Video: Public option or no option?

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    >> watch the senators debate a public option that most of us would never be able to use, and it seems lawmakers in general shying away from a bill that would subject health insurance companies to any truss laws. other than major league baseball , only health insurance has an exemption from the sherman antitrust laws. and bizarre, right? anyway it makes it impossible for us to break up the strangle hold on the health care system . and i read this today in " huffington post ." the only business that has an exemption from sherman antitrust , and so far senate majority leader excludeing the proposal to close the gaping hole. i would argue without doing that you have not reformed health care . and right now one single health care controls most of the country. in 27 states the top two insurance companies control 50 to 75% of the overall market. in ten other states the top two companies corner more than 75%. and then this monopoly, along with a system that traps workers inside of an overly expensive miss aligned system of employer-based system. and instead of improving our health care systems by creating and enforcing free and fair markets, our politicians continue to engage in back room deals and instead of seeking answers to the problem for paying for and providing medicine to us, we are doing the exact opposite. taxpayer money continues to be played with by politicians who are desperately trying to protect the status quo. our guests weighing in. fred weber , a long time washington lobbyists, and also with us msnbc contributor and washington post editorial jonathan capehart, and fred , i will begin with you. how is it that america that claims to be a free and open society has an antitrust exemption that would be the most critical type of insurance or care that is provided to us which is that of our well-being and prevention and that of what would prevent us from death, and yet we are busy playing money games and doctors and patients are left in the corner and we don't get an antitrust exemption?

    >> it's a good question. i applaud you for that editorial, dylan. that monopoly under the present plan the democrats laid out will continue to exist. you will not have reform unless you correct that. keep in mind all along the strategy was to neutralize reform. and what about the trial lawyers ? you know, you are not going to --

    >> well, i will do that a different day, fred . i am on the trial lawyers , but i want to tackle one monster at a time. ezra, how can they propose a mandate where they force everybody to buy into a program where it doesn't have free and fair competition and it's a monopoly controlled system as the government forces us to buy into it?

    >> the part of the mandate that would happen, the people subject to the mandate would buy into the exchanges. and everybody will end up in the exchanges. and i mean, right now, one of the big arguments is about choice. and there is one other piece of this, the cbo looked at the public plan, and the strong public plan that liberals wanted. and cbc says it will save the government alone, and not just the taxpayers or consumers, but the government alone, and people are saying we have to be careful about health care reform because it will cost too much money, it could be tricky.

    >> you have a lack of choice for consumers and an exemption from antitrust, jonathan capehart. we have politicians. we pay them and they are proclaiming they will reform health care , and yet the list that i just offered up seems to be completely protected?

    >> yeah, look, nobody ever said it was going to be easy or nobody ever said it was going to be something where all the vital interests wouldn't do everything in their power to make sure their power was not eroded. i think fred made a good point when he said, look, this reform effort from the very beginning as been about neutralizing, you know, opposition from the doctors and the hops and the insurance companies . maybe, maybe -- i doubt it, but maybe what you are talking about will come up either during baucus' committee, or conference committee , and what you are talking about and proposing is a big nut to crack. i don't hold out much hope of antitrust exemption will go away?

    >> we shall see. i cannot imagine a voter in the country that would want to vote for a politician that would maintain any competitive protection for the health care insurance companies that are gouging them by shedding risks. fred , thank you very much, and jonathan and ezra will stay with us a little while. you can read the op ed in the " huffington post ," talking about why we as the press and a group of taxpayers and voters must demand they stop rigging the game.

    >>> coming up in the next

By Dylan Ratigan Host, 'The Dylan Ratigan Show,' 4 p.m. ET on msnbc
MSNBC
OPINION

Why is health insurance the only business that has an exemption from the Sherman Anti-Trust Act other than Major League Baseball? If the delivery of taxpayer trillions by our politicians to the banks to support their fraudulently paid bonuses hasn't shown you what our current government's values are, check this link out.

Through the governmental negligence that we as voters allowed, a health care system was created in which a single health care company controls at least 30 percent of the insurance market in 95% of the country, including states like the following:

  • Maine, where Wellpoint controls 71% of the market
  • North Dakota, where Blue Cross controls 90% of the market
  • Arkansas, where Blue Cross Blue Shield controls 75% of the market
  • Alabama, where Blue Cross Blue Shield controls 83% of the market

This monopoly, combined with the misaligned incentives that trap people in employer-based health care, is causing the skyrocketing health care costs that are hurtling our nation towards bankruptcy.

I don't know what's worse: that most Republicans seem to be against ending this unfair legal protection for an entrenched industry that is ruining our country with their non-competitive practices, or that most Democrats seem to be threatening this arrangement only as a bargaining chip to push for a meaningless public option that wouldn't be accessible to almost 85% of the population?

Instead of improving our country, through creating and enforcing free and fair markets, our politicians are currently engaging in backroom deals, most of which protect the very companies who profit the most from these disastrous outdated systems — industries like health insurance and big Pharma.

While we clearly have the ability as a group of 305 million to update the system that is American Health Care and move our country into the 21st century in the process, it's becoming clear that we may not have the leaders to do it.

Instead of seeking answers to the problem of paying for and providing medicine, we are doing the exact opposite. Taxpayers' money is being played with by politicians who are desperately trying to protect the competition-stifling, false security of the monopolistic employer-based health care system and its outdated, over-charging, under-delivering ways. Given the least consideration are those affected the most — the patients and the doctors who care for them.

This country's founders built an ingenious system of checks and balances for a reason: to ensure that no special interest or group could use government power to commandeer the creative and economic wealth of our nation to their own ends. How much longer must we live in a country where the citizens are subservient to the banks, health insurance companies and any other special interest able to control our government at the expense of our the most basic principles of fairness, our future as a nation and, as a result, our freedom?

Morning Meeting airs Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. ET to 11 a.m. ET on MSNBC.

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