Health Care Wars Ongoing

greenbergerNew Orleans Perhaps the number three rule of politics, right after “everything begins with a base” and “money rules,” is that the “devil is in the details.” Now that Congress has voted and the President has signed, we need to get off of the arguments about how few slices of the half-a-loaf we got, and get to thinking – and fighting – about the battle in the trenches both nationally and state by state involved in keeping some of that bread on the table. There are bright yellow lights flashing, so let’s heed the warning signals.

  • Insurance companies, bums that they are, have already indicated that they see the universal coverage of children as “optional,” making some legislators “enraged” already according to the New York Times.

  • Fourteen Attorney Generals have already filed suit to try and block implementation of the healthcare reform in their states. Some governors have volunteered to oppose their AG’s. Other governors, like my own Jindal, have seen this next round as a way to continue to push them into the national arena. Hard to see that any of these suits have much merit, but the use of litigation as a political tool is certainly in the top 20 on the rules of politics now.

  • A headline in the Times: “Overhaul Will Lower the Cost of Being a Woman” was an eye catcher for me even if it was buried on D2 in the Science section. It reminds everyone that there was no bar for sex discrimination by insurance companies in their unilateral and often arbitrary assertions of risk. Marcia Greenberger of the National Women’s Law Center pointed out that because no organization getting federal dollars, and that’s all health insurers, could discriminate based on gender that the days for his problem “are numbered.” But she also presciently warned that insurance companies were all-pro at driving the money machine and she never wanted “to underestimate what a creative mind might be able to come up with…” My bet is that where they will start is simply by asserting that something is not discriminatory and make us have to prove it is. Be ready for that. If they don’t think twice about popping back at children, women are definitely next.

I’m not even going to comment on the “repealers” that are dead set to make this an issue in the midterm elections, but it is coming.

If there’s one thing we must have learned by now is that if we ever thing we’ve won and it’s over and take our eyes off of the opposition, then we will find one defeat after another in the details. I’m afraid on healthcare we have to understand that we won a battle but the war is ongoing and to win healthcare for all Americans, it’s only just begun.

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