Public Option…for property insurance


Trent Lott demonstrates pretty normal behavior for people who think they are prepared and are not…I guess he did not need to sign a waiver of never regretting not buying public backed insurance. Of course, how that gibes with the rhetoric of no public option and ‘taking responsibility’ is very human…it tends to change upon need and whim. Of course this will bust the snark-o-meter.
(hat tip reader dani harkin)

David Cay Johnston writes:

Unlike people without health insurance, homeowners have access to public option flood insurance.

Even those who fail to take personal responsibility to buy insurance to protect their property can get benefits, thanks in good part to politicians who are leading opponents of public option healthcare.

Consider the example of Trent Lott of Mississippi, who was that state’s senior senator when Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005, flooding his home looking out on the Gulf. Lott had not exercised personal responsibility by taking out flood insurance even though it was available from the federal government at low cost. He did have private insurance, but his insurer refused to pay much of the claim, saying it was not wind damage (which was covered by the policy), but water damage (which was excluded).

Weeks later Lott introduced Senate Bill 1936, which would have authorized retroactive flood insurance. The idea came from Representative Gene Taylor, a Democrat who represented the Mississippi Gulf Coast, which should remind us that when there is voter demand for reform, and campaign contributions are not the driving force, the parties have worked together.

Lott’s bill would have let flood victims pay 10 years of flood insurance premiums after-the-fact plus a 5 percent late payment penalty. Since this storm was rated a once in 500 years occurrence, even 10 years of premiums would not come close to covering the real costs, meaning a taxpayer subsidy was built into the Lott bill.

Instead of being laughed at by his fellow Republicans for promoting socialism, the concept of retroactive relief was warmly embraced, although not the idea for retroactive insurance. Instead the government went with handouts.

Senator Thad Cochran, also a Mississippi Republican and at the time chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, was key to getting taxpayer benefits for flooded property, according to Taylor’s staff. The benefits were issued and expanded twice, a total of about $18 billion in all, Taylor’s staff estimated.

Contrast the two Mississippi Republican senators’ determined action to get welfare for flooded buildings with their votes against expanding SCHIP health insurance for poor children.

Cochran opposes a public option in health care; Lott, now a lobbyist, says Obama should just declare victory after some minor tweaks, a way to oppose without quite saying so…

Any blue dogs do the same??