Dinner in Johnston
Rhode Island roads are designed for people who already know where they’re going. That’s why I barely made it to Johnston in time to set up for the community dinner hosted b y Senators Reed and Whitehouse. And what do I find when I arrive:
Andrew sneaking up on Pat Crowley! We’re a violent mob we right wingers. (No YouTubable video came out of that incident, unfortunately.)
Whitehouse is listing ways to reduce costs in healthcare, most of which are unacceptable (e.g., throw people off the roles). His vague response is that we have to “reform the delivery system in ways that save money.” No real solutions.
Jack Reed just repeated the lie that folks who like their insurance can keep it. He didn’t add the necessary qualification that it would only last five years.
A 75-year-old from German is testifying that his wife’s small business has been having trouble keeping up with payments for employees health insurance. Germany, by contrast, is a nirvana of free healthcare. Not sure when the last time Germany led the world in healthcare innovation.
Whitehouse is trying to explain that foreign companies have an advantage in exports because they don’t have to incorporate healthcare for employees into their costs. Of course, the taxes must be worked into the price.
Reed used a popular comeback when an older attendee spoke against the Democrats reform: “Well, what insurance do you have.” When the answer is Medicare, he makes a face that says, “Well…”
It’s certainly the most quiet crowd tonight. Plenty of shushers when opposition voices make such suggestions as economics lessons in the Senate.
An elderly man, who testified that he’s happy with American care, brought up tort reform. Reed is downplaying the importance of that issue, and he looked to the table of planted Brown University medical students .
A 14 -year-old asked whether a national healthcare would be Constitutional, and both Senators said “probably” and brought up a number of state-level public systems (e.g., colleges) as examples of its plausibility. Uh-huh.
Will Grapentine just asked why, if America has the best of hospitals, medicine, etc., as he says Reed suggests, then why change it? He also suggested steps toward privatization.
Whitehouse is also bragging about America’s medical facilities. “My concern is that we take all of that talent and excellence, and then we grind it through a system…” that kills people and leaves people out.
Asked about free market competition, Reed said that they’re trying to build a better system. Makes me wonder why, if they’re such geniuses, in federal government, they went into “public service” instead of applying that insight throughout the economy as private actors.
More repeats of favorite stories, such as Sheldon’s example of hospitals not wanting to invest in efficiency equipment because it costs them billable minutes.
I’ve yet to hear anybody ask or explain why the feds aren’t looking at specific problems, first, and then expanding to rewrite the entire system, if necessary.
Whitehouse once again stated that the problems with Medicare originate in the fact that it hasn’t been funded, as if some other entity than the government making those decisions.
Whitehouse asserted that Obama has already cut taxes for the middle class, so we can trust him not to break the pledge only to tax rich people.
Whitehouse expressed that the reform is intended to make the system, better, more efficient, and even more super duper. When asked how Congress will pay for it, he brought up digital medical records. First of all, can’t that be done on its own? Second of all, is that really the big plan for saving money to pay for a public option et al.
A young woman just noted that businessmen are not accountable to her, but these two senators are. Ah, youth.
A social worker just synopsized the liberal point of view by putting his entire perspective in terms feeling good about helping neighbors, equating a refusal to back a government system naked cruelty of soul.
I have to say that I’m suspicious of the folks who come to these things in white jackets and stethoscopes around their necks are suspicious when they declare themselves doctors. Maybe it’s just too much television as a youth, with the whole “I’m not a doctor but I play one on TV” thing.
One such doctor just said that a public option must be big enough to negotiate. That seems to conflict with earlier efforts to diminish the significance of a public option.