Franken, Klobuchar react to Senate health care vote

DFL Sen. Amy Klobuchar issued this statement praising the passage of the health care bill:

“The Senate vote this morning was an important step forward to a final vote on health care reform. I will continue to push for a final bill that includes strong Minnesota-model cost reforms, deficit reduction, protections against insurance company abuses, and strong, stable Medicare coverage.

Minnesotans know that we can’t simply keep pushing our problems to another day. Rising health care costs are unsustainable, busting the budgets of families and businesses alike.

This legislation includes some of my key priorities: It would begin to rein in costs by rewarding value instead of volume, something I worked extensively with the Mayo Clinic to include. The Senate bill reduces the fee on medical devices that was included in the Senate Finance Committee version by $18 billion. It would improve breast cancer screening. It includes incentives for more rural and primary doctors. It makes it easer for small businesses to purchase health care with extensive tax credits. It fixes the donut hole by giving seniors coverage for their prescription drugs. And it includes provisions to combat Medicare fraud which siphons off $60 billion a year in taxpayer money.

As we move toward a final vote, I’ll continue my efforts to ensure that reform serves the best interests of Minnesota.”


  • I understand Klobuchar joining ranks and voting for this revision of healthcare.

    I appreciate her having the personal intelligence and good sense to not insult voters by taking the perspective of this being a step toward a final thing that might be better than this step is.

    It is the proper hope to have, although neither the House nor the Senate bill are encouraging in that regard.

    I truly hope Klobuchar, at this point given how bad both houses have performed, to push for an opt-out so that Minnesota can, if it has the political courage, adopt its own separate single payer system via opting out of this sop to the insurance industry.

    Please Amy, think of the people. You know what the polls say they want. Strong, people-friendly, reform. Not this mess. Let Minnesota have the chance to opt out and adopt the single payer approach that candidates Marty, Kelliher, Dayton, Thissen, Bakk, and Rukivina have been reported to support for the people of our state.

    Making that possible will go a long way toward helping the DFL keep both houses in St. Paul and taking the executive branch, going into redistricting.

    Please help the local candidates by giving them something to do besides apologize for the Democratic Party’s capitulation to special interests in DC.

  • janetoc

    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. 150mil people less 103 mil ins’d = 47 mil uninsured or about 30% of those who need healthcare. Trade that 30% for the overhead costs of ins co’s and you have a breakeven on costs and negative if you add in the additional overhead of drs and hospitals due to ins co redtape.

    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 NYP: 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”. There is nothing in the bill to limit insurance premiums to levels that families can afford or to keep premiums from skyrocketing.

  • 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.