AP Sources: AARP to endorse House health care bill
WASHINGTON — Officials are telling The Associated Press that AARP_the seniors’ lobby_will endorse the health care overhaul bill that House Democrats are preparing to take to the floor.
Officials with knowledge of the group’s decision told The Associate Press on Wednesday that the senior’s lobby has decided to give the $1.2 trillion measure its seal of approval. An announcement is expected Thursday. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the announcement has not been made.
The endorsement, in advance of floor votes as early as this weekend, would be a major boost for President Barack Obama’s signature issue.
“We think we’ll have the votes”
Oct. 29 House Speaker Nancy Pelosi unveiled a $894 billion health care bill Thursday that would extend coverage to 36 million Americans through a mix of subsidies, tax incentives and penalties on individuals and small businesses, but the final package falls short of the more liberal vision of a public health insurance option.
Party leaders would like to start debate on the bill next week and hope to have a final vote before Veteran’s Day on Nov. 11.
The long-awaited introduction of a combined House health care bill produced few major surprises. After weeks of public hand-wringing, leaders – and party liberals – bowed to political reality by allowing doctors and hospitals to negotiate their rates with the government under the public plans.
Unveiling the bill at the Capitol, Pelosi said the bill would meet the goals of “affordability of the middle class, security for our seniors, responsibility to our children. It reduces the deficit, meets President Obama’s call to keep the costs under $900 billion over 10 years and it insures 36 million more Americans.”
“The bill is fiscally sound, will not add one dime to the deficit as it expands coverage, implements key insurance reforms and promotes prevention and wellness across the health system,” Pelosi said.
The bill would cut the deficit by about $30 billion over the next 10 years.
States can opt out of the public option, but how many will?
The Public Option: Let’s Not Opt Out and Say We Did
By MICHAEL GRUNWALD – Insurers are furious that Senate majority leader Harry Reid’s health-care-reform bill will include a public option – even though it lets states opt out if they don’t want the government-run insurance alternative.
Liberals are ecstatic with Reid over that same public option – even though opt-out states would be able to keep their markets completely private, which would limit the public plan’s power to negotiate volume-based discounts in other states. (Read “Understanding the Health-Care Debate: Your Indispensable Guide.”)
It’s an impressive bipartisan consensus regarding the power of inertia. For all the disagreements over the public option, almost everyone agrees that making it the default is a big deal, and that the compromise allowing opt-outs is a pretty modest compromise. That’s because reams of studies have shown that default settings really, really matter. If Reid’s legislation had omitted a default public option but allowed states to opt in if they wanted one, insurers would be ecstatic and liberals would be furious.
The classic example of the power of the default is the opt-out 401(k) savings plan. In a 2001 study, only 36% of the participants signed up for a retirement savings plan when they had to opt in – even though their employers were matching their contributions. Free money, and only 36% took it! But when participants were automatically signed up for the same plan but given the chance to opt out, 86% of them stuck with it. Scholars have found similar status-quo results with organ donations. If we have to sign up, very few of us become organ donors. If we have to opt out, most of us remain organ donors. Similarly, when our electronic gadgets come with the energy-saving auto-power-down function enabled, we’re cool with that; if we have to enable it ourselves, we rarely bother.