Employer-based Health Care Options Diminishing As Senate Dithers
Even as opponents of health reform use the specter of "losing your employer-based coverage" under a public option, many busineses are in fact plannig to cut coverage without any health reform in place.
A survey, conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Health Research and
Educational Trust, has found that as businesses contend with rising costs, many workers face an erosion
of health benefits next year.
As reported by the Washington Post:
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- Forty percent of employers surveyed said they are likely to increase
the amount their workers pay out of pocket for doctor visits.
- Almost as
many said they are likely to raise annual deductibles and the amount
workers pay for prescription drugs.
- Nine percent said they plan to tighten eligibility for health
- Eight percent said they plan to drop coverage entirely.
percent of employers said they are "somewhat" or "very" likely to
increase the amount employees pay in premiums — though that would not
necessarily mean employees would pay a higher percentage of the
premiums. Employers could simply be passing along the same share of the
overall increase that they are doing this year.
The authors of the study said the findings underscore the need for federal action to rein in costs.
"Maintaining the status quo is simply not an option," said Antonio M.
Perez, chief executive of Eastman Kodak and a leader of the Business
Roundtable. "These costs are unsustainable and would put millions of
workers at risk," Perez said in a statement.
Meanwhile, despite months of closed-door negotations to reach the ever-elusive "bipartisan compromise," Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus today released a bill with not one Republican Senator on board.
The Wall Street Journal reports that:
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus formally unveiled a
10-year $856 billion bill that would extend health insurance to tens of
millions of Americans not now covered, moving an important step forward
on President Barack Obama’s top domestic priority.
The sweeping measure is designed "to steer a more moderate course on
health policy" than other major bills and does not include a public option or "a new government insurance plan to compete
with private insurers, as proposed in rival House legislation and
favored by many liberals."
Instead, the Montana Democrat is proposing to
expand coverage by creating a network of nonprofit health-insurance
cooperatives. The cooperatives would be seeded with $6 billion in
federal money, enough to cover start-up costs and meet insurance
More than a year in the making,
the bill would overhaul the nation’s
health-care system and has sparked a sharp battle between Republican
leaders and the White House over the size and role of government in the
nation’s economy. (Read the full text of the Baucus plan.)
The bill was swiftly denounced by Senate Minority Leader Mitch
Still….Baucus soldiers on:
Mr. Baucus has hoped to win over Republican Sens. Olympia Snowe of
Maine, Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Mike Enzi of Wyoming, arguing a
bipartisan bill has the best chance of ensuring passage on the Senate
floor. For now, the senator is pressing forward with his own bill. He
still has hopes of winning bipartisan support, either in committee next
week or on the floor next month.
At first glance, the bill appears to mimic the Capps Amendments provisions for ensuring continued private coverage of abortion care where federal subsidies are involved [come back for more on this later].
Operation Rescue on the verge of bankruptcy
In what may be the best news for American women so far this year, the Associated Press reports that Operation Rescue is broke.
Operation Rescue has told its supporters that it is very close to shutting down unless emergency help arrives soon.
A desperate plea e-mailed Monday night to donors said the anti-abortion group is facing a major financial crisis.
Rescue President Troy Newman blames the economic downturn. But the
Wichita-based organization also has been under attack from both
anti-abortion militants and abortion rights supporters since the May 31
shooting death of Dr. George Tiller.
Newman told The Associated
Press that the group has four paid employees left, compared to nine a
year ago. Donations this year are down 30 to 40 percent. Newman says he
hasn’t been paid in two months.
The National Partnership for Women and Families provides additional sources:
The Kansas-based antiabortion-rights group Operation Rescue
is nearly out of money after fundraising took a significant hit during
the economic recession, Troy Newman, the group’s president, said in a
recent letter to supporters, the Kansas City Star
reports. The letter is a plea to supporters for financial contributions
in what Newman calls "the worst financial crisis we’ve ever faced." He
added that the economic recession "has brought our financial support to
nearly a halt." The summer of 2009 "has been brutal for Operation
Rescue," Newman wrote in the letter, noting that the murder of Kansas
abortion provider George Tiller threw "everybody in the pro-life
movement for a loop" (Kansas City Star, 9/15). Newman
wrote in the letter that the group is "now so broke (as the saying
goes), we can’t even pay attention." According to the AP/Yahoo! News, Scott Roeder, the man who faces charges for the murder, allegedly had ties to Operation Rescue (Hegeman, AP/Yahoo! News, 9/15).
American Spectator: Life Lynched
The Nation: Family planning edu at schools, varsities
Catholic Exchange: Vicious, Venal and Violent
Corporeality.net: ‘Virtue, Vice, and Contraband: A History of Contraception in America’
Hi-Desert Star: Letter: What is substance of debate?
Island Packet: Letter: Why pro-life movement is seen as fringe element
WorldNetDaily: Pro-life martyr Jim Pouillon
Washington Examiner: Jay Ambrose: Murder is murder, and so is abortion
Houston Chronicle: Obama Says ‘No Money For Abortion’
New American: Obama’s EEOC Attacks School’s Religious Liberty
Mansfield News-Journal: LETTER: Letter writer using bad information about abortion
Statesman: Webber: Don’t dumb down Texas
USA Today: Clergy focus on ethics of health overhaul
Christian NewsWire: Another Ex-Abortion Worker Comes Forward to Allege Illegal Acts by Carhart
Feminists for Choice: Where is the Pro-Choice Platform Obama Promised?