As near as I can tell, the Blue Dogs on the Energy and Commerce Committee are still being allowed to hold up health care legislation. Does anyone have a list of the E&C Committee Blue Dogs? I know that Mike Ross (Arkansas) is their “leader,” but I haven’t seen a list of all seven.
Meanwhile, I think Howard Fineman is wrong about the GOP not having a health care plan.
They have a plan; they just don’t want the public to know what it is. If you check in with all the major right-wing think tanks, they’re all pushing variations of this same plan:
- Scale back subsidies to, or else outright eliminate, government health care programs such as SCHIP and Medicare.
- Phase out employee benefit healthcare by eliminating tax breaks for employers who offer benefits and taxing the benefits as income.
- Encourage states to deregulate so that insurance companies are free to risk-rate at will, cranking up peoples’ insurance premiums as they get older and/or sicker.
- Write federal legislation that would allow people to purchase policies in another state. This would allow the insurance companies to set up shop in low-regulation states and market junk policies to the young and healthy with no pre-existing conditions. Everyone else would be left behind in higher-risk pools, meaning most people would be paying higher premiums.
- The “solution” for people who can’t afford insurance is to pay for medical expenses out of a Health Savings Account. Yes, people who can’t afford the premiums certainly must have plenty of disposable income to put aside into a savings account.
- The other “solution” for being priced out of insurance as you get older is Cato’s brilliant “insurance insurance” plan.
John McCain openly pushed for most of these ideas during last year’s presidential campaign, but since then the GOP mostly has kept its lipped zipped on most of these details except for the “purchasing insurance across state lines” idea.
If I were a reporter I’d be running all over Washington with some of the think tank studies and pinning down GOP legislators on whether they endorse or reject these “ideas.”