Young America Wants Health Care Reform

As the AFL-CIO report, "Young Workers: A Lost Decade," recently found, some 31 percent of workers under age 35 have no health insurance--even if they have jobs. Millions more young workers have insufficient coverage. It's a dangerous situation, and too many young workers would be left bankrupt if hit by an accident or unexpected illness.

Ari A. Matusiak, founder of Young Invincibles, a health reform advocacy group, says in a new AFL-CIO Point of View guest column that these young workers need health care reform now, and that they need to join together to fight for it.

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Daily Pulse: Finance Committee Rejects Public Options, But the Fight Continues

By Lindsay Beyerstein, Media Consortium Blogger

Yesterday, the powerful Senate Finance Committee met to debate two amendments that would have inserted a public option into the committee's health reform bill. Both amendments were defeated as key Democrats sided with Republicans and the insurance companies. David Corn of Mother Jones diagnoses what ails Senate Democrats. It's split personality disorder: "They are the best friends of the health insurance industry. They are fiercest foes of the health insurance industry."

Sen. Jay Rockefeller's (D-WV) strong public option amendment was defeated 15-8 because senators Max Baucus (D-MT), Kent Conrad (D-ND), Blanche Lincoln (D-AR), Bill Nelson (D-FL), and Tom Carper (D-DE) joined the committee's ten Republicans. In the next round of voting, Nelson and Carper backed Chuck Schumer's (D-NY) amendment, but Baucus, Conrad and Lincoln stuck with the GOP and voted it down. Ironically, as Corn observes, the Senate Democratic communications team was busy emailing blistering indictments of the insurance industry while key members of the caucus were doing the insurers' bidding.

John Nichols of The Nation worries that yesterday's defeat is a sign that Congress is backing away from a public option, which was itself a compromise alternative to a single-payer, Medicare-for-all type system:

Tuesday's day-long gathering of the powerful Senate Finance Committee, where chairman Max Baucus has spent months lowering expectations, offered a sense of just how dim prospects for meaningful systemic change have become.

Baucus, the insurance-industry representative who doubles as a Democratic senator from Montana, long ago rejected the notion that a robust public option might be a part of any healthcare reform measure that would pass the Senate.


The Senate Finance Committee went on to add tens of millions of dollars for discredited abstinence-only propaganda for teens, as Mike Lillis of the Washington Independent reports. Well, at least pseudoscience has a public option. If kids can learn this nonsense for free at school, maybe they'll ditch church, where you have to put your money in the collection plate to hear the sermon.

Chris Bowers of AlterNet argues that a public option still has 51 votes in the Senate. Which means that the Democrats could still pass a healthcare bill by majority vote in the upper chamber, if they decided to forgo their quest for a filibuster-proof 60 and pass the bill through budget reconciliation.

Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA), chair of the Health Education Labor and Pensions Committee, claims to have the votes to pass a plan with a public option, Lynda Waddington reports in the Iowa Independent. Harkin believes that the full Senate should have the opportunity to vote on the public option, considering that it's part of four out of the five bills that have been approved so far.

The fight for a public option isn't over yet. To date, all of the other health reform bills that are out of committee include a strong public option. The next step is putting these bills together to create the final legislation for the House and Senate to vote on.

This post features links to the best independent, progressive reporting about health care and is free to reprint. Visit  Healthcare.newsladder.net for a complete list of articles on health care affordability, health care laws, and health care controversy. For the best progressive reporting on the Economy, and Immigration, check out Economy.Newsladder.net and Immigration.Newsladder.net. This is a project of The Media Consortium, a network of 50 leading independent media outlets, and created by NewsLadder.

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Daily Pulse: Adele Stan Talks Teabaggers (Audio)

By Lindsay Beyerstein, Media Consortium Blogger

In this interview, Stan explains that while the event was billed as a grassroots convergence, it was in fact orchestrated by Dick Armey's FreedomWorks and the right wing Americans for Prosperity. The rally also received massive amounts of free publicity from Fox News host Glenn Beck, coordinator of the 9-12 project. Stan describes how all the abortion-, immigration- and death panel-talk binds social conservatives, nativists, and big business interests into a cohesive rightwing coalition.

Stan says that ,while the tea baggers have cropped up recently, the leaders of the movement have been at this game since LBJ trounced Barry Goldwater in 1964.

To learn more, check out Addie's recent writing on the Tea Parties at AlterNet. The Wing Nut Code explains the significance of those creepy yellow snake flags and other right wing symbology; and The Same Old Faces explains how old guard Goldwater partisans are still pulling the strings for the right wing.

If the embedded audio player is not working for you, please listen to the interview here.


This post features links to the best independent, progressive reporting about health care and is free to reprint. Visit  Healthcare.newsladder.net for a complete list of articles on health care affordability, health care laws, and health care controversy. For the best progressive reporting on the Economy, and Immigration, check out Economy.Newsladder.net and Immigration.Newsladder.net. This is a project of The Media Consortium, a network of 50 leading independent media outlets, and created by NewsLadder.

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Daily Pulse: It Could Happen to You

By Lindsay Beyerstein, Media Consortium Blogger

Opponents of health care reform are trying to pit the insured against everyone else. Conservative Republicans like Rep. Mike Pence warn that if we get a public option, millions of Americans will lose their private coverage because so many employers will stop offering private insurance. What Pence doesn't say is that right now, employers can stop providing insurance at any time and their workers will have nothing to fall back on. As costs rise, fewer and fewer employers are providing any health insurance at all.

Most insured people have no idea how fragile their coverage is under the status quo.

The Uptake carries President Obama's address on the uninsured, in which he hammered home the message that anyone under 65 can lose their coverage at any time. Luckily for those over 65, they have a popular public option, Medicare.

There are lots of ways to become uninsured, including job loss, employers cutting off benefits, or insurers kicking customers off the rolls. As Obama said:

Over the last twelve months, nearly six million more Americans lost their health coverage - that's 17,000 men and women every single day. We're not just talking about Americans in poverty, either - we're talking about middle-class Americans. In other words, it can happen to anyone. And based on a brand-new report from the Treasury Department, we can expect that about half of all Americans under 65 will lose their health coverage at some point over the next ten years.

It's common knowledge that insurance companies drop customers with preexisting conditions and cut paying customers off when they get sick. It might surprise you to learn that domestic violence counts as a preexisting condition in many states.

Amie Newman of RH Reality Check reports that the insurance industry figured out what feminists have been saying for decades: Once a man becomes a batterer, chances are he'll continue to abuse his wife with increasing brutality. If you're a human being, that's an outrage and a tragedy. If you're a conscience-free health insurance provider, it's a big red flag to drop victims because their wounds will cost you money. This is the logic of for-profit health insurance in a microcosm: Identify the most vulnerable and purge them because they hurt your bottom line.

Meanwhile, the Senate Finance Committee is set to unveil its long-awaited bill today. The committee will vote on the bill next week. We'll examine the bill in tomorrow's Pulse.

After a seemingly endless quest for a bipartisan bill, Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont) is signaling that he's prepared to move ahead without GOP support. Good thing, too. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) swears he's serious about bipartisanship, according to the Iowa Independent, but he spent the summer telling tall tales of death panels and fundraising as an opponent of "Obamacare." Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), one potential Republican swing vote, now says she rejects the very idea of public/private competition, according to Steve Benen at the Washington Monthly.

Finally, you can use the Washington Independent's new Public Option Scoreboard to keep track of every senator's position, based on their public statements.

This post features links to the best independent, progressive reporting about health care and is free to reprint. Visit  Healthcare.newsladder.net for a complete list of articles on health care affordability, health care laws, and health care controversy. For the best progressive reporting on the Economy, and Immigration, check out Economy.Newsladder.net and Immigration.Newsladder.net. This is a project of The Media Consortium, a network of 50 leading independent media outlets, and created by NewsLadder.

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Carefirst Screws Up Paperwork, Denies Me Surgery

Promoted from the Diaries by Texas Nate. Brett is a long-time friend and colleague of Jerome and I from many campaigns. This is a text book example of real life corporate death panels.

I have Crohn's disease.  I've had it for 17 years, over half my life.  I don't remember what it's been like to not have it, but other than a few flare ups, I haven't had many issues.  I've been lucky to have been functioning so well, and lucky to have insurance to cover the massive costs of required tests and medications.  I've been lucky until this past year.

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Diaries

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