Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Holding Pattern

I'm still waiting on about a million little pieces of news -- I may not put up another entry until after the President's speech tomorrow night -- but here are some interesting tidbits:

1) I haven't seen anyone, of any party, come out in favor of Max Baucus' 18-page draft plan. Delmoi at Metafilter, however, points out that the author listed in the plan's PDF identification data is Liz Fowler, former VP of public affairs (ahem lobbyist chieftain) for Wellpoint. Also, it looks like the special interest lobbies got a copy of the plan before the President. Baucus' moment on center stage, having extended long past several deadlines for delivering a workable bill, and taking longer than any other committee, looks increasingly like a swan song. Democrats believe their representatives are trying to insure more people and save money; Republicans believe their representatives are trying to save money and decrease government control over citizens -- what's Baucus trying to do? Flap till he flies?

2) The actual plan itself absolutely lacks the sense of plan -- it is a list of inchoate, disorganized patchworks with no executive summary and no feeling of direction. It does include an insurance mandate (i.e. the government would fine you if you choose to remain uninsured) and does not include a public option, although it allows for new non-profit co-ops that receive some government start-up funding, which might just mean loans. It also has this hilarious Dungeons & Dragons-inspired marketing system for products in its insurance exchanges -- you can be insured at the bronze, silver, gold or platinum level. (Secret plans will also be provided for celebrities and billionaires: adamantium and mithril, respectively). Seriously, though, this is yet another indication that there are lots and lots of people in government and the health insurance industry who consider individual health to be just another commodity to be bought and sold on the open market.

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