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Charles Krauthammer: Republicans should force Democrats to choose an insurance bailout or the end of Obamacare

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  • Haiku Pleasant Grove, UT
    Jan. 5, 2014 12:41 a.m.

    The record is clear:
    One party voted for it;
    The other did not.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Jan. 5, 2014 12:43 a.m.

    Democrats should force republicans to accept proper single payer health care. Let 'em squawk all they want.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 5, 2014 12:47 a.m.

    I'm not sure of Krauthammer's analysis, but assuming a bailout of health insurers is likely then I'd like to point out that the Federal government bailed out insurance giant AIG to save the big banks who were trying to cash in their "credit default swaps" - insurance policies on mortgage backed securities they owned. And it was a massive bailout to the tune of 800 billion. So, I guess according to Krauthammer bailing out big banks and insurance companies is OK, because that saved the big shots of capitalism, but bailing out health insurers is not OK because that might help little people who need health insurance, and such are so poor as to be of little consequence. The bias of and inconsistency of right-wingers like Krauthammer drives me nuts.

  • Pagan Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 5, 2014 6:20 a.m.

    Conservatives love to re-write history. Rallying against the bailout…

    *'Bush signs $700 billion bailout bill' - AP - Published by Denver Post - By Tom Raum - 10/03/08

    ‘WASHINGTON — President Bush quickly signed into law a far-reaching $700 billion bill to bail out the nation's tottering financial industry, calling it "essential to helping America's economy" weather the storm.’

    And yet, it was created by a Republican President.

    *'Univ. of Maryland study finds Fox News viewers to be misinformed on key issues' - By Ryan Witt - Examiner - 12/17/10

    "Over 40% of respondents said President Obama started TARP even though was signed into law by President Bush on October 3rd of 2008." - article

    If you are against national debt.

    Reagan tripled the national debt.

    Bush doubled the national debt.

    You cannot say either about Obama. Well, unless you are going to lie.

    If you are against the debt. History shows what you should do.

    Vote Democrat.

  • samhill Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 5, 2014 7:16 a.m.

    Mr. Krauthammer raises some obvious and serious problems with some distinctly obscure aspects of Obamacare, of which there are many yet to be discovered. It was deliberately designed with these hidden booby traps so the resulting disaster will drive the whole health insurance industry into collapse and into the arms of socialistic elements in government, ever-eager for greater control and power.

    Remember Rahm Emmanuel's infamous motto, "You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that it's an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before." What we are seeing more and more frequently is that inept and incompetent governance, whether inadvertent or by design, is the cause of more and more of the crises it is supposed to avoid, not create!

    Obamacare, the debacle of illegal immigration, the incredible current and looming debt from unfunded operations and "entitlements", the graft and deplorable corruption that has made 8 of the 10 counties around D.C. the most affluent in the country, and many, many other indicators show that our Federal government is failing. And we, the people, put them there.

    We **must** be more honest and active to save our nation.

  • Thid Barker Victor, ID
    Jan. 5, 2014 7:31 a.m.

    Spot on Dr. Krauthammer! No bailout of the insurance companies with tax payer money in order to salvage Obamacare!

  • KJB1 Eugene, OR
    Jan. 5, 2014 8:57 a.m.

    Yes, Charles, because threatening the economy of the free world over an Obamacare tantrum worked so well last time.

    I expect Krauthammer to spend his editorial time pouting (that's all he's done for the past five years), but he's veering off into Fantasy Land here. First, the idea that the Republicans were able to "demand" that a budget be passed last month is laughable. After the humiliation they were dealt with the last shutdown, they had no choice but to sit down and reach a deal. Second, the country isn't going to go into default. The money men wouldn't allow it to happen in October and they sure won't allow it now. He can bluster all he likes, but that arrow has been removed from the Republicans' quiver. They simply no longer have that leverage.

    Obamacare is here to stay. Deal with it.

  • Kent C. DeForrest Provo, UT
    Jan. 5, 2014 9:54 a.m.

    Again we have a plea to repeal Obamacare with no realistic plan for what we will replace it with. Yes, Obamacare is far from perfect. This is partly due to the Democrats bowing to conservative market notions and to the insurance industry's survival. If the Republicans were serious about solving our health-care woes, they would lobby for repealing Obamacare and replacing it with a single-payer system that would have a chance at covering everybody while lowering costs significantly. Other countries have proved that this is possible. Are we too stubborn to learn from others?

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    Jan. 5, 2014 10:16 a.m.

    So what Charles is saying is we should go around the Constitution… and have a national ballot. Is that right?

    Heck, we don't even need Congress anymore. Just put things up to a popular vote and there you go. It could be televised. Each side presents their position, then for 90 minutes after, we all call in or text our vote - one vote per household…. or better yet, charge .99 cents per vote and let people vote as many times as they like. We could eliminate Congress and balance the budget in all one swoop.

    Charles - you are a genius. Lets abandon the Constitution…. and make everything based on popular vote.

    When the Republicans - my former party - decide to debate this with honesty and integrity - I will be the first person on their bandwagon. Until then, this is for entertainment purposes only. Charles, try writing something serious next time. I am looking for that honest conservative to lead… not be an entertainer. Even Reagan understood that distinction.

  • The Real Maverick Orem, UT
    Jan. 5, 2014 10:52 a.m.

    The take away I get from this?

    Chuck has no solution for health care and he really doesn't like Obama.

    Which, essentially summarizes the entire GOP platform on nearly every subject right now.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 5, 2014 11:00 a.m.

    So Republicans should act to try and increase premiums on Americans during this transition phase?

  • ray vaughn Ogden, UT
    Jan. 5, 2014 11:38 a.m.

    Mr. Krauthammer is living in a political fantsyland. All of the previous House votes to repeal the ACA has gone nowhere. fifty attempts and no chance of success. He should encourage his fellow Republicans to submit specific bills to cure real problems with the act. Just passing yet another bill for repeal that is doomed to failure indicates a lack of reality.

  • Nate Pleasant Grove, UT
    Jan. 5, 2014 12:41 p.m.

    @Hutterite and Kent C. DeForrest "...single payer..."

    It's a credibility issue. People who trusted Obama with their health care before, no longer do. Too many lies, and too little competence. Big Government in general has taken a big hit, and will continue to do so as Obamacare smashes on the rocks. I doubt you can get single payer to pass.

  • Pagan Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 5, 2014 2:18 p.m.

    'I doubt you can get single payer to pass.'

    Not if you vote Republican.

    400 Filibusters in the Senate. The most in history.

    82 judicial blocks. 86 for all other Presidents, combined.

    18 failed attempts to discuss the budget with the GOP before…

    A government shutdown that cost the US tax payer $24 million dollars.

    And it's official. The 'Least productive congress, in the last 60 years'' when Republicans 'took America back' in 2010.

    You want a working government?

    Vote Democrat.

  • David Centerville, UT
    Jan. 5, 2014 3:00 p.m.

    Many conservatives were against the bailout during the Bush administration (I'm talking about grass-root conservatives, not the progressive, Republican types that are in Congress and that defined Bush).

    And over the past several years, more conservatives realized that the bailouts do not help the evolution of the American economy…bailouts only postpone inevitable resets and prolong corruption and mismanagement.

    Although, this bailout of the insurance industry that the Charles writes about is an Obama-created mess. Its all on Obama and Democrats that supported this awful law.

  • David Centerville, UT
    Jan. 5, 2014 3:39 p.m.

    Pagan,

    Funny.

    We've seen what happens when Democrats hold the White House, the Senate, and the House.

    Obamacare: Proof enough.

    Vote Republican.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    Jan. 6, 2014 4:58 a.m.

    "We've seen what happens when Republicans hold the White House, the Senate, and the House."

    Medicare part D. Largest entitlement program in 40+ years.
    No Child Left Behind
    Iraq War

    But my solution is NOT to vote Democrat as I see both sides are the problem.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    Jan. 6, 2014 5:31 a.m.

    Why vote republican or democrat, why vote for a party..... why not vote for a person.

  • Badgerbadger Murray, UT
    Jan. 6, 2014 7:37 a.m.

    The democrats had the whole government rope. They tied their own noose (ACA). They put their heads in the noose.

    Why should republicans pull them out? Let them kick out the chair too!

  • Thid Barker Victor, ID
    Jan. 6, 2014 7:41 a.m.

    You liberals are amazing! Not long ago you were blaming "evil, greedy" insurance companies for not covering pre-existing conditions and screaming about them keeping people from having health insurance and now we see you getting in bed with the same evil, greedy insurance companies and in fact are prepared to bail them out with other people's money to salvage your Obamacare mess! I can't wait to see Democrats spin this one and to try to sell this bailout which is coming just as sure as the sun rises in the east!

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Jan. 6, 2014 9:14 a.m.

    Charles Krauthammer is right. Can you believe the suggestions from the Left?

    "Democrats should force republicans to accept proper single payer health care."

    "Again we have a plea to repeal Obamacare with no realistic plan for what we will replace it with."

    The Democrats voted for ObamaCare. Not one, I repeat, not one Republican voted for ObamaCare. The ObamaCare fiasco is the sole responsibility of the Democrats. The loss of jobs because of ObamaCare is the sole responsibility of the Democrats. The increase in insurance premiums is the sole responsibility of the Democrats. The loss of existing insurance policies is the sole responsibility of the Democrats. The fact that we can't go to a doctor of our choice is the sole responsibility of the Democrats. The fact that Obama wants the insurance industry to give "free" coverage is the sole responsibility of the Democrats.

    America knows that not one Republican voted for ObamaCare. America knows that Obama wanted ObamaCare. America knows that Democrats "forced" ObamaCare on us when 59% of Americans told Congress that they did not want ObamaCare.

    Let the Democrats "enjoy" the consequences of thumbing their noses at America.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 6, 2014 10:59 a.m.

    "You liberals are amazing! Not long ago you were blaming "evil, greedy" insurance companies for not covering pre-existing conditions and screaming about them keeping people from having health insurance and now we see you getting in bed with the same evil, greedy insurance companies and in fact are prepared to bail them out with other people's money to salvage your Obamacare mess!"

    Yep, Obamacare so-called has government in bed with the insurance companies (it was originally a Heritage Foundation project after all). This demonstrates why I am a socialist and NOT a liberal.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Jan. 6, 2014 11:12 a.m.

    It's pretty obvious there will either be a bailout for private insurance companies OR they are going to have to start charging way way more for their policies (and their customers will be shocked by the price increases and bail on them, which starts the downward spiral).

    You can't require private insurance cover every pre-existing condition, and not charge more for their product, without also broadening the coverage pool by enough people to insure that there are enough healthy people paying their premiums to cover the people with very expensive pre-existing conditions that decide (after their diagnosis)... that they now want insurance... and the insurance company is forced by law to take this new customer who has payed ZERO premiums and pay their bills.

    Anybody who can't understand that doesn't understand how insurance works, or the economic realities behind health insurance (not the political fantasy land where if you don't collect enough in premiums to pay the medical bills... you just borrow more and more and more... or blame the rich and tax them to pay the bills). Private insurance companies can't do that.

    AKA was designed to destroy private insurance (IMO)

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    Jan. 6, 2014 11:49 a.m.

    "You can't require private insurance cover every pre-existing condition, and not charge more for their product"

    Because you believe that we are not already paying too much for what we get?

    Why does a routing childbirth cost $20-30,000?

    Why does a 6 hour stay in a hospital cost $50,000? ( Google Reddit 55,000 bill)

    I had a routine outpatient procedure and was in the hospital less than 4 hours. The bill came to $26000. And that did not include the surgeon or the anesthesiologist.

    Nothing can be fixed when 1/2 the country doesn't think there is even a problem.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 6, 2014 11:57 a.m.

    Re: 2bits "AKA was designed to destroy private insurance." No, IMO Obamacare is a compromise between the legitimate desire of Democrats to extends access to medicare care, and the desire of those same Democrats to serve the insurance business because they, the Democrats, owe K street just like the Republicans. This demonstrates why American capitalism is hopelessly corrupt and unable to serve the people. In time this system will be dumped. It's when not if. The only remaining question will this dumping come in time to save us, or are we doomed to ill health and a destroyed environment? Could be.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Jan. 6, 2014 12:47 p.m.

    JoeBlow,
    I don't know if we were paying too much before. But no matter how much you bleat the party line... insurance companies can't pay more in claims and not charge more in premiums, just because we want them to.

    Private Insurance has economic realities politicians don't. If a private company pays out more in benefits than they collect in premiums they go out of business. They can't just ask for a new budget with more trillions (borrowed from China).

    The old theory of insurance was... you have insurance all the time (not just when you are sick). So you have a lot of well people paying a little more in premiums than they use, which is used to cover the few people who have HUGE expenses.

    Now the law says you can wait till your crash, or you get diagnosed with something big, and THEN go buy insurance, and they have to pay all your expenses, and you can drop them the day after you leave the hospital. So you pay a few dollars in premiums and they pay out a few million in expenses. That bankrupts them.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    Jan. 6, 2014 2:13 p.m.

    "insurance companies can't pay more in claims and not charge more in premiums,"

    I get it. I understand it. My point is that what they charge is making them HUGE profits.

    "In 1993, the average medical loss ratio in the health insurance industry was 95 percent, which meant that insurers spent 95 cents out of every dollar they collected in premiums on medical care. In their quest for profits, all insurers, regardless of their tax status, have been spending less on care in recent years. The average medical loss ratio is now closer to 80 percent."

    Yes, they keep raising their rates. Not because costs justify those rates. Because the quest for bigger profits does.

    Is that ok with you?

  • Schnee Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 6, 2014 3:43 p.m.

    This "bailout" is a contingency measure just in case not enough young people sign up, so that premiums don't spike.

    So what do Republicans want to do? Repeal the mandate. That would just further drives more young people to not sign up due to no penalty, which means higher odds of either triggering this bailout, or causing a premium spike.

    The only other way to avoid that would be to go back to insurance companies denying people coverage due to pre-existing conditions. Is that what conservatives want? They're good at soundbites, that's for sure, but when it comes to substance, they just want everyone to not realize what their own policy plans would do.

  • LelandTC West Valley City, 00
    Jan. 6, 2014 5:10 p.m.

    Yes there is precedence for bailout. Does that make it appropriate? Many a senator lost re-elction to the last bailout. How many more to another? A type of Bailout written in the bill speaks highly of a no confidence atmosphere, yet it was still shoved down our throats (the only way it could have passed). I think there was a better way to go...
    the insurance industry is a multi-billion dollar profit industry. Using the insurance industry as the vehicle automatically puts that multi-billion dollar cost on tax payer shoulders.
    Eliminate the multi-billion middle-man... Set a national fee schedule for medical services, and provide everyone with an HSA account. Premiums go into the HSA + a catastrophic policy to handle extreme cases.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    Jan. 6, 2014 7:15 p.m.

    @Badgerbadger - your comments are a perfect example of why people are turned off by politics, and in particular conservatives. When you choose the imagery you choose, when you choose to allow 300 million people become collateral damage in a quest to earn political points.... we have sunk to new lows.

    To me... the stakes here are a bit more than any single party. But obviously others disagree.

    When loyalties are to party over country.... we know who the real patriots are.

  • one vote Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 7, 2014 7:46 a.m.

    The great calamity that will be fine and lead to Democratic takeover of Congress.