How would the ‘public option’ outcompete private enterprise?

Members of the Senate Finance Committee have just voted 15-8 against adding the so-called public option to the Senate health-insurance reform bill;a vote on a second, similar amendment is forthcoming. (UPDATE: The second effort was rejected 13-10.)

Committee Democrats who voted against the measure generally did so on grounds that a bill including the public option would not pass on the Senate floor. Republicans generally argued that including the public option would eliminate private insurance, producing a single-payer, government-run system.

So let me repeat an earlier and pretty simple request: Walk me through the process by which the public option would supposedly eliminate private competition.

I have seen the charge asserted repeatedly, but nobody has yet explained how that chain of events would play out. The best attempts I’ve seen involve claims that in LATER legislation Congress might CHANGE the law to produce such an outcome, but opposing a bill today based on what you imagine Congress might do years later isn’t much of an argument.

Let’s talk facts and law. What in the current legislation would produce that outcome?

Under the House bill, which already contains a public option, the public insurer would be required to finance all of its operations and benefits solely through insurance premiums paid by its customers, just as private companies would. It could not be subsidized through taxes. It also would have to offer the same range of coverage and benefits as private plans, and private plans would have equal access to customers whose insurance was being subsidized.

Given all that, if private companies are truly much more efficient than public entities, it is the public option that would presumably be run out of business, not the private plans.

So why do Republicans claim it would run private companies out of business? Don’t the Republicans have faith in private enterprise to compete? If the public option would have unfair advantages, what are they?

311 comments Add your comment

DoggoneGA

September 29th, 2009
5:34 pm

As I said yesterday: it is totally within the power of the insurance companies to end this “healthcare debate” flat…but the won’t do it.

Kamchak

September 29th, 2009
5:34 pm

Don’t the Republicans have faith in private enterprise to compete?

No.

Another episode of simple answers to simple questions.

I Report/ Vast White Wing Conspirator (-: You Whine )-:

September 29th, 2009
5:36 pm

Walk me through the process by which the public option would supposedly eliminate private competition.

Well, let’s see, employers would dump their employees onto the death panel “option” and reduce a payroll cost.

Sure, you libs can tax them, but only until they relocate to Texico (Jaggie- I know how to spell Mexico. Trust me. You can harangue me if you’d like.)

TGT

September 29th, 2009
5:40 pm

Jay asks, “If the public option would have unfair advantages, what are they?

Surely you jest.

Government, even when it has competition, never plays fair. For example, consider the mail. By law, UPS and FedEx are prohibited from offering to deliver First Class mail. Therefore, the government has a legal monopoly on a significant part of mail delivery.

Also, when it comes to transportation and recreation, the government has the right to eminent domain. And, of course, the government has the power to tax to support everything from education to transportation. Also, the government can print money, make law, and has the power of the police and the military to enforce the law.

In addition, government programs don’t have to turn a profit, nor do they have to pay taxes. When it comes to competition betwen government and private industry there is simply no contest and it is ludicrous to think otherwise.

Furthermore, once the government gets involved, to end its participation is nearly impossible. Entitlement programs, such as Social Security, are the classic example of this. These programs are massive: As of 2008, Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid make up 42% of the federal budget. Medicare alone has $36 trillion in unfunded liabilities. As president Bush found out, it is practically impossible to reign in and reform these beasts.

Once the government gets itself established in an additional part of our lives, another piece of our liberty goes out the window—perhaps never to return. This is the real danger. Even the folks over at CNN have recently pointed out five significant freedoms that would be lost under Obamacare: 1.) Freedom to choose what’s in your plan 2.) Freedom to be rewarded for healthy living, or pay your real costs 3.) Freedom to choose high-deductible coverage 4.) Freedom to keep your existing plan 5.) Freedom to choose your doctors.

Whatever the shortcomings of our current healthcare industry, more government is not the solution. “That government is best which governs least,” said Thomas Paine. In this succinct, but profound proverb, lies the heart of the solution to the healthcare debate. Congress and the president would do well to begin and end with this in mind.

N.J.

September 29th, 2009
5:42 pm

This is one of five committee bills that will have to be reconciled on the floor of the Senate. The other four all have public options on them. The fifteen people on the Finance commitee are going to have to convince the sixty on the other four comittees to accept a bill without a public option. Not likely,
.

The fact is that Harry Reid is going to have to MELD the bill that he presents from the Finance Committee with the Bill that comes out of Chris Dodd’s Health Education and Labor Commitee which DOES have a public option as well as the reconciliation with HR 3200 which DOES have a public option:

Senior Senate Democratic leadership sources tell Fox that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-NV, will not include a so-called “public option” in a healthcare reform bill he will create once the Finance Committee completes its action this week, a decision first reported by The New York Times.

Reid must meld that more conservative product with the more liberal one crafted by the Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee once headed by the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-MA. Kennedy’s bill, which was sheppherded by his longtime friend, Sen. Chris Dodd, D-CT, called for the creation of a public plan.

That puts the ball squarely in the court of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-CA, who is currently working with her leadership team to craft a bill that many believe will include some version of a public option.

The fight would then turn to a House-Senate conference where differences must the be reconcilied. It is unclear what would happen if a final House-Senate conference product included a government-supervised plan. No doubt, though, the White House will be called upon to play an integral role.

Reid does retain the right to use a controversial budgetary tactic, used over the years by both parties, called “reconciliation” – which permits him to get a bill passed with just 51 votes. This tool, however, is not easy to use and would likely blow any chance to gain GOP support, not to mention create a situation that would make it very difficult to pass broader healthcare reform.

http://congress.blogs.foxnews.com/2009/09/29/public-option-dead-in-senate-for-now/

Keeping the public option out of the finance committee is simply a method by which the Blue Dog Democrats can save face with their constituents for next years elections. When the public option is eventually reconciled into the final bill, they can say, we tried, but we were outgunned.

Teddy Kennedy’s memoirs are filled with stories about how Southern Democrats and Republicans often made big speeches in support of something and Kennedy thought he had their support until they voted in the exact opposite way that the speech indicated. A Southern Democrat from North Carolina told him. Support for that bill was evenly divided in my state. My speech was for those who supported it, my vote was for those who didn’t.

Public option is 99 percent sure thing at this point. Only a single committee has opposed it. The internal reconciliation process in the senate, plus the House/Senate reconciliation will end up requiring that the final bill reflects the condition of the majority of committee positions taken.

I Report/ Vast White Wing Conspirator (-: You Whine )-:

September 29th, 2009
5:43 pm

I can foresee the world that bookman envisions, Government Motors takes it’s 2010 bailout bonanza and buys “private” health insurance for it’s employees.

Success!

Strike up the band, roll out the barrel, we told you the public option was harmless.

Hillbilly Deluxe

September 29th, 2009
5:44 pm

This isn’t really a question of competition in my view. If a public option is enacted, I see more and more employers dropping coverage for their employees, much like they moved people from defined benefit pensions to 401K’s. Given the cutbacks in employee benefits in the past 20-30 years, I think it’s inevitable. Employer based insurance is going to decrease; a public option would just hasten the process.

Evenutally tax money will be involved in this; that’s also inevitable.

I Report/ Vast White Wing Conspirator (-: You Whine )-:

September 29th, 2009
5:46 pm

How true, TGT, the idiot.gov just hacked up another 300 Billion of our tax dollars for the post office, they should have just given the whole wretched works to the lowest bidder. (Yes, Jaggie, I know that the highest bidder usually wins the auction. But we are talking about the post office here.)

Atlanta Native

September 29th, 2009
5:49 pm

There is a Progressive piece of legislation called the Sherman Anti-Trust Act. It says that an entity with a great deal of resources cannot so lower prices that it drives all competition out of business, thereby creating a monopoly. This was considered a good idea by Progressives and the JP Morgans of the world were bound by it and unable to use their extensive resources to destroy the competition and create monopolies. It does not apply the the US government.

The US Government has unlimited resources – as evidenced by this Congress/President’s spending of billions, soon to be trillions, of dollars. So, the government uses its limitless ability to print money to price all private companies out of the market and then become a monopoly. Further as it will have no one regulating it (that’s what governments are supposed to do regulate), other than itself, there will be no one to stop it. For a lesson in self regulation, look to Georgia where the EPD (the watch dog) is a division of the DNR (the entity it regulates). Yeah, that’s worked well.

The great irony is that the people who think of themselves as “Progressive” will be behind creating this monopoly. It’s OK, because I have yet to meet anyone educated in public high school after the 80’s who made it to or past WWI in American history, if they made it that far.

I hope that helps you understand.

Taxpayer

September 29th, 2009
5:51 pm

I like flood insurance.

I Report/ Vast White Wing Conspirator (-: You Whine )-:

September 29th, 2009
5:51 pm

If I owned the post office I’d put a computer terminal where ever there is a flunky standing now. Machines don’t ignore you or need coffee breaks.

Same goes for the DMV.

N.J.

September 29th, 2009
5:51 pm

For all their B.S. The Republicans have supported the large scale mergers that have occured over the last 13 year. 400 companies have been merged into 23. Republicans talk the talk but when it comes down to it, they are largely responsible for the destruction of small business in America.

The Senator with the BEST record of sponsoring and voting for bills crafted to benefit small business. John Kerry. Kerry is the only Senaror in the Senate with a 100 percent voting record on bills designed to support small business.

Its one of the Reasons that Jude Wanneski, one of the economists who crafted Reagan’s “supply side economic” theory supported Kerry in 2004 and why John Eisenhower, the son of Dwight Eisenhower supported Kerry as well. They both stated that Republicans had done more damage to small businesses in America than they imagined possible. From Eisenhower’s speech:

“The Republicans used to be deeply concerned for the middle class and small business. Today’s Republican leadership, while not solely accountable for the loss of American jobs, encourages it with its tax code and heads us in the direction of a society of very rich and very poor. ”

http://ksdp.org/node/383

DoggoneGA

September 29th, 2009
5:52 pm

“It does not apply the the US government.”

Yep. And that’s why the USPS has driven ALL other mail and package carrier just slap out of business, right?

DoggoneGA

September 29th, 2009
5:58 pm

“heads us in the direction of a society of very rich and very poor”

News report this AM on NPR: the gap between rich and poor in the USA is widening.

radiowxman

September 29th, 2009
5:59 pm

Government competes with the private sector like an alligator competes with a duck.

TGT

September 29th, 2009
6:00 pm

IR/YW: I believe it was more like a $4 billion bailout for the U.S.P.S. Congress exempted them from a $4 billion payment that was due to their retirement and health benefit plan.

Even when the government has an advantage it can’t operate efficiently. Yeah, let’s give them more power!

N.J.

September 29th, 2009
6:02 pm

The way ALL of the bills are structured it would cost a company that currently provides health insurance more to drop them and dump it on the public option than it would cost to cover them.

Its the reason these bills are so many pages long. A company does not get to drop their coverage and simply get away scot free. They will be hit with a combination of taxes and penalties that will cost them anywhere from 25 percent to 50 percent MORE to do that than to keep their employees covered.

Atlanta Native

September 29th, 2009
6:05 pm

The USPS (1) acts separately and (2) was created at the time this country was being formed.

Supporters of the healthcare “initiative” seek a single payer system. We’ve heard Obama say it, we’ve heard the Congressmen say it. Now they deny it, but that’s just the camel putting its nose under the tent. Soon the whole stinking Camel will drive everyone out of the tent, and operate as inefficiently as always.

The goal is a single payer, and they will do all they can, one baby step at a time to get there. So, that is a straw comparison DoggoneGA. Good try though.

N.J.

September 29th, 2009
6:07 pm

Government outperform the private sector in the medical field. All of those great things about the American health system that conservatives rant about were all created by the government with public funding. Federal, State, Local and Universities fund 76 percent of medical research. Industry funds 24 percent. The health insurance industry funds zero percent.

Medicare Part A is one of the LARGEST funding sources of medical research in the United States.

The Gamma knife for brain tumors..100 percent government research at the University of Florida.

The MRI. 100 percent government.

71 percent of all the new wonder drugs on the market are either totally or largely the result of government funding.

A recent research project discovered that 70 percent of all patents in the United States were the result of government funded research.

Atlanta Native

September 29th, 2009
6:10 pm

BTW Doggone – listen to NPR for in-depth fluff pieces and international news. I spent two months listening, and you will remain ignorant of what is going on in our country that does not support a specific agenda. Read the Atlantic, too, while you are at it. News for the educated, but purposefully ignorant.

Soothsayer

September 29th, 2009
6:13 pm

Jay, I got “ripped” in four weeks following these two rules:

Inject steroids 4 times a day and live on protein shakes.

John

September 29th, 2009
6:13 pm

Some Americans are just idiots when it comes to healthcare. Why are you afraid of a government option? Every industrialized country has one. You don’t complain about police department or public library being run by the government, do you?

Atlanta Native

September 29th, 2009
6:16 pm

Also, once the insurance companies are out of the way, the government will make sure its ruthless inefficiency continues.

NJ – I worked on government grant projects that lead to new discoveries while in undergrad. Just because you pay for something, does not mean you created it. Oh, and our government has created the most best military and weapons in the world.

However, that does not mean that the functionary across the table from you whose job is a property right and knows he/she cannot be fired without multiple hearings is going to give a rats patottie whether you get swift care or die waiting.

Jay

September 29th, 2009
6:17 pm

Reporter and Hillbilly, you do not explain how the mere existence of a public option — which by law would be just one of many competitors for insurance business operating through the insurance exchange — would somehow lure employers into dumping their employees’ coverage. If employers are going to do that, they would do so regardless of whether a public option exists. Your explanation fails.

TGT, you talk around the issue, discuss other industries and project what government could maybe do in the future instead of discussing the actual legislation on the table. Taxes and profits are legitimate points of difference, although existing health-insurance companies such as Blue Cross/Blue Shield are often nonprofit and pay no federal taxes, yet don’t run the Aetnas of the world out of business. And surely the competitive advantage of privately run companies would more than offset that advantage. Overall, your explanation fails.

Atlanta Native, the House bill explicitly requires the public entity to fund itself entirely through premiums collected from its customers, without a tax subsidy, so the ability of gov’t to print money has no relevance in the argument. It also by law would have to meet the same regulations as private industry. So your explanation fails as well.

Soothsayer

September 29th, 2009
6:18 pm

Well, let’s see: Public option eliminated. Gosh! Who could have seen that coming.

Healthcare industry leads in campaign contributions

It’s time for a bit of the old bend over.

Atlanta Native

September 29th, 2009
6:18 pm

Finally, if the politicians cared about a public safety net, they would be fixing Medicare/Medicaid, creating reimbursements for clinic visits to clear up emergency rooms, etc.

This is about their glory, not your or my healthcare. Check out Samuelson’s article in Newsweek this week. He nailed it on their intentions.

Skeptic

September 29th, 2009
6:18 pm

OK, I’ll try to answer Bookman’s question:

Public option: Does not have to pay commissions to agents and brokers. Direct enrollment.
Private plan: Must use part of gross premiums to pay agents and brokers.

Public option: Does not need to pay underwriters and other policy issuance personnel, other than those employees who enroll people.
Private plan: Must pay underwriters and other policy issuance specialists to guard against anti-selection.

Public option: Does not need to make a profit; break-even is ideal.
Private plan: Must make a profit if a stock company; needs to return dividends if a mutual company.

Public option: Does not need to market plan.
Private plan: Must pay marketers and others involved in “selling” the benefits of products to consumers.

Public option: No underwriting and no underwriting expense. Like Medicare, it will accept applications via Internet and automatically enroll applicants.
Private plan: Must pay professional underwriters before policy issuance.

Public option: Very little claims expense, other than that involved in farming out claims to private insurance companies, as happens now with Medicare.
Private plan: Great claims expense involving hundreds of personnel.

There–does that answer your question, Bookman?

Cherokee

September 29th, 2009
6:19 pm

John you’re correct, and it’s too bad that none of them so far on this blog have been able to answer Jay’s simple question. What’s in THIS bill? It’s all about some horrible thing that might happen in the future.

And the answer to that is simple; if the horrible thing does happen, then change the Congress and change the program.

angry_citizen

September 29th, 2009
6:21 pm

@TGT
Right on man, government is the biggest and most out of control monoply there is. It is also one of the only entities that can take your money by force legally.

Atlanta Native

September 29th, 2009
6:22 pm

The Social Security Number was for one purpose. The government promised. Oops, that changed over time. You see, this is just version one Jay. Give them time. Give them time. Regs will change to “meet needs”. Enabling legislation will be passed to allow “fixes” Tax money will be used to subsidize
it eventually.

Jay, you are a smart man, but are you really that naive?

Cherokee

September 29th, 2009
6:23 pm

Sorry, but any insurance company, public or private, has claim and underwriting expenses. And if it doesn’t work, and isn’t cheaper, then no one will buy from it and it will fail.

So what are you afraid of?

Paul

September 29th, 2009
6:23 pm

Jay

You’re asking for facts, law and a train of logic?

And they call me naive?!!? LOLOLOL!!!

I’m still waiting to understand how a federal government that can’t be trusted to do anything right is suddenly going to become so effective that it’ll run these companies out of business.

@@

September 29th, 2009
6:25 pm

First off you’re gonna have to tell me how participation can be mandated by a turnip on a turnip – constitutionally speaking, that is.

Aside from that small inconvenience, employers would be dumping coverage thereby forcing their employees into the public option or government’s limited option plan.

And this?

The best attempts I’ve seen involve claims that in LATER legislation Congress might CHANGE the law to produce such an outcome, but opposing a bill today based on what you imagine Congress might do years later isn’t much of an argument.

Given the fact that Obama clearly stated his preference for a single-payer system, there’s no doubt that is exactly what he will pursue.

I can’t believe you’re that naive, jay. O.K., so I was trying to be nice. You obviously ARE that naive.

When he (Obama) repeatedly says “We” won’t force you to change insurance, what he really means is that it’ll be your employers who do that – ’cause that’s how WE’VE set it up.

GEORGE AMERICAN

September 29th, 2009
6:28 pm

THE PUBLIC (READ: SOCIALIST) OPTION WOULD NOT ONLY ELIMINATE PRIVATE INSURANCE, THE COMMIE MANDATE WOULD ELIMINATE OUR FREEDOM & LIBERTY!!!

AND AS AN AMERICAN I WILL NOT STAND FOR FREEDOM STEAL’N!!!

Hillbilly Deluxe

September 29th, 2009
6:29 pm

Jay writes, “If employers are going to do that, they would do so regardless of whether a public option exists.

Guess I didn’t make myself clear. I agree with you on that, as I said, I think a public option would hasten it. I also didn’t say I was necessarily opposed to a public option. It would depend on what form it would take. Actually if I had my druthers, from talking to Canadian friends of mine, I wouldn’t be opposed to giving something like their system a try.

AmVet

September 29th, 2009
6:30 pm

One of BushCo’s head RepubliNazis may get to go before the Nuremberg Trials.

Man, how sweet it would be to see that POS being someone’s little AG in a Supermax…

WASHINGTON — Former Attorney General John Ashcroft and one of his hard-line lieutenants face the rare prospect of being held personally liable for alleged violations of individuals’ rights in the aggressive aftermath of the 2001 terrorist attacks.

High-ranking officials usually are protected from such civil rights claims. Not necessarily in these cases.

Three federal courts have left open the possibility that former Bush officials may have to reach into their own pockets to compensate people who were swept up in the law enforcement and intelligence efforts after the Sept. 11 attacks.

In two cases, judges appointed by Republican presidents have refused to dismiss lawsuits at an early stage that were filed against Ashcroft and former Justice Department official John Yoo. One complaint challenges Ashcroft’s strategy of preventive detention. The other seeks to hold Yoo accountable for legal memos he wrote supporting detention, interrogation, and presidential power.

In a third case, the full federal appeals court in New York is reconsidering an earlier decision by three of its members to toss out a lawsuit by a man who was changing planes in the United States when he was mistaken for a terrorist and sent to Syria, where he claims he was tortured. ~Newmax

Paul

September 29th, 2009
6:31 pm

@@

Employers are dumping people every day. Heck, more to the point, insurance companies companies are dumping people every day. Wouldn’t it be nice to have an option for insurance if that happens?

BTW, since the topic’s health insurance:

Had a nice thing happen today. Went to get a haircut. The guy who cuts my hair has had some unfortunate events occur and things are pretty tough for him. His health insurance was $700 a month and he dropped it.

Has a son who’s 18. Been experiencing tumors. Just found out he qualifies for S-CHIP and his son’s still eligible. Scheduled for an MRI.

I like it when my tax dollars go to do some good for people in tough spots.

Jay

September 29th, 2009
6:31 pm

Skeptic, the public option would enroll people the same way the private companies would, through the computer-based insurance exchange for individuals and small businesses interested in purchasing coverage. So the commissions wouldn’t be a problem.

Because the public option has to be self-sustaining, it would need analysts just as much as private companies would to set rates, etc.. Anti-selection would not be a problem, because private and public companies alike would be prevented from denying coverage for pre-existing conditions.

The public option could also market itself as necessary, if it believed the expense was necessary. It doesn’t get business by default, as far as I can figure. Private companies market because it brings them additional business; it’s an expense with a good return, and that wouldn’t change.

I’m afraid I don’t understand your final point; both private and public entities would have to pay and process claims. To the degree the public option farmed that process out, it would have to pay a private firm to do that, right?

Paul

September 29th, 2009
6:32 pm

Nuts. The son wasn’t experiencing tumors, he was experiencing seizures. Big difference.

Skeptic

September 29th, 2009
6:33 pm

Sorry, but any insurance company, public or private, has claim and underwriting expenses.

No underwriting expense for a public (government-operated) company. Ever hear of anyone being turned down for Medicare, except for lack of having attained the required age? It doesn’t matter if you have five forms of AIDS and three kinds of cancers or even if you’re at death’s door. You will be enrolled in Medicare if you apply, and at the same rate charged to everybody else. A private insurance company, on the other hand, would likely decline a person with such conditions, because that person is a guaranteed loss to the company. Even those with only moderately high blood pressure will be declined or else “rated”–i.e., charged about three times the premium of a healthy person.

Claims for Medicare are handled through contracting with private insurance companies. The government doesn’t employ its own underwriters.

My understanding of the public option alternatives being debated is that they would operate like Medicare.

My understanding of the public options being debated all feature guaranteed insurability–no rating and no declinations.

Joan

September 29th, 2009
6:33 pm

The constantly morphing healthcare bill is a moving target, and kind of like Gump’s box of chocolates. My fervent hope is that once they actually have a bill that it will be published for public comment, and fielded by a group of non-conflicted economists and financial types, so that we can get a reasoned, rational opinion on it. Of course, all of this is wishful thinking, as the Democrats will run that baby through in the dead of night if possible.

Jay

September 29th, 2009
6:34 pm

Hillbilly, I guess I don’t understand. How would a public option hasten that process?

Subsidies for the low-income uninsured could conceivably have that effect, but those subsidies will occur regardless of whether a public option exists. And recipients of those subsidies could choose freely between public or private coverage.

Jay

September 29th, 2009
6:35 pm

Joan, a full bill awaits your perusal. It is HR 3200, at http://www.thomas.gov/

DoggoneGA

September 29th, 2009
6:36 pm

“I’m still waiting to understand how a federal government that can’t be trusted to do anything right is suddenly going to become so effective that it’ll run these companies out of business”

See, you’ve never learned to “believe six impossible things before breakfast”

Jay

September 29th, 2009
6:37 pm

Skeptic, no insurance companies, private or public, could deny coverage for pre-existing conditions.

jt

September 29th, 2009
6:38 pm

“So let me repeat an earlier and pretty simple request: Walk me through the process by which the public option would supposedly eliminate private competition. ”

If you don’t understand how government , with the guns and printing presses, can NOT honestly compete with the private section, then you are crippled Jay.

There will be no “walking you through” any process.

Statism is the real religion that ALL should be weary of.

Jay

September 29th, 2009
6:40 pm

JT, you’re spouting ideology, not practical explanations. Guns and printing presses for money will have no impact on how the public option operates.

If I’m wrong, go to the House bill and tell me where.

I Report/ Vast White Wing Conspirator (-: You Whine )-:

September 29th, 2009
6:41 pm

OK, we’ll go slow this time.

If your employer drops your coverage now, would would you have?

If your employer dropped your coverage when there is a public option plan, what would you have?

Bosch

September 29th, 2009
6:45 pm

I’m one of these folks who sees this bill as a failure if there isn’t a public option – I don’t see why a business would not drop coverage for employees if given that a public option exists. The idea of employers providing health care premiums is outdated, and too costly for production to be efficient any longer. This bill shows us our politicians are still in bed with the insurance companies and does nothing to really address costs.

Jay

September 29th, 2009
6:45 pm

If your employer drops your coverage now, would would you have?

I’D HAVE TO GO BUY COVERAGE ON THE PRIVATE MARKET.

If your employer dropped your coverage when there is a public option plan, what would you have?

I’D HAVE TO GO BUY COVERAGE ON THE PRIVATE OR PUBLIC MARKET.

So again, what incentive does the public option offer an employer to drop coverage? Explain it slowly, so I can understand.

DoggoneGA

September 29th, 2009
6:48 pm

“If your employer drops your coverage now, would would you have?”

And if your employer wants to arbitrarily drop coverage and the fines, etc. would be MORE than the cost of the insurance…what would you have?

Skeptic

September 29th, 2009
6:48 pm

Jay,

The prohibition of declining a proposed insured on the basis of a preexisting condition would be a huge problem for private insurance companies. How are they going to make the guaranteed losses up? I’ll tell you how–by raising the premiums for everybody, including those of us who are currently insured. There will be an unrecognized tax–on the people who currently have insurance.

The only way to get around this problem is to make carrying health insurance mandatory for everybody. In that way, the risk can be spread over a much larger population, including young and healthy people.

Otherwise, underwriters at private insurance companies would be very, very busy in an effort to apply different rates to different risks, whereas a government plan would simply raise rates for everybody equally.

Ever seen an ad for Medicare, except for one of those Medicare Advantage plans operated by private insurance companies? Ever seen an office for a broker or an agent for Medicare? The only marketing you’ll ever see for Medicare is that letter you get automatically when you approach 65.

My understanding is that there would be only one “rate” for a plan offered by the public option–presumably differentiating between an individual and a family. The family down the street from you may represent $1 million in potential claims in the next five years, while you may represent $10,000. You would be charged the same. Yes, analysts would need to set rates for the public option to ensure a break-even status. On the other hand, a private insurer would need to set rates that took into account not only its claims outlays but also the “loading”–the administrative expenses plus agent/broker compensation.

N.J.

September 29th, 2009
6:50 pm

There are many countries in the world that have universal health insurance AND public options and the private health insurance industry is alive and thrives in them. In order for the health insurance industry in the U.S. to be aversely effected by a public option, we would have to adopt the Canadian System where private health insurance is illegal. There is plenty of private health insurance in Great Britain and most Brits have private health insurance in some for to cover what is not covered by the public plan. Same in France

The only method by which a private insurance health reform to work in the United States is to do what is done in Switzerland where insurer cannot make a profit on basic health insurance policies, only on add ons for things that are not normally covered by health insurance. Breast enhancements, Lasik surgery, resort spa visits, etc/

Taxpayer

September 29th, 2009
6:50 pm

Well, if you want the public option to pass the Senate with all the Republicans voting for it, then you have to construct it to the liking of their backers. It would be required to insure only people without jobs that were rejected by insurance companies for whatever reason they choose and they could not be eligible for Medicare or Medicaid. Further, all payouts through the public option must be fully funded by the insured’s premiums and the public option must not be profitable. I think that about covers it.

AmVet

September 29th, 2009
6:51 pm

welcher, don’t worry too much. Your Aryan Nation component of the Republiconned Party will handle everything.

You do remember the dead census worker in Kentucky who’s body was found hanging in a cemetery with the word ‘fed’ scrawled on his chest just recently?

I presume the murderous, “conservative” slimeball responsible was also, like you, of the belief that the “government” must be stopped at all costs.

And so the filthy b@st@rds hung an innocent public servant.

Look at his face real closely, Andy.

This is your enemy:

http://news.lalate.com/2009/09/24/census-worker-killed-hanged-in-daniel-boone/

I Report/ Vast White Wing Conspirator (-: You Whine )-:

September 29th, 2009
6:52 pm

I’D HAVE TO GO BUY COVERAGE ON THE PRIVATE MARKET.

Don’t get excited.

2 things, have you ever heard of a group policy that most employers procure as a means to give their employees deep discounts? How about the government regulations that prevent the unaffiliated from buying into a group plan, thus making a individual private plan unaffordable for all but the very rich.

So now the employee has no choice but the public plan.

The benefit for the employer ranges from less paperwork and no more plan administrators.

They will toss all that overboard in a heartbeat.

Slow enough?

Jay

September 29th, 2009
6:52 pm

“Jay,

The prohibition of declining a proposed insured on the basis of a preexisting condition would be a huge problem for private insurance companies. How are they going to make the guaranteed losses up? I’ll tell you how–by raising the premiums for everybody, including those of us who are currently insured. There will be an unrecognized tax–on the people who currently have insurance.

The only way to get around this problem is to make carrying health insurance mandatory for everybody. In that way, the risk can be spread over a much larger population, including young and healthy people.”

Skeptic, you’re right, and that’s precisely why the bill DOES mandate that everyone have coverage.

N.J.

September 29th, 2009
6:53 pm

And Canada is the only country that has that situation. In the countries that HAVE socialized medicine, England and Spain, citizens can opt out of them and go with private insurance if they choose.

Republicans in Congress have pretty much lied all way around about the effects of a private option. As is usual with Republicans, they assert what WILL happen, without showing any evidence at all about where it HAS happened in other countries that have done the same thing.

Jay

September 29th, 2009
6:55 pm

No Reporter, the employee without health coverage could choose between private and public plans on the insurance exchange, comparing price and coverage. There is nothing that would compel or even encourage that employee to go with the public option, other than it might be a better deal.

And that still offers no explanation of why the existence of a public option would encourage businesses to drop health insurance coverage.

jconservative

September 29th, 2009
6:56 pm

Skeptic – I am opposed to a government option. But your points are all wrong. Medicare claims (actually bills) are paid by HHS through their CMS department. The public option in the 5 bills I have read do not work like Medicare.

There is a proposal by a lot of people for a single payer system like Medicare. But that option is not in front of Congress.

You really need to read the bills.

I Report/ Vast White Wing Conspirator (-: You Whine )-:

September 29th, 2009
6:56 pm

You do remember the dead census worker in Kentucky who’s body was found hanging in a cemetery with the word ‘fed’ scrawled on his chest just recently?

Yeah, all us Conservatives hate census workers and CRAVE THEIR BLOOD, AMWET, nothing, I say, nothing makes me see red like a census worker, ewww, say, are YOU a census worker?

Meanwhile, back on Earth, I heard he ratted out some drug dealers but whatever. You know, Kentucky, meth?

Jay

September 29th, 2009
6:59 pm

I agree with you on that, Reporter. I haven’t mentioned that case because there is WAY too much we don’t know to allow us to jump to any conclusions.

Taxpayer

September 29th, 2009
7:00 pm

Of course, the best long-term approach to health care is to mandate that anyone that sells anything or employs anyone in the US be required to provide payments to health insurance providers for premiums for a basic catastrophic health insurance policy, as defined by the citizens, for every citizen of the US. hehehe

RW-(the original)

September 29th, 2009
7:01 pm

Enter your comments here–

Ah yes, the public option will be totally self sustaining. Just like Social Security and Medicare I guess.

number1ninja

September 29th, 2009
7:02 pm

Jay, so in order to get health costs off employer’s books they want to impose huge fines to companies who do just that? Seems pretty silly to me.

Jay

September 29th, 2009
7:03 pm

Social Security has been WAY more than self-sustaining, RW. It has been sustaining itself plus a good chunk of the rest of the government for decades now.

AmVet

September 29th, 2009
7:03 pm

Worst case scenario, for you wiper, is that it is someone like your buddy McVeigh.

And if you’re a little lucky, it will turn out to be the poor white, anti-government trailer trash, that are merely joined at the hip with you Republiconneds, culturally and politically.

And if you’re REALLY lucky welcher, the murder was done by one of Those People!

And even then you are screwed because that’s something you and the gang bangers have in common.

A blind murderous hatred for the liberals and the “gubmint”.

What strange f’ed up bedfellows…

I Report/ Vast White Wing Conspirator (-: You Whine )-:

September 29th, 2009
7:03 pm

Sorry, but here are just a few of the many things employers have to deal with when administering a health care plan-

Forms of Business:

* Corporations – Regular and Sub-Chapter
* Sole Proprietors/Partners – System automatically calculates net income for owner-employees

Eligibility and Participation Provisions:

* System determines employees eligible to participate based on:
o Minimum Hours
o Minimum and Maximum Age
o Months of Service parameters
* Participation Dates based on:
o Single Entry (Daily, monthly, quarterly, anniversary date nearest or following)
o Dual Entry (first day of plan year and six months later, or user defined dates)

Retirement Provisions:

* Participants can retire upon Attainment of, or The First Day of Month Following, or Anniversary Date Nearest or Following Attainment of Normal Retirement Age, with Minimum Years of Service and/or Participation, or not to exceed a Maximum Age with Minimum Years of Participation
* Provisions for Early Retirement based on Age, Years of Service or Participation
* Provisions for Maximum Retirement Age based on Age only, or Age and Min. Participation

Benefit Formulae

* Fixed
* Integrated (Step Rate)
* Offset
* Unit Benefit
* Unit Benefit Offset
* Unit Benefit Step Rate
* Unit Benefit X Soc. Sec.
* Unit Benefit X Past/Future SVC
* Unit Benefit Integrated
* Dollar Amount Times Years of Service/Participation
* Option to input a Dollar amount for system to generate formula
* Automatic adjustment for Rev. Rul. 71-446 for Form of Payment, Pre-Retirement Death Benefit, Retirement Age Prior to Age 65, ERISA De-Minimus Benefit, and Years of Service
* Automatic adjustment of 415 limits for Form of Payment and Retirement Ages Prior to Age 62 or After 65
* All Covered Compensation tables (I and II) from 1967 to present
* Limits on minimum, maximum and increase in benefits
* Automatic application of top-heavy minimum; for funding and benefit accrual (Code section 416)

Employee Mandatory Contributions

Participant contributions based on a percent of compensation or on an integrated formula, limited to a percent of compensation or dollar amount.

Actuarial Cost Methods

* Individual Aggregate – With four options of asset allocation based on:
* Present Value of Benefits
* Entry Age Accrued Liability
* Accrued Liability Based on Prior Year’s Monthly Benefit and Normal Cost
* Prior Year’s Allocated Assets Plus Normal Cost
* Aggregate – Traditional (payroll weighted)
* Aggregate – Modified (normal cost weighted)
* Frozen Initial Liability – Aggregate
* Frozen Initial Liability – Individual Entry Age Normal
* System keeps track of amortization bases
* Calculation of unfunded liability for 404 and 412
* Unit Credit Service Pro Rata – With option to use service or participation, and to limit funding years to accommodate for 10 Year Funding
* All cost methods can be used for take-over plans
* Input of assets, credit balance/deficiency
* Addresses 404 and 412 limitations
* Calculation of Full Funding Limitation for 404 and 412 purposes as well as Full Funding Credit
* Calculation of Present Value of Accrued Benefits for Terminees
* Calculation of Deferred Vested Benefits
* Calculation of Present Value of Benefits for Retirees

Funding Standard Account

* Capability to input dates and amounts of contributions for the development of the Funding Standard Account
* Daily interest crediting of contributions from date of deposit to end of year
* Option to charge/credit interest on Insurance premiums
* Adjustments of Insurance premiums by dividends for FSA purpose

Accrued Benefits

* Pro-rata calculation of accrued benefit based on service, participation
* Automatic calculation of TEFRA minimum benefit accruals
* Option for separate accrual of benefits for key and non-key employees
* Separate actuarial assumptions for calculating Present Value of Accrued Benefits than those used for funding
* Calculation of accrued benefits attributable to participant required contributions

Pre-Retirement Actuarial Assumptions

* Availability of separate salary averaging for funding and for benefit accrual
* Salary averaging based on high only, high consecutive with exclusion periods
* Interest
* Mortality Tables with separate setback/setforwards for males and females
* Turnover/Withdrawal
* Salary Projection
* Calculation of PIA amounts based on PRE and POST 1979 Social Security rules
* PIA amounts calculated using separate assumptions for backward and forward salary projection, Consumer Price Index, average earnings, and Covered Compensation table projections

Post Retirement Actuarial Assumptions

* Separate assumptions for actuarial equivalence than those used for funding
* Accommodates Forms of Payment for:
o Life Only
o Years Certain
o Years Certain and Life
o Joint and Survivor
o Insurance Settlement Option Tables
o Special Routines grading settlement option tables between current & guaranteed rates
* PVAB based on option of actuarial assumptions, annuity rates or PBGC Rate Sets
* Interest
* Mortality Tables with separate setback/setforwards for males and females
* Loading for Expenses
* Cost of Living Adjustment
* Loading for Ancillary Benefits
* Option to fund TEFRA minimum benefit on Life Only basis

Pre-Retirement Death Benefits

* Over 20 definitions for pre-retirement death benefit, incorporating PVB, PVAB, PVVAB, Face Amount, Benefit Multiples, Cash Values and combinations thereof
* Insurance Face Amount calculation using death benefit multiple of total monthly benefit or excess only benefit
* Face Amount calculation utilizing Rev. Rul. 74-307
* Minimums and maximums for insurance ages and amounts
* Complete handling of Universal Life utilizing three (3) One-Year Term Cost approaches or specific insurance companies Cost of Insurance rates
* Handles Whole Life, Term, Adjustable Life, or Interest Sensitive products
* Illustration of dividends, waiver of premium and modal routines
* Calculation of reportable income based on PS-58 or ART rates

Vesting

* 100% after 10 years
* 5-15 Rule
* Rule of 45
* V% per year
* 0% for N years, 100% thereafter:
o 2-20
o 4-40
o Modified 4-40
* 100% full and immediate
* Graded Schedule (customize your own)
* Service for vesting based on either plan participation or service with the employer, but with options to exclude service prior to original effective date or prior to a certain age
* Number of hours required to accrue a year for vesting

Dates

* Original Effective Date
* Plan Anniversary
* Eligibility
* Plan Year-End
* Limitation Year
* Valuation Date for Beginning-of-Year or End-of-Year valuations

Participant Data

* Minimum required data for proposals: Name, Sex, Date of Birth, Date of Employment, Compensation Mode and Amount
* Key/Non-Key indicator for top-heavy test
* Over 200 additional employee data items
* Up to 45 years of salary history
* Complete Insurance policy history
* Capability to override, when necessary, nearly all system-calculated values
* Overrides of insurance rates and values

Reports

* Title Page
* Age/Service/Salary Statistics
* Plan Specifications
* Emerging Liabilities
* Employee Census
* Funding Standard Account
* Schedule of Benefits
* Summary of Contribution Requirements
* Analysis of Cost
* Development of Actuarial Gain/Loss
* Valuation Statement
* Employee Notes
* Financial Results/Tax Summary
* Insurance Policy Values
* Multiple Plan Limitations
* Policy Increases and Additions
* FASB 132 Information
* Schedule of Retireds & Deferred Vesteds
* Top Heavy Analysis
* Reportable Income
* 70% – 80% Test
* 81-202 Comparability Tests
* 1099-R
* Actuarial Valuation Reports
* Development of Normal Cost
* Participant Statements (Multiple formats)
* Full Funding Limitation
* Anniversary Notification (Participants & New EEs)
* Accumulated Funding Deficiency
* Pending File Worksheets (Plan & Participant level)
* Required Contribution
* Master File (Plan & Participant level)
* Actuarial Values
* Development of Unfunded Liability
* FIL Bases Amortization

Additional Print Options

* Ability to select specific page(s) or all reports:
* Two-line, changeable customized footnote on all reports
* Six-line, changeable customized footnote on all Participant Statements
* Customized “Employee Note” to serve as reminder for future action
* Options to include/exclude items on Participant Statements for:
o Name of Preparer
o Pre-retirement death benefit
o Participant salary
* Option for Sub-Totals based on optional Employer Code (division/subsidiary/location, etc.)
* Employee primary and secondary sorting capability based on any two data elements
* Summary Results on screen enable the user to view results prior to printing

Additional System Features

* User-customized “Defaults” (pre-selected plan specifications) minimize data entry
* Menus provide user-friendliness without locking you into their sequences
* On-screen field explanations display automatically in reverse video
* Input and data fields are logically grouped together
* Cursor moves automatically to fields in error or still requiring entries
* “Pg Up” and “Pg Dn” keys permit rapid review of screens already passed
* Special-purpose screens speed up updating of participant data
* True “Batching” of several cases to run and print one after the other
* Capability to copy and rename a plan allows the user to quickly create unlimited variations of the same plan
* Understandable system messages provide progress status during program execution
* Pending File/Master File concept provides added flexibility and file security

* Plan Directory lets you know what plans are on disk
* “PLANS” command produces hard copy listing of key information about all cases on disk
* Configuration program easily adapts the system for another computer or printer
* Table Editor permits viewing, printing, modifying and building of specific pension tables:
o Mortality
o Turnover
o Settlement option rates
o ART/PS58 rates

* Special system utilities provide for customized generation of:
o Commutation Factors
o Annuity Table
o Loan Amortization Schedules

N.J.

September 29th, 2009
7:04 pm

Unfortunately I REPORT, there is nothing in the legislation that does anything with regard to how private employers get health insurance for their employees NOR anything that tells private insurers what kind of discounts they can give to whoever they want to give them to.

What the Republicans are up to is giving the private health insurance industry a wind fall that is 200 percent of their best years profit in the last ten years.

The current legislation without a private option, basically creates 60 billion in profits for the health insurance industry each year for ten years. In a year with best possible profits, the health insurance industry makes 30 billion dollars in profits. And that is when they do five percent profit in a year. Usually its three.

What does not having a public option do to those with employer based health insurance. It allows them to risk losing huge numbers of people who are already covered by employer based health insurance because it will have that sixty billion a year to fall back on. That is, it can decide to increase premiums in commercial employer based health insurance by 20, 30, 40, percent a year, and if 10 or 20 percent of their employer based enrollees are lost, no sweat, they will be making money from those companies that can afford to pony up the increases, and which means they still make their 15 to 20 million a year on the private employer based insurance income, and they still have their 60 billion in profits on the government based income.

Lack of a public option gives the private insurers the buffer necessary to experiment with increasing their profits by raising premiums on their employer based commercial policies to the point of an a acceptable loss of enrollees on the private employer side of their business.

I Report/ Vast White Wing Conspirator (-: You Whine )-:

September 29th, 2009
7:04 pm

Do I need to explain?

jt

September 29th, 2009
7:05 pm

“JT, you’re spouting ideology, not practical explanations. Guns and printing presses for money will have no impact on how the public option operates. ”

Spouting idealogy IS practical explanations. C’mon Jay, a GOOD statist would cut the evil middle man insurance exec out of the equation entirely. There will be no real reform of our health-care as long as the insurance company is involved.

Don’t be so milqe-toast.

And do you REALLY believe that guns and printing presses will have no effect on how a public option operates? Tell that to destitute sugar farmers in Haiti. Or medical pot growers in California.
Or moon shine distellers in Tenneessee. Or privately owned hydro-electric facilities. Or what about the 100+ automobile manufactorers at the turn of the century? GM and a few others had good connections. It goes on and on.

RW-(the original)

September 29th, 2009
7:05 pm

Enter your comments here–

Social Security has been WAY more than self-sustaining, RW. It has been sustaining itself plus a good chunk of the rest of the government for decades now.

Maybe so but it’s darn near bankrupt now. So anyway was that the charter for Social Security and if not what makes you think the health care public option would live up to the rosy little scenario you’ve painted here.

Jay

September 29th, 2009
7:07 pm

You need to explain what adding a public option has to do with any of that.

jt

September 29th, 2009
7:10 pm

Government involvement.

Spending other people’s money on other people.

It NEVER works.

DoggoneGA

September 29th, 2009
7:11 pm

“Maybe so but it’s darn near bankrupt now”

How about some numbers to prove that assertion?

Bosch

September 29th, 2009
7:11 pm

jt,

It’s been working for a long time now. Some of that money even gets spent on you!!

@@

September 29th, 2009
7:13 pm

Paul:

Until there’s a constitutional basis for mandating an individual carry medical insurance, this whole argument seems moot to me. If there’s such a rush to get it done, why wait until 2013 to put it into effect? You can bet there are those waiting in the wings to file a class-action suit if and when it is.

I will forever maintain a healthy skepticism of all government “promos”.

It’s just my nature.

I Report/ Vast White Wing Conspirator (-: You Whine )-:

September 29th, 2009
7:14 pm

Most large and medium size corporations have “human resource” departments, a big part of which are dedicated to the company’s health insurance plan. The way that the UAW has been having their way with Government Motors, I’ll betcha there are ten thousand freaking people solely employed to administer benefits to their army of 40 year retirees.

It’s called “overhead” out here in the real world, think of it as the things the DNC takes care of for your “news” paper.

They don’t just give you orders, do they?

DoggoneGA

September 29th, 2009
7:15 pm

“Spending other people’s money on other people.”

Ummm…isn’t that the bedrock foundation of ALL insurance?

Public Option's Doing Swell

September 29th, 2009
7:15 pm

They can’t deny coverage, but they sure as hell can and do triple the premiums for even asymptomatic, relatively harmless pre-existing conditions.

Jay Bookman asks rhetorically:

So why do Republicans claim it would run private companies out of business? Don’t the Republicans have faith in private enterprise to compete? If the public option would have unfair advantages, what are they?

Jay won’t print the answer, but I will. I’m not constrained by the self-installed Cox editorial board Repubozos all and Repubozo editor Julia Wallace:

I can’t answer for the Repubozos here, except that their comments teem with ignorance. The Repubozos and Blue Dogs on Senate Finance were voting for their john corporate masters as good hookers. It’s all about being paid hundreds of thousands over the summer to vote against their constitutents, the people in this country who poll strongly for public option, and the huge percent of doctors who poll for it.

All ten Republicans on the committee voted against the public option. Only three Democrats (Kent Conrad, Max Baucus, Blanche Lincoln) joined them in opposing Schumer’s public option. Lincoln and Conrad both face stiff opposiiton from other Dems, and Lincoln is barely ahead right now. Lincoln, Conrad and Baucus takes a fortune as a hooker for her insurance company johns.

Guessing the final vote on a floor has never been a valid excuse for voting for amendments, and more realistically Baucus voted the way he did because he’s an insurance company whore and was paid to do so.

I do believe that the Senate Finance bill will have to be merged with the HELP bill in the Senate, and that the same amendments defeated today will have a much better chance on the floor, and in conference where the House won’t budge off a public option. Harkin is Chairman of HELP and he fully supports a public option.

The Blue Dogs will all be fired if no public option becomes law. They are all on shakey ground in 2010. The progressives aren’t. And losing the Blue Dogs and getting the idiot Republicans is a wash–they’re the same crap.

@ Joan–

You have your Forest Gump mixed up with your extreme ignorance over how a bill becomes law. Four bills are reported out, and Senate Finance is marking up there bill now. Baucus’ default bill was written by insurance companies and of course it was going to have its head taken off and it has. Keep up or get a civics book.

@ Doggone–

Expecting insurance companies to do anything to promote health care is completely unrealistic. The insurance companies are in business to screw you out of your money and they have. You might as well expect Bin Ladin to apologize for 911. Ain’t gonna happen.

Employers are dumping insurance period, but Andy wouldn’t know. He’s unemployed. He works for his catheter here.

@ TGT–CNN is filled with Katy Abram clones with makeup. They have no clue as to the health care bills, including Blitzer. Baucus’ plan would tax you 13-20% of your income for healthcare before you paid a cent of your deductible for your doctor or your co-pay, if you have one for meds.

The insurance companies project a 453 billion profit in the next ten years and it’s comin’ from your bank account unless we stop them and we will.

Medicare’s unfunded liabilities are simple to explain but Repubozos never touch it. I will. Bill Frist made a deal with Billy Tauzen to prohibit Medicare Part D from competitive bidding. There will be amendments to restore this on the floor and in conference. Any hospital you pass on the street has this ability to competitive bid. It’s a gold mine for pharmaceutical companies and they pay their hookers mentioned above.

Your patron saint Orin Hatch always fails to mention this little tidbit when he bashes Medicare–by the way it doesn’t stop him, Baucus, and Grassley from being Medicare recipients does it?

None of those 5 pieces of crap you quote from CNN has any realistic connection with any of the bills–that’s all Repubozo myth along with the myth that public option leads to single payer. Completely false.

@ NJ–all relatively true but it’s not Chris Dodd’s committe anymore although he’ll probably play an important part on the floor and in conference. It’s Harkin’s committee and he’s pro-public option that his committee reported out.

NY Times stories are all fed to NYT by Rahm Emanuel and Nancy-Ann DeParle who sleeps with a NYT reporter who is her husband, Jason.

The ball is squarely in a lot of courts actually. It’s in the Senate and depends on those commitees, many of whom don’t march to Reid’s dictates.

There are 3 bills in the House as you recognized.

It’s not only unclear what happens in conference; it always stays unclear. You don’t get to find out what was traded for what down the road in a conference because only the conference members are in the room. It’s secret.

Harkin just stated that if they have to they will go to Reconciliation to pass a public option. They can do it–despite the byzantine Byrd rules surrounding it and it’s fine by me. Whatever pisses Repubozo hookers off more is a great thing.

Actually voting against a public option guarantees Blue Dogs will lose the next election. Check the polls of their constituents–they will surprise you given your statement.

@ Hillbilly–

The doubling in insurance premiums past ten years has caused exponential employer dropping of insurance already.

@Atlanta Native–

Sherman and its S. Court progeny have done zero to prevent 94% of the country to be dominated by two insurance companies.

@ Doggone–The post office has been crippled as a business model in 2006 by two Republican dominated committees–check ouer t the legislation. Davis’ in the House and Grassley’s in the Senate caused the post office to be crippled. I’ve explained that in detail. The post office doesn’t shape its business model–it’s micromanaged by congress. It has to put aside $5 billion for health benefits for employees it does not have and will never have. No company does that–and your employer sure as hell doesn’t.

I Report/ Vast White Wing Conspirator (-: You Whine )-:

September 29th, 2009
7:15 pm

dammit, 40 year old retirees.

geez

Taxpayer

September 29th, 2009
7:18 pm

There is currently one thing forcing employers to drop health insurance coverage — cost. Leaving things as is will therefore accomplish what a public option, as offered, would not. So, in addition to the loss of policy sales by insurance companies due to the job losses, companies that wish to compete and even survive will also continue to drop this benefit whereby ‘dropping’ the benefit may be in the form of simply not offering insurance or by constructing an offering that effectively shifts nearly all of the cost to the employee anyway. Don’t worry, the end result will be here before we know what hit us. Care to guess who will be screaming the loudest at that point for government intervention. The bottom line, if the government does not pass something that includes an option that is functionally equivalent to a public option, then they’re better off passing nothing and waiting out the battle between insurance companies and all other businesses. I say go for it. WalMart and other stores will fill a lot of the void with their walk in clinics to treat folks for $50 to $75 per visit in conjunction with their $3 imported prescription drugs while more emergency room visits will be by those that are about to die and the government will continue to fight over that cost until the hospitals are left with no choice but to shut down, much as Grady has already shut down their dialysis setup. Meanwhile, life and death go on and there will be winners and losers in the game of politics with the best backers winning. And, that might even be cause to pop a cork on one of those reserve bottles.

N.J.

September 29th, 2009
7:20 pm

What the employer has to deal with when providing insurance is far less than that. What they base their decision on is the tax break they get for providing it. Because of the ability to deduct this as a business expense, on average the employer only ends up paying 20 percent of the cost. They would be paying taxes on what they spend on health insurance otherwise if it was not used this way How would they shelter that money from taxation if it was not given in benefits. The only real option would be to give the money to their employees as SALARY. Which means the taxes of the employees would go up so you end up with the same thing. The government taxes the money.

This is the main thing that make the Republican and conservative claim that a public option would result in businesses dropping their employees coverage and just letting them go on the public option. The tax consequences alone would be brutal and the taxes and penalties associated with all versions of the legislation for large businesses that would think about dropping their employees insurance would make it worse for an employer to drop it after the legislation passes than it would if they dropped it now.

The employer is not paying for the insurance out of nothing. They are using money that would otherwise be taxable income.

If all employers decided to just drop health insurance coverage, the tax status of the money they currently use to pay those benefits changes from tax sheltered benefit business expense, to taxable profit.

This is why small businesses have much more problems providing health insurance for their employees. The tax benefits do not make sense at the tax brackets they fall into.

Large businesses can lower their tax obligations considerably by providing benefits.

This is why the idea of a public option resulting in businesses dropping employer based health insurance is so much blather. If every employer who provides health insurance to their employees did that, it would raise their aggregate taxes by about 210 250 billion dollars at the very least just on the additional income. Then they would be hit with an 8 percent tax on their profits on to pay for their employees public option.Plus whatever penalties the new legislation would slap on them. So you would end up with the employer being taxed on that income by an additional 42 percent at the federal level and of course there would be consequences on their state and local business taxes.

number1ninja

September 29th, 2009
7:22 pm

“Government involvement.

Spending other people’s money on other people.

It NEVER works.”

Works great till republicans decide they want more. Then you get Raygun. Sorry, sitting in a few lines for gas was no reason to dismantle the country.

N.J.

September 29th, 2009
7:24 pm

Right now the only bill without a public option is the finance committee bill. Three from the House and Chris Dodds Health committee bill have a some form of public option. The votes to pass a legislation with a public option are there, and in the various reconciliation processes on the floor of the senate,.you can be sure that there a public option will end up in the bill that ends up being passed in Senate. If not, they have to reconcile with the House bill. This is probably the most non public place part of the process.

jt

September 29th, 2009
7:25 pm

For all of you sad scared statist posters here-

Let the spirit of Sir Ronald Reagan envelope you. The state will NEVER be what you desire.

It must come from within. Ronnie can help.

Concentrated power has always been the enemy of liberty.
Ronald Reagan

eagle scout

September 29th, 2009
7:25 pm

Jay….This is a moot point when you have Baucus, Conrad, Carper, Lincoln, Nelson and Conrad
sucking from the health insurance and pharma t**ts…..

I have no dogs in the race here as I”m eligible for VA and medicare….But what these phonies do is downright criminal. The reek of legalized corruption ought to stink into every American’s nostrils.

They are greed driven, and to hell with the public. They are now probably being seated at a fine restaurant in D. C. and about to be wined and dined by some insurance/pharma lobyist with their only tab being to make sure the next bill that affects the health industry is again voted down.

Public Option's Doing Swell

September 29th, 2009
7:26 pm

TGT you be all mixed up on how Congress’ two oversight committees of USPS crippled them. And are you mailing your posts here are using digital transmission via the web?

Potter is trying to change the crippling chains put on him by House Energy and Commerce–Tom Davis and Insurance Company Hooker Grassley who was then Chairman of Senate Finance.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/08/business/08nocera.html

They made the rules that cripple the post office. They gave it no breaks, and the legislation is on a congressional website from 2006 for you to read if you can’t understand the NYT above.

@ Atlanta Native–USPS is still directly controlled and overseen and micromanaged bizarrely by House Energy and Senate Finance. It’s current rules were passed by both Repubozo Commitees in 2006 before we kicked a big number of your Repubozos out of both houses of Congress. The Chairmen who pushed these bizarre rules through were Tom Davis and Chuck Grassley. Try to keep up with Congress and how they micromanage the post office’s bizarre business model.

thomas

September 29th, 2009
7:26 pm

As I understnd this matter the democrats have a full majority in each house. This is in their court. But apparently it is a good enough excuse for one group to speculate what will happen, that the bill will not pass on the senate floor, but it is not ok for the opposing geoup to speculate, as in thinking that the public option will handicap private enterprise.

Hypocracy is thy name Bookman.

So even though the dems could push this through if all of their members would vote for it. The failure to pass this legislation are placed at the feet of the Republicans?

Why not give us a list of all the democrats who are not voting for this to pass, similar to the list of republicans from GA who voted against a measure for extending unemployment benifits? Thats right that would go against party line, my bad forgot.

So again I ask why is it acceptable for one group to speculate about what will happen, but we get shouted at in CAPS if the other group dares to speculate.

Paul

September 29th, 2009
7:27 pm

Now if all those political ads, not to mention Congresspersons and Senators, had a point-counterpoint like this, we’d be a lot further along in the debate. Instead, I still see commercials for “Obamacare will turn us into Canada” and all that nonsense.

I hope there are more than a few people out there who don’t follow too closely but who are still getting a bit ticked off to have their intelligence insulted.

thomas

September 29th, 2009
7:27 pm

sorry the geoup should have been gRoup. D@mned crooked fingers.

N.J.

September 29th, 2009
7:28 pm

Finally if the Senate does not come to some agreement every pundit agrees that then it becomes the presidents job to tell the Senate Democrats what he want in the bill. His response to todays vote was clear. As he has repeated, he wants some form of public option either direct or regional co-ops.

The funniest part of this is that when the Democrats were strongly pushing for a public government options the coop was offered by Republicans. When Obama called their bluff and said. “Good Idea” they freaked and started attacking their own suggestion. It was interesting to watch/

AmVet

September 29th, 2009
7:32 pm

jt, you do a HORRIBLE Redneck Convert/George American imitation…

Public Option's Doing Swell

September 29th, 2009
7:33 pm

Eagle Scout–right on. Jay is apparently peyrohibited from talking about the whorehouse that the Blue Dogs and Republicans run on Senate Finance by his Repubozo masters who replaced him on the editorial board from Cox and Repubozo Julia Wallace who has turned the AJC into a Repubozo rag with a lot less pages for more money. I have never seen a statement from Jay Bookman about how egregious the money that is poured into these Blue Dogs and Repubozos is–far in excess of the usual contributions that always take place.

http://www.opensecrets.org is a site open to Bookman but apparently his newspaper won’t allow him to discuss it.

Bribes detailed here but not in the Republican dominated AJC where its owners are its Board now “Andre Jackson for the Repubozos on the editorial board who of course go unnamed and are afaid to sign their articles.

Who are the editorial Board of AJC who replaced Jay, Cynthia, and Maureen? Who are the little Coxers?

http://www.campaignmoney.org/threevotes

N.J.

September 29th, 2009
7:34 pm

There is simply no way the bill will not -pass on the Senate floor. Either the Blue Dogs will be threatened by the DNC with having their funding not extended for the next campaign or they will be Liebeman’d. The Dems will nominate someone else to run for their seat. It takes at least ten million to run a Senate campaign in a small state.

Or they can go with a reconciliation vote and pass it on 51 votes. Rahm Emmanuel has said they are perfectly willing to go that route and force an up or down vote. The Republicans spent six years of the Bush Administration doing that. Bush passed his tax cuts that way. Its not the big deal the media says it is.

Paul

September 29th, 2009
7:37 pm

jt

“Spending other people’s money on other people.”

Please see my 6:31. My money. Spent on his son’s illness. Seems to have worked out pretty well.

@@ 7:13

I’ve read point and counterpoint on the Constitutional points for mandating an individual to carry health insurance. It wasn’t in the arguments I read, but it seems to me if Social Security’s mandated and stood for all these decades, it’ll be a short decision.

Public Option 7:15

I thought you were going to tell us how a public option would run private companies out of business? Or are you saying Republicans only say that as a smokescreen to mask the bribery…. I mean… campaign contributions?

AmVet

September 29th, 2009
7:39 pm

eagle scout, thanks much for that link downstairs.

And before he turned musically stupid:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yZ8k6fVe25k

Public Option's Doing Swell

September 29th, 2009
7:46 pm

Give us 400 electoral votes next time. Run Palin, Cheney or Bachmann.

@@ doesn’t understand her Repubozos want to sic the IRS on her if she doesn’t buy insurance at 13-20% or her employer doesn’t buy it and she co-pays and they want the premiums to double fast. If she has pre-existing conditions, that becomes triple now.

Baucus wants the IRS to enforce the mandates and claims you could e prosecuted criminally. That of course is with the staff they don’t have–kind of like the Afgnaistan troop build up from a pool where there are no soldiers available.

Jay

September 29th, 2009
7:53 pm

Option, your little conspiracy theory is kind of amusing but totally groundless. I work under no such restrictions and would quit if they were imposed. And given all the things I write, and the perspective from which I write them, it would be completely ridiculous of Cox to draw the line at reporting the campaign contributions that affect health care votes.

You’re smart enough to recognize that, but sometimes you get so carried away with your scorn for your fellow human beings that it blinds you to logic and reason. It also undercuts your message a great deal, by the way.

The only restrictions I operate under are self-imposed: I write about the things I’ve had the time to study and document, so I can comment with some degree of understanding. I haven’t looked into the FEC filings of those on the Finance Committee, so I haven’t written about it.

mike

September 29th, 2009
7:55 pm

The problem is that too many liberals are on the record stating that the Public Option will kill insurance and that this is a good thing. That leads many to believe that whatever rules they place around it now are just to reassure people long enough for the thing to squeak by. This would leave a program that is well positioned to fulfill the goal of destroying the private insurance industry with a new round of legiostlation that removes all of the noted restrictions.

So in summary I would say that the intent many of the most vocal proponents of the public option is to destroy the private insurance industry. The fact that this intent has been so well articulated has made many voters distrust the policy as a Trojan horse.

For example, listen to Paul Krugman:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wy5-OzyfyvA&feature=player_embedded#t=126

There is no doubt about what he wants from the public option. His only concern is that it the changes can’t be made quick enough.