Friday, September 11, 2009

"Public option" advocates circle their wagons around two useless sentences in HR 3200 - PNHP's Official Blog

By Kip Sullivan, JD

Leaders of the campaign for a "public option" have circled their wagons around two sentences in HR 3200 (the House health "reform" bill). These sentences, which are not in the bill passed by the Senate health committee, appear in Section 223 of HR 3200:

Health care providers participating under Medicare are participating providers in the public health insurance option unless they opt out in a process established by the Secretary.

[T]he Secretary shall base the payment rates [for providers] on the payment rates for similar services and providers under parts A [the hospital services part] and B [the physician services part] of Medicare.

"Option" advocates are claiming these two sentences are "crucial" and “critical” to the success of the "option" and absolutely must be in any final "reform" bill. The Congressional Progressive Caucus has even warned President Obama that if these two sentences are not in the final bill, they will vote against it.

In this paper, I demonstrate why these two sentences accomplish nothing.

All of us desperately need real reform of our sick health care system. The present system ruins human lives daily through preventable deaths, devastating bankruptcies, hideous disparities and gross injustice and indignity. We cannot afford to experiment with “reforms” like the “options” in HR 3200 and the HELP bill which, coupled with the enormous insurance industry bailouts called for by those bills, will merely perpetuate the current system.

It’s time for the “option” movement to insist that its representatives start speaking truthfully about the “option” provisions in HR 3200 and the HELP bill. They might start by admitting that the Two Sentences in HR 3200 are, by themselves, incapable of giving the “option” the tools it needs to survive, much less thrive.

Read it all here.

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