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Single-Payer: A Laugh Riot (laugh along with Max Baucus)

I was already wound up when I got to my parent’s house yesterday.

My sister had posted a link to her Facebook page and I accidentally read it before I had my coffee:

More for Medicare?

McClary is one of millions of people who might be eligible for a controversial proposal allowing those between 55 and 64 to buy coverage in Medicare, the federal health program for the elderly, before turning 65. The plan, part of a blueprint for health reform written by Max Baucus (D., Mont.), chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, would help people like McClary, who buy their own insurance or are uninsured.

. . .

Under the Baucus plan, the Medicare expansion would end once a comprehensive health-care overhaul – one that guaranteed insurance to all Americans – was in place.

. . .

Politically, the idea stands more of a chance as a temporary transition measure, as Baucus proposes, than as a permanent option if broader health reform fails, says Len Nichols, an economist with the centrist New America Foundation.

But even a temporary measure is likely to face some opposition because “it’s unrealistic to put something like that out there and expect it to ever go away,”

. . .

Then there’s the tricky question of subsidies. Medicare is heavily subsidized for people 65 and older. But to keep this from worsening Medicare’s fiscal woes, the Baucus proposal wouldn’t provide subsidies. The result would likely be far higher premiums than what those over 65 now pay. While the Baucus plan doesn’t give premium estimates, a similar proposal analyzed by the Congressional Budget Office estimated that premiums would be $7,600 a year for those ages 62 to 64.

These are the phrases that floated around (dangerously: almost like a cartoon)  as I drove over to my parents house (AFTER I had coffee):

  1. a controversial proposal allowing those between 55 and 64 to buy coverage in Medicare (Controversial?)
  2. the Medicare expansion would end once a comprehensive health-care overhaul (END a comprehensive health-care overhaul?)
  3. the idea stands more of a chance as a temporary transition measure, as Baucus proposes, than as a permanent option (Temporary?)
  4. But even a temporary measure is likely to face some opposition (Opposition?)
  5. a similar proposal analyzed by the Congressional Budget Office estimated that premiums would be $7,600 a year for those ages 62 to 64. (…. $7,600 . . . $7,600??? . . . Oh Really?)

By the time I got to their house I was LIVID.

Have we been voting for lunatics all these years? Max Baucus is after all a Democrat — is this really the sort of “plan” a Democrat likes?  A plan that actually costs MORE than the plan I’m thinking about dropping next year because it’s WAY too expensive?  Because I’m guessing that $7,600 figure is a per-person cost. . . .

It’s nuts.

And of course I had to rant about it to my parents* . . . which was fun. But, my mom had a surprise.

She actually saw (in real time) the now famous Single-Payer Demonstration featuring Max Baucus (calling for the police), and an assortment of other total jerks (laughing) at the demonstrators who managed to get into Baucus’s hearing and (shudder) make themselves heard.  It was the first time in ages I didn’t hear about “it” first on a blog:

Here’s the reaction to that video from other blogs: Single Payer Heroes Arrested (Video) , Sen. Baucus to single payer advocates: “We want police” –Single Payer Advocates Removed from Senate Hearing; Arrogant Baucus; Max Baucus ‘Cares Deeply’ About Your Views on Single Payer;

Here’s the reaction to it from the New York Times, The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times . . .

*My parents love nothing better than a good health-care-reform-rant.  My dad even researched and wrote his own single-payer health care plan back in the Clinton days.

(For information about Single-Payer health care see Single Payer? What is it Good for?)

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40 Responses

  1. katiebird: Thanks for the info and keep up the good work. What a bunch of jackasses.

    • Thank you, Puma-SF…. There’s almost too much going on these days to keep up. Seeing how free those guys were with their laughter bothered me nearly as much as that $7,600 Medicare thing.

      • Insurance is a nightmare. I just went through a horrible situation with my Mom. She has Medicare and a supplemental insurance but over a period of two months she was forced to leave a hospital when she coudln’t even walk and she was forced to leave a care facility even though she still had two days left of eligibility. She ended up back in the hospital in 3 days so I really don’t think it saved them any money.

        Those two baffoons need to be kicked to the curb and bravo to the protesters.

  2. I followed one of my links and found this from The Physicians for a National Health Plan:

    The press seated comfortably at the press table first looked amused and then puzzled by the procession of protest in the chamber. The C-SPAN cameras fixed on both the Committee’s table at the front of the room and the witness table directly across from them could have easily picked up the protests but the network chose to keep their cameras fixed only on Chairman Baucus — though the protestors’ words could be heard in the audience. Only two reporters of the 20 or so assembled were curious enough or industrious enough to rise and exit the room to see the arrests being carried out in the hallway.

    While neither the Finance Committee or the press allowed their proceedings to be disrupted for very long, the air in the room and the atmosphere had changed — the giddy and gleeful assembly of industry lobbyists who had been chattering in rapt anticipation of the coming of their carefully chosen witnesses could not deny that some brave and patriotic fellow citizens had just been hauled out for arrest for nothing more than demanding that a point of view held by a majority of patients, nurses, physicians and other healthcare providers be included in the national discussion.

    I will update the post with this information.

  3. Play him off, Keyboard cat

    • 🙂

      The video didn’t show up until I reloaded my browser — I couldn’t imagine what you were talking about!

      • it’s the new toxic u tube crazy … people doing really stupid things, then at the end this gets tagged on … with Play him off, Keyboard Cat

  4. My peeps over at BAR have also have a pretty good piece about Single Payer Healthcare
    Give Everyone Healthcare By Shutting Down Insurance Companies

    The only way to get something that remotely resembles single payer health care is to demand…single payer health care. Progressives that supported single payer now set their sites lower because President Obama isn’t going there. But “opening a political negotiation by asking for what the other side is offering is no negotiation at all.” Obama offers many explanations for backing away from the health care approach he once claimed to favor. But the real explanation “is the financial influence in Congress and the White House of the insurance industry.”

    It’s 1:30 am here. I’m off to bed. Finally.

  5. Her cap was no more than 10%.

    • I guess I was wishfully thinking. But, 10% is a lot better than what we’re hearing now. The idea that people could pay $7,600 a piece for Medicare (which doesn’t currently cover prescriptions, dental, or eyeglasses among other things) is tragic.

  6. Well, the Hillster listens carefully and politely to the Republicans who challenge her before she graciously dismembers their position while paying them personal respect. I think she would listen to single payer advocates in the same careful and polite fashion before she graciously pointed out all the benefits of their position and the courage of their protests.

    Where is she? Addis aBaba, Cologne, the Dolomites, Ethiopia (does that still exist)???? We should invent a new game for her; Where in the world is Hillary. I take it that Barry gave her a satellite phone so she could occasionally talk to Chelsea.

  7. I think it’s going to take a lot more than a few protesters to get anyone’s attention. I admire the spirit but the numbers are too few. Anyone up for a serious protest!

  8. I thought I was cynical and jaded when I was in my twenties.

    Through my thirties and early forties I thought the Democrats were on my side but were too timid to fight.

    Now I realize they’re just as corrupt as the Republicans. They’re not afraid to fight, they don’t want to win.

    • Hillary and the Big Dawg excepted, of course.

      (that’s why they have enemies on both sides of the aisle)

    • (nodding) It’s a real heartbreak for me. Seeing Kerry (who made his name with the Viet Nam war protests) staring into space (at least he wasn’t laughing) as it was going on really disappointed me.

      • The laughter was disgusting and horrifying. Who are these people? Are they even human? The need to have their health care taken away until they provide it for everyone.

        • I sent an email to the committee and asked just that question, but with a slight difference…after telling them that they obviously didn’t care about the people of this country, I asked if they were even real Americans….

          I was just so hopping mad…

    • “Now I realize they’re just as corrupt as the Republicans. They’re not afraid to fight, they don’t want to win.”

      Yes, either that, or they’ve no interest in the fight we thought was important to them.

  9. Hillary never promised single payer during her campaign but it is a myth that many people believe. Her proposal was market-based “Universal” Healthcare and was a pragmatic approach that had the greatest chance of alleviating the crisis of the uninsured in our country based on the realities of our current system.

    • I know that she didn’t propose single-payer.

      But, what she did – that NO ONE else has done is put a cost cap right in her proposal. She had a whole section devoted to income levels and that expecting people to pay 20% and more for health care is wrong. I can’t remember what that cap was and can’t find a copy of the document but, I think she said that 4-6% including co-pays deductibles, premiums, prescriptions — was reasonable.

      And I might be dreaming but, I think she would have been willing to listen to the Single Payer supporters.

      • Unless my memory is wrong as well, you are right about the Cap and the income percentages. She also had the public plan, funded similarly but separate from Medicare, which was open to anyone. That gave her the ability to include the cost cap.

      • There is quite a bit of misinformation on it.

        • I think it’s a great idea for a post. I just wanted to make sure I didn’t accidentally imply that belief in anything I’ve written.

          The more information the better.

  10. I don’t think the congress people will listen or pay attention to protests. The MSM will latch onto to some suggestive reference for the protesters to mock us/them. Watching Baucus, is it any wonder why she took on Healthcare by listening to experts before she involved Congress in her original push for Universal Healthcare?They’re egos couldn’t handle it, but this is a perfect example of why politicians can really screw up a good idea. Only $7600 a year huh? Sounds alot like the plan I have now. Guess his figures came from the same company.

  11. Sorry, in my previous post, I was referencing Hillary Clinton work. She’s in my heart and mind all the time I’m afraid, so I assume alot.

  12. This morning some kind of protesters were singing in the House. C-span didn’t show them and I couldn’t figure out what the song was. They were removed, of course.

    I was pretty excited about getting Medicare early until you disclosed the price tag. Ouch! Not affordable for me, that’s for sure.

    • These are really early days… I’m trying to stay on top of the stories as they develop. The $7,600 number is impossible. If that’s the best they can do then no one will be fooled. Pretty much the same number of people will be uninsured after the “reform” as there are now.

      • Yep. From what I’ve been reading (way too much info for a lay person to process, btw) no matter what, “reform” just means “shifting responsibility.” The last time we got “reform,” we ended up with HMOs.

  13. See y’all tonight

  14. We will not see universal healthcare from the Obama administration. The democrats already gave the money for it to the bankers.

    • Kendall, The money is being spent now. It’s our commitment to the Insurance companies. If we stopped paying them and started paying taxes (for Health Care) we could do it.

  15. Did anyone post the for-profit contribution tallies of the different Health Care Committee members that PUMA prowl had listed today? Max Baucus is at the top of the recipient list, something like $2 million. So…tell me how it is that he is going to directly vote against his own blatant self-interest?

  16. From PUMA PAC:


    Why are there no advocates for Single Payer or Universal Health Care included in your discussions of health care reform?

    Could it be that the Finance Committee of the United States Senate is a Pay to Play system just like Rod Blagojevich’s Illinois?

    Max Baucus, Chair: $2.7 MILLION dollars in one election cycle
    Chuck Grassley, Ranking Republican: $1.8 MILLION dollars in one election cycle
    Orrin Hatch: $1 MILLION dollars in one election cycle
    Kent Conrad: $800,000 in one election cycle
    Blanche Lincoln: $800,000 in one election cycle
    Mike Enzi: $800,000 in one election cycle
    John Ensign: $700,000 in one election cycle
    Jim Bunning: $600,000 in one election cycle
    Mike Crapo: $600,000 in one election cycle
    Tom Carper: $500,000 in one election cycle
    Olympia Snowe: $375,000 in one election cycle

    That’s $10.7 MILLION dollars paid DIRECTLY to eleven members of the Senate Finance Committee by the for-profit health care industry in just the last election cycle alone.

    No more Pay to Play in the U.S. Senate! Real Health Care Reform NOW!

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