Daily Health Care News – 10/8/09

NEWS

CBO Says Finance Bill To Cost $829 Billion Over 10 Years; Will Reduce Deficit by $81 BillionKaiser Health News

The Congressional Budget Office released its analysis of the Senate Finance Committee’s health bill today, and said that, over time, the bill would lower the deficit, cost less than President Barack Obama’s threshold, and would expand coverage to millions of uninsured Americans.

Dems Discussing Public Option With Opt-Out Clause: The Silver Bullet?Huffington Post

Senate Democrats have begun discussions on a compromise approach to health care reform that would establish a robust, national public option for insurance coverage but give individual states the right to opt out of the program.

The Invasion of the Bill SnatchersSlate

The health care reform legislation moving through Congress goes by several names, such as Obamacare and socialized medicine. Soon it is likely to get another: We can call it the AIG bill. This isn’t a euphemism; it’s the shorthand used in the Senate for the actual bill that will contain the health care legislation Washington has been working on all summer.

Fired up? The grass-roots health care battleAssociated Press

Fired up? Ready to go? You might not know it from the way President Barack Obama’s grass-roots supporters have been largely drowned out in the raucous debate over his health care plan.

Left claims 218 in sightThe Hill

Liberal told House Democrats that they have nearly enough votes to pass their preferred version of health insurance reform.

OPINION

Boehner’s quips deserve responseMiddletown Journal

When John Boehner said recently that he was “still trying to find the first American who’s in favor of the public option, other than a member of Congress or the administration,” he threw down a challenge to supporters of the Democratic plan for health care reform.

And they are responding.

Meet the New Health-Care System, Not That Different From the Old Health-Care System Ezra Klein

You probably can’t see that table particularly well. Click on it, and it’ll enlarge. It comes from one of the final pages of the Congressional Budget Office’s score (pdf) of the Senate Finance Committee’s bill, and it lays out the CBO’s expectation of the bill’s impact on health-care coverage. This is it. This is what our new health-care system will look like. This is the chart we’ve been waiting for.

The verdict? It will look a lot like our old health-care system.

Let Congress Go Without InsuranceNicholas Kristof

Let me offer a modest proposal: If Congress fails to pass comprehensive health reform this year, its members should surrender health insurance in proportion with the American population that is uninsured.

House Whip Count on Robust Public Option (Update)Open Left

At the request of Speaker Pelosi, the Congressional Progressive Caucus is currently undertaking a whip count to see if there are enough votes to pass a health care reform bill in that chamber with a "robust" public option (that is, a public option tied to Medicare rates, +5%). As I reported on Friday, they began this whip count a couple weeks ago, interrupting their whip count of House Progressives who would vote against a health care reform without a robust public option to do so.

The Color of Health Care ReformDeepak Bhargava

So far the only color that has mattered in the health care reform debate has been green, as in the color of money. The Capitol is awash in green. The health care lobbyists have been flooding key congressional members with millions of dollars. Just the three Democratic Senators who voted against Sen. Charles Schumer’s amendment on including a public option to keep insurance companies honest have taken nearly $15 million dollars from the insurance and health industries. If you add in what the Republicans who voted ‘no’ have raked in over the years, well, you get the idea why the health care reform debate is tilted toward the perspectives of wealthy insurance CEOs.

Whistleblowers Expose Hospitals Fleecing the Public’s BackChange.org

What happens when two whistleblowers separately expose widespread Medicare fraud to authorities? Other than nearly $90 million in fines, one wrongdoer loudly protests that she just lacked supporting documentation for the fraud.

(compiled for Health Care for America Now)