Its not that we dont want to have health insertion, it's that as little as $200 a mouth is out of reach for most young people. So you look at some plain that cover nothing for well over $800 a mouth...GET REAL
Lets face it insertion is the biggest scam going in US.

Dec. 21 2009 10:27 AM
Mike from Brooklyn

Please ask you guest to post something in writing on the WNYC website that explains the bill and why we should support it. I am a progressive Obama Democrat. While the bill is not everything that I wanted I think it goes an incredibly far way and will do a lot of good. However I am having a hard time explaining to my friends why they should support it.

Dec. 21 2009 10:26 AM
Ana from Summit, NJ

I am so mad about healthcare! The plans our company offers went up 30% this year!!! At the same time that everything from deductibles to copays went up and the company contribution to family coverage went down 20%. We were warned that next year we are going with high deductible Health Spending Accounts because the cost is so high....I want Universal Health care.

Dec. 21 2009 10:26 AM
Betty Anne from UES

This is going to destroy the Democratic major come election time. When Republicans are back in control all these new policies will just be rolled back.

Dec. 21 2009 10:25 AM
Hugh Sansom from Brooklyn NY

Mr. Starr launched the American Prospect with Bob Kuttner and Robert Reich. Reich has been a vocal and strong critic of this insurance boondoggle. Kuttner has been somewhat less critical, but strongly critical nonetheless.

So why does Starr sound like a spokesman for Angela Braly?

Dec. 21 2009 10:23 AM
Hugh Sansom from Brooklyn NY

So this brilliant plan will (1) guarantee business for insurance privateers, (2) place no cap on what privateers can charge, and (3) provide federal subsidies for higher insurance gouging.

A recipe for higher prices, not lower.

Dec. 21 2009 10:22 AM
kathleen from nyc

Brian, can you get Anthony Weiner on again.. he has done a turnaround from last week when he knocked the Senate bill, to now defending it.

Dec. 21 2009 10:20 AM
Ann Hall Every from Forest Hills

Yes, this healthcare bill is better than doing nothing.....but....what is going to curb the high costs of hospital stays and other hospital-related costs? I was recently hospitalized overnight - $4,400. The other hospital charges came to over $17,000 - this is not including the surgeon's fee - which I think was reasonable considering my elbow fracture.

Dec. 21 2009 10:18 AM
bernard joseph from brooklyn

this bill is a gold covered turd.
1-businesses will take the $750 fine and terminate any kind of co-pay insurance programs for their companies.
2-they can't turn anyone away BUT they can charge so much that no one can afford it.
3-the mandate is a concession that they shouldn't have given in to. the gop all voted no so why give them a concession? why? because the dems are n the insurance companies pockets also.
obama's legacy is forever tarnished if this bil is passed.

Dec. 21 2009 10:17 AM
David from Brooklyn

I am a senior with a chronic illness and have an advantage plan. I am very limited to my choice since my personal physician does not accept all the various plans. I am unhappy with the medicare system and tried to obtain personal health insurance, which is no longer available to us by law. Will this change with the new health bill?

Dec. 21 2009 10:17 AM
Hugh Sansom from Brooklyn NY

Angela Braly has made EXPLICIT WellPoint's determination to sacrifice care in the name of profit. Fact.

Paul Starr is hardly unbiased. We know that Hilary Clinton's group concluded that single-payer was the way to go. Bill Clinton and his acolytes, like Starr, stipulated that that was the "wrong" conclusion.

Obama repeated this with his stipulation, shortly after entering office, that the American private model would not be challenged.

Why is Mr. Lehrer pitching soft balls?

Dec. 21 2009 10:15 AM
Robert from NYC

What's with these conservatives you have on your show lately? There's no one to argue the other side? Where's Gov Dean or Rep Weiner? This guy was on Clinton's team and they lost! Having to watch the budget on health care and not on wars is what makes this baloney. We can just pay into wars as much as we need but not into the health care of our citizens. Please sell this to someone who will buy, don't insult the few of us who know better.

Dec. 21 2009 10:15 AM
Michael from Rockville Centre,

Just in time for Christmas,a great big gift for the Insurance Company.

Dec. 21 2009 10:13 AM
Hugh Sansom from Brooklyn NY

The argument against interstate insurance has been that insurers will then relocate to whichever state has the most lax regulations -- easily done with states like Delaware, South Carolina and the Dakotas which have proved themselves indifferent to any standard of decent conduct.

Dec. 21 2009 10:12 AM
Liam from East Elmhurst

Yes, and, to everyone's satisfaction, the $60 aspirin will...con...tin...ue...I am tired of settling for AT LEAST THIS IS SOMETHING.
America the UNDER-TAXED and extremely INTERNATIONAL (i.e. DEPLORABLE RED CHINA -no not the people-they are nice-the government-for the politically correct distraction types)gigantic COR-POR-ATIONS who, well, now, unlike before, run EVERYTHING. Sad...very sad...

Dec. 21 2009 10:11 AM
longstreet from NYC area

Can we pass some sort of health care bill, solely for the sake of passing something?
Yes, we can!
Bribe individual Senators to secure their support?
Yes, we can!
Botch nearly everything we touch in year 1 of actually being in charge?
Yes, we can!
Destroy all political capital in record time?
Yes, we can!
Bring a smile to my face?
Yes, you did!

Dec. 21 2009 09:58 AM
Ed from Larchmont, NY

When the House passed the health care bill, on about the same day, there was the Fort Hood shooting. The day before the Senate got the sixty votes to pass the vote, Washington got the biggest snow storm it's had since 1922. What will happen if the bill is passed?

Dec. 21 2009 08:53 AM

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