Legislative Leftovers: Healthcare

Monday, August 10, 2009

With Congress in recess for the rest of August, we'll take the next two days to look at some of the legislation that's still on the table. Today, we find out where the health care debate stands in both the House and the Senate. Ezra Klein, who blogs for the Washington Post, and Luke Mitchell, a senior editor at Harper's, explain how the battle for public opinion this summer is likely to influence the political debate in the fall.


Ezra Klein and Luke Mitchell

Comments [26]

Judith from New York

It is amazing to me that Congress and the Senate enjoy a very nice government provided health plan which they don't appear to want to give up and yet are hell-bent on protecting the rest of us from getting even a lesser option. My current insurance ( employer subsidised) is expensive for all concerned and yet is full of holes as Swiss Cheese. Hate my primary doctor but very few alternatives and any treatment is severely limited in where and who and what. This isn't freedom of choice.
Roll on Medicare! Why not call out the legislators and tell them if they hate the govt system so much then they too must use private insurance - and watch them scream.

Aug. 10 2009 02:19 PM
thatgirlinnewyork from manhattan

LM--more of you need to be heard. as an american who had enjoyed socialized healthcare benefits while living in western europe for several years, it is difficult to help other americans understand how much better this type of system would be for us.

unfortunately, reason gets lost when everyone is waving the "free enterprise" flag, including doctors, because we've convinced ourselves that healthcare should be ridiculously profitable, rather than simply what any good society helps provide everyone--even at a minimum.

Aug. 10 2009 12:45 PM
jawbone from Parsippany, NJ

I attended an OFA meeting and was asked to sign petitions and make calls for "the Obama Plan."

Almost everyone there was asking over and over to know WHAT Obama's Plan was--and no one could tell us. They said there are "principles" (like backroom Oval Office deals with Big Pharma?) which we could support.

And those couldn't be spelled out for us either!

No leadership. It's hard to lead with fog and mirrors.

Campaign, yes. Bush's first campaign proved that.

Aug. 10 2009 12:44 PM
jawbone from Parsippany, NJ

I remember years ago, before PC's were available. My brother bought a computer-like device as a Christmas present for his kids because the producer promised to support and development for for a least a decade.

Right after Christmas, the producer, citing economic factors, discontinued the device.

Businesses see their fiduciary responsibility to their shareholders as far more important than any promises made to consumers.

Do not trust any members of the BHIP (Big Health Industry Players) to stick with anything which doesn't make money. Big profits trump customers' needs.

Aug. 10 2009 12:40 PM
LM from Long Island

As a European, I constantly shake my head with these discussions. Public heatlh care plans will NEVER EVER be perfect BUT surely the basic goal should be simple.. there should be equal access to health care that is not predicated on the ability to pay. A lot of the other stuff that is being discussed seems like unnecessary noise.

Aug. 10 2009 12:39 PM
Sharon from Bronx

Your guest asks why the government/congress should make any concessions to the drug companies. Easy answer: MONEY! Billions of dollars in campaign contributions to both Dems and Republicans over the past few years have made them captive to their demands.

Aug. 10 2009 12:38 PM
jawbone from Parsippany, NJ

Medicare for All...the bailout for the rest of us!

Like Festivus, with saving lives and providing security tossed in. What great presents those would be!

Medicare for All...with a Robust Private Option!

Aug. 10 2009 12:35 PM
Ric Meyer from New York

I hear some people say, 'we must fix healthcare because otherwise it will bankrupt us if we don't'.

Gut tells me this is accurate. True/false? If true, why isn't this getting more attention in the debate?

Aug. 10 2009 12:33 PM
Hugh from Brooklyn, NY

Health insurers may have seen losses last year, but WellPoint still saw fit to pay its CEO, Angela Braly, over $10 million in 2008.

Aug. 10 2009 12:33 PM
HMI from Brooklyn

I'm happy that Lenny's guest has such a Godly perspective on the healthcare debate that he can declare that opposition to the Obama plan is not merely unwise but actually immoral. O brave new world!

Aug. 10 2009 12:32 PM
Amy from Manhattan

What can regular people who don't have a forum like the Washington Post or Harper's do to combat the attacks on this bill?

Aug. 10 2009 12:31 PM
thatgirlinnewyork from manhattan

helmrich--thanks for the dose of religious nut-baggery. i especially love that you cite "many people", which is the common claim of someone who has little stick to wave.

1. as a taxpayer, i would be happy to pay for abortions. our country has the lowest average age for sexual onset in the world (which is 12 years old), and as such, the largest volume of teen pregnancies. i'm more prepared to help these young women recover their lives via a traumatic surgical procedure (and it is--until you can have one, ed, i suggest you refrain from judgement of those who have) than to support their unwanted and under-cared-for children throughout their lives.

2. medical professionals who "object" to administering or taking part in dispensing legally-sanctioned medicines or procedures should find another kind of work. the hippocratic oath taken by medical professionals trumps their personal opinions.

3. no provisions are made within current healthcare reform proposals that suggest measures that would threaten "life sustaining treatment". but if you're that compassionate, then you might think about the (often) impoverished young women in point one when you consider whose life deserves "sustaining". or is that not what jesus would do?

Aug. 10 2009 12:31 PM
BrettG from Astoria NY

Leonard, the Harper's guy is the more reliable narrator.

Aug. 10 2009 12:31 PM
BrettG from Astoria NY

Gosh, at a minimum, there are 4 bills that are not out of Committee. Which "Bill" is he talking about?

The minimization of the disruptors is also interesting - has he seen the GOP alumni of the "Brooks Brothers 2000 " white collar riot in the papers.

Mr. Klein dismisses the reported legal bribes *campaign donations" to the Blue Dogs & Baucus that it's hard to take him seriously.

Part D is a disaster! I'm on SSD & Medicare. Even with aid to get my Rxs, I'm unable to make ends meet.

We should be working for Medicare For All with health maintenance. If we want to change our medical emphases, we need to get the insurance companies out of it.

I used to work in a hospital & the insurance companies are a bigger problem than Medicare/Medicaid.

Aug. 10 2009 12:29 PM
Nick Brooks

Is there an unspoken issue here: some US folk not wanting to "pay for" anyone else's health care? What moral obligation to the greater good do we as Americans truly follow?

Please ask Luke Mitchell if he thinks that perhaps more Double Bass playing might help to get a proper Health Care deal in place.

Aug. 10 2009 12:29 PM
Melinda Hunt from East Village

Why is Obama not using his network to get people out to support the plan?

Aug. 10 2009 12:26 PM
Hugh from Brooklyn, NY

Not to surprising that Ezra Klein should want to downplay the corporate role in deceiving Americans on health care, given the Post's part in that deception.

The Post's economics reporting is hands-down the worst of the major media outlets.

Aug. 10 2009 12:26 PM

Is it fair to ask such a small % of taxpayers to finance the entire bill? Why isn't a tax on sugary drinks acceptable?
If you choose to engage in unhealthy behavior(drink soda) why shouldn't you be taxed on that?

Aug. 10 2009 12:25 PM
Doreen from Queens

Can you explain why many media reports about the changes in health care is that we will lose choice in "choosing our plan". There will end up only being one etc. etc. What I would like to know is what choise do we have now anyway? We pretty have the choice to opt in to what ever insurer our employer picks or not! There may be various plans on offer but usually from one in surance co. not multiple. Loss of choice bothers americans but isn't this a false 'loss' when it is our employers who chose right now, not us?

Aug. 10 2009 12:23 PM
Ebun from Fort greene

Leonard please stick to bringing great guest on your show, I agree the bill has some issues but we can certainly discuss it in a non ideological way, this guy had his mind made up a while ago, he's gonna be okay, I will be and he will be, it's sad that the people out there crying about the bill are the ones that need it the most

Aug. 10 2009 12:23 PM
STEVE from Brooklyn

What if Obama produces a new Health Insurance Bill in two weeks that fixes problems with the House bill, and throws the conservatives a curve ball?

Aug. 10 2009 12:20 PM
Caitlin from Jersey City

Please ask your guests about Anthony Weiner's single-payer bill.

Aug. 10 2009 12:19 PM
Ebun from Fort greene

Please remind your friend that med d was a disaster, hav him explain the donut hole, and killing the bill just to win an election is sad, lives are at stake

Aug. 10 2009 12:18 PM
Hugh from Brooklyn

Ezra Klein has been one of those at the heart of the Post's atrociously bad reporting on healthcare. The Post has unambiguously embraced a pro-insurance line -- not just in it's op-ed pages but also in it's supposedly objective reporting.

Aug. 10 2009 12:15 PM

It's important to identify some of the forces that are allied against Obama's healthcare reform.Bill Cristol would be one of the leading foes with a record of killing attempts at insuring the unisured that goes back to the 90's."Too expensive" Cristol says.Cristol a proponent of the disasterous Iraq invasion and who is pushing for an Israeli attack on Iran if the US will not oblige.All very,very expensive enterprises.So Cristol does not mind spending Taxpayer monies. Just NOT on Americans.Israel a receipient of more than $10 million per day is money well spent for Cristol.
According to the Christian Science Monitor,the cost of Israel to the American TAXpayer has been over $1.6 TRILLION since 1973.

Aug. 10 2009 09:44 AM
Ed Helmrich

President Obama's bill does not meet these criteria, but (before the economics are considered) many Americans feel that any health care bill should:

1. Exclude mandates for abortion and not alter prohibitions on federal funding of abortion.
2. Provide broad protection for the freedom of conscience ... no person should be compelled to act contrary to their conscience in the payment for, provision of, or performance of health care.
3. Not contain provisions that mandate or encourage the withdrawal of effective life-sustaining treatment to the terminally ill, the chronically ill, or the permanently disabled.

President Obama couldn't pass FOCA so he is trying to institute it through the health care bill. 70% of Americans do not agree with tax payer funding of abortions, his plan includes this.

Aug. 10 2009 08:32 AM

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