"Since last fall, many of the leading figures in the nation’s long-running health care debate have been meeting secretly in a Senate hearing room. Now, with the blessing of the Senate’s leading proponent of universal health insurance, Edward M. Kennedy, they appear to be inching toward a consensus that could reshape the debate.And who were these people? Why lobbbyists, of course:
Many of the parties, from big insurance companies to lobbyists for consumers, doctors, hospitals and pharmaceutical companies, are embracing the idea that comprehensive health care legislation should include a requirement that every American carry insurance."
"The 20 people who regularly attend the meetings on Capitol Hill include lobbyists for AARP, Aetna, the A.F.L.-C.I.O., the American Cancer Society, the American Medical Association, America’s Health Insurance Plans, the Business Roundtable, Easter Seals, the National Federation of Independent Business, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, and the United States Chamber of Commerce."How many of these "doctors" have actually cared for a person in the last year? Probably none. How many nurses were there? None. And how would these brilliant lobbyists enforce this insurance mandate that's worked so well in Massachusetts? Why a tax penalty, of course:
"The ideas discussed include a proposal to penalize people who fail to comply with the “individual obligation” to have insurance.Well, now that the existence of these "secret" closed-door mettings were conveniently "leaked" to a paper with a circulation of over a million readers daily, what's been said behind those closed doors?
“There seems to be a sense of the room that some form of tax penalty is an effective means to enforce such an obligation, though only on those for whom affordable coverage is available,” said the memorandum, prepared by David C. Bowen, a neurobiologist who is director of the health staff at the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.
Might AARP be interested in making sure the government subsidies that support private Medicare Advantage plans (the ones they sell) continue? Or maybe, they're there advocating for making sure people aged 55 to 64 can be covered under the same plans, even though administrative overhead for any third party administration approaches 30% of the cost?
Or the PhRMA, they wouldn't want to make sure that the Medicare Part D entitlement keeps flowing so they can keep charging their exhorbitant prices for chemotherapeutic agents, would they?
Or the AFL-CIO and their hospital construction workers - they wouldn't want to see their funds for new construction cut, would they? I mean, they're floating the economy right now!
And Easter Seals? Certainly they want to continue the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP).
Yep, I'm seeing cost savings for our health care system abounding behind those doors, aren't you? And it's so nice to know that they're all "reaching agreement" on how to fund these special interests right from our own paychecks.