POLITICAL observations & opinions

* The Lesson of Anthem Blue Cross … impact of Democratic and Republican proposals

Posted by Lew Weinstein on February 19, 2010

see related post … 

New York Times editorial 2-19-10

  • Clients were understandably furious when Anthem Blue Cross, the largest for-profit health insurer in California, announced huge rate increases for people who buy their own insurance: an average increase of 25 percent, and a 35 percent to 39 percent rise for a quarter of the purchasers.
  • The move also provided a textbook example of why the nation badly needs comprehensive health care reforms.
  • The (Democrats) reform bills stalled in Congress would …
    • put a brake on such out-of-scale premium increases
    • by broadening the pools of insured people to keep average premiums low
    • by setting up competitive insurance exchanges
    • and by starting to rein in the cost of medical care that is driving up premiums everywhere.
    • The bills would require everyone to buy health insurance (many with government subsidies).
    • That would create large pools to spread the risk over both healthy and sick enrollees and keep average premiums low.
  • How about the Republicans’ health care proposals?
    • They would only address a small part of the Anthem problem.
    • The Republicans reject the idea of mandates to spread the cost of care
    • and instead call for ways for people dissatisfied with their insurer to buy cheaper coverage elsewhere.
    • That could help relatively healthy people but would do nothing for the chronically ill or anyone with pre-existing conditions.
  • Unless Congress passes comprehensive reform, we should expect many more Anthems in our future.

Read the entire editorial at … http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/19/opinion/19fri1.html?ref=opinion


  • The Democratic proposals in Congress, while not perfect, will help solve problems like Anthem for millions of Americans. The Republican proposals will not.
  • It is long past time for the Democratic wimps in Congress to gather the courage to face down the Republicans. Democrats should ignore the Republicans and put together a good bill that is the best they can agree on.
  • Democrats should challenge the Republicans to filibuster in the Senate; they will look like fools.
  • I predict that the American people will reward at the polls those who show courage and determination to do the best they can for the American people … all the American people, not just the wealthy.



5 Responses to “* The Lesson of Anthem Blue Cross … impact of Democratic and Republican proposals”

  1. Chris said

    Stand and fight is an expression, I fight against a government who will not do what is in the best interest of the country. I continue to do my best to keep in touch with our elected politicians who are most certainly failing us.
    You have chosen not insure yourself or your family. The cost of my home is much more than the cost of my family’s health insurance so I don’t know what real-estate market you’re in. If the great health care you seek is in Mexico you are free to go there. I don’t hear about the great healthcare system of Mexico or Canada.
    I do not believe that the government is in a position to correct the healthcare system. The government does not posses the financial or legislative prowess to correct the Health Care insurance industry which is what the real discussion is about. Eighty percent of America is insured and they want to keep it.

  2. Steven Zeno said

    “Stand and Fight” who, Chris? Where is the enemy here? We’re all Americans, yes? Who are you fighting?

    Look, I’m 56 and work 50 hours a week at my own business. I have not healthcare of any kind, and haven’t had any for some 15 years because I can’t afford it and keep a roof over my family. That means no colonoscopy, no psa tests, none of the recommended diagnostics for a man my age. If I were living in Canada or Germany or even Cuba or Mexico, I wouldn’t be in this fix, and no living person can accuse me of being “lazy” or not being willing to work. Why are we enslaved to medical corporations whose only interest is in how much money they can extract from me and my family? Why is it that America is the ONLY western nation that doesn’t seem to be able to fix this?

    The answer is, in this country, money buys power and influence, and the Medical industry has beau coup bucks with which to buy congressmen and women. I don’t feel like my “rights” are being taken when my elected representatives, the people I voted for, take action to help all Americans with their very survival. I don’t get why you’re “stand and fight” ethos isn’t energized to help fix the current embarrassing and more than occasionally lethal medical circumstance of your fellow Americas. If China invaded, would you say “it’s too expensive” to defend your own countrymen against attack? Do you object to paying for the tools our military uses to protect our country? If not, then why do you feel its an absolute imposition of slavery to invest in the tools to help your countrymen defend themselves–and you–from illness, neglect, and degeneration?

    There is no enemy here, Chris. Just a bunch of your fellow countrymen trying desperately how to figure out how to get our families the same medical care most everyone in the rest of the Western world takes for granted.

  3. Chris said

    If you are not willing to stand and fight you are merely a subject. I am not a subject but a free man. Did not Mr. King stand and fight?
    God was a part of the lives of the men who founded this nation. When speaking of God it is not used to express a religions ownership of the word god. The faith our past leaders had in god is important and a part of our country.
    I am certain that the left believes president Obama is the savior if the republicans would just do everything he says then he will fix all. That is just not the case.
    The three parts of government designed to give balance and protection is failing. A Congress unable to accomplish it work, a supreme court whose appointments become the object of political beliefs instead of judicial. Presidents including past and president who attempts to wield their power and control where it is not allowed or wanted.
    Certainly a government which does not follow the constitution is the greatest danger. The belief all should have insurance is a wonderful idea. It is not a right protected under the constitution or does demanding everybody to have it.
    The government and the people of the major parties have showed they have no interest in protecting or following the constitution unless it fulfils their needs. I am certain that was not the intent of the constitution.
    As for thinking about my comments. I may not be a well educated self riotous leftist but I am neither a uneducated right winger. Never assume because of my limited ability to convey a thought I am thoughtless and without merit. I have learned that all the education of others does not make them correct.

  4. Lew Weinstein said

    You might want to think a little more about your last comment.

    … The Bill of Rights didn’t just appear. It is a creation of our government. And it is vigorously protected by our government through our court system, also part of government. The rule of law, not “people willing to stand and fight,” is one of the most precious aspects of our civilization.

    … those who work for government are among those employees of state and local government (including police, fire, teachers, etc) whose jobs have been protected by the financial bailout and stimulus bills passed last year.

    … the efforts of the Obama administration to reform the regulation of our financial system, so far thwarted by the Republican party of NO, are intended, among other things, to protect the property values of all of us who have mortgages on our homes.

    … I don’t know how God protects our rights, but I can assure you that organized religion, including very prominently the Catholic Church, has not protected anybody’s rights, and over the course of history has caused uncounted deaths in the pursuit of its inflexible demand that all people conform to its religious beliefs. It is still a fundamental position of the Catholic Church that all Jews must convert.

    … Government is far from perfect. But it is surely more effective in accomplishing our common aims than “people willing to stand and fight” which would undoubtedly lead to the chaos and death similar to what we have seen in other countries throughout history, still today in large parts of the world, and in our own country during the Civil War. Advocating guns and violence to solve our problems is a terrible solution to creating a better world for our children.

  5. Lew Weinstein said

    President Obama has indicated a willingness to review changes to healthcare tort practice, and to permit sale of insurance across state lines. We’ll see how this plays out at the Feb 25 meeting with Congressional leaders, if the Republicans show up.

    Insurance, like other financial practices which have gotten us into so much trouble, must be regulated to protect consumers who have no way to get the facts or act alone. The companies themselves are properly concerned with profits not people. Government acts to protect our freedoms and to perform those functions which individuals cannot do for themselves; without government, we would have chaos.

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