“Top Ten Reasons to Kill the Senate Health Care Bill”

I got pushback on a post I put up yesterday critical of the health care reform bill from readers who pointed to the fact that folks like Paul Krugman and Al Franken were supporting it meant it must be at least OK.

Well, it isn’t, and don’t delude yourself into thinking that. Why did health insurance stocks rise to all time highs when the bill was passed?

This tidbit comes from reader Chuck S, and refers to the Senate version (the House version is pretty much certain to be made to conform to the Senate bill).

Top 10 Reasons to Kill Senate Health Care Bill

1. Forces you to pay up to 8% of your income to private insurance corporations — whether you want to or not.

2. If you refuse to buy the insurance, you’ll have to pay penalties of up to 2% of your annual income to the IRS.

3. Many will be forced to buy poor-quality insurance they can’t afford to use, with $11,900 in annual out-of-pocket expenses over and above their annual premiums.

4. Massive restriction on a woman’s right to choose, designed to trigger a challenge to Roe v. Wade in the Supreme Court.

5. Paid for by taxes on the middle class insurance plan you have right now through your employer, causing them to cut back benefits and increase co-pays.

6. Many of the taxes to pay for the bill start now, but most Americans won’t see any benefits — like an end to discrimination against those with preexisting conditions — until 2014 when the program begins.

7. Allows insurance companies to charge people who are older 300% more than others.

8. Grants monopolies to drug companies that will keep generic versions of expensive biotech drugs from ever coming to market.

9. No re-importation of prescription drugs, which would save consumers $100 billion over 10 years.

10. The cost of medical care will continue to rise, and insurance premiums for a family of four will rise an average of $1,000 a year — meaning in 10 years, your family’s insurance premium will be $10,000 more annually than it is right now.

Background information on each point:

1. Hardship Waiver And Restrictions On Immigrants Buying Insurance Undercut Arguments For An Individual Mandate, by Jon Walker

2. What’s in the Manager’s Amendment by David Dayen

3. MyBarackObama Tax by Marcy Wheeler

4. Emperor Ben Nelson: All Your Uteruses Are Belong To Me by Scarecrow

5. The Senate Bill is Designed to Make Your Health Insurance Worse by Jon Walker

6. Best way to “Fix It Later” Is With No Individual Mandate Now by Jon Walker

7. The Senate Health Care Bill is Built on a Mountain of Sand by Jon Walker

8. The Devil in Anna Eshoo’s Details by Jane Hamsher

9. Liveblog of the Dorgan Reimportation Amendment by David Dayen

10. Answering Nate Silver’s 20 Questions on the Health Care Bill by Jon Walker

The Senate bill isn’t a “starter home,” it’s a sink hole. It needs to die so something else can take its place. It doesn’t matter whether people are on the right or the left — once they understand the con job that’s about to be foisted on them, they agree. That’s why Harry Reid and President Obama are trying to jam it through as fast as they can, before people get wise. So email the list to your friends and family, tweet it and spread the word.

Yves here. This list still misses a few very bad features. For instance, most have fallen for the “preexisting conditions” bit, that the new plan is better because it forces insurers to cover those with preexisting conditinos. Well first, if you recall, insurers have used the failure to report ANY preexisting condition, no matter how trivial, as a reason to deny coverage when someone gets a costly illness. So health insurers will be permitted to charge those with “preexisting conditions,” again even if trivial, a 50% premium to the rest of the population. This not only defeats the idea of enlarging the pool, but also continues the abusive use of the notion of “preexsiting condition”. And before you argue that including all those people is costly and needs to be recouped somehow, every other advanced economy has a form of government-supported medicine that covers all citizens, is cheaper than ours, and delivers no worse, and in many cases, better health outcomes. Covering these people is not the problem; the problem is the system we now have.

Second, insurers that cross state lines get to be regulated by the state with the least regulations. Just as we saw with financial services, this will lead to a race to the bottom. For instance, I have a plan regulated by New York State, and New York State allows me to appeal to the state if I think I have been denied coverage incorrectly. Every time I have used this option, I have prevailed (and once, the NYS response was quite a smackdown to my insurer, Cigna). I’d lose this very valuable right under a new plan.

Third, Obama has engaged in a massive bait and switch. As Marshall Auerback pointed out,

From a Washington Post interview:
Obama said the public option “has become a source of ideological contention between the left and right.” But, he added, “I didn’t campaign on the public option.”

Lots of links below the fold that appear to create a contradiction between the statement above and the actual facts.

TomP’s diary

– In the 2008 Obama-Biden health care plan on the campaign’s website, candidate Obama promised that “any American will have the opportunity to enroll in [a] new public plan.” [2008]

– During a speech at the American Medical Association, President Obama told thousands of doctors that one of the plans included in the new health insurance exchanges “needs to be a public option that will give people a broader range of choices and inject competition into the health care market.” [6/15/09]

– While speaking to the nation during his weekly address, the President said that “any plan” he signs “must include…a public option.” [7/17/09]

– During a conference call with progressive bloggers, the President said he continues “to believe that a robust public option would be the best way to go.” [7/20/09]

– Obama told NBC’s David Gregory that a public option “should be a part of this [health care bill],” while rebuking claims that the plan was “dead.” [9/20/09]

Obama sees Reagan as one of his role models, but as my politically-minded buddies like to point out, Reagan sought to get and succeeded in winning 75-80% of what he wanted. Obama starts out with a much less ambitious ask and settles for at most 60%.