Walker starts his criticism of lifesaving with - you guessed it - the tried and true Professional Left mantra of not-enough-people-are-helped-so-don't-help-anyone:
I’m very glad that Ms. Ward was lucky enough to be able to qualify for insurance help through this program. Not everyone was so lucky. As of August, 2011, less than 35,000 people have enrolled in the plan, due to its cost and strict requirements. That is just 0.01 percent of the country.Ah, yes. Why isn't 100% of the country enrolled in a high risk pool? Oh, the poutrage! Let me say something clearly. That Walker is glad that Ms. Ward got help is a damned lie. I don't think Walker is glad at all, and I think that he is pissed that her story is making waves and decimating his and his employer's propaganda. And less than 35,000 people were enrolled in a pre-existing condition insurance plan not because of the cost of the plan - I will show you in a moment how entirely stupid that claim is.
If there is a reason why less people are enrolled in the high risk plans than should be, it's because people don't know about it. Go back and read Ms. Ward's story, Jon, even she had no idea it existed until she was diagnosed with cancer. And people don't know about it because people like Jon Walker, under the guise of vanguardism for the Left, have resorted to rhetorical attack on the lifesaving law rather than doing their job and informing people of its lifesaving benefits. You want more people to be helped? Why don't try and help people enroll? Do something productive and that makes a positive difference in someone's life for once.
But let's go back to this idea that people who could otherwise afford insurance (but for their pre-existing condition) can't get on a high risk plan because it's too cost prohibitive. Here are the rates for the PCIP (the federal program under ACA), and the California's own state high risk pool (MRMIP). I have highlighted what Ms. Ward's rate is in Los Angeles county (given her age of 49, which she stated in her piece in the LA Times):
Let's review, shall we? In California (Los Ageles County), a 49 year old person with a pre-existing condition can get insurance for $306 a month under the federal program. Not cheap, by any measure, but fuhfuckssake, it's less than my premium for my individual plan health insurance through Kaiser (though my employer covers 75% of my premium even though it's not a group plan), and I'm 28.
The PCIP was designed for people who cannot find insurance through the private market because of their pre-existing condition, not because of affordability - and despite that, the premiums are more than affordable for anyone who would otherwise be able to purchase insurance in the private market (and even for some who wouldn't). So yeah, cost is not the reason why not too many people are enrolled. PCIP is also not the only measure to build the bridge to 2014: young adults up to age 26 are able to stay on their parents' plan, insurance companies are no longer allowed to kick people off when they get sick, and children can no longer be turned down for pre-existing conditions. That's all in effect right now.
And strict requirements? Yes, I suppose the fact that you have to be a US national (citizen or permanent resident) with a pre-existing condition that prevents you from being able to get insurance in the private market is a huge hurdle. The only onerous requirement is that one must be without insurance for 6 months before one may enroll (to encourage people who have insurance and are diagnosed with a condition not to drop their insurance). But this program has been in effect way longer than 6 months. But hey, since the plan has restrictions, the lives it is saving are not worth it - that's why Walker FDL would have killed the bill. They would have let her die.
But of course, what Firebagger attack on the sick would be complete without a swipe at the people who worked the hardest to get people help?
The Democrats insisted on creating a byzantine system of inefficient private insurance exchanges, so that billions in pay offs would be unnecessarily funneled to the health insurance industry, all in the name of “helping the uninsured.” The Democrats also foolishly focused on getting an arbitrary CBO score that was disconnected from the country’s health care needs. That needlessly limited how many people would actually receive help.How dare you provide the people with a marketplace (exchanges) to compare and choose insurance plans? How dare you? Now what the hell makes such an exchange "inefficient," Walker won't say. Because he's talking out of the wrong part of his body. Billions in payoffs ... yes, that's why the insurance industry is squirming from being slapped with a requirement that 85% of premium revenue in large group markets (80% in small group and individual markets) be spent on actually providing health care (and no, brokers' fees don't count as health care) - whether that premium is subsidized by the federal government in the form of affordability subsidies or not. All those payoffs must be the reason why the insurance companies are/will be forced to: cover preventive care with no copays, let parents keep their young adult children on their plans, outlaw pre-existing conditions discrimination, and a myriad of other patient centric things.
The great boons embedded in the law for the insurance industry must also be the reason why the insurance companies tried tooth and nail - along with the likes of Jon Walker - to kill the bill.
This would be amusing if it weren't such a life and death matter. Over and over again, Walker and Firedoglake has sided with the insurance industry in their zeal to first kill health reform, and then to undermine it and misinform the public about it - albeit using different political propaganda. Both of them - the insurance industry and Jon Walker and Firebagger Central would let people die rather than pass what they consider imperfect reforms.
And a final stroke to demonstrate how Walker has mastered knowledge about health reform:
Democrats could have easily and quickly expanded current popular public insurance programs. Democrats could have written the law to greatly expand Medicare or Medicaid at the beginning of 2011. If they had done that, there would now be millions of people with stories like Ms. Ward right now instead of just a handful. And the 2012 political landscape would look very different.Moron. Democrats could have easily and quickly expanded current popular public insurance programs? What, have you been living under a rock, Jon Walker? Guess what, they did! In fact, 20 million people, which is the great majority of people who will gain coverage through the Affordable Care Act when it's fully implemented will do so via the massive expansion of Medicaid, which will be available to all people under 133% of poverty, including childless adults. But hey, it wasn't done in 2011! Failure!!!!
There were barely enough votes to pass health reform in the Congress at the time it passed. Will Walker please deliver a list of 218 House members and 60 Senators in the previous Congress who would have voted for a package with their pony demands? No, he won't. What passed is not only lifesaving, but it was the best that could get passed at the time - and instead of taking that progress and continuing to work to make it better, Walker and FDL would rather kill the bill. They would rather let people die.
But by letting slip his whining and moaning about 2011 rather than 2014 for the timeline for expansion, Walker lets out a rather telling cat out of the bag. And it is this: even Firebaggers realize that as time passes, their argument to let people die by killing health reform becomes weaker and weaker.
And hey, Jon? Don't worry about the political landscape in 2012. The American people got taken for a ride by the baggers once already - the Right by the Teabaggers by voting for the crazies and a lot of the Left by you Firebaggers by your demoralization scam to keep Democratic voters home. But we're not going to make that same mistake again. Unless of course, the political landscape you are worried about is how the landscape is going to look for you: ideological hardliners who would let people die should their ideological ponies not be delivered on time, rather than understanding legislative reality and seeking compromise to make progress.
Left ideologues who wanted to kill the bill may have had a different solution in mind than the Right ideologues, but the effect of killing the bill would be one and the same: letting people die. Walker and the Firebagging crowd may only be marginally better than the Ron Paul supporters yelling "Let him die" (and I am doubtful about the margin of that superiority), but their insistence on inaction should action not meet all their checkmarks would lead to much of the same end result: letting people die.