Murphy Calls for All Members of Congress to Purchase Health Insurance in Health Reform Bill's New ExchangeFor now, I've got nothing to add to that... As long as the public option is a strong one.
NEW BRITAIN - After hosting public events in Waterbury, Danbury and Washington, Connecticut over the last two days, Congressman Chris Murphy (CT-5) is announcing today that he is returning to Washington, D.C. next week to call on Members of Congress to purchase their own health insurance on the health insurance exchange. America's Affordable Health Choices Act, the House version of the health care reform bill, will make changes to our current health care system so that more people can afford health insurance and increase choice through a health insurance exchange, which would force private plans to compete with each other and a government sponsored plan.
"For people and businesses that choose to go into the exchange, they will have access to better and cheaper coverage than they have today. There is no reason why Members of Congress shouldn't go into the exchange and choose between the public option and private plans like everyone else," said Murphy.
Murphy wants Members of Congress to be treated like employees of very small businesses are under the House reform bill. The bill states that in the first year of the law, employers with 10 or fewer employees will be able to have their employees purchase health insurance on an individual basis through the exchange. The employer would pick up the cost of, for an individual plan, 72.5% of the applicable premium and for a family plan, 65% of the applicable premium.
America's Affordable Health Choices Act also makes health insurance more affordable by providing tax credits to individuals and businesses to purchase it. While many people in Connecticut have health insurance that they like, premiums are going up and up. This summer, Connecticut's biggest insurer announced that it was increasing rates for individuals by over 30%. And a recent report found that 48,000 state residents, or 310 a week, will lose their health insurance before the end of next year because of increasing costs or other circumstances.
"We've got to act to bring down the cost of health care for people in Connecticut. If we are going to enact health care reform that the American people believe in, then Members of Congress aren't just going to have to talk the talk, we are going to have to walk the walk. I believe the health insurance exchange will be a good deal for people in Connecticut, and I am willing to place my own health care coverage needs in it to prove my faith in this effort," said Murphy.
[update] A little extra from
Real Canadians Talk Real Healthcare
For those of you that just don't get what single payer healthcare is all about, via Karoli at US Health Crisis, real Canadians talk about healthcare:
I get a kick out of the responses to the co-pay question: "Co-pay? What does co-pay mean?" This is exactly what happens when the people demand a healthcare system that works for the people instead of for the bottom line of a corporation.
Why this video? Why now?
In the spirit of truth, my friend Matte Black (@Shoq on Twitter) and his brother took their video camera to Canada on vacation to interview Canadians about their health care system. When we talked about it, I asked him to try to get negative views with specifics for balance. Here is the result. It has been edited for brevity, but the negative views were not removed, because there were none. He could not find one Canadian who thought they should kill the system. These are everyday people. They have no agenda at all other than being patriotic Canadians.
Please watch it and share it with as many people as you can.
I lived in Canada for about 28 years.
I can't begin to list how much better everything is in Canada compared to the health care disaster we all suffer from south of the border. Cradle to grave, there is never any question about whether they will do everything they can to treat you in a reasonable amount of time.
I could walk in to my primary care physician any time he was open. If it was his golf day or something like his vacation time? I would go a couple of blocks down the street to another doctor. I chose those doctors based on my level of comfort with them.
My primary would even do house calls (probably still does?) if you or your kid were too sick to make it in.
If you had something so severe as to need more than what your typical primary could provide? Walk into the emergency room (or take the ambulance - they don't ask if you have insurance first because that would be inhumane). It is my understanding that they now have CLSCs in Quebec to cover the less severe emergencies like breaks, sprains, stitches, etc., that might just need the basics or to use when your primary caregivers office might be closed. This alleviates pressure on emergency rooms at hospitals so they can concentrate more on the serious emergencies.
My father was diagnosed with cancer not too long ago and given about six months to live.
He was treated by the best medical staff he could find for his specific problems. He also had a good backup for second opinions. He chose them based on how he wanted and needed to be treated and based on consultations with many caregivers. He lived 3 more years after that original dead end diagnosis and died in his 70s.
No healthcare or treatment is perfect but had he lived in the USA he very likely would have been uninsured because of pre-existing health conditions. In the USA he wouldn't have even had that "six months" diagnosis.
And never, not even once, did he have to make any healthcare decisions based on whether or not he could afford the treatment. He decided (as do all Canadians) in conjunction with and on the advice of his doctors. There was no insurance company in between them to turn him down.
The American system is as cruel to the poor and those that really need the medical help as it is profitable to the insurance companies.
Those are just some of the things I can say about the Canadian system.
Americans, in surveys, appear to be "more satisfied" with their healthcare providers than Canadians do. Maybe you don't understand this, being that you have had a crappy healthcare system all of your life...
That is because Canadians expect a lot more from their healthcare system than Americans do.
Never mind that the polls I have seen always point to satisfaction with providers BUT rarely address the cost and the mode of payment directly. Why? Because the few times we hear the voice of the people on this, for the most part, they say they hate their medical insurance companies.
My primary doctor in the US is great. He supports Single Payer. Most of the hospital people I have dealt with are great at their jobs, too. I always ask them and they support single payer by a large margin. My children have a great pediatrician and, yes, he supports single payer as well. Nothing to complain about the actual service providers. That side is pretty much equal to the Canadian providers. Some are better and some are worse, but competent and caring nonetheless. They want to give you the best service possible. And, for the most part, the majority of those providers want to give you single payer.
I am among the few that has half decent insurance. For how long, who knows? In this economy corporations are stripping workers of higher quality insurance for less costly junk plans. Our family's plan was changed to add higher co-pays and more restrictions on usage AGAIN, this year. And that is just a minor issue when many of these cash strapped corporations and small businesses are laying people off people all together so they have no insurance at all.
If our family lost our source of health insurance we know that our budget would eliminate any possibility of keeping coverage regardless of government's provision of the costly Cobra plans. On unemployment, we would struggling to keep a roof over our heads and the kids fed. Regardless of that, I expect more from my healthcare AND I expect it to cost a hell of a lot less. But that is because I have seen and lived with a better healthcare system than the one we have here.
I expect nothing less than Single Payer!
Of course, that does not mean I am completely rigid on this and unwilling to compromise. It is just a higher standard that could be attained in this country. More recently we have seen a lot of discussion on the public option, since single payer has been banned from the political discussion and the media's coverage of healthcare.
Most recently some morons are saying that is the "Left of the Left" that are pushing for the public option and this supposed to be shocking news to be breathlessly reported on in the traditional media... As they continue their twisted and contorted takes on reality, let us look at who really supports the public option, OK?
67% of conservatives support having the choice between a public option and private insurance.
71% of Republicans support having the choice between a public option and private insurance.
77% of Americans support having the choice between a public option and private insurance.
For those politicians and media stenographers that have a problem with reading comprehension I took a moment to annotate this Survey USA graphic. There is your "Left of the Left" in RED and BLUE...
The black ink in the ledgers of insurance corporations is being balanced by the red blood of Americans.
Right now about 22,000 Americans die every year because they are under or uninsured. This has got to stop. Now... You could do nothing at all about this issue OR you could contact your Congress critters and hammer them to bring some semblance of real reform to healthcare. Americans are literally dying waiting for something to be done. And a public option, at the very least, will allow for the uninsured to get insurance and give the underinsured the opportunity to choose better insurance.
Now... As a final thought, some more healthcare experts from Canada:
Addendum: I wish that Obama would pay particular attention to the final message from the former Premier of Saskatchewan. A very simple and clear message of "Medicare for all", even if it is made as the default "public option", would go a long way towards providing a unifying message that everyone in the USA could understand as a really good thing. People understand how good Medicare is. Since there is literally a super majority of support for a public option, this would be the nail in the coffin of the insane rantings from the opposition to reform. Add to that the positive move of putting Congress into the same position as the rest of America and people will understand that reform really is about making healthcare better.
If Obama and the Conservative Democratic party members in Congress think that the super majority of Americans called the "Left of the Left" are going to be happy with just any reform... Then they are not paying attention at all and do not deserve the offices they now hold.
The liberal left has, in large part, already made all of the concessions they were willing to give when they let single payer go for the compromised "public option". And many of us will be very loud and very clear as the next elections come around in punishing politicians for failure to act in our interests.
In a few days President Obama will be meeting with the AFL-CIO leadership to talk about relaunching healthcare reform. I expect that we will see a clearer message from the President on what he wants from reform, since he has really had no clear messaging up until now.
Obama had better understand that he can either invigorate healthcare activists with a strong message of honest reform, including a public option that is even closer to the original Hacker proposal than anything we have seen, or he can fall flat on his face and all alone as allies in real healthcare reform desert him and the Democratic party members that are willing to push for more of the same.