April 11, 2010

Oh, Michele Bachmann. I take it you really, really didn't read that bill before you voted against it. Minnesota voters, how does that make you feel, knowing that your elected representative couldn't be bothered to read something before voting against it?

Michele's solutions are either in the bill already or are just restatements of the same old arguments with different words. After explaining just how difficult it will be to repeal health care reform, she then enumerates how the country can best cover the "thirty-thousand uninsured". Here is her list:

  1. Sell across state lines - That's already in the bill in the form of regional co-ops that can form with regulatory approval by all involved states. What ISN'T in the bill: Basing operations in a US territory or state with very little in the way of insurance regulation and selling into states that are heavily regulated. If Bachmann had her way, insurers would move their base of operations to the Cayman Islands and insure only those who made more than $250,000/year. The rest of us could be screwed, but hey, at least we could buy insurance across state lines!
  2. Make insurance 100% deductible - This is in the bill, too. Of course, for those receiving subsidies, the insurance is not 100% deductible because the government is picking up all or part of the cost. What Bachmann fantasizes about is having everyone skip off to their friendly offshore insurer and shelling out big bucks up front that they might be able to get some tax benefits from on the back end. That's how the wealthy folks live, not the rest of us.
  3. Make health care costs 100% deductible - Strange. Wouldn't that be like the government picking up all of our health care costs by reimbursement on the back end? What happened to that Health Savings Account idea where contributions are limited to a fraction of what might actually be paid in a year? I'm sure glad the Democrats are the fiscally responsible party.
  4. Tort reform - The bill provides funding and incentives for states to innovate around liability and tort issues. Bachmann and the rest of her Republican cronies should know that tort reform is a state-by-state issue. Jurisdiction for how torts are litigated belongs to the states, not the federal government. After all, isn't that part of the argument for repealing health care reform?

What struck me about Bachmann's list of includes was what she excluded. Nothing about pre-existing conditions exclusions. Nothing about lifetime caps. Nothing about rescissions. Nothing about stopping insurers from excluding children born with pre-existing conditions.

She didn't mention even one of those. They didn't cross her mind. It wasn't an accident. The battle lines were always drawn at pre-existing conditions. It's driving the Republicans crazy that the middle class actually might be able to get health care without selling their souls, homes and assets to do it.

(a belated h/t to Mugsy for pointing it out...)

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