Amendments that Were Not Part of the Deal

No HSAs, no malpractice reform, no wellness incentives and no members of Congress in your health plan. Conservatives for Patients Rights reports that the Energy and Commerce Committee has rejected these amendments:

  • Congressman Joe Barton (R-TX): $20 billion for high risk pools or other reinsurance mechanisms — lost 22-35.
  • Congressman Steve Buyer (R-IN): would have allowed discounts to customers that participated in wellness and health promotion or disease prevention programs — lost 24.
  • Congressmen Rogers (R-MI) and Matheson (D-UT): would have allowedHSAs/HDHPs as an option under the exchange — lost 26-33.
  • Congressman Terry (R-NE): would have allowed people who buy their own insurance to buy into the FEHBP therefore giving them the same choice as members of Congress — lost 28-31.
  • Congressman Burgess (R-TX): medical malpractice reform– lost 23-32.
  • Congressman Stearns (R-FL): wouldhave permitted individuals to keep their current health insurance coverage — lost 26-32.

Congresswoman Sue Myrick (R-NC):  automatically enroll the President, Vice President and all Members of Congress in the public option – tabled along party lines 36-22.

Comments (18)

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  1. Bruce says:

    It’s all very clear: this bill is pro-government and anti-patient.

  2. Ken says:

    It is anti- anti- anti- patient.

  3. Larry C. says:

    Sounds like everything sensible got voted down.

  4. Devon Herrick says:

    President Obama and the Democratic Leadership in Congress have repeatedly claimed… “If you like your current health insurance coverage, you can keep it.”

    Under current health reform proposals I assume this really means… “Americans can have the health plan of their choosing so long as they choose what Congress wants them to have.”

    This reminds my of the quote often attributed to Henry Ford, “Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it is black.”

  5. Brian says:

    point 1 about high risk pools-
    According to republicans, these pools already exist so why need a law to create that which already exists. You cannopt have it both ways, either it already exists, as republicans claim, or it doesn’t. wish republicans could make up their minds which lie they are going to tell next.

    point 2 about discounts-
    Never a serious consideration from republicans. That would destroy insurance profits and scince insurance owns the republican party, that would never have gone anywhere.

    point 3 about HSA’s
    Again they already exist and there is no need to create them. Frivolous and nothing but another attempt to portray caring when the truth has been proven that republicans do NOT care, have never cared.

    point 4 about buying into the federal healthcare program-
    The federal healthcare program is no different from most private insurance. Cadillac insurance plans ARE available to the general public now. There doesn’t need to be a law that orders that which already exists. Just another attempot at painting democrats, and by extension, healthcare reform in a bad light.

    point 5 about malpractice-
    I am FOR reforming the malpractice arena. Insurance isn’t because they make money off of insuring doctors. They don’t want malpractice reform any more than republicans do. Yet another attempt to distract from the real issue of reforming the healthcare industry and in particular the insurance industry.

    point 6 about keeping your coverage
    Again a frivolous amendment because under Obama’s plan you CAN keep your insurance if you want. That has always been a piullar of Obama’s reforms. If you want to try and quote the “Levin Group”, don’t bother. Levin group is the PR arm of insurance. They are owned by insurance and so everything they say is questionable and is extremely biased. EVERYTHING!

    Point 7- about automatic enrollment into a public option for congress
    So republicans are trying to force people yto drop personal coverage? That os what they are doing. If they truly want to ensure that you can keep your insurance if you want, then why turn around and contradict yourself by forcing others to drop their coverage? It is easily seen for the ignorant grandstanding it is.

  6. Mark says:

    Brian, a couple responses to your points since you appear incapable of embracing logical arguments and merely attack Republicans on the basis of the “they’re evil!!1!!11!!” argument (which is also common among Nobel Prize economists such as Paul Krugman, so don’t feel bad).

    Point 2: Whether discounts is a serious consideration from Republicans should be irrelevant; Democrats control both the committee and congress. Furthermore, this represents a method of allowing insurers to provide cheaper coverage to those who keep themselves healthy, which will be otherwise impossible due to restrictions on insurance pricing based on health status or lifestyle. Also, as for industries owning political parties, it’s more accurate to say that industries throw their money where it will be most effective and back winners regardless of party. Hence large Democrat gains in funding in ’08:

    Point 3: HSAs exist in the current individual insurance market, but not in the exchange. If Democrats are indeed interested merely in increasing competition (as opposed to inserting a public option intended to build an eventual monopoly), they should not fear allowing one more option into the exchange.

    Point 5: Believe it or not, your hated insurers are not the only lobbyist group in Washington. I have heard rumors of a supposed constituency of “trial lawyers” which apparently has some influence with the Democratic Party…all sarcasm aside, I asked a health insurance reform advocate a question about defensive medicine at a presentation given at my alma mater, and he openly lied to me about the prevalence of defensive medicine (said that “even high end estimates put defensive medicine at no more than 2% of the cost of health care”, whereas the most cited study in the field by Kessler and McClellan provides a figure estimated at 5-9%). He obviously doesn’t represent all Democrats, but he was working with several politicians in the Minnesota Democratic Party and represented at least one voice of the single-payer establishment. If you are allowed to blame insurers owning the GOP for all of health care’s problems, I feel every bit as inclined to blame the trial lawyers for at least some problems on the other side of the aisle.

    Point 6: Actually, small employers dropping insurance is exactly what has happened in Massachusetts. If you don’t believe that, read Healthcare, Guaranteed by Rahm Emanuel’s brother (a liberal book which explains the issue from a fairly balanced perspective; I always advocate reading strong logical arguments from both sides of any issue).

    Anyway, my point: Republicans are not simply blocking reform out of pure evil!!111!!1!, and Democrats are not saints.

  7. Stephanie Bond says:

    This plan is complete folly, and its aim is NOT to improve health care. Oh, the stated aim may be said to be something or other to do with health care (insert platitudinous dreck), but the TRUE aim is to drive another nail into the half-dead corpse that is the American economy.

    Those of you who voted for this shyster may have thought he was offering you wondrous miracles. What he was offering you was something for nothing. There is no such thing, as it happens. You will all pay for the shyster in the White House to expand his lust for more & more power over your lives.

  8. Stephanie Bond says:

    “The federal healthcare program is no different from most private insurance.”

    OH MY GOD, are you kidding? Government-run programs are the complete opposite of private enterprise. Private enterprise does not have the right to point a gun at you, threaten you with fines or jails if you do not pay. Private enterprise offers products which customers may purchase or not if they desire. Government programs force EVERYONE to contribute – unless you can establish that you are below the poverty line. “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need” is the mantra of the brain-dead, isn’t it? Are you posting from some communist crackpot country, Brian? I can’t believe you’re actually an American, supporting this crap.

  9. Brian says:

    Actually I am posting from Kingsport, Tennessee. In the United States of America.

    Private insurance DOES hold a gun to your head. Do it my way, pay my prices, or go without.
    What does going without mean?
    It means that when you have to go to the Doctor you must pay 3-5 hundred dollars. It means that when you go to the hospital, you end up with a bill in the thousands.
    If you cannot pay those bills- your credit is destroyed which affects your housing, your job, your car, your bank, your cable tv or telephone service, you ability to recieve tax-returns, in other words affects EVERY aspect of life in America. In other wordas you can either pay their high prices and pray that you don’t get sick, or you can take an express train to poverty.


    Insurance supposedly is so high to cover medical expenses of those un-insured so in essence private insurance is also “forcing” you to pay for EVERYONE. You cannot have it both ways Stephanie. Either insurance only cares about the costs of its consumers or it is so high because they are recovering everyone’s health costs.

    The federal health-care program IS a collection of private insurance providers and is NOT a government program. The difference being that the premiums for these private plans are paid 100% by taxpayers. So Yes the Federal healthcare program is EXACTLY the same as private insurance!

  10. Brian says:

    By federal healthcare I am discussing the collection of private insurance plans that congress has to choose from.

  11. Linda Gorman says:

    Brian, there is nothing in any private insurance contract that prevents the holder of that contract from paying cash for whatever medical care he wants.

    The amount maximum amount one is liable for under a private insurance contract can be specified if you purchase a policy with a defined deductible and no coinsurance. Furthermore, you can protect yourself against expenses not covered by the contract by opening a health savings account. The money in it can be used to pay for anything the IRS allows as a medical expense.

    It sounds like you had a bad experience with an insurer. Does this necessarily mean that all insurers are bad in all cases? Does it necessarily means that government is better? I doubt it given the horror stories available from Medicare, Medicaid, and the VA.

  12. Brian says:

    No it doesn’t mean that government is so much better but it DOES mean that government can do no worse. In fact the actual picture is that as bad as the government can be, its a far better hope than private insurance which has proven itself to be predatory, in-effective, severely in-efficient, and above all totally not secure. That’s quite the condemnation but one that is completely supported by the evidence of the growing number of the un-insured, the growth in the number of the under-insured, the growth in financial bankruptcy issues of individuals and buisnesses, and finally the historical record showing that buisness as usual is a downward spiral of worsening conditions. Insurance will not clean up its act on its own, who’s going to force these changes? Consumers? Hardly, there is nothing else but pay their demands or do without and live in poverty for the rest of your life. Consumers are prey in the sights of insurance companies. A resource to be used until there is nothing left and then thrown away. That is the historical track record of insurance which drops coverage on 15,000 Americans each day. Some of these get on different plans or with other companies but some are blacklisted as un-insurable industry wide and tough luck then. Buisness as usual of course, all in the name of profit as if that makes it somehow acceptable. I guess it works well because yet again nothing will be done and the insurance companies will have proven themselves bigger and more powerful than government– approaching untouchable status.

  13. Deborah McNemar says:

    I’m no political thinker but I have to worry about a health care program that even the people creating it don’t want to be enrolled in it. And the system proposed is already not working in Canada, Australia, and the UK. Or, I should say, it works about as well as prohibition. Canadians seeking health care come south. Britians go to France. Doesn’t instill a lot of confidence in me.

    As far as “you can keep your private insurance”, it’s a lie. Oh, you can keep it – as long as you don’t change jobs or try to enroll in a different private insurance. There’s even a time limit on the clause. Eventually, the masses will be forced into government healthcare – except for the President, Vice President and Congress – the very people who crafted this marvel.

    Sorry. I don’t like it at all.

  14. Sara says:

    I’ve read and watched and studied and finally gave up. This blog certainly hasn’t helped any. Everyone has made some good points, BUT the healthcare system (the WHOLE system — doctors, hospitals, insurances… EVERYTHING)has gone unchecked for so long, I seriously doubt there IS such a thing as reforming the current system. Universal healthcare? no. would not work under any circumstances in this country.

    so what’s the answer? *shrugs* Not sure. BUT. I think we need to ask ourselves why costs are so high to begin with. Doctors and healthcare facilities trying to recoup losses from uninsured who can’t pay but need help, tests that are not paid for by insurances but are needed (and don’t even kid yourself thinking that doesn’t happen becasue i WORK in healcare, i KNOW it does.) restrictions placed on insurance companies about what tests can be preformed at what stages and only after other tests. You spend three times as much getting to the recommended test than if you’d started out there to begin with. It’s like spending $10 to save $2 when you could have spent $5 to begin with and been done with hit.

    I have mixed feelings about malpractice reform. no one is perfect, but we seem to place doctors above the average human being. I know they expect us to give them the highest respect. I tend to think they should be held to a higher standard simply because they are “experts” in their field. However, I don’t expect miricles either. Just because i’ve had trouble with my ankle ever since I totally crushed it and an ortho who put it back together but couldn’t get it exactly straight doesn’t mean I feel justified in sueing him. I’m grateful i can walk at all, or that i didnt’ get it amputated.

    On those same lines, I have a totally differnt feel on drug companies. it takes three times as long for a drug to get approved for human consumption in the United States than it does anywhere else in the world and we STILL screw it up. I know for a fact trials are manipulated and results withheld in order to get a drug pushed through. In most cases, doctors don’t get all the information from the drug companies regarding clinical trials to say nothing of testing before the actual human tests are done, so I don’t blame them.

    Insurance companies? well, they were wonderful… about 10 or 15 years ago. it all kinda went downhill from there. I pay twice as much for half as much coverage as I did 5 years ago. My copayments have doubled (i work for a multi billion dollar chain of hospitals, BTW) as have my deductables. It’s really no secret that insurance companies drive the cost of health care. but we can’t be without them. something they already know. kind of like a catch 22 situation i guess.

    anyway. here’s to watching it all fall on its face. nothing will change — no matter who is in office — and i have no expectation of it. I personally think Obama is trying to do what he feels is best in the way he thinks best to accomplish it so i have no bad feelings toward him. He had a mess to deal with and no matter who was ellected, they weren’t going to fix things in one term. anyone who expected that is a damned fool, Stephanie Bond.

    I’m a really huge fan of “If you think you can do better, let me see your name on the ballot next term.”

  15. Brian says:

    Thank you Sara—
    Wonderful post that sums up my own frustration and hopelessness.

  16. Greg says:

    Brian, hard to understand why you have such a hang up about Republicans. They have not been involved in the debate at all. They are in total disarray. They cannot agree on a message or a plan.

    All the infighting and chaos is the result of Democrats fighting with Democrats. They control the House. They have a fillabuster proof majority in the Senate. And they have the White House.

    Republicans, for the moment, are irrelevant.

  17. Daniel says:

    The End of Creativity for Health Insurance. A Story

    In the year 2018, the Association of Family Doctors commissioned the creation of an interactive computer program to assist themselves and their patients with the diagnosis and treatment of disease. It was developed as “cloud technology” for use on the Internet. In order to obtain access you had to have the password of the month supplied by your own family
    practitioner. Advertising by specialists and drug companies on the program make it possible to provide free use of the program to members. Dr. Hans Matthew, a recent graduate of medical school, joined the AFD because he hoped to open his own sole practice. At this point in his career, Dr. Matthew had very few patients. However as a youth he had played hockey in the area. Therefore he went to the Association of Hockey Parents and made them an offer. For $25 per
    person per month, he would take care of their general health problems. Each parent has signed an agreement that in order to keep costs down, the failure to perform defensive medicine would not constitute medical malpractice. At each visit, Dr. Matthew would not only use the computer program himself, but teach the patient or the parents how to use the program to answer their own questions. The system was so popular among patients that the Association of Tennis Parents and
    the Association of Dance Parents has also signed up. With the extra money, Dr. Matthew has hired a nurse who also sees patients and uses the computer program with the parents. Once a month, they rent a room at the local library and teach use of the computer program, nutrition, weight control and life style techniques to stay healthy. Dr. Matthew is now thinking of hiring 10
    more nurses to open in locations throughout northern Illinois, southern Wisconsin, northern Indiana and southwest Michigan.

    Virtually everything described above is illegal. Dr. Matthew was not licensed by the state. The sale to the Hockey parents constituted the unlawful sale of health insurance. State law makes it illegal to contract away your right to sue for medical palpractice. Our nurse was conducting the unsupervised practice of medicine. State laws limit the number of nurse practitioners that one doctor can supervise. And of course separate licenses would be required in
    each state as well as authority to conduct health insurance operation in each state. The competitive elimination of excess waste and costs is currently illegal.

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