What’s going on with Health Care Reform?

If you’re anything like me, you might be a tad bit overwhelmed with the news about health care reform. It is THE issue on the Obama agenda and Congress has been working away at their various plans for months.
It’s hard to keep up with all the news about amendments, single payer, etc. Here is a round up of some health care related links to get you up to speed on what’s going on.
First, tonight at 8pm EST Obama will be addressing the nation with a press conference that is likely to be centered on urging support for health care reform.
Abortion funding within health care reform continues to be a hot button issue. Jos wrote about this action alert a few weeks ago, and now Dana Goldstein has more on the Moderate Democrats opposing abortion funding.
Chris Hayes at The Nation puts the health care fight in perspective: “If there’s going to be a pivot onto a new path of progress this is it.”
The National Women’s Law Center has this graphic explaining the process and timeline for health care reform. They are predicting having a bill on Obama’s desk by October. You can download an expanded version of the graphic here.

If you’re interested in the topic I wrote about at TAP a few weeks ago, the efforts of Certified Professional Midwives to get recognized in the health care reform process, read this article at RH Reality Check. Amie Newman shares that the American College of Nurse Midwives is officially opposing their attempts.
Advocates of single-payer gained a small win last week, with an amendment co-sponsored by Kucinich that could open that door. John Nichols at The Nation has more on this, including the perspective that Canada didn’t actually start with a single-payer system.
Comprehensive sex ed won inclusion in one of the health care reform bills being considered. RH Reality Check has the details.
For a great weekly update on health care reform check out the Media Consortium’s health care Weekly Pulse, written by Lindsay Beyerstein and always cross-posted on the community blog!
UPDATE: Senator Durbin just admitted that a vote on health care reform before the August recess is unlikely.

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11 Comments

  1. JesiDangerously
    Posted July 22, 2009 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

    I thought this Washington Post chart was a pretty helpful tool to explain how the health care reform will pan out. Not the most thorough thing in the world, but helpful. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/package/health-care-reform09/what-it-means-for-you/health-care-reform-2009.html
    I’ve been craving more information about all this, seeing how my friends are starting to say things like “Obama’s health care reform plan scares me” on their facebooks, and I feel the need to set them all straight. So thank you for this post!

  2. Jen
    Posted July 22, 2009 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

    You can also watch for updates and action alerts specifically about the status of reproductive health care in the health care reform debates at Planned Parenthood’s Health Care Reform campaign site, here.
    There’s an action alert up there now to send a message to your members of Congress (both Senate and House) to urge them to protect women’s & repro health throughout the health care reform debates. Go straight to that action by clicking here.

  3. argon
    Posted July 22, 2009 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

    “the efforts of Certified Professional Midwives to get recognized in the health care reform process, read this article at RH Reality Check. Amie Newman shares that the American College of Nurse Midwives is officially opposing their attempts. ”
    This is why healthcare is getting more and more depressing in this country. The debate consists just of a legion of special interests only looking after themselves. Thus, we have the specter of nurse midwives battling the status quo — until lay midwives want a seat at the table as well. Then, the nurse midwives will instantly turn around and stand shoulder-to-shoulder with ACOG.
    I suppose this is a small thing in the healthcare bill as a whole, but it is a good example. It’s like trying to have a mass of squabbling 3rd graders try to come up with federal policy. Instead of a singular, comprehensive, progressive policy, we will be getting a juryrigged piece of garbage that attempts to placate a thousand special interests and winds up serving exactly nobody. Doctors will be screwed, hospitals will go under, alternative providers will fight each other tooth and nail for a piece of the spoils, businesses will still have to pay out the nose, taxpayers will see their overall costs actually increase after the tax bill hits and, of course, underserved people of color will take the worst of it at the end.
    Or maybe this is just my sunny disposition shining through again. Apologies, carry on…

  4. aleks
    Posted July 22, 2009 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

    Kucinich offers amendments to everything. Bless his elfin little heart, but that doesn’t mean anything.

  5. Jadelyn
    Posted July 22, 2009 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

    The thing that worries me most is the potential requirement for purchase of coverage, or else fines or tax penalties. I can’t afford insurance now, dammit, what makes them think I can afford to be forced to buy it? Putting a fine on it isn’t going to help.
    Originally, I was really excited to hear about health care reform. But at this point, it’s just a massive insurance-industry-fellating clusterfuck. Hope and change my ass.

  6. A male
    Posted July 22, 2009 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

    When I was a nursing student, I was behind a single payer health care system. Not just a public alternative, but actual socialized medicine (though private insurers would certainly be permitted, as in countries with national insurance, to provide supplemental care). I was going to prepare a report on it to promote a single payer system within the US.
    What I found through the academic database or speaking to health care professionals was disappointing. My current view can be simplified thusly: public health care does exist in the US today, in the forms of Medicare and Medicaid (and the Veteran’s Administration). See how well they are doing and how they are going bankrupt, to imagine how opening it up to everyone in the US would be. In the words of one local administrator, Medicare is the “Cadillac” of payers to the hospital. Even then, Medicare on average, only covers 70% of actual costs. Try operating health care facilities on that. Have you noticed the shortage of doctors and nurses in your area, or how services such as ERs have been eliminated?
    I also asked the local Veteran’s Administration clinic manager if she would like a single payer system in the US. “No” was her answer. Just no. I asked her why. “What if they don’t cover it?” (your health condition) was her equally simple reply. The reason I was doing my rotation at the Veteran’s Administration was to see their mental health services in action: one doctor, 4,000 mental health patients. Please see how well the VA is helping recent veterans to see the government in action.
    Public insurance does NOT mean the government will pay for everything, though people should know that already. Furthermore, according to an LA Times report of 6/25/09:
    [quote]
    President Obama suggested at a town hall event Wednesday night that one way to shave medical costs is to stop expensive and ultimately futile procedures performed on people who are about to die and don’t stand to gain from the extra care.
    In a nationally televised event at the White House, Obama said families need better information so they don’t unthinkingly approve “additional tests or additional drugs that the evidence shows is not necessarily going to improve care.”
    He added: “Maybe you’re better off not having the surgery, but taking the painkiller.”
    [unquote]
    He is trying to prevent inefficient use of resources or “waste,” waste here talking about cost in human lives, but this attitude is no better than that of for profit insurers. So what’s the difference? Why should everyone pay for public insurance (through taxes), in addition to private coverage we already must pay, to cover what the government does not?
    I work in long term care. My clients are basically never expected to get better, despite being able to live years or decades longer (living on a machine or being fed through a tube in a semi-conscious state by family request, if necessary), and will die draining public funds, because their social security checks of a few hundred dollars a month are expected to cover over $14,000 per month of care. (Elderly people sign over their homes to their children in order not to have to pay realistic amounts for their own care.) I care for these people because I can see the value they have to their families even if they are in a near vegetative state. Is Obama willing to pay for it? The way my dilapidated state hospital is unable to purchase ball point pens or correction tape for its workers, does not provide necessary safety equipment, and we are told to cut back on the number of diapers we use to save money tells me, not.
    Do you like what you see at your state mental hospital or publicly operated care home? Do you like the level of health care provided to the indigent? How would you like that for everyone?

  7. MsChiff
    Posted July 22, 2009 at 9:39 pm | Permalink

    I love the Raising Women’s Voices blog for keeping with with health care from the women’s health perspective. All the health care news you ever wanted – with a little snark!
    http://www.raisingwomensvoices08.wordpress.com

  8. cattrack2
    Posted July 22, 2009 at 10:34 pm | Permalink

    I was telling a friend today that 6 weeks ago I was a huge proponent of health care reform & now I’m in lukewarm opposition. I think it will be tricky to pass legislation to protect employee provided insurance for those who want to keep it, while preventing it from also busting the budget by taking in all the un- and under-insured. God bless them if they can figure out how to do all of that & actually still improve health care.

  9. Liza
    Posted July 23, 2009 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    My Facebook friends are spewing a lot of b.s. about having to pay for everyone else’s heath care. I kee responding with “wow – I didn’t know you make over $1 million a year.” Since that’s the cutoff income to actually be taxed to pay for it.
    I feel like I’m the only person I know who actually watched the conference.

  10. A male
    Posted July 23, 2009 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    People who actually believe only those making over $1 million per year will see an increase in taxes to pay for health care are naive. The nature of insurance is those who do not consume resources, pay for those who consume more resources (regardless of actual level of health). If people were willing or able to pay for their own health care, we wouldn’t need insurance or taxes. I am not criticizing the underprivileged or those with health problems, because they deserve decent care, that’s just how it is set up.
    And who are these people near that cutoff level, btw? Small business owners, perhaps? Try interviewing some local business owners to see how business is doing, to find out how they will pay trillions more in taxes (or health insurance premiums). In Hawaii, it we have unemployment levels that haven’t been seen since the early 70s, which is also being seen nationwide. Many that still have jobs are being given leave without pay, pay cuts and pay freezes. People are expected to do the same job, with less staff and resources. Ask employers what they will do if they are expected to pay even more.

  11. A male
    Posted July 23, 2009 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

    People who actually believe only those making over $1 million per year will see an increase in taxes to pay for health care are naive. The nature of insurance is those who do not consume resources, pay for those who consume more resources (regardless of income or actual level of health). If people were willing or able to pay for their own health care themselves, we wouldn’t need insurance or taxes. I am not criticizing the underprivileged or those with health problems, because they deserve decent care, that’s just how it is set up.
    And who are these people near that cutoff level, btw? Look beyond the recent stereotype of the decadent stockbroker or financier. Small business owners, perhaps? Try interviewing some local business owners to see how business is doing, to find out how they will pay trillions more in taxes (or health insurance premiums). In Hawaii, it we have unemployment levels that haven’t been seen since the early 70s, which is also being seen nationwide. Many that still have jobs are being given leave without pay, pay cuts and pay freezes. People are expected to do the same job, with less staff and resources. Ask employers what they will do if they are expected to pay even more.

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