Tag Archives: health insurance

Obama health plan points the way – Now entire government could become co-ops

Only days after signaling it is willing to drop a public option from a health care reform package, the Obama administration is indicating that it is willing to end the public option for the entire federal government as well.

“If moving away from public options is how things are going to get through Congress, we’re going to look hard at it as a best practice,” President Obama said today at a town hall-style forum in Washington DC’s Capitol Hill neighborhood.

Capitol Hill was chosen for the event by administration strategists as a test of the president’s coattails. The area was strong for Obama in last November’s election, but has recently seen a large amount of gentrification resulting from reverse “white flight” from the K Street district.

Although a clearly well-heeled audience, many in attendance at the meeting exhibited the boisterousness that has materialized at many such forums held by senators and representatives during their August break. One man, Cent Konrad of Bismarck, North Dakota, shouted out several times until he got Obama’s attention.

“Since insurance corporations can’t compete against a public option, what about the rest of government — which is public by definition and therefore socialist? What other corporations are having their freedom restricted?” Konrad challenged Obama.

Obama moved quickly to reassure Konrad’s concerns. “Public options are not the entirety of government, any more than it is the entirety of health care reform,” Obama said. “This is just one sliver, one aspect of it.”

Following his remarks concerning best practice, Obama added that he is looking with increasing favor on applying the so-called “co-op” alternative to a wide range of government programs, to which another man, Bax Maucus of Helena, Montana, responded favorably.

“I really like co-ops because co-op means cooperating with private corporations. That’s what 45% of the American people voted for, and it’s what 40% of the Senate will allow,” said Maucus, who later identified himself to reporters as “just a concerned citizen.”

Obama told Maucus he would do all he can to press for co-op solutions. “During my four years as a senator, I learned from Harry Reid that majority opinion cannot determine American policy. So we’re not going to bow to the majority on health insurance, not on withdrawal from Iraq, not on the economy, and not on our foreign policy,” said the president.

Obama then personalized the issue by relating a recent experience he had with co-operating. “When I was going to get my girls a dog, we proposed a public pound option — a nice beagle, let’s say,” recalled the president.

“But Mitch McConnell called the public pound option socialistic, and he reminded Malia that a bureaucrat would stand between her and her choice of dog,” Obama said. “So we co-operated, and got a Portuguese water dog from a private source.”

“A co-op solution worked for Portuguese water dogs, so I think this proves co-ops deserve a chance to solve our health insurance crisis,” he said.

The co-op approach is seeing an uptick in the opinion polls for Obama. A telephone survey of residents of Pyongyang, North Korea, shows 100% support if the president were to convert the U.S. State Department into a co-op.

Conservatives oppose forcible health – “Save our freedom to be sick”

(Upland, CA) Members of Congress from coast to coast are having their eyes opened this week, as they hear from constituents opposed to health care reform.

“We’re speaking out to save our freedom to be sick,” said Dee Fibrilasian, one of many self-described ‘sickers’ — people who believe illness is a right.

Fibrilasian and like-minded sickers turned out here in force Monday for a midday town hall meeting held by 54th District Representative Dino Frandle, a member of the House Democratic ‘blue dog’ coalition. They hooted, hollered and booed as Frandle expressed cautious support for reforms that would cover additional Americans while leaving intact the private insurance system.

“Forcibly insuring more people is the opposite of the direction we should be headed,” shouted one woman who declined to give her name because, she explained, she had called in sick to be able to attend the meeting.

“What will happen to our sick leave, if socialized Obamacare makes sure we are too healthy to use it?” she wondered. She went on to say she feared she might have to quit one of her three jobs, if cheaper insurance made it possible for employers to raise pay.

Fibrillasian said she agreed with statements former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin made on her Facebook page, alleging reform would lead to government ‘death panels’ pruning high-cost senior citizens and the developmentally disabled from insurance pools. “What makes government think it can kill people better than the private sector?” Fibrilasian asked.

After the town hall meeting Rep. Frandle said he was impressed by the turnout and by the forceful way the sickers stated their opinions. “They were certainly loud,” he said as he departed for a luncheon, a reelection fundraiser with employees of Aetna and Pfizer.

India launches anti-hunger campaign – “American cars are being parked with empty tanks”

Prime minister Pratibha Patil of India has called on his people to do their part in fighting world hunger.

Patil’s announcement was in response to President Bush’s alarm over the size of India’s middle class, and how its rising standard of living is contributing to higher prices around the world.

“When you start getting wealth, you start demanding better nutrition and better food,” Bush said last Friday. “Demand is high, and that causes the price to go up,” the president said.

“Corn is yummy,” said Bush gravely. “But demand for corn to eat competes with corn for ethanol. Again, prices go up.”

“That’s economics, I’m the economister,” Bush said.

Patil appealed to Indians to do their part to help America.

In a nationwide TV address, Patil depicted an America in dire straits.

“Too many American cars are being parked at night with empty fuel tanks,” Patil said. “Fire up the tandoor and cook something other than corn. Something basic, like rice. Or something more nouvelle — a mushroom ragout, for example.”

E85 ethanol prices responded to the act of goodwill by falling 5 cents to $2.94 a gallon. Fewer American cars are expected to go to the garage hungry tonight.

McCain misspoke on reason for war – Meant to say Iran a danger to olive oil supplies

John McCain said today that he misspoke in recent campaign remarks, in which when he appeared to link the Iraq war with America’s dependence on Mideast crude.

“My friends, I will have an energy policy that we will be talking about, which will eliminate our dependence on oil from the Middle East that will prevent us from having ever to send our young men and women into conflict again in the Middle East,” McCain said Friday in Denver.

Today the presumptive Republican nominee to succeed President Bush clarified that he meant to refer to olive oil, not petroleum.

“Olive oil is a vital staple in the Mideast as well as the pantries of cooks the world over.”

McCain said if he is elected, he would lead a coalition of haute cuisine nations in preemptive military action against Iran. “We must prevent disruption of olive oil supplies, we cannot wait for the smoking tandoor which could come in the form of a mushroom ragout,” he said.

McCain said the use of olive oil would be demonstrated for reporters traveling with the McCain campaign. Cindy McCain has prepared a generous Mideastern-style buffet with falafel, lamb kebabs, gyros and hummus, he said, so journalists should stop asking questions and head over to the hospitality tent as soon as possible.

Good news on health care

John McCain today hailed recent news that 8 million additional Americans have lost health insurance coverage during the Bush presidency.

He was responding to an announcement by House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) that a total of 47 million Americans now lack coverage.

“The way to look it is that an additional 8 million Americans are getting their health care through the free market,” McCain said.