Nine big health insurance companies own 76.7% of the health insurance business in America.
Unitedhealth Group, WellPoint and Aetna, collectively, insure 48.3% of Americans who have private health care insurance.
With Obama explaining last night his version of what a health care reform bill would look like,....including a mandate to buy health care insurance.....we can expect that 9 large, publicly traded, for profit, health insurers will eagerly gobble up 30 million out of the, approximately, 40 million new health insurance customers. Those large companies are the best positioned to take advantage of the "exchange" Obama plans to set up.
Does anyone honestly believe that these 9 insurance companies, confronted with an avalanche of new mandated demand for their "products", will do anything other than raise prices? Higher prices are what the "reform" is supposed to be driving down.
I point this out because Obama continues to say that the public option is only "one piece," "one sliver" of the health care reform legislation. He purposely diminishes the importance of having a public insurance option in with those 9 private insurance behemoths.
Obama, some Democrats and, naturally, the Village Dingleberrys, flippantly tell us that legislation pending will bring costs down. Outside of the public option inclusion....I don't see any other significant cost cutting provisions. To start to bend the cost curve even by the .1% per year Obama mentioned last night....it is ESSENTIAL to have a public insurance option available.
Because a public option is the only serious cost containment provision in the bill.....and the primary problem with health care is its high costs....then, a public option may be only "one sliver" of the bill, but it's, arguably, the most important sliver.
Obama gave a good speech last night. He pointed out the childish nonsense being carried out by an ever more extreme conservative movement. He promised to call the Palin-and-Grassley-type liars out for their lies. That's good. F*ck 'em.
The president outlined a comprehensive plan that made a lot of sense. In spite of the "you lie" temporary-wingnut-insanity interruption from South Carolina's Joe Billy-Ray-Bob Wilson, Obama successfully conveyed the reasons why this bill must be passed, what provisions are in it, and how it would be paid for.
His most important point last night was the moral one. Health care is this generations civil rights issue. American human compassion finally rejected separate but equal social conditions in the 60's......American human compassionate can surely win out over selfishness and greed when it comes to human sickness, suffering and death in the 21st century. Health care reform is about "who we are as a people."
One Villager call-out.....NBC's Chuck Big Head Todd. It's been quite interesting watching the development of Big Head into a full fledged Villager. He earned his Village Youth Camp badges scribbling on boards and fiddling with a bunch of digital number charts and sh*t during the presidential primary and general campaign. He was the guy wringing his newly manicured Villager hands over whether the black Obama could win over those pesky "white voters".
Here's what Chuck Todd wrote before Obama's speech....from MSNBC's First Read...
Fixing the public option fetish: But the speech also will be a failure if progressives -- Obama’s second audience tonight -- are still obsessing over the public option a week from now. .... But there is no doubt that the public option has fired up the left, and how he sells them near-universal coverage and lower costs -- even if it means no public plan -- could very well be the trickiest part of tonight's speech.......Indeed, that the White House allowed this to become the be-all, end-all on the left ("Public option or die!") remains a mystery.
Chuck Todd has been trained well in the ways of the Village, and he knows it's always, and only, about the "game". Facts and truth and reality....well....Chuck doesn't do that stuff. He "reports" on the political game and who's "commanding" the most media time....who's "grabbing" those headlines.
What I've just described as an essential "sliver" of health care reform legislation, Big Head dismisses out of hand as some unnatural fetish. The only provision in a big bill which has been touted as "containing costs",....high costs being the number one problem with health care,....and all Chuck can see is some liberal hippies unnaturally fetishizing over some crack-inspired pipe dreaming.
People who want to force price competition with a government-offered plan are "obsessed". Chuckie chastises the silly Obama White House for not getting those "obsessed", fanatics with a "public option fetish", back in their rooms where they, you know, belong. How embarassing. The NBC "reporter" explains how misguided Obama was in allowing this obsession, this fetish to become the "end-all, be-all."
Chuck wrote that piece of rubbish before Obama's speech. Obama spent a significant portion of his speech addressing the public option, and the purpose for it. While Obama did slap progressives during the speech, I think incorrectly, by saying that health care reform in America has always been about universality of coverage and, therefore, not primarily about a public insurance option (kind of beside the point, really)....he also made it clear that he was in favor of a government competitor in the new "exchange" he wants to set up.
The next 8 weeks should be interesting.
About This Blog