Monday, August 10, 2009

Town Hall on Healthcare

Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Missouri Democrat, is holding a townhall meeting on healthcare today, and CNN is covering it live. You can watch online. Just a couple of thoughts on what I'm seeing:

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1. As important an issue as healthcare is, is there any doubt that CNN would not be covering a townhall meeting if it wasn't hoping that a riot would break out or that someone would burn the poor senator in effigy? Such is the state of our media. Unfortunately for cable ratings, everyone (at this writing) is behaving.

2. Here's a quote from McCaskill, a moderate Democrat in a red-leaning state: "You all understand what happened with Medicare [Part] D? I wish the anger that’s being ginned up right now would have been there for Medicare D. They gave $6 billion a year to the pharmaceutical companies. It wasn’t means-tested. You all are paying for Warren Buffett’s healthcare. It doesn’t make any sense to me. … And it wasn’t paid for. They just put it on the credit card. They just put it on the credit card."

She's referring to Medicare's prescription drug program. To their credit, Dems tried to empower the government to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies on drug prices but were voted down by Republicans, whose fiscal conservatism led them to insist that taxpayers pay any price for drugs that the pharma companies set. Still, McCaskill isn't suggesting doing away with Medicare Part D. In fact, earlier in the session, in a reference to the "doughnut hole" -- the hole in coverage that comes between a basic amount of coverage and before a patient spends a great deal on drugs -- she said: "We're gonna fill the doughnout hole." Meaning, government will start paying for ALL of seniors' prescriptions. So we'll be paying even more.

And the White House apparently brokered a deal with the pharmaceutical industry to block any Congressional effort to allow for drug price-negotiation, though it is now giving a runaround as to whether it actually meant to do so, and whether it will stick to its agreement. (My guess: In the end there will be drug price negotiation on any bill that passes.) Anyway, the drug benefit still won't be means-tested.

1 comment:

  1. I am really pissed off at these protesters who are screaming about the so-called "euthanasia" clause. The reality is that this provision will allow doctors to be reimbursed for discussing advance directives- a service we now give away for free. We are not limiting care, rationing care or committing euthanasia. These idiots pay their lawyers to get their will drafted- why not pay their doctor to draft their living will, whether it say "Do everything til my last breath" or "don't you dare keep me alive artificially- I'd rather be dead than live in a nursing home dependent on others for care."