- Pennsylvania Among 'Terrible 10' Most Regressive Tax States
- February 4 Non-Partisan Training: HOW TO RUN FOR ELECTION BOARD IN 2013: HOW TO RUN FOR COMMITTEEPERSON IN 2014
- Republican Governors Opt-In to Medicaid Expansion
- The Reports of Unions' Death Are Greatly Exaggerated
- Ask Allyson Schwartz to run for Governor
- Mind the gap: Opting Out of Medicaid Expansion Leaves Low-income Families Behind
- Jan. 14 Workshop:HOW TO RUN FOR ELECTION BOARD IN 2013; HOW TO RUN FOR COMMITTEEPERSON IN 2014
- Seth Williams on Guns, Jasmine Rivera on School Closures @PFC Meetup Wednesday
- PA Revenue Strong Midway Through Year; Tax Cut Could Have Big Impact
- What to Make of the Fiscal Cliff Deal?
How We Won Health Care Reform In Pennsylvania
I was in the audience at a taping of a program on WHYY TV on health care reform tonight.
And now I know how we managed to get PA ABC, Governor Rendell’s program to insure another quarter of million people, through the Senate.
The representative from Aetna said that the company thinks everyone should be insured.
The representative from the Hospital Association said that everyone should be insured.
The representative from the Pennsylvania Medical Society said that everyone should be insured.
And it was the support of these wonderful representatives of the insurance and medical establishment that helped us overcome the ideological opposition of the Republican Senate leadership, got the bill that passed the House in March to the Senate floor, and got it passed with bipartisan support.
That, plus the fact that the Republicans recognized the utter stupidity of their own alternative, which would insure only another 20 or 30,000 people, but would cost the state the same amount of money as the Governor’s plan to give 250,000 health insurance with mental health and prescription drug coverage because the latter plan could draw on $400 million from the Feds.
You must see this program when it airs. Bizarro world has rarely been so well represented on public television.
For, of course, the truth is that Aetna opposed PA ABC. Yes they want everyone to be insured, but they want the government to insure people who are older or have previous medical conditions in a high-risk high-deductible policy. Aetna benefits in two ways from this: First, the pressure on them to insure such folks is lifted and, as an Aetna representative told me last night community rating is contrary to their business model. And second, if government picks up the costs of health care for the sickest people, then there will be less cost-shifting by doctors and hospitals to the relatively health patients Aetna covers adn their costs will be lower and profits higher.
And the truth is that the hospital association fought PA ABC because they would much rather be paid by the state to carry out uncompensated care that the do not deliver than actually to have to take care of people who are poor and sick.
The Pennsylvania Medical Society did, at the last minute, support PA ABC so that they could get their abatements for MCARE payments reinstated. But they were, shall we say, unenthusiastic supporters.
What we should learn from this episode is that the insurance companies, hospitals, and doctors in conservative medical societies can read the same polls we read. They know that they are not trusted. They know that people believe that health insurance is a right. They know that people believe we should share the costs of health insurance.
So they learn to defend themselves in public with the kind of talk that is poll tested and likely to impress people. And, in private, they use their campaign contributions to oppose progressive reform.
That's the Bizarro World of health care reform today. Don't be fooled by it.
(BTW The people on the show who seemed to be from this planet were Bill George, Shelley Yanoff, and Lance Haver. Thanks to them for giving us a few glimpses of what health care looks like in the non-Bizarro world.)