Franken statement on Senate health vote

The U.S. Senate voted to pass a sweeping health care overhaul bill earlier this morning. It passed 60 to 39. The measure has to be reconciled with a companion House bill that passed last month.

Here’s DFL Sen. Al Franken’s statement on the vote:

“Too many Minnesotans – too many Americans – are suffering as a result of our broken health care system,” said Sen. Franken. “The legislation that the Senate just passed today will bring health coverage to an additional 295,000 Minnesotans by 2019 and give millions more the peace of mind that they will no longer be one diagnosis, one accident, one pre-existing condition, or one pink slip away from losing health coverage. This bill does not fix all the problems with our health care system, but it will help begin to bring down costs and is a significant down payment toward the goal of quality affordable health care for all Americans.”

You can also listen to Franken’s final Senate floor statement on the bill:

  • There’s a saying that one who admits his mistakes shows character.

    I hope so.

    I made a big time mistake.

    I should have voted for Priscilla Lord Farris.

    Had she won she might have championed single payer.

    Even so, had she won, she might have joined ranks and voted for this hacked-up mess that I have to call Healthcare Revision, because it cheapens the word “reform” to apply it to this thing.

    But I am certain that had she won and voted party ranks, she would not have come out insulting peoples’ intelligence by touting it as anything but awful compromise.

    The Democratic Party’s performance in DC on the healthcare issue will hurt the DFL big time next election, going into redistricting where the DFL would hope to be strong, and you’d think our Senators would not easily abandon that perspective. Now the local party officials and candidates are left to do mop-up. To explain the party as not really all abandoning the people to give further benefits to the already wealthy health insurance cabal.

    I have read that six DFL candidates for Governor embrace Minnesota going single payer.

    Hence, I at least I hope Franken and Klobuchar and the House delegation will vote for opt-out from the federal insurers’ bill, so that Minnesota can opt-out of that chopped liver legislation and adopt the John Marty proposed state single payer system.

    Who are the six out of ten candidates for Governor that are reported as embracing single payer as an alternative state system? Marty, Kelliher, Dayton, Thissen, Rukivina, and Bakk.

    Who are thoe other four? Who cares?

  • janeto

    I have somewhat mixed emotions on this but lean toward, kill the bill. I understand what it’s like to not have insurance. I have a safety net when I say kill it so its easy for me to say.

    The fact is, single payer would be sooo much less expensive it’s a no brainer. The math is quite simple. 300 million population, 47 million uninsured = 1/6 of the total US population. Approximately 15.5% of the US. Already, almost 1/2 of the country is covered either in medicare or veterans coverage. The other half is a combination of covered by insurance or uninsured. Those uninsured are generally in the 19 to 65 age range which is on average, a healthy part of the population. Most uninsured people are uninsured because they can’t afford insurance. The new bill allows for some of the older uninsured to pay up to 3 times that of the younger.

    Medicare (already in existence) has a 2-3% overhead with no new startup costs to make other than hiring people to process bills. Insurance companies overhead is 30 to 35% plus additional overhead in dr and hospitals due to processing. For every dollar of healthcare handled by insurance companies, 30 to 35 cents goes to the company, the remaining 65 to 70 cents goes to pay for healthcare provided, except those unknown dollars that is eaten up by extra overhead for processing in dr’s and hospitals. In Medicare, 97 to 98 cents of every dollar pays for healthcare. It is clearly much cheaper.

    Those against medicare for all or single payer argue that medicare is broke. If we didn’t have to worry about pharmaceuticals costing extra due to the lack of bargaining or negotiating prices and the govt using funds for other things such as war (54% of our federal budget, by the way), we wouldn’t have to worry about it being so called “broke”.

    The healthcare industry stocks are at an all time high as is evidenced by this article in the WSJ: It’s Wall good

    Last Updated: 10:16 AM, December 17, 2009

    Posted: 2:51 AM, December 17, 2009

    Wall Street earnings soared to $49.7 billion in the first three quarters of the year, exceeding the state’s forecast for all of 2009, Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said.

    Profits from the broker-dealer operations of New York Stock Exchange member firms were almost 2½ times the previous annual peak in 2000

    And this: Pharma Deal Shuts Down Senate Health Care Debate

    Ryan Grim Dec 11, 2009

    As for Medicare fraud, it appears that the vast majority is being perpetrated by large corporations as is evidenced here: War Fraud Whistleblowers Under Wraps

    Monday 30 November 2009

    by: Dina Rasor,

    “In fiscal year 2009, health care fraud recoveries reached $1.6 billion, two-thirds of the year’s total. The Department of Health and Human Services reaped the biggest recoveries, largely attributable to its Medicare and Medicaid programs. Recoveries were also made by the Office of Personnel Management, which administers the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, the Department of Defense for its TRICARE insurance program and the Department of Veterans Affairs, among others.

    “The largest health care recoveries came from the pharmaceutical and medical device industries, which accounted for $866.7 million in settlements, including Aventis Pharmaceuticals Inc., Bayer HealthCare LLC, Eli Lilly & Company and Quest Diagnostics Inc. and its subsidiary, Nichols Institute Diagnostics Inc. In addition to federal recoveries, these pharmaceutical and medical device fraud cases returned $402 million to state Medicaid programs.”

    The public’s problem is thinking that health insurance = healthcare. It is not. Health insurance is the vehicle to PAY for healthcare. HEALTHCARE is provided by the medical community, not insurance co’s.

    Add the destruction of women’s civil rights that is likely to come out of the bill + propaganda or marketing points for each political party + the length of time to actually have anything enacted = nothing positive about this bill if families can’t afford the so called “new healthcare coverage”.

  • Jeffrey Sweet

    The first real civil rights bill in the Fifties — guided through the Senate by Lyndon Johnson — was widely viewed as so compromised as to be nearly useless. Except that it proved to be the foundation for the later bills, the ones with teeth that Johnson pushed through when he was president.

    This bill is a good deal better than the first civil rights bill, and it puts the foot in the door and establishes the principle that the industry has serious accountability to the public it has abused for so long. Yes, there are compromises, but there are significant advances. If it isn’t a touchdown, it takes the ball a long way down the field.

  • janeto

    As every day goes on, I become more disillusioned with our congress and president. There is no cap on the bill for costs, there is, however, a provision at the moment, that allows for companies to get out of ins with a small penalty. Small in that a few thousand is way less than the 15-20k that families have to pay if we’re subjected to the gross overall costs. I say 20k when my neighbor pays 22k! Without co subsidy, ours would be over 16k due to “loss experience” of the company {heart surgeries, transplants, cancer, chronic illnesses all increase the costs}. Which leads to another point of taxing “cadillac” policies. WHen you pay more, you pay more due to experience of the company + the coverages mandated by your state+ the coverage selections chosen by the company. This plan will have to define what is cadillac “coverage”, not “cadillac cost” and what is not which could lead to less coverage for millions of folks. I’m disgusted with them at this time, I hope that my mind gets changed, however, given my insurance background, I see little to make me feel better.