Why I flipped on healthcare

If there's one thing I believe in, it is experimentation. The way you find out if things will work is to try them. In the healthcare arena, I would have preferred experimenting with something more bold (Single Payer Plus) than the current reform legislation. But what do I know. More to the point, what does anyone know? We're all just guessing. And if history is any indicator, even the best of our guesses will come up short. That's what experiments are for. We do what we can do, and then we build on it. It's called progress.

In this next phase of the experiment that is American healthcare, we have an obligation to watch closely and insist on continuous improvement. When something proves problematic, we must fix it fast. When opportunities emerge, we must take advantage of them as quickly as possible. Short cycle innovation is a powerful way to get where you want to go.

We will get things wrong for sure. Let's focus on fixing them, not whining about them.


* Single Payer Plus is an innovative national health system that is wrapped by whatever additional services anyone wants to buy in the open market. Competing insurance, long-term care, optometry, dental, tummy-tucks, whatever. You want it, you buy it. Easy-peasy. At the core of Single Payer Plus should be another experiment, the one Alan Grayson is proposing called Medicare Buy-in.

I've introduced H.R. 4789, the Public Option Act. This simple four-page bill lets any American buy into Medicare at cost. You want it, you pay for it, you're in. It adds nothing to the deficit; you pay what it costs.

The only way to know if Medicare Buy-in will work is to test it experimentally. There is no need to bet the ranch, just try it. Perhaps a single state should test the model. I propose North Carolina.


As someone on the cusp of losing my insurance

I would welcome and work hard for the opportunity to buy into Medicare.

It can happen

and it will. That's the job I'm moving onto no matter what happens today in the House.

Buying into Medicare

I would support an effort to enable people to "buy into Medicare", as you say. In my view, that would not only help Medicare financially but would significantly bring down the cost of health care insurance in America. I favor a "single payer" alternative, to be honest, but this would be next-best in my opinion. You say you are on the cusp of losing your insurance and I feel for your plight in that regard. But, hold firm my friend. We are on the cusp of enacting legislation that could help people like you in a very big way. And, there are millions of people like you.

Well said

I'm glad to see you weigh in on this, and I'm glad it makes sense to you. Sure does to me, too.

Perhaps you can, sort of

Inclusive Health, the NC risk pool, is very like Medicare. The problem is, it only takes people who meet certain conditions, mostly those Blue Cross doesn't want. That makes it expensive.

The only way to make it affordable would be to open it up to all residents and require that they take it. Fat chance of that happening here.

It is a good program

Medicare is good, James..VERY good. Yes, there are problems with funding and other problems (no program will be perfect). But, overall, this may be one of the most successful government-run programs ever.

Statement from Nancy Shakir

Nancy Shakir, Democratic Candidate for Congress, NC-08 responds to passage of healthcare reform and
Rep. Kissell’s vote against healthcare reform

Historic healthcare reform passes the House by a vote of 219-212 despite Rep. Kissell’s NO vote.

Fayetteville, NC – Democratic Candidate for Congress Nancy Shakir congratulates the House for passing the healthcare reform package and President Obama for his leadership in guiding this historic legislation to passage.

Healthcare reform will:
• provide coverage to 32 million Americans who are currently uninsured
• protect consumers from insurance company abuses including denial for pre-existing conditions and dropping customers when they get sick (rescission)
• close the doughnut hole for Seniors on Medicare Part D
• reduce long term healthcare costs and significantly reduce the federal deficit
• fund community health care centers in communities around the country including several new centers in the 8th District

The healthcare reform bill will have immediate benefits for constituents in NC-08, and around the country. It will permit young adults up to age 26 to maintain coverage on their parent’s plans, stop the practice of rescission, eliminate lifetime insurance coverage limits, restrict annual coverage limits, and immediately eliminate pre-existing coverage denials for children. Small businesses will receive tax credits to provide insurance coverage, and the bill will begin to close the doughnut hole coverage gap for Seniors. The CBO (Congressional Budget Office) predicts $138 billion in deficit reduction in the first decade after passage.

“I am thrilled that healthcare reform has passed Congress, and congratulate the President and Democrats in Congress who worked so hard to make reform a reality for the American people. I am however, extremely disappointed by Rep. Kissell’s vote against healthcare reform. I was one of many volunteers who worked hard to elect Rep. Kissell, based on his promise to support healthcare reform and other key Democratic initiatives. One in five constituents in Rep. Kissell’s district is currently without health insurance; we deserve better” said Ms. Shakir. “I am running to represent the needs of these constituents and my community in NC-08. I will stand strong in support of the change we voted for with courage and fortitude.”


Kissell's No vote is a real dissapointment, and hard to fathom. Let's touch base soon.

Most Sweeping Social Legilsation in 4+ Decades

So saith the media. Something real to run on. And thanks to the tea party/the right/fox news, the bar of expectations has been so lowered that there is absolutely no chance that the reality of reform wont out perform expectations.