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View Full Version : General Politics The Health insurance lobbyists have won the "reform" debate


banyon
08-23-2009, 11:27 AM
Cover Story August 6, 2009, 5:00PM EST
The Health Insurers Have Already Won

How UnitedHealth and rival carriers, maneuvering behind the scenes in Washington, shaped health-care reform for their own benefit

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Stevens directs industry leader UnitedHealth's strategy on Capitol Hill Stephen Voss

By Chad Terhune and Keith Epstein

This Issue
August 17, 2009





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CEO Hemsley has met with Senator Conrad and other key Democrats Chris Usher

As the health reform fight shifts this month from a vacationing Washington to congressional districts and local airwaves around the country, much more of the battle than most people realize is already over. The likely victors are insurance giants such as UnitedHealth Group (UNH), Aetna (AET), and WellPoint (WLP). The carriers have succeeded in redefining the terms of the reform debate to such a degree that no matter what specifics emerge in the voluminous bill Congress may send to President Obama this fall, the insurance industry will emerge more profitable. Health reform could come with a $1 trillion price tag over the next decade, and it may complicate matters for some large employers. But insurance CEOs ought to be smiling.

Executives from UnitedHealth certainly showed no signs of worry on the mid-July day that Senate Democrats proposed to help pay for reform with a new tax on the insurance industry. Instead, UnitedHealth parked a shiny 18-wheeler outfitted with high-tech medical gear near the Capitol and invited members of Congress aboard. Inside the mobile diagnostic center, which enables doctors to examine distant patients via satellite television, Representative Jim Matheson didn't disguise his wonderment. "Fascinating, fascinating," said the Democrat from Utah. "Amazing."

Impressing fiscally conservative Democrats like Matheson, a leader of the House of Representatives' Blue Dog Coalition, is at the heart of UnitedHealth's strategy. It boils down to ensuring that whatever overhaul Congress passes this year will help rather than hurt huge insurance companies.

Some Republicans have threatened to make health reform Obama's "Waterloo," as Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina has put it. The President has fired back at what he considers GOP obstructionism. Meanwhile, big insurance companies have quietly focused on what they see as their central challenge: shaping the views of moderate Democrats.

The industry has already accomplished its main goal of at least curbing, and maybe blocking altogether, any new publicly administered insurance program that could grab market share from the corporations that dominate the business. UnitedHealth has distinguished itself by more deftly and aggressively feeding sophisticated pricing and actuarial data to information-starved congressional staff members. With its rivals, the carrier has also achieved a secondary aim of constraining the new benefits that will become available to tens of millions of people who are currently uninsured. That will make the new customers more lucrative to the industry.

Matheson, whose Blue Dogs command 52 votes in the House, can't offer enough praise for UnitedHealth, the largest company of its kind. "The tried and true message of their advocacy," he says, "is making sure the information they provide is accurate and considered."

Representative Mike Ross, an Arkansas Democrat who leads the Blue Dogs' negotiations on health reform, also welcomes input from UnitedHealth. "If United has something to offer on cutting costs, we should consider it," says Ross, a former small-town pharmacy owner. "We need more examples that work, and everything should be on the table."

DEMOCRATIC WELCOME
Fifteen years after the insurance industry helped kill then-President Bill Clinton's health-reform initiative, Ross is frustrating the Obama White House by opposing proposals for a government-run insurance concern that would compete with private-sector companies. The President argues that without a public plan, premiums and medical bills will remain prohibitively high. Ross and Matheson have given strong voice to the industry's contention that such a public insurer would actually reduce competition by undercutting private plans on price and driving them out of business. "We have concerns about a public option if it's not done on a level playing field," Ross says.


Obama launched his Administration vowing to extend coverage to all Americans and help pay for it by reining in insurance costs. Seven months later, insurers and pharmaceutical manufacturers that appeared vulnerable to a regulatory crackdown have been welcomed to the negotiating table by the President's own party.

The several competing bills pending in Congress would guarantee all Americans access to health coverage, addressing the plight of the 47 million who are now uninsured. Congress plans to achieve that by expanding Medicaid, the government program for the poor and disabled; requiring insurers to accept all applicants regardless of their health; and mandating that everyone purchase coverage. Government subsidies would make the obligatory coverage more affordable. The legislation would do little, however, to slow spending by Medicare, the public program for senior citizens, or cut overall medical costs. Congress is considering taxes on the wealthy and on benefits now provided to many white-collar workers.

During the UnitedHealth road show in July, Democrat after Democrat clambered into the company's promotional vehicle beneath a sign declaring: "Connecting You to a World of Care." Judah C. Sommer, who heads the company's Washington office, looked on with satisfaction. "This puts a halo on us," he explained. "It humanizes us."

And that Democratic proposal to tax insurance companies? It seems to be fading after the industry said it would raise rates for workers and their families.

UnitedHealth's relationship with Democratic Senator Mark R. Warner of Virginia illustrates the industry's subtle role. Elected last fall, Warner, a former governor of his state and a wealthy ex-businessman, received a choice assignment as the Senate Democrats' liaison to business. The rookie senator landed in the center of a high-visibility political drama—and in a position to earn the gratitude of a health insurance industry that has donated more than $19 million to federal candidates since 2007, 56% of which has gone to Democrats.

UnitedHealth has periodically served as a valuable extension of Warner's office, providing research and analysis to support his initiatives. Corporations and trade groups play this role in all kinds of contexts, but few do it with the effectiveness of the insurers. In June, Warner introduced legislation expanding government-backed Medicare and Medicaid coverage for hospice stays for the terminally ill and other treatment in life's final stages. The issue isn't a top UnitedHealth priority. But the corporation wanted to help Warner with his argument that in the long run, better hospice coverage would save money. UnitedHealth prepared a report for lawmakers finding that 27% of Medicare's budget is now spent during the last year of older patients' lives, often on questionable hospital tests and procedures. Expanded hospice coverage and other services could save $18 billion over 10 years, UnitedHealth asserted.

When Warner went to the Senate floor on June 15 to offer his bill, he cited those exact figures. He thanked the company for its support and put a letter from UnitedHealth applauding him in the Congressional Record.

Warner acknowledges in an interview that he worked on the hospice-care legislation with UnitedHealth executives. But he stresses that he has long experience with health issues and has formed his own views. The senator echoes UnitedHealth's contention that a so-called public option could be a "Trojan horse for a single-payer system," meaning government-run medical care. Warner has heard from some of UnitedHealth's largest employer clients, such as Delta Air Lines (SWY). Delta CEO Richard H. Anderson, a former UnitedHealth executive, has told Warner and other lawmakers that big companies don't want government to limit their flexibility in crafting employee health benefits.

continued...
http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/09_33/b4143034820260.htm

banyon
08-23-2009, 11:28 AM
ACTUARIAL ASSUMPTION
Obama's promise to boost competition and lower costs by having the government play a much broader role in health coverage has been steadily compromised because of the resistance of such Democrats as Warner. "There are different ways to skin this and get competition" in the insurance market, Warner says.

Warner and other opponents of a public plan have relied on an estimate by John Sheils, an actuary who says that 88 million people, or 56% of those with employer-provided coverage, would desert private insurance for a government-run program. That would destabilize the marketplace and potentially kill the private insurance industry, according to Sheils, who works for the Lewin Group, a corporate consulting firm in Falls Church, Va.

UnitedHealth lobbyists routinely cite Lewin's work, as do Senator Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah), the second-ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, and Eric Cantor (R-Va.), the House Republican Whip. Left out of these testimonials or buried in the fine print is that a UnitedHealth unit owns the Lewin Group and thus is ultimately responsible for Sheils' paycheck. In an interview, Sheils says UnitedHealth gives him and the Lewin firm complete independence: "We call it like we see it," he adds.

Some Democrats differ. Says Representative Pete Stark, the liberal California Democrat who chairs the House Ways & Means health subcommittee: "The Lewin Group's so-called analysis is suspect." The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has stated that the Sheils-Lewin figure is far too high.

UnitedHealth brings a mixed record to its role helping to guide health reform. The company has repeatedly hit smaller employers and consumers with double-digit rate hikes in recent years, far greater than the overall rate of inflation. An investigation last year by New York's Attorney General will force the company to stop running two huge databases used widely within the insurance industry. By allegedly setting medical reimbursements too low—that is, skewing statistics in favor of insurers by understating "usual and customary" physician fees—the databases had resulted in the overcharging of consumers by billions of dollars nationwide. In January, UnitedHealth agreed to resolve the situation by paying $400 million in a pair of agreements with the New York Attorney General and the American Medical Assn., although it didn't admit any wrongdoing.

In a separate case last year, UnitedHealth was forced to stop selling "limited benefit" plans with capped payouts under the imprimatur of the senior citizen group AARP. It turned out that the policies provided very modest coverage, catching many customers off guard, according to Senator Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), who helped bring the practice to light. Grassley pointed out that UnitedHealth paid as little as $5,000 toward surgery costing several times as much.

Despite such episodes, UnitedHealth is generally well received in legislative circles in Washington. In late May its in-house point man on reform, Simon Stevens, hand-delivered a report to key senators detailing ways to save an estimated $540 billion in federal spending over 10 years. A week later, on June 4, Stevens accompanied UnitedHealth's chief executive, Stephen J. Hemsley, to a meeting with Senator Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), an influential moderate member of the Senate Finance Committee. Conrad has since led an effort to create nonprofit medical cooperatives that would operate much like utility co-ops as a substitute for a federally run plan. With less heft than a proposed national plan, the state medical cooperatives would pose a far weaker competitive threat to private insurers.

Conrad says in an interview that the co-op idea evolved independently of any industry input. Skirmishing over the public plan could jeopardize efforts at reform, he warns. Co-ops, he argues, are "the only alternative that's got much of a shot" to gain sufficient votes in the Senate.

BRITISH EXPERIENCE
UnitedHealth followed up on June 30 with another report for lawmakers pinpointing $332 billion in savings through better use of technology and administrative simplification. If enacted, those changes would potentially benefit UnitedHealth's Ingenix data-crunching unit. Ingenix, with annual revenue of $1.6 billion, is poised to establish a national digital clearinghouse to ensure the accuracy of medical payments and provide a centralized service for checking the credentials of physicians.

Stevens, an Oxford-educated executive vice-president at UnitedHealth, once served as an adviser to former British Prime Minister Tony Blair. In that capacity, Stevens tried to fine-tune the U.K.'s nationally run health system. Today he tells lawmakers that the U.S. need not follow Britain's example. Concessions already offered by the U.S. insurance industry—such as accepting all applicants, regardless of age or medical history—make a government-run competitor unnecessary, he argues. "We don't think reform should come crashing down because of [resistance to] a public plan," Stevens says. Many congressional Democrats have come to the same conclusion.

UnitedHealth has traveled an unlikely path to becoming a Washington powerhouse. Its last chairman and chief executive, William W. McGuire, cultivated a corporate profile as an industry insurgent little concerned with goings-on in the capital. From its Minnetonka (Minn.) headquarters, the company grew swiftly by acquisition. McGuire absorbed both rival carriers and companies that analyze data and write software. Diversification turned UnitedHealth into the largest U.S. health insurer in terms of revenue. In 2008 it reported operating profit of $5.3 billion on revenue of $81.2 billion. It employs more than 75,000 people.

In 2006, McGuire lost his job after getting caught up in the manipulation, or "backdating," of company stock options. UnitedHealth was forced to restate earnings over a 12-year period to reflect the extra compensation it had granted McGuire and other executives. McGuire's chief lieutenant, Stephen Hemsley, took over as CEO in December 2006. Two independent inquiries concluded that Hemsley wasn't involved with the backdating. Nevertheless he forfeited $190 million in past stock compensation and unrealized gains to resolve the matter.

Hemsley, a former chief financial officer of the now-defunct Arthur Andersen accounting firm, generally shuns the spotlight. But when health reform became a central issue in the runup to the last Presidential election, company executives say they realized UnitedHealth needed to go on the offensive. Hemsley met with White House officials on May 15 and May 22 to promote his company's prescription for cutting federal health spending.

In August 2007, the company hired Sommer, who previously headed global lobbying for Goldman Sachs (GS). He quickly built a new Washington team of former congressional aides and other K Street operatives. One key acquisition: Cory Alexander, former chief of staff for House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), an influential moderate Democrat. Alexander had been lobbying for the huge mortgage financier Fannie Mae (FNM). Today, Sommer directs a team of nearly 50 people from UnitedHealth's spacious Washington office on Pennsylvania Avenue, equidistant between the Capitol and White House. The company spent more than $3.4 million on in-house and outside lobbying in the first half of 2009.

Sommer has retained such influential outsiders as Tom Daschle, the former Democratic Senate Leader who now works for the large law and lobbying firm Alston & Bird. Daschle, a liberal from South Dakota, dropped out of the running to be Obama's Secretary of Health & Human Services after disclosures that he failed to pay taxes on perks given to him by a private client. He advised UnitedHealth in 2007 and 2008 and resumed that role this year. Daschle personally advocates a government-run competitor to private insurers. But he sells his expertise to UnitedHealth, which opposes any such public insurance plan. Among the services Daschle offers are tips on the personalities and policy proclivities of members of Congress he has known for decades.

banyon
08-23-2009, 11:29 AM
Conceding that he doesn't always agree with his client, Daschle says: "They just want a description of the lay of the land, an assessment of circumstances as they appear to be as health reform unfolds." He says he leaves direct contacts with members of Congress to others at his firm.

What people in Washington tend not to discuss, at least on the record, is the open secret that insurers are minimizing their forecasts of the eventual windfall they will enjoy from expanded coverage for Americans. UnitedHealth has given certain key members of Congress details about its finances and tax liability—both historical numbers and figures projected under various cost-sharing scenarios. But some on Capitol Hill are skeptical. "The bottom line," says an aide to the Senate Finance Committee, "is that health reform would lead to increased revenues and profits [for the insurance industry]. ... There will be [added] costs [to the companies], but we're not sure the revenues and profits will be as low as they say."

A fundamental question about the health overhaul is what minimum standards will apply to the coverage all Americans will be required to have. UnitedHealth has been exchanging a high volume of information on the topic with members of the Senate Finance Committee and their staff. Stevens, the former British health aide, regularly scans PowerPoint presentations generated by the committee staff that attempt to calculate the actuarial value of proposed benefit packages. Senators stung by the projected $1 trillion price tag are winnowing down the required coverage levels to cut costs.

This is good news for UnitedHealth, which benefits when patients pick up more of the tab. In late spring, the Finance Committee was assuming a 76% reimbursement rate on average, meaning consumers would be responsible for paying the remaining 24% of their medical bills, in addition to their insurance premiums. Stevens and his UnitedHealth colleagues urged a more industry-friendly ratio. Subsequently the committee reduced the reimbursement figure to 65%, suggesting a 35% contribution by consumers—more in line with what the big insurer wants. The final figures are still being debated.

Stevens says UnitedHealth and its corporate clients want to steer Congress toward benefit levels and cost sharing that can help control overall health spending: "We are providing another resource of actual modeling and advice on how proposals in the committees are structured and some potential unintended consequences of going down certain routes."

Perhaps more than any other insurer, UnitedHealth is poised to profit from health reform. Its decade-long series of acquisitions has made the company a coast-to-coast Leviathan enmeshed in the lives of 70 million Americans.

United's AmeriChoice unit is the largest government contractor administering state Medicaid programs for the poor and federally sponsored plans for children. AmeriChoice's revenue rose 34% last year, to $6 billion, and it has 2.7 million people enrolled. Those numbers should continue rising under reform since congressional Democrats are proposing an expansion of Medicaid to help achieve universal coverage. More of the working poor would qualify for Medicaid, and AmeriChoice can sell itself to states as the leading service provider.

HEALTH COACH AT THE OFFICE
Another of the big beneficiaries among UnitedHealth's stable of subsidiaries is OptumHealth. It's the company's one-stop shop for managing the chronically ill, offering wellness programs and guiding consumers on treatment options. Even before the reform debate, these services were growing in demand as big employers, state and local governments, and others tried to curb health-care spending by supervising patients more aggressively.

OptumHealth provides a broad range of services, from a 24-hour hotline where nurses can suggest the best hospital for a transplant to "health coaches" who dole out meal plans, to-do lists, and motivational messages. Some OptumHealth clients bring coaches into the office or onto the factory floor to teach about diet and exercise. Many of the cost-containment strategies Democrats are pushing call for more of the preventive care that OptumHealth sells.

"We are extremely well positioned for a much broader adoption," says Dawn Owens, OptumHealth's chief executive. Her division, based in Golden Valley, Minn., already boasts $5.2 billion in annual revenue.

Stevens argues that while UnitedHealth will likely benefit financially from health reform, the company will also aid the cause of reducing costs. He cites what he says is its record of "bending the cost curve" for major employers.

During a media presentation in May in Washington, Stevens said medical costs incurred by UnitedHealth's corporate clients were rising only 4% annually, less than the industry average of 6% to 8%. But that claim seemed to conflict with statements company executives made just a month earlier during a conference call with investors. On that quarterly earnings call, UnitedHealth CEO Hemsley conceded that medical costs on commercial plans would increase 8% this year.

Asked about the discrepancy, Stevens says the lower figure he is using in Washington represents the experience of a subset of employer clients who fully deployed UnitedHealth's cost-saving techniques, including oversight of the chronically ill. "These employers stuck at it for several years," he says. "We are putting forward positive ideas based on our experience of what works."

Terhune is a senior writer for BusinessWeek based in Florida. Epstein is a correspondent in BusinessWeek's Washington bureau.

Jenson71
08-23-2009, 11:30 AM
Can't these people get their hands off my government?

BigRedChief
08-23-2009, 11:30 AM
Same playbook as in 1994.

Scare a gullible publc that change is bad. And it could not only cost you money , but kill you and take away your rights.

Obama dropped the ball on this one. They should have been more ready for disinformation.

petegz28
08-23-2009, 11:32 AM
Can't these people get their hands off my government?

YOUR government? And why does YOUR government cow-tow to them? IF that is what you think?

Mojo Jojo
08-23-2009, 11:32 AM
Can't these people get their hands off my government?

Can't government get their hands off the corporate money?

petegz28
08-23-2009, 11:33 AM
Same playbook as in 1994.

Scare a gullible publc that change is bad. And it could not only cost you money , but kill you and take away your rights.

Obama dropped the ball on this one. They should have been more ready for disinformation.

Things would be a lot better if there was a real choice involved instead of empire building by the Fed Gov. I don't want them involved in my health care unless I choose so. That means I don't want to have to do through the Gov's "Exchange" to get my private insurance. Got it?

And isn't the Dems doing the same thing as far as scare tactics? "You won't be able to afford health care UNLESS we control it" ? Sounds like a scare tactic to me.

Perhaps Queen Nancy should focus on the 40 million uninsured instead of develping plans to cover 95% of Americans.

Jenson71
08-23-2009, 11:36 AM
YOUR government? And why does YOUR government cow-tow to them? IF that is what you think?

Yeah -- my government. Overtaken by corporate lobbyists. Why? Because people love money?

Jenson71
08-23-2009, 11:37 AM
Can't government get their hands off the corporate money?

You mean the corporate money the corporate lobbyists pleasure them with?

petegz28
08-23-2009, 11:38 AM
Yeah -- my government. Overtaken by corporate lobbyists. Why? Because people love money?

So, now what about the other person who also owns the government that thinks differently than you?

And it isn't about the money really as much as it is the power.

petegz28
08-23-2009, 11:39 AM
You mean the corporate money the corporate lobbyists pleasure them with?

Are you naive enough to think Obama has never been the recipient of such?

banyon
08-23-2009, 11:39 AM
And isn't the Dems doing the same thing as far as scare tactics? "You won't be able to afford health care UNLESS we control it" ? Sounds like a scare tactic to me.
.

I'm not sure that looking at any price trend that is exceeding inflation by a good margin for a decade and extrapolating from that constitutes a "tactic".

Is it scary? Yes. Should we ignore it and label it a "tactic"? probably not.

Tactics typically don't have real data trends underlying them. The "death panel" thing, there's a tactic with no basis in reality if you want to know what one looks like.

BigRedChief
08-23-2009, 11:41 AM
Things would be a lot better if there was a real choice involved instead of empire building by the Fed Gov. I don't want them involved in my health care unless I choose so. That means I don't want to have to do through the Gov's "Exchange" to get my private insurance. Got it?

And isn't the Dems doing the same thing as far as scare tactics? "You won't be able to afford health care UNLESS we control it" ? Sounds like a scare tactic to me.

Perhaps Queen Nancy should focus on the 40 million uninsured instead of develping plans to cover 95% of Americans.
75% of Fox viewers think there are death panels in a health care bill. Thats the media's fault for propagating a BS lie. But its also the publics fault for just accepting what Beck and Hannity are telling them is truth.

Jenson71
08-23-2009, 11:44 AM
So, now what about the other person who also owns the government that thinks differently than you?

And it isn't about the money really as much as it is the power.

I don't really care about benefiting the elite few who run health insurance companies (those who think differently than me) at the expense of the rest, and if it's government's job o do that, then the government is broken.

Power? Uh, how do you get power? Date the American queen?

Jenson71
08-23-2009, 11:45 AM
Are you naive enough to think Obama has never been the recipient of such?

Are you stupid enough to think I'm defending Obama in this thread?

BucEyedPea
08-23-2009, 11:46 AM
If Big Red Robbin' Hood and his Merry Band of Thieves ( Jenson, banyon and the rest who want socialized medical insurance) think there can even be health insurance/care reform by excluding the major players or an industry that arose from the private sector and has been established for as long as it has been then, they're dreamin' in la la land or in a pink banyon tree forest. Corporatism is inevitable even when you want a socialist fix in a mixed-economy. The battle just results in the facists fighting the communists.

banyon
08-23-2009, 11:49 AM
If Big Red Robbin' Hood and his Merry Band of Thieves ( Jenson, banyon and the rest who want socialized medical insurance) think there can even be health insurance/care reform by excluding the major players or an industry that arose from the private sector and has been established for as long as it has been then they're dreamin.' Corporatism is inevitable even when you want a socialist fix in a mixed-economy. The battle just results in the facists fighting the communists.

Yeah, we should let the lobbyists just write the bill and hand them the keys or we are nazi-socialists.

Another well-reasoned piece brought to you by BEP.

Hell, at least you're starting to understand that communists and fascists are in fact distinct.

petegz28
08-23-2009, 11:51 AM
Are you stupid enough to think I'm defending Obama in this thread?

Yea, cause you do in every other thread.

BigRedChief
08-23-2009, 11:51 AM
If Big Red Robbin' Hood and his Merry Band of Thieves ( Jenson, banyon and the rest who want socialized medical insurance)
Is this some kind of a diss towards myself? If so, you need to pay attention. I'm against any form of socailzed medicene.

petegz28
08-23-2009, 11:53 AM
Yeah, we should let the lobbyists just write the bill and hand them the keys or we are nazi-socialists.

Another well-reasoned piece brought to you by BEP.

Hell, at least you're starting to understand that communists and fascists are in fact distinct.

Except BEP is right. Unless you truly want health care European style, where they lack in technology and their system is oversaturated?

petegz28
08-23-2009, 11:53 AM
Is this some kind of a diss towards myself? If so, you need to pay attention. I'm against any form of socailzed medicene.

I will say you have said several times you do not like the bill that is currently on the table. And that bill is the socialisation of health care.

jAZ
08-23-2009, 11:55 AM
Same playbook as in 1994.

Scare a gullible publc that change is bad. And it could not only cost you money , but kill you and take away your rights.

Obama dropped the ball on this one. They should have been more ready for disinformation.

That's true in some respect, but take any particular strategy that could be employed and there is a counter strategy that the GOP and insurance industry would employ that simply exploits fear of change. It's why nothing has been done to correct our flawed healthcare system for decades.

It's hard to change it because those that want to retain it are wealthy, powerful and have the easier fight before them.

BucEyedPea
08-23-2009, 11:57 AM
Is this some kind of a diss towards myself? If so, you need to pay attention. I'm against any form of socailzed medicene.

I don't care what you want to call it but you're for it.

banyon
08-23-2009, 11:58 AM
Except BEP is right. Unless you truly want health care European style, where they lack in technology and their system is oversaturated?

You think we should let lobbyists write the bill?

Good grief, I thought you distrusted lobbyists and politicians. No, because you want to sound angry, you want to abandon that principle?

mlyonsd
08-23-2009, 12:03 PM
I'm glad to see the Obama administration cleaned up that lobbyist mess in Washington.

petegz28
08-23-2009, 12:04 PM
You think we should let lobbyists write the bill?

Good grief, I thought you distrusted lobbyists and politicians. No, because you want to sound angry, you want to abandon that principle?

Write the bill? No. Have their input, you have too. If they are speaking for the companies, that is.

memyselfI
08-23-2009, 12:05 PM
Lite will end up being seen as the biggest and most effective corporate hack of all...you'll see.

jAZ
08-23-2009, 12:06 PM
Lite will end up being seen as the biggest and most effective corporate hack of all...you'll see.

Yes, that's what the public option is all about.

PRIEST
08-23-2009, 12:06 PM
75% of Fox viewers think there are death panels in a health care bill. Thats the media's fault for propagating a BS lie. But its also the publics fault for just accepting what Beck and Hannity are telling them is truth.




Pete is a prime example of these people FOX says anything & right on time is Pete

memyselfI
08-23-2009, 12:07 PM
Yes, that's what the public option is all about.

You mean the one he's waffling and wavering over?

jAZ
08-23-2009, 12:07 PM
You mean the one he's waffling and wavering over?

The one you oppose?

Jenson71
08-23-2009, 12:08 PM
Yea, cause you do in every other thread.

Link, please.

banyon
08-23-2009, 12:11 PM
Write the bill? No. Have their input, you have too. If they are speaking for the companies, that is.

Yeah, who tf else would they be speaking for?

Let's make sure though to give them plenty of input, it always works out great.

BucEyedPea
08-23-2009, 12:17 PM
Kewl! I irked banyon I see.

banyon
08-23-2009, 12:19 PM
Kewl! I irked banyon I see.

How could you see? Aren't I still on fake ignore? Why would you even click on a thread that you could see i started?

What a joke.

memyselfI
08-23-2009, 12:19 PM
The one you oppose?

Where did I say I oppose it? It is one of the things that I deeply believe in. I don't trust Lite to do it right. I do not believe Lite will do it effectively or benefiting Average Joe. If that is the case then it's best to leave things as is rather than make things worse. I sure in the hell don't think it needs to be a rush job done at the height of his popularity simply as way to say he kept a promise but in the end costs more and f*cks the consumer more than they already are.

Do it right or not at all.

PS. Lame deflecting his waffling by trying to focus on MY opinion.

petegz28
08-23-2009, 12:20 PM
Yeah, who tf else would they be speaking for?

Let's make sure though to give them plenty of input, it always works out great.

So you cried the day the USSR fell, heh? Why not turn over all aspects of our lives to the Fed Gov? After all, they know best. ROFL

banyon
08-23-2009, 12:21 PM
So you cried the day the USSR fell, heh? Why not turn over all aspects of our lives to the Fed Gov? After all, they know best. ROFL

Who said anything like that? I just said I didn't want lobbyists writing our laws, that makes me a communist?

Good grief.

BigRedChief
08-23-2009, 12:32 PM
I don't care what you want to call it but you're for it.
Again, please pay attention to a persons position before trashing and ridiculing that position.

You obviously have attention deficit disorder or some other malady. So please copy this statement somewhere and save it for future refrence. This has been my position for over 20 years.

I have never been nor will I ever be in favor of any form of a government run health care system. I can't support any current bill that I've read or heard about converning health care reform.

jAZ
08-23-2009, 12:54 PM
Where did I say I oppose it?

You claimed repeatedly at the start of this process that healthcare reform and the public option were part of Obama's "bankrupting" our nation.

memyselfI
08-23-2009, 01:08 PM
You claimed repeatedly at the start of this process that healthcare reform and the public option were part of Obama's "bankrupting" our nation.


Uh, no I didn't. I said we need to pay for whatever we are doing. My God, the guy is exploding the deficit.

RINGLEADER
08-23-2009, 01:08 PM
I'm fine with health insurance lobbyists killing Obamacare. I don't think that's why public sentiment is so negative to Obamacare but if people want to believe it then that's fine.

Maybe instead of creating a byzantine bill written to give political cover for what are actually liberal objectives they had instead incorporated some of the elements that many experts conclude would lead to restricting costs and expanding choice they would have more support.

As written the House bill is a bunch of double-speak. Obama says you can keep your present health care but can't guarantee that employers will continue to offer more expensive private insurance. He claims it doesn't fund abortion but there are specific clauses that provide for that very thing. He says it will be deficit neutral but the CBO has already analyzed it and said it will add to the deficit. He told a radio audience that illegal immigrants won't have their health care paid for by the bill then admitted that the costs of their visits to emergency rooms will continue to be covered. He says that government health care through Medicare is a model system then goes on to say that $500 billion in waste will be cut from the program to help pay for its expansion. And on and on.

But, like I said, if people want to believe it was the health insurance lobby then more power to you.

banyon
08-23-2009, 01:14 PM
I'm fine with health insurance lobbyists killing Obamacare. I don't think that's why public sentiment is so negative to Obamacare but if people want to believe it then that's fine.

Maybe instead of creating a byzantine bill written to give political cover for what are actually liberal objectives they had instead incorporated some of the elements that many experts conclude would lead to restricting costs and expanding choice they would have more support.

As written the House bill is a bunch of double-speak. Obama says you can keep your present health care but can't guarantee that employers will continue to offer more expensive private insurance. He claims it doesn't fund abortion but there are specific clauses that provide for that very thing. He says it will be deficit neutral but the CBO has already analyzed it and said it will add to the deficit. He told a radio audience that illegal immigrants won't have their health care paid for by the bill then admitted that the costs of their visits to emergency rooms will continue to be covered. He says that government health care through Medicare is a model system then goes on to say that $500 billion in waste will be cut from the program to help pay for its expansion. And on and on.

But, like I said, if people want to believe it was the health insurance lobby then more power to you.

Yeah, Businessweek is a pretty jaded liberal rag. Totally delusional, yeah right. I mean, when was the last time industry lobbyists affected legislation?

RINGLEADER
08-23-2009, 01:25 PM
Yeah, Businessweek is a pretty jaded liberal rag. Totally delusional, yeah right. I mean, when was the last time industry lobbyists affected legislation?

Like I said, if you want to believe the conclusions of the article that's your business.

And if it's the insurance lobby's fault Obamacare doesn't pass then they should be applauded IMO.

What a lot of Dems continue to do is look past the real reasons a lot of people don't like it.

And when confronted with the specific reasons many on the left turn to articles like this one.

Then again, it's totally your right to remain uneducated about what's in the bill or how Obama misstates what it will do.

BucEyedPea
08-23-2009, 01:28 PM
Again, please pay attention to a persons position before trashing and ridiculing that position.

You obviously have attention deficit disorder or some other malady. So please copy this statement somewhere and save it for future refrence. This has been my position for over 20 years.

I have never been nor will I ever be in favor of any form of a government run health care system. I can't support any current bill that I've read or heard about converning health care reform.

I think you are projecting here and are the one who needs to pay attention. This is what I said:

If Big Red Robbin' Hood and his Merry Band of Thieves ( Jenson, banyon and the rest who want socialized medical insurance) think there can even be health insurance/care reform by excluding the major players or an industry that arose from the private sector and has been established for as long as it has been then, they're dreamin' in la la land or in a pink banyon tree forest. Corporatism is inevitable even when you want a socialist fix in a mixed-economy. The battle just results in the facists fighting the communists.


Um, so I think you're the one who had the malady you accuse me of. And govt extending HC insurance is socialism. Who do you think is going to pay for it? Us as a collectivized whole. That's thievery. Add in a govt that is going to determine what treatments are also valid is also entering into the province of healthcare to boot.


Nope, I got it right. ;)
__________________

banyon
08-23-2009, 01:28 PM
Then again, it's totally your right to remain uneducated about what's in the bill or how Obama misstates what it will do.

Uneducated about the bill? Even this article and the lobbyists who are featured in it seem to understand that when you latched on to the erroneous IBD story about "outlawing" private plans that it was a total misread. They complain here about "not having flexibility" which is because they would specifically be required to comport with regulatory minimum standards, which is exactly what I tried to tell you and you decided to remain "uneducated" about.

dirk digler
08-23-2009, 01:34 PM
Not shocking since insurance companies are near monopolies that hate competition.

BigRedChief
08-23-2009, 01:51 PM
I think you are projecting here and are the one who needs to pay attention. This is what I said:




Um, so I think you're the one who had the malady you accuse me of. And govt extending HC insurance is socialism. Who do you think is going to pay for it? Us as a collectivized whole. That's thievery. Add in a govt that is going to determine what treatments are also valid is also entering into the province of healthcare to boot.


Nope, I got it right. ;)
__________________
If Big Red Robbin' Hood and his Merry Band of Thieves ( Jenson, banyon and the rest who want socialized medical insurance)

ohhh I don't see how I could ever get the idea that you think I'm for socialized medicene. My reading comprehension sucks.

BucEyedPea
08-23-2009, 01:55 PM
If Big Red Robbin' Hood and his Merry Band of Thieves ( Jenson, banyon and the rest who want socialized medical insurance)

ohhh I don't see how I could ever get the idea that you think I'm for socialized medicene. My reading comprehension sucks.

Did you see that even that said socialist medical insurance. That's is a big part of the health care industry right? Either way, you favor socialized health insurance....and you're on record as supporting it.

BigRedChief
08-23-2009, 02:00 PM
Did you see that even that said socialist medical insurance. That's is a big part of the health care industry right? Either way, you favor socialized health insurance....and you're on record as supporting it.
You are mistaken and full of shit.

BucEyedPea
08-23-2009, 02:24 PM
You are mistaken and full of shit.

Nope you need a dictionary. A good one though. Not one with newspeak. Clue: welfare statism is a form of socialism too.

Oh, and I was just having some fun with the Red Robbin' Hood and the Merry Band of Thieves. Sorry if it offended.

Velvet_Jones
08-23-2009, 03:27 PM
BigRedChief + Jenson + Banyon < 1/2 retarded retard.

Jenson71
08-23-2009, 03:30 PM
BigRedChief + Jenson + Banyon < 1/2 retarded retard.

Good one.

BucEyedPea
08-23-2009, 04:15 PM
I

As written the House bill is a bunch of double-speak. The move worked. Confederate President Jefferson Davis, holding that the Union fleet invading Confederate waters amounted to a declaration of war, ordered the Charleston shore batteries to fire on Fort Sumter. Our author quotes historian Bruce Catton that thus Lincoln neatly got South Carolina standing "before the civilized world as having fired upon bread."

You forgot the non-existent "death panels" Newspeak—the entire plan is a death panel. LMAO

alnorth
08-23-2009, 11:09 PM
Not shocking since insurance companies are near monopolies that hate competition.

There's one thing that you and this article either doesnt know or has left out: insurance is one of the most highly regulated industries in the country, particularly on price. A monopoly can set their rates just about wherever they want, but this is simply not the case for other businesses such as electrical utilities and insurance companies.

Excess insurance or specialty insurance on strange risks no one else wants to cover (e.g. insuring the TV producers of "Survivor" for liability if a contestant is killed) is fairly unregulated and can charge just about whatever they want, but thats it. The states take a close look at everyone else. Some states are easier than others, but the largest states are quite strict about rates not being "excessive", and every few years every company has to open their books to the regulators in rate filings in each state to prove that their rates are not excessive in the long-term.

If the major players in this reform greatly underestimate the revenue or overestimate the cost, then the health insurance companies may enjoy a payday for a few years before the various state departments of insurance force rate cuts, but thats about it. (Conversely, if revenues are overestimated or costs are underestimated, the health insurance companies will have to fight to get rate increases approved.)

HonestChieffan
08-24-2009, 07:07 AM
So, its not total mismanagement by Nancy, Harry, and OPhoney. Its the lobby that did it.

Old mantra= Bush's fault.
New mantra= Lobbyists fault.


Always create a demon.

BigRedChief
08-24-2009, 07:41 AM
BigRedChief + Jenson + Banyon < 1/2 retarded retard.
Every time you neo cons in here(well, most) get your butts kicked with facts you resort to name calling and ridicule of the other persons position. Now I'm not a shrink but it would seem to me to be a mindless way to cover your faulty thinking or at least in your mind prove the correctness of your position regardless of the facts.

Oh wellll I don't have to listen to their arguments because they are "insert deragatory name here". Sad, actually.:shake:

Velvet_Jones
08-24-2009, 09:15 AM
Every time you neo cons in here(well, most) get your butts kicked with facts you resort to name calling and ridicule of the other persons position. Now I'm not a shrink but it would seem to me to be a mindless way to cover your faulty thinking or at least in your mind prove the correctness of your position regardless of the facts.

Oh wellll I don't have to listen to their arguments because they are "insert deragatory name here". Sad, actually.:shake:

neo-con. I'm not one. Go be fat and stupid somewhere else.

BigRedChief
08-24-2009, 09:37 AM
neo-con. I'm not one. Go be fat and stupid somewhere else.Thanks for affirming my point. :thumb:

Velvet_Jones
08-24-2009, 10:05 AM
Thanks for affirming my point. :thumb:

Hehehe you too. Its funny watching you talk about "facts". You neo-turd-burglars kill me.

RINGLEADER
08-24-2009, 10:15 AM
Every time you neo cons in here(well, most) get your butts kicked with facts you resort to name calling and ridicule of the other persons position. Now I'm not a shrink but it would seem to me to be a mindless way to cover your faulty thinking or at least in your mind prove the correctness of your position regardless of the facts.

Oh wellll I don't have to listen to their arguments because they are "insert deragatory name here". Sad, actually.:shake:

Yeah, like when the libs on the board were whining about wanting proof that abortion wasn't covered in the bill. When the facts were shown that it was indeed covered (and language inserted making future funding legal even if it is currently illegal under medicare/medicaid rules) the thread died.

Just like when supporters of Obamacare are asked to explain how it is revenue neutral when the CBO says it is not. Or how it will save money when independent analysis says it will not. Or how it will be paid for after the arbitrary ten year length that Obama sets when the goal of the legislation is to get the public tied to a government option that will then have to be funded regardless of long-term cost. Why we should believe in the plan's projections when Obama was wrong about the effects of the stimulus package six months ago or how much funding cash for clunkers would need last month.

There is plenty of independent non-partisan analysis of the bill. It points to facts that the legislation will not do what the president says it will (and won't) do. If you want to ignore facts that's your right but I have yet to have someone who supports the legislation disprove these conclusions.

vailpass
08-24-2009, 10:20 AM
Awesome. Stay away from our top-notch health care system where the best and brightest are incented to enter the medical field in large part because of the high-level remuneration.
Take this welfare state mentality back where it came from.
God I wish the next presidential election was tomorrow.

RINGLEADER
08-24-2009, 10:34 AM
Awesome. Stay away from our top-notch health care system where the best and brightest are incented to enter the medical field in large part because of the high-level remuneration.

Take this welfare state mentality back where it came from.

God I wish the next presidential election was tomorrow.


This is another point that libs won't answer -- show us one instance where socialized medicine has worked -- providing coverage without rationing at the levels Americans are now accustomed.