Sunday, February 28, 2010

Another Sunday, another Kelly column ...

Well, and also Meet the Press. Kelly's column was once again interesting,and had parts I might even agree with. Kelly starts by complaining that the health-care summit this past Thursday amounts to nothing more than a disingenuous ploy, since Democrats would never agree to start over on health care/insurance reform. Now, we know that many Presidents have tried to push throw through some health care/insurance reform. Who among us can say that when the Democrats were thrown out in 1994, the republicans said "Now let's start over". So, coming back to today, after passing bills in the House and Senate in the face of all the vitriol the Republicans, the Republicans are saying lets start over, and by the way, let's do everything our way.

Then Kelly mentioned three proposals, and I have say I would be interested. First and most important, Kelly suggested allowing drugs to be imported in at the foreign prices. Sounds fine to me. Kelly also suggested allowing some drugs to be changed from prescription to over the counter, and also shortening the time needed to develop new drugs. I understand the economic effects of the proposals, but I would like to see the opinions of medical professionals or public health people.

But just to step back, didn't the Democrats want negotiation with the drug companies when Medicare part D negotiations were going on a dew years ago? Didn't the Democrats talk about allowing drugs to be re-imported back then? Kelly says something ludicrous about how pharmaceuticals are helping the Democrats, so Kelly wants to take away their ability to make obscene profits. Well, whatever. If the Republicans want to help on this one part of health-care/insurance, seems fine to me.

Meanwhile, on the Meet The Press, John McCain complained about back room deals made by Democrats. That makes me think it might be nice to have a historian to remind viewers how much Republicans did this during their four years of Congressional control (from January 2003 on). And Eric Cantor said that the Republicans were also all about cost containment. Really, that is the first time I have heard that. And it seems like local conservative commenters have not expressed any interest in cost containment. But Cantor was part of the round table, and David Gregory allowed Ron Brownstein (of some news service) to act as the scorekeeper. So Brownstein was able to say that both (the Democratic and Republican) plans would affect existing insurance plans about the same, except that the Democrats would make the minimum plan a little higher than what the Republicans might. Brownstein also pointed out the Democrat plan would only allow about a one percent in increase in health costs, and while it would have increased costs over the Republican plan, it would insure an additional 33 million people compared to the 3 million the Republicans would cover. Which puts things in perspective.

The only other comment I will make is that I get annoyed when Republicans drape themselves in this mantle of public disapproval they claim Americans have for health care/insurance reform as passed by the Democrats. they keep saying the American people are tired of this or that. The Republicans have through the town meetings, the death panel rant and the creation of the Tea Party (which may come back to haunt them) made health care/insurance reform into an issue similar to abortion or gun control. As we should know, Americans (as expressed in polls) do not want to ban either guns or abortions, but they are willing to entertain limitations on both. In the case of health care/insurance reform, I don't believe Americans would be unhappy with either single payer or even the public option, but I believe Americans want something. The question is whether Democrats can succeed in blaming Republicans this November for the failure of health care/insurance reform, assuming that becomes needed.

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