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Thursday, December 17, 2009

Howard Dean's Recommendation for the Current Senate Reform Bill

This comes from today's Washington Post Editorial by Dean. Oddly I couldn't find any share links on the article or I would have just posted it to Facebook. So I am putting it up on Greeleyville instead. The commentary I read initially covering Dean's role was a bit snippy. The impression I got was that the writer held that President Obama had stiffed Dean and left him out of the cherry roles in the administration. Therefore Dean is now playing the role of rogue liberal and can rally people to not back the bill rather than towing the party line.

I am not sure I buy into this analysis. It may be an odd concept but perhaps Dean is just stating the reality of how many people feel. I don't see it as a particular political strategy but it could certainly have those connotations to the inside circle. That is the problem with politics. It doesn't really matter whether the intent is there for Dean. If those "in-the-know" game players think the intent is there then they manifest it on the rest of us and the painting of a controversial relationship between Obama and Dean becomes our perception as well. A new reality so to speak. The real strategy, in my mind, is the need to create tension or increase tension when it already exists because that is what sells the news.

Here is my favorite paragraph from Dean's editorial. The whole thing is rather short and sweet but I thought this paragraph poignant. I hadn't realized that the preexisting conditions segment had been used for gain as well. Here is the link to the entire piece.

"Real health-care reform is supposed to eliminate discrimination based on preexisting conditions. But the legislation allows insurance companies to charge older Americans up to three times as much as younger Americans, pricing them out of coverage. The bill was supposed to give Americans choices about what kind of system they wanted to enroll in. Instead, it fines Americans if they do not sign up with an insurance company, which may take up to 30 percent of your premium dollars and spend it on CEO salaries -- in the range of $20 million a year -- and on return on equity for the company's shareholders. Few Americans will see any benefit until 2014, by which time premiums are likely to have doubled. In short, the winners in this bill are insurance companies; the American taxpayer is about to be fleeced with a bailout in a situation that dwarfs even what happened at AIG."

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