jim kawakami: Blog on NY Times Article http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/10/health/policy/10health.html?pagewanted=all
It might be a coincidence, but after Senator Coburn (R-OK) taunted the Democrats that the current bill is much worse than the Congressional Federal Employees Healthcare Plan. The most conservative Republican Senator gave the Dems the excuse to Act!
By essentially killing the Public Option and giving Medicare to those uninsured at a higher price than current Medicare patients, it solved two problems, for reasons rarely mentioned in the corporate press/media.
Firstly older workers almost certainly have pre-existing conditions and long-term unemployed, and is a liability for the insurance companies so they would prefer not to have these people on the books.
Secondly many are likely to be unemployed in spite of the easily bypassed age discrimination law. These workers include influential voters who might make a difference in states such as Ohio which has a huge number of White middleclass workers out of jobs and many are now on the breadline. MSNBC showed a very long line of only White middleclass workers picking up food from a Food Bank.
The cost for Medicare is more imagined than factual among these younger than 60 unemployed workers. In fact they may lower the individual costs because they are younger and not as sick.
About two-thirds of the cost of Medicare is among those over 75 years and the highest cost by far of this number is for those terminal patients kept in the hospital an extra few months. Surveys show that most would have preferred to die at home and only their sons and daughters force their parents and grandparents to suffer by not giving them a higher amount of pain killer and sending them home to be loved and cared for at much lower cost. Home Care is much cheaper than hospitals. The Hospital lobby much have argued against home care and has been removed as an option.
An example of the difference in cost in my own case. I had a severe case of an autoimmune skin disease with boils all over my body. Just Ten Days in the hospital cost my insurance company $150,000 excluding all the "extra" costs for me !
When I got a similar case, I made the decision to have home care because of MRSA infection in hospitals with the nurse coming in every other day which my primary care physician changed to daily care. Medicare paid for all of it at an incredibly lower cost! In some patients MRSA seems to never go away entirely.
In a similar manner, abortion during the era of the 1787 formation of our Constitution was very common and done by Mid-Wives, but physicians in the Nineteenth Century wanted the income from this procedure so made it illegal for Mid-Wives to conduct this service. Banning abortion was not done by the Church in Rome, but by Emperor Constantine in the mid-4th century AD at the time abortion was common.
If you read scholarly religious history, power and profit more than God or Christ led to rules over-ruling Christ regarding images and homosexuality. There is no record of Christ banning homosexuality. Now the radical Evangelicals and Catholics quote the Old Testament which has contradictions galore because at least three different authors have been proved by scholars. The Radical Evangelicals in the Nineteenth Century developed a new religion contradicting Christ by ignoring the teachings and inconvenient truths of what Jesus said about Greed and Wealth!
Why are we so religious and fearful? A partial answer might be that many who populated this country survived by being paranoid and violent in much larger numbers than many other countries. Europeans with the same genes are largely not that religious, even Catholics attend church sparsely now because they were not as oppressed as the ones who fled because of religious suppression.
This is a simplistic answer, but I think I am largely right. That is why we spend so much money trying to keep our parents and grandparents alive because they are even paranoid about God's will while some countries in Europe by law or in practice don't abhor euthanasia of terminal loved ones.
WE FEAR DEATH even though religion should have the opposite effect if we truly believe Jesus or other religious scribes and prophets.
Jim Kawakami, Dec 9, 2009, New Blog http://jimboguy.blogspot.com