Jay Rock Demands 90%

This is delectable politics. Fresh off a meeting with Ob-Rahma, Jay Rock has come back to the Senate and demanded 90% loss ratio for any coverage the subsidies pay for. "Loss ratio" is insurance-speak for what they actually have to spend providing actual health care. That means the insurance companies can’t steal 20% of our tax dollars to pay for executive salaries. They get 10%.

They’re peeing their pants right now.

But I suspect Jay Rock has offered this as an outcome of his meeting with Ob-Rahma. I’m sure at that meeting they said, "Jello Jay, We’d like you to pitch other ways to save money. We’d like to come up with a way to keep costs down."

And voila!!! 90%!!! Insurance companies have to actually provide health care without gobs of executive subsidies. We’re actually going to demand a certain amount of health care in exchange for the half trillion MaxTax!!!

After Max Tax and Blanche vote it down, it will be crystal clear this is about profits profits profits. 

I don’t know whether Ob-Rahma will pull their head out of Jay Rock’s amendment. 

But I do know this. Jay Rock is intent on fucking with the narrative that MaxTax and Rahm are intent on spinning. If we do our jobs, it’ll be clear why they’re rejecting common sense ways to deliver health care at lower costs and instead are just interested in subsidizing the insurance companies. 

67 replies
  1. emptywheel says:

    One other reason this is good politics: because Jay Rock’s co-sponsor, one Al Franken, can command teebee attention.

    It still won’t work. But Jay Rock isn’t fucking around.

      • cbl2 says:

        I sat delightfully slack jawed at the mention of the Franken bill last night in the KO interview –

        if just 3 months ago, I had typed in here that Rockefeller would be the WH’s worst nightmare and would do so in tandem with Franken, there’d a been a thread intervention

  2. eagleye says:

    Good on Rockefeller for his work on the healthcare issue. I’d like to see him and other Democrats in Congress demand some transparency from Obama, and ask for documentation of exactly how much the White House has already given away to big pharma and the health insurance companies. It may be that Obama has already boxed himself in by promising too many important concessions to the industry, putting himself in a real squeeze where he is unable to deliver real progressive healthcare reform. If that is the case, I’ll voting to run his ass out of Washington in 2012.

  3. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    Watching Rockefeller has been a pleasure, and that clip really was eye-opening. As I understood him, Jay Rock said: the MaxTax hands over half of the $498 b-b-billion to the healthCos

    Which is why he said, 10% is the limit.
    Don’t weep for them; it still gives them a $49 b-b-billion for exec salaries, etc, etc.

    It is delicious to see the Senators now exposed: it will be delectable to watch who works for healthCos and who works for citizens.

    Quite the political judo chop.

    • fatster says:

      And he seemed to be implying that the 10% is to be used for administrative costs and salaries–which leaves less for the executive salaries (abt 1:38).

  4. Hmmm says:

    This is cool. Keep ‘em on the defensive. The full moon shows ‘em for what they really are.

    I notice Rocky Boy sez the House bill already has it as 85%, I wasn’t aware of that.

  5. Mauimom says:

    Y’know, if Rahm hadn’t made all those secret, behind-closed-doors deals with the insurance companies, and presumably ordered Dems not to “say bad things” about said companies, Dems could have come out of the gate on health care reform with a big anti-insurance company attack.

    I mean really, who [other than Congresscritters] wants to be on the side of defending insurance companies?

      • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

        Wow, and now watching Alan Grayson on the Situation Room rip through one bogus, lame excuse the media makes on behalf of the GOP (and yes, I am thinking ‘Grassley’) it sure seems as if something strange is happening.

        Jay Rock digs in his heels, and has a completely different style from Grayson.

        But Grayson just keeps ripping right through the false arguments and keeps moving…

        • dosido says:

          But Grayson just keeps ripping right through the false arguments and keeps moving…

          gotta love those false arguments and the old diversion, let’s talk about how you said what you said, instead of what you said.

  6. Hmmm says:

    Hey, I got an amendment for Rockyboy:

    WHEREAS for-profit health insurance corporations are inherently immoral, since the fiduciary duty to maximize shareholder value eclipses the mission of funding care for the insureds;

    NOW THEREFORE all board members, presidents, CEOs, CFOs, and other senior executive officers of for-profit health insurance corporations shall be tattooed on the forehead and both checks with a skull and crossbones, that the children may flee in terror before them, and so that the general citizenry may shun them without mercy as they enemies of the people they are.

    That outghta do it.

  7. Neil says:

    Does 10% cut the path for individual mandate with no public option?

    I’d prefer 2.5% but I could live with 10%.

    Jay Rock stepped up to the plate in Senate Finance. I’m proud of him.

  8. Stephen says:

    So the key to Rockefeller’s amendment is oversight. Honest oversight in Washington, is that possible? I think we should keep in mind the oversight as applied by Washington in the recent financial industry fiasco. I think we should use a little more hindsight. In both of these scenarios the taxpayers front the money. Fool me once…..

    • fatster says:

      Oh, you’ll like this one, too, assuming you haven’t already seen it.

      US secretly tried to make deal with Goldman Sachs in wake of financial crisis

      Paulson doing what comes nataurally. And guess who stopped it: Warren Buffet.

      • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

        Oh. My. God…
        What that says about how these cads think is infuriating.
        The Masters of the Universe?
        What a solipsistic, blind, greed-driven universe they rule.

        They can have the damn mess.
        I’d like a different universe, please.

        • behindthefall says:

          Well, luckily there’s still some variety out there on the rest of this planet. Time to go exploring.

    • PaulaT says:

      I’m not sure it will take that much oversight from Washington. The way I understand it, one of the biggest, if not the biggest, factors in stock price at this point is having a low loss ratio. This is why CEO’s with a fiduciary duty to their shareholders and none to their policy holders must constantly work that number down regardless of bonus and salary structure. The Rockefeller approach should actually do more for the fundamental problem than any other caps they can do (like salary or whatever). If they are all limited, then the rush to the bottom is bottomed out at an even level and they have to concentrate on something else to raise stock value, like volume. If the shareholders demand more profit for dividends in order to buy one stock over another, then the money will have to come out of advertising or salaries or bonuses, which can motivate some lids on those insanities. It can’t come from denying claims once that bottom is reached, so the focus will be elsewhere. As far as oversight, the loss ratio is freely advertised now as it is a selling point for the stock. In the future, it might not be bragged about, but it will still have to be part of the financial filings as a major category that is hard to hide. You might be able to hide yacht payments under advertising, for example, but how do you hide claims payouts? Compare them to total payouts and you have your loss ratio. Look for them to become real jerks to their employees and the doctors on paperwork, delays, etc. in order to squeeze them instead of squeezing execs, but the pressure will be off and the price too high to do the squeezing on the actual payouts.

  9. NCDem says:

    One of the arguments that Republicans have been making about government involvement into health care is that it would disrupt the market and thus many insurance mid-level employees would lose their jobs. With an insurance mandate and the addition of 40 million + to the rolls, this would never happen.

    However, with this amendment, it might. The CEO’s and Board Directors would quickly look for companies that could outsource the fiscal transferring of monies to pay the hospitals and doctors to companies in India or elsewhere. This way they could get their administrative costs down to 3% or less and that would leave the balance for CEO’s and the Board to distribute to their shareholders.

    I’ve noticed recently a huge uptick in the ads for jobs that want health insurance marketers to recruit new clients. I can’t decide if this is because many are seeing the writing on the wall and running for the hills or if they are just getting beefed up to handle the mandate uptick at the expense of the American taxpayer.

  10. JimWhite says:

    If ten percent is enough for God, it ought to be enough for the government insurance executives.

    Okay, I’ll say it. Thanks Jello Jay Rock.

  11. klynn says:

    I wonder if Wendell Potter is in some office side room advising the moves to create industry accountability?

    I know I would have him on my policy team.

  12. behindthefall says:

    If the U.S. doesn’t get a public healthcare system that measures up to the rest of the civilized world, it will be time to leave.

  13. dosido says:

    But I do know this. Jay Rock is intent on ############ the narrative that MaxTax and Rahm are intent on spinning.

    Wow. I didn’t know Jay knew how to do this. Nice. I like effing with the narrative. Jay’s getting a big assist on the House side from Grayson, doing his cannonball in a big pool of political poo. Cowabunga!

    If we do our jobs, it’ll be clear why they’re rejecting common sense ways to deliver health care at lower costs and instead are just interested in subsidizing the insurance companies.

    So, this is the legislator’s way of playing the bar game of BS?

  14. oldtree says:

    As long as I don’t have to deal with an insurance company again, fine. But don’t put health insurance in with health care. It doesn’t work. If anyone is still stupid enough to buy insurance from the bigs that give a latte with your waiting room muzak, let them.
    I want a public option where I never have to deal with an insurance company again. They are criminals. Their business model is the same as the mafia. Kill as many as you need to keep the others in line.

    Stop talking about insurance or they will stick us with it. We want single payer, universal health care. Anything less is unacceptable, period, end of story, no further comment, sign the fucking bill into law.

  15. knowbuddhau says:

    As senators, both Jello Jay and No-Drama Obama rolled over for the NSA-types. As observed above by Mauimom (@7), if these two really were working for the working class, instead of Goldman Sachs, the whole roll out would’ve had a much different character.

    As it is, after transparent attempts to give us over to our butchers (45,000 a year dying from lack of insurance), only now are they showing a semblance of spine on health care. Way out here in Washington state, maybe I’m not breathing the same fumes y’all are back east. Like Arbusto (@16), I don’t share this enthusiasm for Jello Jay in the least. Can one be cynical enough about Obama’s back room BigPharma deals and Goldman Sachs being his #1 private contributor?

    Even if the no-hope-in-hell 90% got through, a lot of people would still be living like royalty off of our suffering. Profit has no place in genuine health care.

    We’re still no better than over-mechanized cash cows to them.

    I still see two party faces, one perpetual bogus global holy war waged for the benefit of our modern day feudal overlords. How does Jello Jay playing at being a real senator change that one bit? Soon as the Fed, Treasury, DoJ torture apologists or NSA-types say rollover, I’m betting he will.

    More tales told by idiots strutting the stage for their hour, full of soundbites and flurries of press releases all signifying nothing.

    Show me my health care, not just a chance to be dropped by the same butchers at some future date. I want Medicare for all. I want to be covered for medicinal marijuana so people seeking health aren’t criminalized.

    Now THAT would impress me. Building a class of American royalty into a for-profit health care denial system doesn’t give me any hope for any real change. Obama will still play the tune he’s being payed by Goldman Sachs to play.

    “The large print giveth
    And the small print taketh away.”
    –Tom Waits, “Step Right Up”

  16. Knoxville says:

    Well, if the garbage that will come out of the Finance Committee won’t have a public option (thanks go to Senators Baucus and Lincoln for f’ing us), then this would be the next best thing…

    Howard Dean suggested just stripping all the money out of the bill and just calling it a insurance regulation bill rather than leave the money in, in which case it could be the Insurance Industry Profit Protection and Enhancement Act.

    Which were the 3 Democratic Senators who voted against Schumer’s plan for a PO?

    • Stellaaa says:

      I would not even go so far, cause they have all this pots of money to do the regulatory bits. For example, they have a pot of money that is set aside until 2013 to cover the people (high risk pool) with pre-existing conditions. I would settle for the simple regulatory bit, if they did not give them money for it and really regulated them. But there are all kinds of if and whereas clauses that pamper the insurance companies.

  17. KarenM says:

    Now if Rockefeller could just sneak in a phrase or two about congress members having to live with the same thing they’re going to foist on the rest of us, especially any taxes on employee-based plans.

  18. Knoxville says:

    BAD NEWS SECOND: A Conservatruthtwisting Group, whose name cannot be mentioned, has a new tv ad running in Tennessee, pushing the usual nonsense about why people should be afraid of real health care reform.

    I’m making another contribution to Health Care for America NOW!


    And check out this video with the story of Stacie Ritter (and the sleaze of the United Health CEO):


  19. punaise says:

    “Loss ratio”… is there anything more telling than that phrase? The insurance cos. consider it a loss if they actually have to pay for the care that theier policies are supposed to cover.

    • MarkH says:

      YES – Thank you for pointing that out.

      When I read the phrase my reaction was, “What does that mean?” You answered my question and it explains a lot.

  20. NorskeFlamethrower says:


    Citizen emptywheel and the Firepup Freedom Fighters:

    Let’s remember, before we start advancin’ ol’ Jay Rock for sainthood, that he is an example of just how broken our political system has become since 1877. As a son of one of the families of the oligarchy created after the coup of 1877 that ended radical reconstruction, Rockefeller found his place in society in the 1960’s after goin’ out amongst the great unwashed in West Virginia and findin’ out just how much these very poor folk needed the strong paternal leadership of one of America’s best families. So, the Rockefeller family bought West Virginia for ol’ Jay and the rest is a rather mundane history until these last two weeks.

    The families of America’s oligarchy have been buyin seats in the Senate for a couple hundred years (witness Prescott Bush in Connecticut after bein’ found to have been committing treason durin wartime)but only the Rockefellers have the chops to buy an entire state. Only religions have been able to take over entire states…witness Utah.

    So you go Jay Rock, you can start payin for all the horrible things your family has done to the people of this country over the last 150 years by puttin’ your family impimatur (and money) behind national health insurance.


    • knowbuddhau says:

      Thanks for the history lesson. That’s the kind of narrative I’m talking about. I bow in your virtual direction.

      I’ll keep the faith, my friend, if by faith I can mean kado, the way of the poet; and I’ll even pass ammunition, but only if by ammo we can mean these little energy vessels right here, and only if they are used kenotically, as in chado, the way of the tea ceremnoy, not kinetically, as in bushido, the way of warriors.

      For example, remember the Pentagon’s Message Force Multipliers, the ones exposed by David Barstow’s Pulitzer prize-winning work that itself got almost no coverage?

      How was their effort any different from deploying snipers? Right now, the Pentagon’s influence operators are using words merely as kinetic energy packets. They hide their intentions; target us, the People they’re supposed to be defending; shoot their mouths off with high-powered microphones; and make career-advancing killings.

      Conversely, in chado, it’s plain to see how we use words kenotically: Conducted in silence, the cups and tea become the words and essence. It’s a vivid expression of the character of our most basic imaginal units: neuronal models of stimuli.

      Neuronal models of stimuli are the self-emptying vessels of mind, into which experience, even now, is pouring like tea; from which awareness, even now, is arising like steam; and out of which, even now, we are drinking Tea.

      Deal or no deal? ;-]

      • MarkH says:

        Buddhy, you’ve got a lot of nerve using words I’ve never heard before. You one of them Liberal hippie types I heard about? Probably weave baskets in Asheville & smoke dope when the kid’s out of the house. I’ll bet you’ve even read some uh that dictionary thing.

        Where was I? Oh right…Go Jay!

        • knowbuddhau says:

          LMAO! That’s a great one, I richly deserved it. Funny thing is, I credit the very creative “punishment” my 6th grade teacher gave me: copying dictionary pages; for much of my writing style. I do sound like a talking dictionary, huh?

    • MarkH says:

      So, the Rockefeller family bought West Virginia for ol’ Jay and the rest is a rather mundane history until these last two weeks.

      Your characterization isn’t quite what I experienced as a WV native.

      Jay worked his way up honestly and did well. He was the first really good governor we had during my lifetime. After him we’ve had a few more who basically followed in his mold. None have been terribly Liberal, but they’ve always had the people’s interests at heart and have managed the state’s finances very well.

      Jay isn’t a native West Virginian, but he’s done a good job despite that handicap.

  21. Stellaaa says:

    I don’t think I am mistaken, but from the hearings and reading the Baucus plan, it seems that the Baucus plan has only a reporting mechanism for the Loss Ratio but no cap. The House Bill has a Cap. The Baucus has no cap. Go figure.

  22. dosido says:

    If we are trying to “get insurance cos honest” why are we subsidizing them? And requiring them to honor Jay’s amendment only works while dems are in power (if even then). When the GOP get back in, we’ll get a Michael Brown FEMA type to look the other way, while the US gets ripped blind.

    Big deal.

  23. Knoxville says:

    I just heard that Speaker Pelosi told Alan Grayson to “cool it.”


    Please send Speaker Pelosi a note to say that Alan Grayson is right and that his Democratic colleagues in the House and Senate should be joining him rather than silencing him if Democrats are going to get REAL health care reform and keep their majorities into 2011.

    You might also mention that Alan Grayson has motivated thousands of Democrats to make financial contributions.


    • Legion303 says:

      Here’s what I sent Pelosi. Tactful, isn’t it?

      “Nancy, shut the fuck up. Alan Grayson is absolutely in the right and after the way you appeased GWB by taking impeachment ‘off the table,’ you have no standing with me any more. Just shut the fuck up.”

  24. ouroborous says:

    Interesting, I really feel like Rockefeller’s right — I’m actually feeling more and more momentum FOR the public option in the past few days.

    Of course, the Finance Committee amendments failed, but weren’t we sort of always expecting those to fail? Weren’t we considering the House to be the last stand? Weren’t we kinda writing off the whole Senate? Instead, we nearly got the PO in the bloody FINANCE COMMITTEE, and IIRC the other Senate bills include a PO. And the House, well, we’ve got HR676 — which won’t pass, not by a light year, but which might just move the goalposts a bit to soften resistance to the public option.

    So, like Rockefeller says, I feel a considerable momentum TOWARDS the public option in the past week or so. Which is probably why the pundits are now screaming louder than ever that “THE PUBLIC OPTION IS DEAD!” They know that if they can control the narrative, they can make that a self-fulfilling prophecy, but with heroes like Rockefeller, Grayson, and Grijalva refusing to bow out, it’s far from certain that the Big Insurance shills will carry the day…

    I’m cautiously optimistic…

  25. TomWells says:

    Jay Rock is doing the exactly right thing: making it impossible politically for Obama to support the Baucus bill.

  26. sbvpav says:

    i’m not sure how much more clearly we progressives specifically and american citizens in general need to know whose pocket these spineless, bought and paid for, prostitutes are in.

    even in the face, i.e. blanche lincoln, of polls showing constituents are in favor of the choice of a public option, these guys are voting for their own campaign coffers and johns.

  27. boogiecheck says:

    I started to feel a little hope reading this…but remembered how many times that hope has been dashed these past nine months, so cautiously optimistic is my view.

    And I don’t understand giving them donations because they said a few positive words. As we all know, words are cheap in DC, but actions are where the heart lies.

    By all means, give to them when they back up those nice words with some action.

  28. JoeBuck says:

    Hell, I’d take it. Either a strong public option, or a 90% minimum “medical loss” ratio. If insurance companies try to escape by refusing to accept subsidies, then a new one would have to be set up, which would amount to the public option.

  29. NAVDOC3rdMAR says:

    Senators Rockefeller, Schumer, Stabenow and Widen of the Senate Finance Committee Sub-committee on Health, did a great job of pointing out that the Medical Industrial Complex’s contribution to Health Care Reform, according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is $20 BILLION and in return they will get $500 BILLION in TAX-PAYER FUNDED SUBSIDIES. Democratic Senators baucus, conrad, carper, lincoln and nelson voted with the republicans to kill the public option 09-09-29.

    Criminally corrupt politicians are the reason the U.S. is ranked near the bottom of every catagory when ranked next to other modern, industrialized nations. Time for publically funded elections.

    lieberman $12.6M, mcconnell $7.8M, baucus $7.7M, cornyn $6.7M,
    kyl $5.6M, grassley $5.4M, ensign $5.2M, conrad $5.1M, cantor $4.9M,
    nelson $4.9M, burr $4.8M, boehner $4.4M, hatch $4.4M, lincoln $4.1M,
    vitter $3.9M, carper $3.6M were paid by the Medical Industrial Complex to kill Health Care Reform. (Source: OpenSecrets.org, Aug. 09)

    Follow the Money: Link

    Call Congress and demand, Single-Payer Health Care for All!

    (Toll Free # House and Senate)
    1-866-338-1015 _____ 1-866-220-0044
    1-800-473-6711 _____ 1-866-311-3405

    Sign Single-Payer Petitions: Link Link

    Don’t let the Medical Industrial Complex steal your Health Care from you and your family by donating huge sums of money to Crooked Politicians in order to maintain the Status Quo. Keep up the good fight.


    • RainaP says:

      He’s changed it to 85% – which he said he originally had at 90% but House has 85% so that’s what he changed it to.

  30. CindyLugo says:

    Just so you know – the Insurance Industry takes way more than 20%. They currently take 25-30% and are asking and getting approval for 35%.

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