So what is Tom Carper’s position on Public Option Health Care? A friend of mine just called up Senator Carper’s office, and inquired whether Carper (who claims that he “doesn’t oppose” the public option, a weaselly double-negative) would support a public option plan that was “available on day one”. Why is this important? In the time it takes you to read this post, another American will go bankrupt due to health care costs – one every 30 seconds.
Surprisingly, he got an actual answer: No.
According to Carper’s office, our senator views a potential public option plan as a “fall back” plan if a Senate (presumably “bipartisan”) bill fails to reduce health insurance costs via other means (like what, paying them off?). So no, no public option on day one, we’re going to give those swell folks in the health-care-rationing, claims-denial business ample time to pump money into more tea parties before we make a serious effort at covering 50 million uninsured Americans. This is the same as Olympia Snowe’s position:
“Throughout the entire health care debate, Senator Snowe has emphasized that we must first, reform health insurance, and if plans then fail to offer affordable coverage, a public plan should then be offered from day one,”
Notice the inherent contradiction between “first-if-then” and “day one”? I’ll give Carper this – at least his staff didn’t have the gall to use the phrase “day one” to mean the opposite of what was being asked about.
But as LeVar Burton would say, don’t take MY word for it – call the Senator’s offices and confirm this for yourself! Acknowledge that Carper is on the record as “not opposing” a public option (depending on the nature of the bill), and ask if our Senator would support or oppose a public option plan “available on day one with no trigger”.
DC Office: (202) 224-2441
Wilmington: (302) 573-6291
Dover: (302) 674-3308
Georgetown: (302) 856-7690
For a better understanding of the “trigger” issue, check out this post:
Now we come to “the fallback plan” or trigger option. An idea being floated by Sen. Olympia Snow and flat-out embarrassingly supported by Sen. Ron Wyden (who has publicly said he’s open to a public plan) would create a “trigger.” Health care would happen this year, but the public plan would not. As Pear explains, “the public plan would be created only if private insurance companies had not made meaningful, affordable coverage available to all Americans within several years.” All of these terms – “meaningful,” “affordable” and “several years” – are as vague as can be. The trigger may be set up so, in effect, it never happens, similar to the Medicare Part D trigger that would have created a public prescription drug plan – but never did. The threshold would be low enough that it could be easily, and superficially, met. Throughout those “several years,” the insurance plans would receive all of the uninsured who enroll through a National Health Exchange, pocketing what we can hope are generous government subsidies, with very few changes to their behavior.
Swine flu’s a-comin’ – do you want your co-workers trying to shrug off “a little cold” so they can save money on doctor’s bills? Do you want another massive giveaway of your tax dollars to corporate health insurance fat cats (who already make record profits)?
CALL. RIGHT. NOW.