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Reid's Re-election Insurance

Dana Milbank has it about right.  Reid announces yesterday (and I happened to see the press conference) that there will be a public option in the Senate bill (which the states could decline) and yet refuses to respond to questions (not from Fox News) about whether or not he has the votes.  Well, he doesn't have the Democratic votes necessary (and has no GOP ones), so what is he up to?  Milbank: "For Reid, it was an admission of the formidable power of liberal interest groups. He had been the target of a petition drive and other forms of pressure to bring the public option to the floor, and Monday's move made him an instant hero on the left. Americans United for Change hailed him for refusing 'to buckle in the face of withering pressure from the big insurance companies.' MoveOn.org admired his 'leadership in standing up to the special interests.'"

"Reid, facing a difficult reelection contest next year at home in Nevada, will need such groups to bring Democrats to the polls if he is to survive. But there were a few problems with the leader's solo move. He shifted the public pressure from himself to half a dozen moderates in his caucus."  Milbank has it right.  And this will not work; the bill will not be passed with a public option (do you think the four or so moderate Senate Dems are amused by this tactic?) and Reid will continue to have re-election problems.

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Discussions - 4 Comments

Hence the new Reid-Pelosi smear campaign against the "obscene" and "immoral" profits of the insurance industry (which we now know averaged 2.2% in 2008).

I don't see how that profit rate is terribly exonerating, in any case. Obviously, their revenues are significantly larger per person, and if you look at many/most of the stats for how the US compares to the other countries of the West, we're not getting much benefit from all that extra expense. The fact that they're NOT making larger profits tells me that they're just not running very tight ships in the US. But that IS an entirely different question than the morality of profiting from people's sicknesses, injuries, and other various health problems.

"The fact that they're NOT making larger profits tells me that they're just not running very tight ships in the US."

Funny, it tells me that the problem is with the rising cost of health care overall, and that the Democrats are using the health insurance industry as a scapegoat.

"But that IS an entirely different question than the morality of profiting from people's sicknesses, injuries, and other various health problems."

That's where you're wrong, Craig. If nobody became sick or was injured, then nobody would file any claims, and the health insurance industry would have higher profits than ever. If you want to know who the real villains are who profit from people's health problems, look no further than the nation's doctors, nurses, and other health care professionals and workers. The greedy bastards!

But why stop there? How about the millions of evildoers involved in the production and sale of food, from farmers to grocers to restaurant owners? What are they doing but profiting from people's hunger? Villains!

What's that? You say that Nancy Pelosi made her millions in the restaurant industry? Well, let's give her a special dispensation--surely her restaurants only cater to those who are already full.

And how about the wickedest of all--those who profit from death? Casketmakers, cemetery owners, funeral directors, gravediggers--a la guillotine!

So join me, won't you Craig, in denouncing all of those who profit from human weakness. Come on, utopia is just around the corner! Let's start the chant: "Barack Hussein Obama / Mmm-Mmm-Mmm!"

Oh spare me your freshman-year libertarianism rant. (The use of the word "utopia" - what a horrible idea! - could be applied at least as much to the libertarian vision as it could to any modest social-democrat healthcare goals)

"If nobody became sick or was injured, then nobody would file any claims, and the health insurance industry would have higher profits than ever."

Or, I don't know if you've ever heard of such a thing, the insurance company can DENY a claim, or cancel a policy based on "pre-existing conditions." That too can bolster profits quite nicely. And I'm thinking of profits, not wages and salaries that doctors, nurses, EMTs, etc. receive for providing actual health care, actual services. I'm talking about healthcare CEOs and the like who don't provide any actual service, just shuffle papers and work to do an end-run on the pay-out part of the business, and take the back-door approach to creating their own paradise where nobody ever files a claim - a claim that is acknowledged to be valid and legitimate, a claim that is honored and PAID.

And when we're talking the massive amounts of money involved in American healthcare, then yes, the insurance company CEOs can rake in absurd salaries (that only an Ayn Rand fan of the Mark Sanford caliber could defend as money that was "earned") from a mere 2.2% profit. 2.2% of billions is still a LOT of cabbage.

As for Obama, I think he's largely been a sell-out in this whole process, so don't ask me to join you in any chant, sarcastic and shrill or otherwise. Not interested.

I think that's the only chance for some of those on the right to figure out what a mess our healthcare system is in. It's for them to be the people who get their claims denied and their policies canceled when they experience some kind of horrible accident or serious health crisis. And since people of all political persuasions get sick, we might as well have that be a learning experience for someone!

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