Obama to GOP governors: Fix the health care law

For nearly a year — ever since the new health care legislation passed into law — Republicans have insisted they will “repeal and replace” it. But now that they are in power in the House, they’ve put a lot more emphasis on the repeal than on the replace.
Yesterday, though, President Obama played some very clever politics with governors convened for their winter meeting. The president challenged them to fix the health care law:

“I am aware that I have not yet convinced everybody here to be a member of the Affordable Care Act fan club. … I am not open to refighting the battles of the last two years,” Obama said. “I am willing to work with anyone in this room, Democrat or Republican, governors or members of Congress to make this law even better.”

From The NYT:

President Obama, who has stood by his landmark health care law through court attacks and legislative efforts to repeal it, told the nation’s governors on Monday that he was willing to amend the measure to give states the ability to opt out of its most controversial requirements right from the start, including the mandate that most people buy insurance.
In remarks to the National Governors Association, Mr. Obama said he supported legislation that would allow states to obtain waivers from the mandate as soon as it took effect in 2014, as long as they could find another way to expand coverage without driving up health care costs. Under the current law, states must wait until 2017 to obtain waivers . . .

The legislation would allow states to opt out earlier from a range of requirements, including the mandate, if they could demonstrate that other methods would allow them to cover as many people, with insurance that is as comprehensive and affordable, as provided by the new law. The changes must also not increase the federal deficit.

If GOP leaders want to fix health care, they have to take into consideration problems such as those faced by Donna Dubinsky, who wrote in the NYT that no insurer will sell her a health insurance policy:

Most employees assume that if they lose their job and the health coverage that comes along with it, they’ll be able to purchase insurance somewhere. The members of Congress who want to repeal the provision of last year’s health insurance law that makes it easier for individuals to buy coverage must assume that uninsured people do not want to buy it, or are just too cheap or too poor to do so.

The truth is that individual health insurance is not easy to get.

I found this out the hard way. Six years ago, my company was acquired. Since my husband had retired a few years earlier, we found ourselves without an employer and thus without health insurance.

My husband, teenage daughter and I were all active and healthy, and I naïvely thought getting health insurance would be simple.

Why did we even need insurance? First, we wanted to know that, if we had a medical catastrophe, we would not exhaust our savings. Second, uninsured patients are billed more than the rates that insurers negotiate with doctors and hospitals, and we wanted to pay those lower rates. The difference is significant: my recent M.R.I. cost $1,300 at the “retail” rate, while the rate negotiated by the insurance company was $700.

An insurance broker helped me sort through the options. I settled on a high-deductible plan, and filled out the long application. I diligently listed the various minor complaints for which we had been seen over the years, knowing that these might turn up later and be a basis for revoking coverage if they were not disclosed.

Then the first letter arrived — denied. It never occurred to me that we would be denied! Yes, we had listed a bunch of minor ailments, but nothing serious. No cancer, no chronic diseases like asthma or diabetes, no hospital stays.

(Her essay is worth reading in its entirety.)

So will Republicans now “replace” health care? Ummm, no.

Mr. Obama’s announcement did not appear to appease his Republican critics. The House majority leader, Representative Eric Cantor of Virginia, told reporters that the health law was “an impediment to job growth” and that Republicans remained committed to its repeal.

They don’t care that many Americans cannot buy health insurance.

Cynthia Tucker

320 comments Add your comment

Joel Edge

March 1st, 2011
7:40 am

“President Obama, who has stood by his landmark health care law”
I suggest he stand a little closer. Very close. And come 2012, he’ll be very closely associated with this debacle.

Jimmy62

March 1st, 2011
7:45 am

Trash the whole thing and start fresh. Get rid of tax breaks for getting insurance through your employer, then individual plans will be competitive, and people may be able to buy affordable insurance that fits their individual needs. Of course that’s just one small part of the whole, thankfully I’m not responsible for coming up with the entire thing.

Peadawg

March 1st, 2011
7:50 am

“They don’t care that many Americans cannot buy health insurance.” – So how is forcing them to buy insurance (even though, as you say, they can’t) or pay a fine going to help?

hsn

March 1st, 2011
7:50 am

Let’s see how these Republikan governors put their noise into action …

Alatsea

March 1st, 2011
8:03 am

I don’t think BOcare will make in the Supreme court. And the boy president will go down in history as the worst leader this country has ever seen.

Alatsea

March 1st, 2011
8:04 am

Granny, Granny I can’t wait to see what the old coot will spew.

Keep up the good fight!

March 1st, 2011
8:05 am

You’re right Pea…forcing someone to buy insurance who cannot at any price in the market shows a market problem. Most dont have this issue. Some do. And there must be a government provided option for these people when the market has failed them.

So now that you have acknowledged a market failure, are you going to support a government option for this group of people or are you just going to ignore these people and tell them tough luck.

reebok

March 1st, 2011
8:05 am

Pretty clever move by Prez Obama. If they want to opt out, OK…as long as they make sure that their individual state plans provide the same coverage…similar to RomneyCare in Mass….can’t wait to see the spin from the ‘Just say no’ crowd.

granny godzilla

March 1st, 2011
8:06 am

They’ll replace healthcare right after they get all those jobs….

They still can’t govern can they?

Peadawg

March 1st, 2011
8:10 am

” are you going to support a government option – as in MORE spending? You’re kidding, right?

LOL granny you’re too funny. The house controls just the House and you’re putting jobs all on them? Really?

Ragnar Danneskjöld

March 1st, 2011
8:10 am

“Health insurance” is not a problem; it is arguably “the” problem.

When anyone talks about the healthcare “crisis” – given that American healthcare is undoubtedly the best available in the world – the conversation almost always turns to “affordability.”

Any system where the ultimate user/purchaser does not contribute meaningfully at the time of purchase ensures over-use of the product. This is the problem of playing with “other people’s money.”

Further, the healthcare system is handicapped by well-intentioned laws mandating that certain healthcare providers – mostly hospitals – offer service without any assurance of payment. A rational mind would query whether the 13th Amendment to the Constitution has been invalidated by the good intentions of the overlords.

The legal lottery that is “malpractice tort law in the United States” contributes mightily to the oversale of medical services, as any “negligence” can lead to multi-million dollar jury judgments.

At risk of noting the obvious, ObamaCare does nothing to address either the problems or the causes of the problems behind the healthcare “crisis.” Repeal is the only rational start to address the costing-deficiencies in our superior healthcare system.

JKL2

March 1st, 2011
8:13 am

-They don’t care that many Americans cannot buy health insurance

Maybe because they’re not in the healthcare industry. I guess I missed the part about life, liberty, and free healthcare for everyone.

granny godzilla

March 1st, 2011
8:14 am

Peadawg

Has the House done anything at all in that area?

They can do something in “just the house” that they control right?

I mean they can write a jobs bill in the house, right?

And they can pass it in the house, right?

And move it to Senate, right?

They can, right?

But they have not.

Peadawg

March 1st, 2011
8:17 am

Granny…Obama, Pelosi, and Reid have had 2 damn years to get job growth going. Why are just now complaining?

Bob

March 1st, 2011
8:17 am

An easy fix would just to get your state granted a waiver like many corporations and unions have done.

Keep up the good fight!

March 1st, 2011
8:18 am

So Pea…what you have demonstrated is that you dont really care whether those who have no market place option for health insurance have it or not. They are on their own so long as you dont have to pay for a thing…..other than of course your additional costs being used to support their unpaid emergency care and the additional financial costs to families from bankruptcies and what may be required support after. Not really a well-thought response on your part is it? But then, it was expected. The facts don’t matter, people dont matter, nuances dont matter…..the only thing that matters is your distorted rant.

granny godzilla

March 1st, 2011
8:22 am

Peadawg

Dodge the question.

They can do it if they have the will and support from folks like you, right?

You do support Speaker Boehner and the GOP controlled Hosue, right?

They campaigned on it…over and over and over, right?

They can write a jobs bill and pass it in the house, right?

They have not even tried…..right?

granny godzilla

March 1st, 2011
8:25 am

Bob

March 1st, 2011
8:17 am
An easy fix would just to get your state granted a waiver like many corporations and unions have done.

and which Obama has offered

and from NBC

– He (Obama) will endorse the concept of the Ron Wyden-Scott Brown legislation, which moves up the start date when states can seek waivers from the health-care law from 2017 to 2014, they are called “innovation waivers” – if they can come up with ways to incentivize people to buy insurance rather than require it.

Peadawg

March 1st, 2011
8:25 am

Yup to all those things you said Granny. Now answer my question. Why haven’t you been complaining the past 2 years? Obama’s FIRST priority was clearly this health care law, not jobs. Why was there no complaint?

Keep, how do suggest we afford another entitlement program? And try responding with something other than ‘raise taxes’.

Ragnar Danneskjöld

March 1st, 2011
8:26 am

Dear Granny, good morning, a point of order. “You do support Speaker Boehner and the GOP controlled Hosue, right?” Leftists/cultists support people (or not), without regard to their ideas; conservatives support ideas (or not), without regard to their sponsors.

Peadawg

March 1st, 2011
8:28 am

On a different note:
ttp://www.ajc.com/news/dekalb/former-irs-employee-accused-856685.html

I wonder how many more cases like this are happening this year?

Starring Kam Fong as Chin Ho

March 1st, 2011
8:34 am

For two years, Obama and the dem controlled House and Senate spent and fiddled while this nation sank into an abyss that we will be lucky to dig out of in 10 years. Now, with gas prices approaching 4.00 per gallon (which will stop the economy in its tracks again) he again sits on the sideline more concerned with his union cronies in Wisconsin than with our economy. We, as a country can survive 4 yrs of this pathetic leadership but I wonder if we can survive the idiocy of the millions of fools that blindly support his policies. I hope and pray I’m wrong.

cosby

March 1st, 2011
8:34 am

Sad..it was nor is a Health Care Law. It is merely 2,500+ pages of adjusting how to pay for health care. This law does nothing to improve the delivery of health care. Those that support it are buying into a house of cards. It is time to repeal / kill this legislation that is unconstitutional, investigate why health care is as expensive as it is, then put into place solutions to reduce the cost and improve the delivery system. The next time you wonder why the cost are as they are, look at prime time TV and see who is advertising – advertising protected drugs – protected by The Government and that they are kept very expensive – thank you government. On another note, to all you wonderful sports fans, I hear no complaints about sports salaries, cost of stadiums paid for by the tax payer all the while you want your doctor to work for free…the dumbing of the american society..do the hoobe doobe in the end zone and make a millon dollars, do open heart surgery and make minimum wage..yea that will work..stupid stupid americans.

Keep up the good fight!

March 1st, 2011
8:34 am

Pea…let’s not play the distorted game of no one can raise taxes…its absurd. Taxes can be raised. Do they need to in this particular instance? I dont know. What I do know is that we are talking about human lives and health. Preventative care and proper treatment is generally cheaper than waiting for emergency care. A child who loses a parent to death for a condition that could have been prevented must be cared for. Now you claim to care about fetuses…but not a penny for their care in real life. Sorry, I think “tax” and “entitlement” concern is misdirected and absurd without basis in reality. There is no “bankrupt” state or federal government. There is a lot of “starved” government. And if you really cared about government budgets, the ACA saves money.

Peadawg

March 1st, 2011
8:35 am

“Now, with gas prices approaching 4.00 per gallon (which will stop the economy in its tracks again) he again sits on the sideline more concerned with his union cronies in Wisconsin than with our economy” – AMEN! Well said!

granny godzilla

March 1st, 2011
8:36 am

Peadawg

Because the first issue President Obama had to deal with was the near depression the GOP left us with and reducing healtcare costs is a huge part of that.

Oh and, you will note that the current administration has created more jobs already that the previous…..

DavidEm

March 1st, 2011
8:37 am

I’m glad he called their bluff. They’ve used the whole issue to whip up lots of politically beneficial (to THEM, not to the U.S.) hysteria and misinformation, while offering ZERO constructive input about the threat posed to so many of us by this for-profit mess we call our health care system.
One illness or accident, and everything you’ve spent your life working for is GONE. It’s absurd that the world’s wealthiest nation has such an inept system, all geared to the financial benefit of the notoriously unscrupulous insurance corporations.

JKL2

March 1st, 2011
8:39 am

-I mean they can write a jobs bill in the house, right?

We have a correction. Life, liberty, free healthcare and jobs for everyone.

The stimulus package only cost us like $280k per job. Let’s make more!!! How about we just cut out that nasty work part and just give free money to everyone.

Joel Edge

March 1st, 2011
8:39 am

“This law does nothing to improve the delivery of health care.”
Well posted.

granny godzilla

March 1st, 2011
8:41 am

“with gas prices approaching 4.00 per gallon (which will stop the economy in its tracks again)”

won’t hurt us, we made smart life choices, reduced our need for fossil fuel by over 60% in the last 3 years. if you had been paying attention you’d note that sooner or later we won’t have any oil left and that those last few million barrels are gonna cost lotsa’ dough.
at 5 bucks a gallon, our weekly commute will cost a whopping $13.00.
and that’ll drop further when next we have to buy an auto. you snooze, you lose

Peadawg

March 1st, 2011
8:42 am

“Because the first issue President Obama had to deal with was the near depression the GOP left us with and reducing healtcare costs is a huge part of that.” – So he gets a pass since it wasn’t one of his big issues. Got it.

Keep up the good fight!

March 1st, 2011
8:43 am

This law does nothing to improve the delivery of health care

Other than assure that there is a method of payment which means for some that they can obtain care and evaluation for medical conditions prior to them becoming emergencies, which actually is an improvment in delivery of health care.

granny godzilla

March 1st, 2011
8:45 am

Peadawg

Yep and even with that “pass” as you naively put it….they created more jobs than the previous administration….

quod erat demonstrandum

March 1st, 2011
8:48 am

Blah, blah, blah – all this angry rhetoric about health care.

While the current administration is trying to salvage something out of this widely unpopular bill, Utah, decided to do something about it. Their model of health care exchange seems to be beneficial to both sides of the argument. The Free market – pro America crowd gets the state to shoulder its responsibility under the 10 amendment and the pro socialist crowd gets state government run health care.

It is refreshing and restores my faith in the American people, when “the people” in the states take over from the federal government, jobs the federal government was never empowered to do.

Shamika

March 1st, 2011
8:50 am

As usual, Tucker does not disagree with policy perspective or open a dialog. Rather she attacks motives…that is she shuts down real conversation, raisies emnity and engages in personal attacks. Tucker says that “Republicans don’t care”.
Once again, Tucker claims to know the unknowable. Just by looking at a group of people gathered to protest taxes, Tucker claimed to be able to divine their hearts and could identify with some precision the percentage who were “racist”. Now she claims to divine the heart motives of republicans everywhere. She disagrees with the republicans on policy and has no problem claiming to know what she cannot know.
Next time Tucker wants to talk about civility in political discourse…remember, she is above all else, a hypocrite.

Starring Kam Fong as Chin Ho

March 1st, 2011
8:51 am

granny g, “won’t hurt us”? I’ll have some of what you’re smoking. “reduced our need for fossil fuel by 60%” ? Wow, so now trucks run on water (does that make them boats?) I, dear granny, live in the real world, where products and food are delivered to the vast expanse of this nation on the backs of diesel trucks. Where every single thing we consume is going to cost more for the regular folk. But lets not confuse the truth with what spin will make more political hay for the liberal agenda. I suppose if Obama told you the earth was flat you wouldn’t go to the edge for fear of falling off.

Peadawg

March 1st, 2011
8:55 am

“which actually is an improvment in delivery of health care.” – Which doesn’t mean sh* if they can’t afford it to begin with. Cosby’s comment should have said it does nothing to improve the cost of health care.

WAR

March 1st, 2011
8:55 am

i like some parts of the bill. some i can do without. when repubs say repeal and replace, i would like to see the plan they are offering first before i agree. but they have not offered a plan, so ill stay with the pres on this one.

granny godzilla

March 1st, 2011
8:56 am

Kam Fong

I too live in a very real world, that’s why I made wise choices.

The high gas prices will have a very small effect on our family economy – and we are prepared for it.

Sorry, If my frugality stirs you up…..but why aren’t you prepared for the inevitable?

Peadawg

March 1st, 2011
8:56 am

“won’t hurt us” – Maybe those in Pennsylvania that still ride horse and buggies.

WAR

March 1st, 2011
8:58 am

whoa wait a minute! i dont want the govt involved in my life any more than it has to be. but i am not too keen on states having more power either. there must be a balance along with oversight. we keep the govt honest and the govt keeps the states honest. if not, aint no telling what rights will be infringed upon.

WAR

March 1st, 2011
8:58 am

pea
quakers and amish still ride horse and buggies. just saying.

quod erat demonstrandum

March 1st, 2011
8:58 am

granny godzilla,

Granny, we agree on something. As prices increase, we will not be that affected by them, The dividends from my oil royalties more than pays for my driving.

Wise choices make things a bit easier, poor choices do not.

They BOTH suck

March 1st, 2011
8:59 am

@ Shamika

I do not speak for CT or what Republicans as a whole care or do not care about, however does history show us anything?

With 12 years of Republicans in office, six of which were with Bush, please tell us exactly what Republicans did to when it comes to ‘caring’ about health-care for all.

Not what they said, wanted to do, thought about………. what they did.

Don’t care to hear about no one can be turned away from an emergency room or other red-herring and smokescreens, but what YOU know to be fact in terms of their ‘caring’ about health care and coverage for all……

You do know the answer is basically NOTHING, yet almost to a person they all claim to want to change the system……… NOW…….

Where were they when they could have pushed their own policies?

Keep up the good fight!

March 1st, 2011
8:59 am

Don’t you hate it when Jimmy Carter says “I told you so” and yet you continue to refuse to find alternatives to a dependency on fossil fuels……. the Koch Brothers are laughing.

Freemarket taxpayer

March 1st, 2011
9:01 am

Ragnar @ 8:10 says it all very clearly. Nice post. The same can be said of our other freeloading programs (public employee pay/pensions, medicaid/care, S/S). There is no free lunch people. When we become a “need” based economy (those with the greatest “need” are the “winners”) we have established a true race to the bottom where no one is encouraged to work, i.e. unions, etc…

Peadawg

March 1st, 2011
9:01 am

“quakers and amish still ride horse and buggies. just saying.” – Yes that was my point. Those are about the only ones who aren’t affected by 3.25+ gas prices.

granny godzilla

March 1st, 2011
9:02 am

hey, you are attached to the foreign oil “teat” or you live towards energy indepedence….it’s YOUR choice

granny godzilla

March 1st, 2011
9:02 am

Oh, I’m affected, but it’s less than a cup o’ Starbucks…..

jarvis

March 1st, 2011
9:03 am

I think it’s the President that needs to make it work.

He’s the one that’s going to have to figure out what to do as soon as the Supreme Court informs him that he can’t force people to buy anything they don’t want.