Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Republicans Are Irrelevant to Health Care Reform


Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) voted for the weakest of the five health care bills passed by Congressional committees. Big deal. If the bill that goes to the Senate floor is weak enough for her to vote for, then the insurance companies will win and the American people will lose.

When Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nevada) emerges from private meetings with Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-Connecticut), Sen. Max Baucus (D-Montana) and Obama administration officials, led by chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, the bill needs to have a strong public option or the insurance companies will carry out their threat to raise everyone's premiums, leading to an angry electorate in 2010.

Democrats can cry foul all they want when the insurance industry threatens to raise rates, but if the final bill looks like the Finance Committee bill, higher premiums are inevitable.

Why? It is simple economics.

Many of the reforms, such as covering people with pre-existing conditions, could cost the insurance companies more money. The insurance companies will say that if they have to insure people that are already sick, they will need more revenue. Without competition, the insurance companies will continue to fudge the numbers and control insurance costs.

Let's face it, the Republican Party is afraid that they will be irrelevant for a long time if the Democrats deliver anything close to universal health care; the best case for them is a bill that has reforms, but doesn't cut costs.


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