A Casualty of the Senate Finance Markup: Common Sense

Max Baucus (D-MT) and the members of the Senate Finance Committee shared a moment of collective surprise one late night last week.   No, it was not Chuck Grassley’s (R-IA) rousing rendition of “Happy Birthday” to Blanche Lincoln.  The Senate Finance Committee decided to fund two opposing amendments both meant to reduce teenage pregnancy.

Grassley proposed an amendment that would renew Bush-era policies funding abstinence only education.  In true Baucus fashion, instead of caucusing his Democratic members, wielding his power as chair to his advantage, or letting staff present statistics on the failure of abstinence only education in America, Baucus presented the committee with his own amendment to reduce teen pregnancy.  This amendment would give states the ability to decide between programs as long as they were able to prove that the program worked.  Abstinence only education could be that program, if evidence is found.

Text of the two amendments appear below:

Abstinence Education. The Chairman‘s Mark would appropriate $50 million a year through FY

2014 for abstinence education.  The Mark would also appropriate $75 million each year for fiscal

years FY2010 through FY2014 for a Personal Responsibility Education for Adulthood Training.

Teen Pregnancy Prevention. Of the annual amount, $50 million would be available to states

each year on a formula basis for programs to educate adolescents on both abstinence and

contraception for prevention of teenage pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, including

HIV/AIDS.  Programs must be evidence-based, medically accurate, and age appropriate and

must address at least three adulthood preparation subjects.  Subjects include: healthy

relationships, adolescent development, financial literacy; parent-child communication,

educational and career success, and healthy life skills.

Posted by Emma Sandoe

1 Comment

Filed under Health Policy

One response to “A Casualty of the Senate Finance Markup: Common Sense

  1. hsr0601

    The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that having a “public option” would squeeze $100 billion in costs from the system over 10 years because of competition with private insurers, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said.

    Compromise doesn’t mean compromising the essence of policy, and all know it !!

    1. As regards a Baucus scheme, the source of funding coming from a middle class is utterly against the commitment of Democratic party while it leaves 25 million Americans without health insurance . And the bill would require people to buy insurance they can hardly afford.

    In response to the scheme, the letter from 154 House Democrats to Speaker Nancy Pelosi urges her “to reject proposals to enact an excise tax on high-cost insurance plans that could be potentially passed on to middle-class families.”

    “This is not an obscure detail of health care reform,” said Connecticut Rep. Joe Courtney, who drafted the letter. “Taxing health benefits was explicitly debated in the campaign by presidential candidates and people running for Congress.”

    Furthermore, looking closely at the new CBO report, it won’t be until “2014 or 2015” that folks start seeing a serious reduction in the number of uninsured.

    2. No cost-competitive advantage of the insurer-friendly scheme does not clear the grave concern about the unsustainable growth in cost of overall health care program in the long run. Baucus scheme Doesn’t Bend Cost Curve Enough, Experts Say.

    And the scheme proposes a “fake” alternative, nonprofit insurance cooperatives — and it places so many “restrictions” on these cooperatives that, according to the Congressional Budget Office, they “seem unlikely to establish a significant market presence in many areas of the country.”

    Beyond, the bill would lock many workers into health plans selected by their employers, without allowing them to shop for better, cheaper plans, an alternative that could help drive down costs for everyone.

    Senator Rockefeller is also upset that the bill would even turn nearly a half-trillion dollars over to insurance companies, whose profits he says are “out of sight.”

    3. Even with some benefit for primary practitioners, the baseless scheme does not come with fundamental payment reform, or a pay for value reimbursement formula. It means that the insurer-friendly scheme is not cleaning up the concerns over quality, regional imbalance issues and $9trillion of deficit over the next ten years.

    ((Here is some of CBO analysis : While the costs of the financial bailouts and economic stimulus bills are staggering, they are only a fraction of the coming costs from Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. Over the next decade, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projects that each year Medicaid will expand by 7 percent, Medicare by 6 percent, and Social Security by 5 percent. These programs face a 75-year shortfall of $43 trillion–60 times greater than the gross cost of the $700 billion TARP financial bailout)).

    4. For Medicare & Medicaid system to survive from the most wasteful structure on earth, enough savings via fundamental changes need to be ensured, in return, the savings thereof suffice to meet the goal of well-planned public option.

    ((Even with far less visits to docs, which average a half or a third of them in any other free states, Americans pay roughly twice as much per person right now)).

    5. For the record, prior to nation-wide deployment of reform, The State Of “Yes We Can”, Minnesota influenced by Mayo clinic spends “20 percent” less per patient than the national average and 31 percent less than in the highest cost state. It highlights that no substantial tax raise is needed at least for sure.

    ((The $583 billion of revenue package, and the astronomical savings of public option aside, “20%” of $923.5bn (the combined Medicare and Medicaid cost per year, as of July) represents around $184.7bn per year and 1.847trillion over the next decade, and this patient-centered value alone could be sufficient to meet the goal of public option)).

    6. In principle, the long-awaited and most hopeful health care plan is to meet these criterias : Affordability, Quality, and A Check function against runaway premiums thereof.

    Clearly enough, due largely to its lower overhead cost, purchasing power and fundamental payment reform, the well-planned public option would be doing more than the baseless scheme by THE INDUSTRY in these aforementioned aspects.

    Now is the moment to open the page of contemporary energy and financial upgrades glossed over in 8 years.

    Thank You !

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