This exchange, from last night's episode of "The O'Reilly Factor," had to be some kind of mistake. It sounded like Fox News' Bill O'Reilly endorsed a public option as part of health care reform.That marks the third time this week he's said something I agree with. Either he's becoming a commipinkoislamofascistmarxistDFH, he's ill, we've crossed over into Bizarroland without noticing, or I've become a Con.
O'REILLY: The public option now is done. We discussed this, it's not going to happen. But you say that this little marketplace that they're going to set up, whereby the federal government would subsidize insurance for some Americans, that is, in your opinion, a public option?
OWCHARENKO: Well, it has massive new federal regulation. So you don't necessarily need a public option if the federal government is going to control and regulate the type of health insurance that Americans can buy.
O'REILLY: But you know, I want that, Ms. Owcharenko. I want that. I want, not for personally for me, but for working Americans, to have a option, that if they don't like their health insurance, if it's too expensive, they can't afford it, if the government can cobble together a cheaper insurance policy that gives the same benefits, I see that as a plus for the folks.
I guess he'll have to walk that back -- O'Reilly used to denounce a public option as "socialism" -- but the language seems to suggest something of a breakthrough.
Nope. Still a card-carrying liberal. And Blue Dog Dems are still prepared to sell out their party, so this can't be Bizarroland.
Nancy Pelosi, Blue Dogs aside, says there will be a public option in the bill. Since Bill O's stumping for it, I guess that means we shall have one.
Moving on to the Baucus Bullshit, which seems to become smellier every day, TPM has a breakdown of the good, the bad and the ugly. FDL has 7 important facts from the CBO report on it. But if you wonder why workers were chanting "Bullshit!" about the bill during the AFL-CIO convention, look no further than Kent Conrad proudly listing off all the goodies they gave the Cons in exchange for jack diddly shit:
Republicans should just love this bill. It cuts out all the things that would have an impact on health care reform. Here's Kent Conrad's ode to da republicants.Use this list to beat bloody any idiot who claims that the Dems weren't kind enough to Cons. No wonder Howard Dean calls it "the worst piece of healthcare legislation I've seen in 30 years" and launched a campaign saying, basically, "Fuck the Cons and their lapdogs, let's get this done through budget reconciliation."If Mitch McConnell had told the Baucus Dogs that Americans should be required to produce at least three forms of ID to enter hospital emergency rooms, Conrad probably would have included that too.
Mitchell: How did you do? Are you guys going to get any Republicans to join you in this?
Conrad: Well, we certainly hope so. Look, they asked a series of things be excluded.
*They didn't want a public option, it's not in this package. They didn't want an employer mandate, it's not in this package.
*They wanted tax reforms so that the high end Cadillac plans would have a levy on them to discourage over utilization, that's part of the package.
*They didn't 3ant illegals to benefit, many democrats agreed, that's not in the package. Those here illegally will not benefit.
*They wanted to make certain that federal dollars not be used to support abortion and so they're not.
*There's the beginning of medical malpractice which many wanted to see be included. There's a clear statement on that.
So I hope that they'll see as we go through the process that there's much here that's worthy of their support....
Lest anyone need be reminded why Baucus's $60 billion per year giveaway to the insurance companies is a horrible idea, let's have a look at today's insurance company outrages. We see that Assurant has been fined $10 million dollars for telling a 17 year-old with HIV to go fuck himself. We discover that C-sections are a pre-existing condition, and women who are pregnant or may become pregnant aren't eligible for coverage because, and I quote Anthem Blue Cross here, “The point of insurance is to insure against catastrophic care costs. That’s what you’re trying to aggregate and pool for such things as heart attacks and cancer... Having a child is a matter of choice." Setting aside the fact that this is outrageous on its face, consider the fact that, since many insurance policies don't cover birth control or abortions, it's questionable just how much of a "choice" pregnancy is.
On the "serious about reform" front, former Cigna exec Wendell Potter assures us they're completely serious - about charming you into thinking they support reform. If you believe the insurers when they tell you they have your best interests at heart, please see me about the oceanfront condo in Arizona I have up for sale. Just don't give the address to Granny unless you don't mind PhRMA sending her pamphlets telling her that if reform passes, she won't be able to afford her medications because the poor drug companies will have no choice but to jack up prices.
Speaking of jacking up prices, if you're happy without reform because your employer provides you good insurance for cheap, you'd better reassess your situation - because your employer certainly is:
As the Washington Post reported Tuesday, the grim outlook for employer-provided health insurance is growing more dismal still:
Forty percent of employers surveyed said they are likely to increase the amount their workers pay out of pocket for doctor visits. Almost as many said they are likely to raise annual deductibles and the amount workers pay for prescription drugs.
Nine percent said they plan to tighten eligibility for health benefits; 8 percent said they plan to drop coverage entirely. Forty-one percent of employers said they were "somewhat" or "very" likely to increase the amount employees pay in premiums -- though that would not necessarily mean employees are paying a higher percentage of the premiums. Employers could simply be passing along the same proportional share of the overall increase that they did in 2009.
But don't even think about going to your insurance company to find out why they're jacking up rates for that coverage you've been enjoying, unless you want to get arrested for trespassing. (Normally, I'd say showing up in person to complain to a corporation is a recipe for disaster - they don't let angry customers come storming through the door for liability reasons - but in this case, it appears the poor man had been invited to come in for a discussion but possibly given the wrong location. So, even if you're invited, have friends ready to bail you out of jail.)
For our finale, you really must check out Chuck Grassley whining about how Obama just doesn't love and respect him enough, and if only he'd had a few more weeks of love and understanding, he would've come around and supported the bill. Greg Sargent has the only appropriate response to that.
And, Chuck? If Obama hurt your feelings, you might want to ponder why:
Well, golly Corn-pone Socrates why would he do that? Oh right... you sent this out in early August: