Health Care Checkup

By Josh Feit November 19, 2009

Over at the,  Joel Connelly summarizes Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell's "mild" "qualified" and "careful" assessment of Sen. Harry Reid's $848-billion-over-10-years health care reform bill (which is supposed to actually reduce projected deficits by $130 billion, thanks to health care savings—you know, like asking women to put off breast cancer testing for 10 years ... my patriarchy conspiracy theory ... not Erica's).

And liberal blog Talking Points Memo has a clear breakdown of the bill this morning as well, including this interesting point (about self-hating red states?):
However, it's not all roses. For instance, based on an assessment of the political popularity of the public option, the CBO has concluded that enough states will "opt out" to prevent a full third of consumers from purchasing government insurance.

Update: I've linked Sen. Murray's health care speech below the fold.

Senator Murray’s full speech follows:

“It has been a long journey—one that is far from over—but I am so excited to stand here today as we move closer than ever to passing an historic bill that will finally reform our broken health care system and help millions of families and small business owners get the coverage they need at a price they can afford.

“And it is about time.

“For too long we have had a health insurance system that crushes our hard-working families under the burden of skyrocketing costs. And for too long we have had a health insurance system that devastates small business owners—and penalizes our best doctors and hospitals.

“I have heard from so many of my constituents about the desperate need for reform.

“Patricia Jackson from Woodinville, Washington sent me a story that about her family’s fight to maintain their coverage.  Like many working families, the Jacksons have private insurance through their employer and pay premiums each month directly out of Patricia’s paycheck.  But also like most families, the burden of those premium payments is rising too quickly.

“To provide care for her family of four, Patricia paid $840 a month in 2007. Then, in 2008, her payments jumped to $900 a month. This year, Patricia paid $1,186 a month. And just recently her rates were hiked to $1,400 a month.  This is an increase of over 66% in just 3 years

“Patricia and her family simply can’t afford for this to continue—and they are not alone.

“Skyrocketing costs are weighing on families across the country—but we can make sure that this changes.

“That here in America, losing your job won’t mean losing your health care. That here in America, health care will finally be affordable for all families and small business owners.  And that here in America, insurance companies will no longer be allowed to reject people because of a pre-existing condition—or cut off their coverage. And finally, they will be forced to truly compete for business of the American people.

“But some of my Republican colleagues don’t think this is an urgent problem.  They don’t think our country needs real reform. They say we should wait, and they plan to use cheap political tricks to delay reform.

“But who do they think they are hurting? It’s not us—it’s the families out there right now with sick husbands, sick wives, sick children. And it’s small business owners who can’t afford to cover their employees. And people who have coverage but are worried about losing it in this uncertain economy It’s them we are fighting for—and as a mother and a Senator I say enough is enough.

“Enough with the politics and enough with the games. This issue is just too important.

“So I call on my colleagues across the aisle to work with us—to rise above partisanship. We have a good plan.  It will rein in costs for our families and small business owners.  And it will ensure that every Americans has high quality, affordable coverage.

“The problems in our health insurance system are not going to go away if we do nothing. They will not get better if we wait. Costs are rising at an unsustainable rate for those who have insurance, and more and more Americans are losing their insurance every day.

“We have been talking about reforming our health care system for a long time. And now we have a plan to get it done.

“I am going to keep fighting to make this work for our families—and I know all of you are going to be fighting by my side.

“Thank you.”
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