Posts Tagged - ‘democrats’

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Should Republicans Drop Their Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance?

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

The GOP believes that the federal government should stay out of health care. Some liberal union groups are calling their bluff, and challenging Republican politicians to opt out of the Federal Employees’ Health Benefits Plan.

While the strategy is appealing, there are significant pitfalls. Most strikingly, the FEHBP is at its core an employer-sponsored health insurance plan–the employer just happens to be in the public sector. The GOP has never expressed opposition for that type of coverage.

A handful of representatives and senators may take up the challenge, however, to score political points. Some are independently wealthy and can easily afford individual coverage.

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Health Insurance Companies Spent $86 Million on Anti-Healthcare Reform Lobbying

Thursday, November 18th, 2010

Image: DonkeyHotey under CC 3.0

Some people may worry that this is what at least a portion of their health insurance premiums has been paying for: according to Bloomberg’s examination of major insurers’ tax records, they spent a total of $86 million on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s campaign to defeat the Obama administration’s healthcare reform legislation in 2009.

These expenses–public rallies and events, media advertisements, and sponsored polling meant to sway opinion–would probably not qualify as falling under the medical loss ratio guidelines, which say that a certain percentage of customer premiums should be spent on providing care through their health insurance plans, as opposed to administrative and other expenses. Cigna and United HealthCare were among the biggest givers. In addition, the Chamber of Commerce is only one of the myriad interest groups opposing the law.

Was it a worthwhile investment? The bill passed early this year, so maybe not. However, they appear to have successfully swayed the views of a significant portion of the American public. The Republicans now taking over Congress will do their best to weaken the law, if not repeal it entirely.

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First Step for GOP: Repealing Health Insurance Reform?

Monday, November 8th, 2010

Image: Gage Skidmore under CC 3.0

After a mostly triumphant Tuesday, Republicans are gearing up to take on several legislative centerpieces of the Obama administration. Most significantly, they are looking to say sayonara to healthcare reform by repealing what they refer to as “Obamacare”.

On CBS’ Face the Nation, current Senate Minority Leader (the Democrats retained control of the Senate) Mitch McConnell stated that the GOP was given a wide mandate by independent voters to repeal healthcare reform. According to them, they owe it to the American people to do better and come up with another way of making health insurance plans more accessible.

For their part, Dems are skeptical that the law can actually be reversed so easily. Those looking for it to happen as soon as the new congresspersons are sworn in in January will be disappointed. For one thing, Obama is sure to veto any such legislation that reaches his desk.

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Obama Didn’t Realize Affordable Health Insurance Reform Would Be So Hard

Monday, November 8th, 2010

Image: Beverly & Pack under CC 3.0

After his party’s drubbing in the midterm elections, President Obama is Monday-morning quarterbacking. In an exclusive interview with 60 Minutes, he admitted that he didn’t expect the passage and implementation of affordable health insurance reform to have such a high political cost.

Many would consider this view naive, given that presidents have struggled with the complex system for decades. Also, there are many interest groups heavily involved, with a major stake in the issue.

According to Obama, he assumed that his incorporation of proposals previously advanced by Republicans such as Mitt Romney would help bring about some compromise with the GOP. As it turns out, the final product ended up pleasing few: progressive Democrats wanted more, while conservatives wanted far less.

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Carter: Ted Kennedy Killed Affordable Health Insurance Reform

Tuesday, September 21st, 2010

Image: Mitchell Weinstock under CC 3.0

Saying that the late Ted Kennedy stood in the way of comprehensive healthcare reform seems strange: the liberal Democrat took on that issue for decades before his death last year. But that’s what former President Jimmy Carter claims.

Specifically, Carter accuses Kennedy of shooting progressives’ cause in the foot because he opposed a Carter administration proposal in 1978. Kennedy supported a single-payer national health insurance system and considered it a civil right, similar to the “public option” touted in recent years. Labor unions also funded the Campaign for National Health Insurance, which convinced Kennedy to back out of a compromise proposal with Republican Gerald Ford in 1975 due to the potential for soon having a Democrat in office. However, Carter was more moderate than they expected.

In retrospect, it may have made more sense to accept the affordable health insurance reform Carter offered–which would have been effect for decades by now. Washington, D.C. has only become more conservative and polarized since then, and subsequent policy proposals were even more narrow.

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Republicans Vow To Repeal Healthcare Reform If They Win Midterms

Friday, August 20th, 2010

Image: Republican Party of Shelby County under CC 3.0

health insurance plans

The heated midterm election battles are underway. Control of the House of Representatives and Senate is at stake in November. Democrats are looking to retain their majority, but what if they don’t?

Tennessee Republican representative Marsha Blackburn recently stated that the GOP will repeal the Obama administration’s healthcare reform law if they regain control. The law is controversial largely due to provisions that create a mandate for individuals and companies to buy a health insurance plan.

However, Rep. Blackburn’s promises may be more election rhetoric than reality. While the Republican party may take a few steps in the direction of eliminating the law, President Obama is guaranteed to veto any bill that would repeal it. Although political pundits predict that Republicans may win a significant number of seats, they may not reach the essential two-thirds of the Senate that would be necessary to override a presidential veto.

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Missouri Launches Its Own Health Insurance Reform Lawsuit

Thursday, July 8th, 2010

Image: Allen Gathman under CC 3.0

It started with Virginia. Then, Florida and 20 other states banded together. Now, another state has joined the ranks of those suing over the Obama administration’s health insurance reform law.

Republican Lieutenant Governor recently filed another similar lawsuit, which contends that requiring almost all residents to purchase Missouri health insurance (as one of the primary statutes does) is unconstitutional.

Why didn’t Missouri join the class-action suit? It is unclear; unlike Virginia, it doesn’t have its own separate law against the compelled purchase of health care that gives it separate standing–however, a measure to pass one is currently pending on their August primary ballot.

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Florida Individual Health Insurance Controversy Rages On

Tuesday, July 6th, 2010

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Months after national healthcare reform passed, it is still a hot topic during state election primaries. Florida is a case in point. As expected, Democratic candidate Alex Sink supports it. Lawton “Bud” Chiles, an independent, is ambivalent; he thinks the law should stand with some modifications.

One of the Republican contenders for governor, Bill McCollum, is best known as the attorney general behind the class-action lawsuit against the law, which over 20 states have joined. He contends that the provision that serves as a Florida individual health insurance mandate is unconstitutional, because it forces residents to purchase the product. Obviously, he is highlighting his opposition as a campaign talking point.

The other man in the race, Rick Scott, is also against the law. In the 1990s, he ran a hospital chain that was accused of Medicare fraud. More recently, he spent $5 million of his own money to defeat the legislation. Scott also wants “Obamacare” repealed. We will see what happens during the 2010 election primaries next month.

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Medicare and Medicaid Nominee Sparks More Healthcare Reform Controversy

Thursday, July 1st, 2010

Image: healthcare reform is implemented. Therefore, it is important that he or she is the best person for the job.

Some doubt that President Obama’s nomination of Dr. Donald M. Berwick is the right choice, including the premier industry trade group. America’s Health Insurance Plans declined to sign a letter that supported his selection.

Republicans are also worried that Berwick prefers a government-run National Health Service, similar to the one in Great Britain. They plan to bring up the threat of health plan rationing of care once again during the confirmation hearings.

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Democratic Governors Fight Back Against Healthcare Reform Lawsuit

Monday, June 28th, 2010

While several lawsuits contending that healthcare reform is unconstitutional are currently pending, supporters of the legislation are stating their arguments in favor of it.

A small group of Democratic governors are now defying their Republican attorney generals, by filing a friend of the court brief defending the federal government.

The states involved:

  • Washington
  • Colorado
  • Pennsylvania
  • Michigan

Their filings will explain what benefits they believe affordable health insurance reform will have for their states, bolstering the defendants’ case for any future Supreme Court hearings on the topic.

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