Putting it on the line

Some things I thought good enough to pass on before I get back to the massive 'site map of the new organizing platform' spec-work for our WSG developers.

Is it a good bill for either progressives or our electoral chances? In RCP's opinion, The Health Care Bill Is Political Suicide;

The latest version of the Senate bill holds little appeal for progressives. As I noted on the blog, without a public option, this bill becomes a wet, sloppy kiss to the insurance industry. It doesn't even represent a substantial triumph for liberalism by significantly expanding government through taxing the wealthy; there are large new subsidies, but for the most part the subsidies are paid for by gouging Medicare and taxing union health benefits. It really reads like a bill a moderate Republican would propose; it is a slightly stronger version of RomneyCare at this point. In other words, the only remaining group that might have even arguably been excited to vote for Democrats on this bill is now at best lukewarm on it.

This bill may encourage a few Democratic policy wonks to run to the polls, but this trickle will be nothing compared to the flood of angry Republicans and Independents. And this is all analysis conducted before election ads begin to run telling voters about how the Democrats will jail them if they don't buy health insurance. To which the Democrats will respond "no, you see, it's only a big fine."

The thought of supportive wonks charging to the polls and meeting the angry conservative mob with 10x their numbers is apt.


The "Do Something Big" and "Do Something Now" blast is becoming the heat of the steamroller express in passage of HCR. The reality is that its the same bailout/giveaway (called "subsidies" this time) structure to big corporate structures as all the other big initiatives of both Bush and Obama in recent years. The Senate Health Care Bill-- Leave No Special Interest Behind:


As we approach the end of Obama's first year in office, this public subsidizing of private profit is becoming something of a habit. It is, after all, exactly what the White House did with the banks. Just as he did with insurance companies, Obama talked tough to the bankers in public but, when push came to shove, he ended up shoving public money onto their privately-held balance sheets.

This is not just bad policy, it's bad politics. ...There are many reasons for hoping the current Senate bill doesn't become law. But the biggest reason of all is the desperate need for a DC pattern interrupt. The desperate need to draw a line in the sand against the continued domination of our democracy -- and the continued undermining of the public interest -- by special interests.


The pattern that Arianna Huffington points out, with its anti-populist basis, really is the root of our affliction.

Kevin Drum sets up the blame of expected losses in '10 as being due to the progressive fighters like Jane Hamsher, if ("...they decide to keep campaigning against it, that could do some real damage..."). It's actually just the opposite. Has the reportage approach of quasi-partisan bloggers like Drum, Nate Silver, Ezra Klein and others, of sitting back and offering a detached perspective on the HCR proceedings, over the past 8 months, helped the progressive cause at all? No, if anything, this type of passive reportage has represented the lulled progressive assumption that all that's necessary is to "believe" the right thing will happen. Complete with Valarie Jarrett prompting to the base to just nod in agreement: have faith in Obama.

In my view, the last two weeks, the swing of Markos/DKos, Howard Dean, MoveOn.org, DFA/PCCC into a more antagonistic activist-based approach has been long overdue. FDL, Glenn Greenwald, David Sirota and others, have been there waiting too; understanding that the politics of the Lieberman/Nelson/Lincoln approach demand that progressives be willing to lose a battle in order to win concessions. RJ Eskew is right: "In a very practical sense the Deans, Hamshers, and Taibbis are accomplishing more than any other progressives to get a better bill."

Steve Benen also lays success as contingent upon the progressive activists:

The [CNN] poll... shows support for reform jumping from 36% to 42% over the last two weeks... I think it's at least possible that the reform bill will give Dems a bit of a bump in January. If there's a big White House ceremony to celebrate the accomplishment, an appreciation for the historic nature of the development, followed by an effective sales job built around the State of the Union, support for reform may very well go up. The wild card, I suspect, will be the progressive activists. Gathering around and cheerleading for hoopla, selling the name of reform, rather than reform, will not work-- especially among the reality-based.

The big takeaway from the HCR battle for Democrats involved in this process is that Obama will not be forced into being a partisan President. Drew Weston (Leadership, Obama Style, and the Looming Losses in 2010: Pretty Speeches, Compromised Values, and the Quest for the Lowest Common Denominator) makes a persuasive argument. Put in a ultra-partisan battle, Drew points out exactly the type of President that Obama becomes. That's largely why, throughout the Democratic nomination battle, I argued that Obama was the wrong person for the partisan times we are in today.  But here we are, accepting that Obama will not be forced into being partisan over policy, and if the debate is forced there, he becomes an absent political force.

Absent bipartisanship, Did Republicans Blunder on HCR? Heck no, they played it to a tee:

... if Republicans had played ball, they would have been in a position to eliminate the public option, demand deficit neutrality, and so forth ... but they had Democratic centrists to do that work for them, and they won all those battles, to some extent at least, without having to vote for the final bill. Whereas winning the larger war, over the design of the legislation, was probably beyond their capabilities whatever negotiating strategy they took.

...judged purely as a short-term political strategy designed to derail the legislation, it's hard to argue with the results. Public opinion has turned dramatically against the bill, and every swing-state Democrat who votes for it is courting political suicide. If you're an opposition party trying stop a legislative juggernaut, that's exactly the kind of landscape you want to create: One where your opponents know, as they ponder how to vote, that they might well be choosing between the bill they want to pass and the majority they want to keep.

I really enjoyed Paul Krugman's 'told you so' post from Sunday. It's worth pointing back to 2007, when Krugman was getting savaged (over mandates) by the Obama campaign team and his supporters. So, some some way-back links that will give some irony to the moment are in order, here, here, and here. Krugman was absolutely right that Obama would change his position in office to support mandates. And, if you are able to accept that Obama's campaign message was entirely driven by well-funded polling research, that ought to tell everyone something about why the '07 Obama took the anti-mandate position too.

Obama, in 2010, is going to make a lurch toward bipartisanship and the middle. It will piss off a lot of partisan progressives even more than the past year has done. I hardly agree with it, but I believe that William Galston describes what will be on the agenda.  And given that reality, the last two weeks of progressive activists willing to fight on the line for something, willing to lose on something big over principle, is what the netroots should be a part of making happen more in 2010. Its either that or cheer and observe from the sidelines; you decide.

Update [2009-12-22 7:59:22 by Jerome Armstrong]:
Markos captures this same sentiment: ...improve the bill. We’re not done fighting.

I have to say there is a fairly big split in the progressive, online community, between those who just want to take a deal, anything, and move on to the next big issue, and those of us who haven’t quit fighting. I have to say, the reason Obama that is now talking about drug re- importation, cheaper drugs from overseas, is because we are continuing to fight.

If you laid down arms, you know what? The Ben Nelsons and Joe Liebermans, they keep extracting concessions. We cannot, at any point, lay down our guns and stop fighting.

Once we have a final bill, and things are set in stone, then we can re-examine that bill. But right now, things can still change. To stop fighting for that change, to me, is patently ridiculous.

Any positive change from here on out is going to be because we keep pushing from the left not because we say, "Good enough. Let’s pass it."

Tags: 2010, hcr (all tags)

Comments

98 Comments

Re: Putting it on the line

So if someone writes a MyDD diary calling to kill the bill they are "willing to fight on the line for something," but if someone writes a diary suggesting the the best possible option at this point is to pass it and fight for improvements they have chosen simply to "cheer and observe from the sidelines?"

The active/passive dichotomy you suggest seems false to me as these approaches differ only in content and remain identical in form.  Advocating for further reform through passage of this bill as a stepping stone might certainly be a way of "putting it on the line as well." Which course would prove more productive is the real debate.  But to suggest that one is what good and principled activists would do and the other is slavish cheerleading misrepresents the range of options before us.

Eugene Robinson describes the bill as setting in motion a progressive dynamic for which we might function as catalysts in "Seizing the Moment" in today's WashPost:

But once the idea of universal health care is signed into law, it will be all but impossible to erase. Over time, that idea will be made into reality.

The loose ends are so many and varied, in fact, that it will probably be necessary to revisit the health-care issue sooner rather than later. Even if it takes years to get it right, eventually is better than never. History suggests that major new social initiatives have to be perfected over time -- and that basic entitlements, once established, are rarely taken away.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/con tent/article/2009/12/21/AR2009122102488. html

Robinson proceeds to tout the 30 million figure that seems a bit gimmicky at this point.  SO the criticisms of the bill remain.  But his title suggests that his major argument underscores that there may be something that clearly represents progressive activism about passing and improving and something potentially more passive in calling for it to be killed.

by Strummerson 2009-12-22 03:12AM | 0 recs
Re: Putting it on the line

Yea, I might "suggest" a dichotomy, but its obviously got more of a spectrum to in than that easy choice.

I agree on the 30 million figure being a gimmick. Jonathan has repeated it here multiple ties and I've questioned it. It turns out to be a CBO "estimate" that you have to take on faith.

At this point, its way to late to actually kill the bill, but its never to late to take a stand on principle and demand it be addressed. And I would argue that that stand was taken much too late in the process by the netroots activists. Hopefully that's a lesson we can take forward into the next battle.

by Jerome Armstrong 2009-12-22 04:26AM | 0 recs
Re: Putting it on the line

Of course, the danger in embracing a pass and fix approach is that this will end up as lip service.  And here your piece is on point and timely.  We might have all the good intentions in the world.  But I think Obama will want to call this a feather in his cap and much of the democratic legislative caucus will want to move on, both out of fatigue and necessity.  We can trust Sanders and Feingold and others in the senate to keep pushing, but many will look elsewhere.  Pass and fix requires a real grassroots commitment.  Those who have supported passing the bill all along while acknowledging its critical deficiencies must consider themselves morally and politically committed to keep pushing or all we have is a bad bill and a political liability.

by Strummerson 2009-12-22 05:25AM | 0 recs
keep focussed please

What we need now is focus. Today is Dec. 22, 2009 Not Dec. 24th, 11:00 pm, 2009.

Please lets try to realize that the key here to progress is to reconcile +PROPERLY+ the house and senate versions of the bill.

This is a bill that is going to a vote on christmas eve, ok? Not today.

Right now, I urge each and every one of us to CALL THEIR CONGRESSMAN AND SENATOR and urge them to support the HOUSE VERSION OF THE BILL.

The house version has a public option.
If we reconcile the two bills properly, we are ok.
Then afterward, if you want to throw the bastards out, please do so + who knows maybe we can amend the bill to contain a real element of reform instead of the mandated private insurance and little else...

by Trey Rentz 2009-12-22 08:20AM | 0 recs
Re: keep focussed please

Is there any politically plausible legislative path to getting the House's public option in the final bill at this point?

by Strummerson 2009-12-22 09:50AM | 0 recs
Re: keep focussed please

 We'll need a Christmas miracle, if I'm reading the handwriting in the snow correctly.

by QTG 2009-12-22 09:56AM | 0 recs
Re: keep focussed please

That's what I thought.  But Trey seems to indicate that possibility remains.  He's put up several helpful HCR diaries in the past.  I'd like to know why he thinks that.

by Strummerson 2009-12-22 11:49AM | 0 recs
Re: keep focussed please

not as long as so many of you keep saying that you will be ok with the Senate version of the bill.

by jeopardy 2009-12-22 11:39AM | 0 recs
Re: keep focussed please

So many of who?  I never said I "would be ok with the Senate version." I said that it seems more likely that passing the some form of the legislation that has been produced in this process, critically flawed though it is, offers more opportunity to pursue reform than killing it does.  Or, more specifically, that the vast majority of credible progressive policy wonks and legislators are making this claim.  It doesn't mean that it will prove true.  I'm not confident of this.  But it does suggest more likelihood than the converse.

by Strummerson 2009-12-22 11:45AM | 0 recs
Re: keep focussed please

Can you explain to me how passing a "critcally flawed" bill will lead to reform down the road?  By my estimation, passing such a bill will prop up the crippled current health care system in its present state.  The insurance industry will fight any progressive reforms going forward and will have more at stake and more money to burn on the endeavor.  Furthermore, if "this is the best we can do now," what do you expect will change in the near future to spur progressive reforms?  And aren't we kicking any reforms to more than 10 years from now (ie, the bill has to take effect and have some time to allow the deficiencies to show before they will be addressed)?  Wheras, if this defective bill is defeated, the issue of health care reform will have to be addressed again in the near future because the health care system is in crisis.  We can continue to apply pressure to our lawmakers with the horrific stories of denied care, protest against the insurance companies for their egregious behaviors, etc.  We are now rallied; we can use that energy to launch a concerted plan to keep health care abuses front and center in the public consciousness.  And, most importantly, the next attempt at health care reform will have to start at a more progressive place because this giveaway approach has been rejected.

Can you please show me where I have gone wrong in my reasoning?

by orestes 2009-12-22 01:41PM | 0 recs
Re: keep focussed please

No.  I cannot show you where you have gone in your reasoning, which I consider quite sound.  However, more of the people close to the process, people whose commitments to reforming the system have proven credible over time, reason to a different conclusion because they seem to agree that there are enough structures in this bill that may be worked on, amended, and improved that it is worth doing.  You suggest that "if this defective bill is defeated, the issue of health care reform will have to be addressed again in the near future because the health care system is in crisis" but the lawmakers involved who I respect are telling me a different story.  They say that passing this bill gives them something to work with and killing it will create fewer opportunities to move forward.  You can deride this as an appeal to authority, as bruh does.  But I think that considering the perspectives of those who have been up to their elbows in the process have a privileged perspective on the horizons for further reform.  It would have only taken one principled progressive to stop cloture.  Only one.  If there were 62 centrists that favored the bill, but Sanders and Feingold were arguing that it would do more harm than good looking forward, I'd also be against it.  Neither they nor Hacker nor Reich nor Krugman, all of whom have criticized the bill for many of the same aspects you do (and me too) think that if we kill it "the next attempt at health care reform will have to start at a more progressive place..." They argue the exact opposite.  It's not sufficient for me to judge this bill on its relative merits and deficiencies as it stands.  I judge it on what it will enable down the road.  They reason differently from you because their premises are different.  

Sometimes it's better to tear things up and start over.  Sometimes it's better to get it out there and tinker.  Those close to the process who I respect are telling me that this situation is closer to the latter.  Is it unreasonable to take their recommendation?

by Strummerson 2009-12-22 02:37PM | 0 recs
Re: keep focussed please

Thanks for your response.  To me, it is unreasonable to accept their assertions because we are unclear of their motives.  Certainly, politicians may have other considerations driving their decision-making.  I don't neceesarily think Krugman is any closer to the issue than the average, engaged citizen.  (And I confess his sign-on confounds me.)  

by orestes 2009-12-22 04:08PM | 0 recs
Re: keep focussed please

I agree that it would be unreasonable to accept the assertions of an individual whose motives were opaque.  That's why I think it's significant that a wide group of both legislators and policy analysts who are critical of this legislation seem to agree not that "it's better than nothing" but that passing is preferable looking forward.  As for Krugman, his blob has a piece where he deals with the cost issue, but it relies on the same CBO estimates we are all a bit skeptical about.  

I think that some form of this thing is going to pass at this point regardless.  The question is how people in our positions respond.  Perhaps one of the reasons I tend in the direction I do is that I think it will prove counter-productive to simply celebrate or lament it.  And I see folks who seem to be doing just that.  

The fact is that we are to blame to some degree as well.  The republicans as currently constituted would have a harder time blowing off their base.  They were unable to pressure GWB regarding spending and don't want to make that same mistake.  Hence the ideological fervor and intransigence.  But it's working for them politically.  They're threatening Lindsay Freaking Graham and he's paying attention.  The point is that they have a politically effective (though morally and intellectually bankrupt) right flank.  We need a much better left flank.  And siding with those on the left who are both critical and committed to the "pass and try to fix" approach positions us better to have an effect.

by Strummerson 2009-12-22 04:43PM | 0 recs
Re: keep focussed please

I simply disagree.  For me, this legislation is a deal breaker.  If the Democratic party is going to be just as naked in its support and defense of business, I am going to find a true left flank.  Hopefully, many others will join because, as you point out, there is strength in numbers.  I think the rallying in support of this crap bill accepts a lot of false beliefs about the legislative process, false beliefs which work to the detriment of the American people.  I simply will not accept these as the underlying basis for reform.

by orestes 2009-12-26 02:22PM | 0 recs
Harkin

Harkin is telegraphing that the Public Option may be re-visited as early as next year in an additional piece of legislation.  This is what I am talking about.  I get your logic that if the crisis continues, so does the opportunity.  I think we both agree this legislation will not prove adequate.  So the pass/kill debate won't necessarily settle that question either way.  Harkin wants to pass and then try to address the deficiencies with additional initiatives.  It seems to me that even if he and others do this and fail next year, it would provide both opportunities to press the debate further and to use it as a mid-term election issue to rally around.

by Strummerson 2009-12-23 08:15AM | 0 recs
Re: Harkin

I simply have no faith in this "promise." Nothing will change for the better over the course of the new year.  And I have been in the Democratic party long enough to have heard this promise too often to believe it again.  The time is now.

by orestes 2009-12-26 02:24PM | 0 recs
ooooops...link

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/12/21 /key-dem-the-public-option_n_399608.html

There's a piece up at Dkos on this as well.

by Strummerson 2009-12-23 08:16AM | 0 recs
RCP???????

Uh, you do know they are a right-wing site, right? Nate called them out for the way they skewed their polling composites in the last election, and their commentary has always been wingnut. NOT a good reference at all.

by Davidsfr 2009-12-22 03:18AM | 0 recs
Re: RCP???????

What does it matter where political analysis comes from, in the equation of whether or not it is right?  

Yea, I do recall the call-out by Nate, but RCP had a rebuttal of it that was fine. Nate ultimately just didn't like their method, and had a good point about how RCP could do it better. But look, no one is above partisanship. You could go back and look at Nate's state by state analysis in the primaries and find that they were nearly always skewed toward Obama. South Dakota seemed pretty obvious. So there's bias, so what!

by Jerome Armstrong 2009-12-22 04:19AM | 0 recs
Re: right

 We are all tempted and often succumb to the temptation to quote any source which, regardless of the rationale, reaches the same conclusion. It's the source of the old saw 'Politics makes strange bedfellows'. In this case you think you're in bed with RCP, but you have a lot of undisclosed company, too. I won't name them, but you might want to consider who else wants to kill the bill before you commit fully to going all the way.

by QTG 2009-12-22 05:47AM | 0 recs
Re: right

To quote Jerome  "So there's bias, so what?".
Interesting diary to say that Obama is the wrong guy for the job, but the bill is ok...?

What if the bill is a big giveaway to the healthcare lobbyists, and Obama is the right guy for the job?

Objectivity is crucial in matters such as these.

by Trey Rentz 2009-12-22 08:21AM | 0 recs
Re: Putting it on the line

And given that reality, the last two weeks of progressive activists willing to fight on the line for something, willing to lose on something big over principle, is what the netroots should be a part of making happen more in 2010. Its either that or cheer and observe from the sidelines; you decide.

Well, I'm not willing to lose something big, if winning something big is the other option. There are lots of ways to lose, and the scoreboard doesn't mention principles (or lack of them).

And we do remember you aguments: "That's largely why, throughout the Democratic nomination battle, I argued that Obama was the wrong person for the partisan times we are in today.  But here we are, accepting that Obama will not be forced into being partisan over policy, and if the debate is forced there, he becomes an absent political force." - but there's a much shorter way of stating that: "You told us so." Obama was elected, and one reason I chose him as my alternate after my main guy withdrew from the primaries was his anti-partisan stance. I continue to think he is right on that, even though the GOP isn't cooperating.

(absent? I thought he was the point man at every critical surrender! Sheesh)

Bottom line for me (a surprise to no one) is "Rah!Rah!"

 

by QTG 2009-12-22 03:20AM | 0 recs
Re: Putting it on the line

Yea, that's fine. I really don't mind that perspective at all. Its when it gets taken to a defensive posture of attacking another progressive that views a more antagonistic activism is necessary--- that's a complete waste of time when it gets into childish name-calling.

On your point, "I continue to think he is right on that, even though the GOP isn't cooperating."

I don't agree that its right (because of the lacking landscape you point out), but I would agree that its the only alternative that makes sense for Obama. But how do you think he might get the GOP cooperating going forward?

by Jerome Armstrong 2009-12-22 04:13AM | 0 recs
Re: How?

 Well, influencing the actions of the current crop of elected GOPers does indeed appear to be impossible, but leaving the door open seems like  reasonable and adult behavior. Are you a parent of normal teenagers? If not, were you a normal teenager? Leaving the door open doesn't always work, of course, but closing the door is so final.

by QTG 2009-12-22 05:32AM | 0 recs
Re: How?

I agree in principle with what you are saying here QTG, I do think we need a subtle shift in strategies though. I am glad that Obama leaves the door open for the Repubs to take part in the process, but the fact that they continue to not do so, and the fact that so many policy arguments start from the standpoint of concession and compromise has now allowed the conservative members of OUR party to force things even further to the right.

I really thought we were going to see a Public Option out of the Senate and now that we are not, and the fact that the bill has been watered down further in addition to that is really disheartening to me. I haven't given up on Obama OR the HCR bill yet, but I am quite concerned with the way Nelson, Liberman, etc. have been able to hijack the argument (and the fact that those on the other side have not fought harder to take it back.)

by JDF 2009-12-22 06:45AM | 0 recs
Excellent Rebuttal to the

"poor polling" claims on HCR from Greg Sargent.

http://theplumline.whorunsgov.com/climat e-change/the-morning-plum-33/

The polling memo by Dem pollster Mark Mellman, which is being pushed around to Dem Senators, argues that much polling has failed to give respondents any sense of what's actually in the Dem proposal, simply asking voters whether they back "healthcare proposals being discussed in Congress."

The memo demonstrates that when many individual provisions of the bill are polled, they're overwhelmingly popular -- a fact that's gone largely unnoticed, highlighting once again that the din over the public option has drowned out much discussion of the rest of the bill.

OK can we now stop citing the bills that ask about "the health care reform bill"? The overwhelming majority of people don't know what is in the bills, but they support the individual provisions when asked about those. We will NOT see a vicious backlash against the democrats if HCR passes. We WILL see dem polling numbers tank horribly if a "dems are so imcompetent they can't enact their agenda even when they fully control the White House and Congress" perception take hold, and that will happen if HCR fails. Remember 1994: THAT was what caused the dem wipeout that year. Not NAFTA, not Whitewater, healthcare reform failure did it.

by Davidsfr 2009-12-22 03:27AM | 0 recs
Re: Excellent Rebuttal to the

Well, I really don't want to argue about what '94 was about-- a little to late for that sort of revision, and besides, you provide nothing in the way of substance in your claims.

As for '10, I don't think you understand the systemic, anti-populist argument, and how HCR fits into it, and why Huffington called for a "desperate need for a DC pattern interrupt."

HCR fits perfectly into that pattern, and therefore I wouldn't expect it to have much of a consequence if it passed beyond a usual PR/SOTU bump.

But I have to laugh at you pulling up a Mellman poll for the strategy going forward. His was the classic memo in '02 (does Greg Sargent not recall?), that led the Democrats down to defeat in the midterms, with a similar piece of advice (look at the individual items and argue for healthcare-prescription drugs-education measures) that missed the big picture.

Given the influence that a couple of big firms have both with the national party and with individual candidates, it's not surprising that last year's Democratic hopefuls all pretty much read from the same script and ignored the two most important issues facing the country. "The strategy all along has been that, if you can take the war and taxes off the table, we can have a debate on the issues where we are strongest," one Democratic leadership aide told the Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call last spring. And, as it happens, this was exactly the strategy that the party's top pollsters were pushing. Just after the September 11 attacks, Mellman and two employees wrote an essay in the trade publication Campaigns and Elections citing one of their own polls in which just 33 percent of voters in one congressional district listed terrorism as a top concern, compared with 42 percent for HMOs and 40 percent for prescription drugs. "[P]olls show people still care about education, Social Security, health care and other domestic issues that dominated the political agenda over the last year," Mellman and his colleagues concluded. They doggedly stuck to that line as the campaign wore on. In January of 2002, Mellman told USA Today, people "are as concerned about health care and education and prescription drugs as they are about terrorism"; eight months later, he told The Hill newspaper that health care would the "the dominant issue of the next decade."
haha, I guess everyone else here has forgotten, so its time for a recycled moment.

by Jerome Armstrong 2009-12-22 04:07AM | 0 recs
unfortunately, Dean seems appeased

by trivial changes in the Senate bill. But I wasn't a cheerleader in high school, and I'm not going to start being one now.

This bill is a disgrace, and I believe many Democrats will regret supporting it within a few years, when insurance premiums are still skyrocketing, rescission due to "fraud" continues and people are still going through medical bankruptcies. Obama is just kicking the can down the road on this issue.

by desmoinesdem 2009-12-22 04:43AM | 0 recs
Re: Dean seems

 to be among a growing list. Might be useful to listen to them. When the distillation is complete, what remains will certainly be pure. Pure 'what' is the question.

by QTG 2009-12-22 05:57AM | 0 recs
Re: Dean seems

Well I am with Dean, but I want you to remember that Dean is also pretty focussed right now on what is going to go into the final bill and the bill is in conference committee and NOT FINAL FORM.

So. Please. Call your congressman. Call your senator. Urge +REAL REFORM+.

The GOP is really the biggest obstacle to this reform, not the wingnut dems that seem to be unable to get their bearings ... oh and yes there are democrats on the take from lobbyists, we've seen that also -

We can always throw those bastards out of office this year, but first, lets get the Bill in good shape because at some point in the next day or so the GOP will throw in the towel and if and when they do the American people may be able to see legislation that includes. REAL REFORM.

IF YOUR SENATOR AND CONGRESSMAN ARE GOING TO BE WORKING ON CHRISTMAS EVE, WHY NOT GIVE THEM A CALL AND LET THEM KNOW WHAT TO DO BESIDES SNACK ON THEIR CHRISTMAST FRUIT BASKETS AND WAIT FOR A VOTE?

http://www.senate.gov

http://www.house.gov

by Trey Rentz 2009-12-22 08:25AM | 0 recs
Re: Sounds like a plan!

I WILL call my Senators and plead with them
http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_in formation/senators_cfm.cfm?State=FL

LeMieux, George S. - (R - FL)    
(202) 224-3041

Nelson, Bill - (D - FL)    
(202) 224-5274

and my congresswoman, too. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-18)
http://ros-lehtinen.house.gov/

Should be a hoot, and a complete waste of my time.

by QTG 2009-12-22 08:39AM | 0 recs
Re: Dean seems

I've told my representative in person where I stand and sent her a few email reminders.

by luckymortal 2009-12-22 10:12AM | 0 recs
Pass the Bill

1 year ago progressive had no idea what the hell a public option was.    Obama didn't run on  passing one.

Pass the friggin bill and quite whining about it.    

If the bill passes it is a major victory.  It would historic and the first step in either dismantling or regulating the insurance cos.    Its a big bite at the apple that will allow a lot more bites in the future.

If this fails we are looking at another 10 to 15 years before anyone else has the political courage to do anything with health care.   Who wins then? ... Republicans and insurance cos.

Progressive have to ask themselves if they want to make themselves dumb like the Republicans.    Republicans today are willingly ignorant to reality and that has them at where they are today politically.    Is that where the progressive want to be in  2 more or 4 more or 6 more years?     Back in the minority because they refused to accept politcal reality?

by RichardFlatts 2009-12-22 04:45AM | 0 recs
Re: Pass the Bill

Disagree. If nothing gets done now, the Dems can take that back and blame the Republicans. It would be nice IF they could say "we had REAL reforms that would have saved you money and covered all Americans." The problem would have continued to get worse and the pressure would have built up for real change--and soon.

Instead, the Dems have funneled all that energy toward revolution into a bill that will make their opposition (the Insurance Industry) even stronger for next time. Now it will be AT LEAST until 2019 before we can even start complaining and very little will have been done to drastically fix costs that require DRASTIC fixing--not all-better kisses to the Insurance corps.

The mandate's a broken campaign promise from Obama that I won't forget, and the bill sucks.

by luckymortal 2009-12-22 05:43AM | 0 recs
Re: Pass the Bill

One year ago some lame lobbyist didn't pay some consulting firm 2 million dollars to come up with calling real reform and real healthcare benefits for the american people some kind of 'option'.

About fifteen years ago, however, some lame lobbyist firm paid some consulting firm to call the inheritance tax the 'death tax' and lo and behold they killed it.

But. The important thing is that this isn't one year ago. Or even two days from now. The bill isn't done yet.

So. You know what I am going to say next. If you're here, go out to the senate and house websites, find your guys + then send them two paragraphs stating your support for the stronger house bill, and not to support the weaker version known as the senate bill.

Peace.

by Trey Rentz 2009-12-22 08:28AM | 0 recs
Re: Pass the Bill

Yeah all that pent up pressure for change after the last time health care failed back in 93.   It only took 16 years to come to a head.  

by RichardFlatts 2009-12-22 08:55AM | 0 recs
Re: Pass the Bill

Right, because health care costs haven't gone up at all since 93... I see now that the situation in 93 was exactly the same as now! You're right!

So wait--why do we need reform?

by luckymortal 2009-12-22 10:08AM | 0 recs
Re: Pass the Bill

How old are you?  6?

by RichardFlatts 2009-12-22 03:22PM | 0 recs
Democrats would be laughed at if they blamed GOP

Democrats have sixty seats in the Senate, a big House majority, and the Presidency.  They will almost certainly never have those three things again.  

by Kent 2009-12-22 08:31PM | 0 recs
Re: Pass the Bill

Your comment is so full of false statements that one does not know where to begin.

Progressives didn't know what a PO was last year?  Please, your slip is showing, shill.

You may see this bill as an historic "first step" and of course the Dem establishment will shout that from the rooftops, but I doubt most people will feel the same way when they have their first encounter trying to use their "historic" health insurance.  Only time will tell on this point and if past history is any indication, the insurance companies will carry on their immoral, outrageous behaviors.

You may another baseless claim that health care reform would not come up for another 10 to 15 years.  Have you not heard how badly broken our health care system is today?  Necessity will compel a reconsideration of this issue in the near future.  This bill actually kicks the ball of real reform down the road- with silly promises of adding rooms to the house down the road.  Of course, those proponents cannot explain how we will get improvements later if we can't get anything decent today.  What is going to change in the future?  The insurance industry opposition will only become stronger because they will now have even more money to throw at politicians to get their way.  Indeed, we not only have to worry about the ability to get any reform down the road, we also have to fight the constant efforts of the insurance industry to actually tweak it to their advantage going forward.  If you think the insurance industry is not going to be banging at the door of congress for constant reforms in their favor, you are living in an ahistorical world.

Your final paragraph gives the lie to your position.  Casting hollow aspersions at progressives is petty and meaningless.  You posit that progressives will be in the minority in the near future if they oppose this bill.  Well, if we're presently in the majority and this is the health care reform we advocate, I would say we have already reached the stage of "dumb" that you predict.  Your arguments are so false and hollow that I am almost ashamed of myself for responding.  Are you a troll?

by orestes 2009-12-22 06:00AM | 0 recs
Re: The last paragraph

was what I like best. It was positively prophetic.

by QTG 2009-12-22 06:09AM | 0 recs
Re: The last paragraph

no it wasn't. For people who support real reform to stand up and voice their opposition is to flex their political muscle.

Trust me, you're not going to get them sidelined - not in the year of our lord two thousand and ten.

This is the twenty first century, and the blogosphere is a big part of the process and we can and will throw the bastards out.

We've done it before. We'll do it again.
Both sides of the aisle. And this sucker of an HCR , even if its flawed now - is gonna get amended until its right.

I promise you this. Because, as Dean said - this sets a tone for reform for the entire century to come. This is the start of something big.

I see the bill as sort of a game, at this point, and we save it so we don't lose our progress but if we die before we reach the end we didn't win.

"Healthcare reform accomplished in the name of Ted Kennedy must not suck."

by Trey Rentz 2009-12-22 08:32AM | 0 recs
Re: The last paragraph

Jim DeMint and Tom Coburn stand up and flex their political muscle everyday.    They believe what they are saying 100% and stand their ground.  ... Of course they are out of touch with the American people and that is why they are in the minority.

Democrats and progressives can quickly find themselves back in the minority, standing their ground and flexing their political muscle.

One way that progressives are showing they are out of touch with Americans is this absurd belief that if health care fails Americans will blame Republicans.    That is just nonsense.   Americans blame the loser, Americans don't like losers, and Democrats will be the losers if health care fails.  

by RichardFlatts 2009-12-22 09:01AM | 0 recs
Re: The last paragraph

the people who think the bill does more harm than good are not advocating forgetting about reform at all.

The President needs to pass something, and will. If this corporate giveaway is killed, they'll get some of it done through reconciliation, and maybe put single issue bills in front of Congress (are 41 senators going to vote against ending rescissions?)

by jeopardy 2009-12-22 09:26AM | 0 recs
Re: And

 if that is what ends up happening I will rejoice along with everyone.

by QTG 2009-12-22 09:47AM | 0 recs
Re: Pass the Bill

You are confusing a "public option" with the hollow, wildly unrealistic campaign promise that Obama made that all Americans would be able to have access to the same plan that Obama enjoyed as a US Senator.   That was a garbage, throw away campaign promise.

Furthermore the plan that Congress members have access to looks NOTHING like the public option that was proposed by the House or some members of the Senate.

by RichardFlatts 2009-12-22 03:25PM | 0 recs
Just kill it

It's not too late to kill it if both bases coordinate.  Markos and Glenn Beck can do joint appearances.  Let's not pretend it will be improved substantially or that any "improved" bill would not be just as politically disastrous.  Maybe try again in 10-15 years.

by JJE 2009-12-22 04:53AM | 0 recs
Re: Just kill it

 You wouldn't be just killing 'it', as has been pointed out by others. You'd be complicit in killing innocents.

by QTG 2009-12-22 05:34AM | 0 recs
Everything kills innocents

Can't lose sleep over attenuated chains of causality.

by JJE 2009-12-22 05:46AM | 0 recs
Re: Everything kills innocents

 I really don't know how to reply to that. But thanks for the honesty.

by QTG 2009-12-22 05:50AM | 0 recs
You can often say

"not doing X means innocent people will die!" Here, X is passing the health care bill.  But X could just as easily be lowering the speed limit to 20 mph always and everywhere.  The argument proves too much.

by JJE 2009-12-22 06:47AM | 0 recs
Re: You can often say

Not me. What I say is crap. I'm merely repeating what 58 Democratic Senators, Howard Dean, Ezra Klein, Ted's widow, and way too many other progressive voices have said more eloquently than I could ever do. The list is growing. I'm not incapable of independent thought, but I've learned to discriminate between arguments...

Rule one: When picking sides, it is generally speaking better to avoid the ones who are in the group composed mainly of people with exploded heads, and the ones with heads have hair which is on fire. Especially true if many of them have unresolved issues dating back to the primaries.

by QTG 2009-12-22 07:09AM | 0 recs
Re: You can often say

A better rule for picking sides is to look for facts and rationales, instead of counting the number of Democratic Senators who are on one side.

I would be very interested in ANY evidence that killing the health care bill will kill innocents.  

By that, I assume you mean more innocents will die if the health care bill fails than if it passes.

I can pretty much assure you that I can prove otherwise...if you would care to debate that, as opposed to the number of senators that agree with you !!

by Ravi Verma 2009-12-22 07:20AM | 0 recs
Re: No offense, Ravi

 But I really need to use Occam's razor on this one. You my actually be right, and Dean and the Senators and the President and others might all be wrong, but I'm gonna have to pass on wasting your time debating this with me. On big complicated matters, I play the odds rather than try to sort out the minutia out for myself with my pals.

by QTG 2009-12-22 07:32AM | 0 recs
Fair enough..

But, in that case, you should refrain from commenting on someone else's suggestion with an insulting remark of "but your suggestion will kill people" if your only follow on explanation is "58 senators said so".

by Ravi Verma 2009-12-22 07:59AM | 0 recs
Re: Fair enough..

Here, read this, if you like. It was by reading this and others that I formed my opinion on lives saved and why opposing the Bill's passage is small minded and worse.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/linda-r-mo nk-jd/are-progressives-just-whi_b_398317 .html

Or, don't read it. It doesn't matter.

by QTG 2009-12-22 08:07AM | 0 recs
Let me give you the exact words from that study..

Results. Among all participants, 3.1% (95% confidence interval [CI] = 2.5%, 3.7%) died. The hazard ratio for mortality among the uninsured compared with the insured, with adjustment for age and gender only, was 1.80 (95% CI = 1.44, 2.26). After additional adjustment for race/ethnicity, income, education, self- and physician-rated health status, body mass index, leisure exercise, smoking, and regular alcohol use, the uninsured were more likely to die (hazard ratio = 1.40; 95% CI = 1.06, 1.84) than those with insurance.

Did you get the bottomline ?

You are more likely to die, by a factor of 1.4 +/-0.4 (95% confidence of 1.06 to 1.84), if you do not have insurance.  To within a 2*sigma margin of error, lacking insurance has no effect.

I could say underwhelming, but that would be an understatement...

But thanks for the link...at least it is better than arguing the number of senators~!!

by Ravi Verma 2009-12-22 08:29AM | 0 recs
Re: Let me give you the exact words

This is true, we're totally in the error bar. However what we need to account for is what we are spending. Ravi, you have blogged eloquently about the effect of our spending. We are spending, in your words - way too much per capita.

The secret to cutting the costs is not only the good American competition that a good public option would deliver - its the fact that good healthcare cost control comes from proactive measures as well as triage, no?

And in the end, if we're all required to have insurance - shouldn't we have the option to buy it competitively + not just have to take what big private firms are giving us?

by Trey Rentz 2009-12-22 08:56AM | 0 recs
Re: Let me give you the exact words

I dont know if I agree with your assessment as to the solution... I am not a health care wonk and do not know the best path forward.  You may be right, but I do not know that!

I do agree with your framing of the problem, however.  And I think the facts agree with that as well.

by Ravi Verma 2009-12-22 11:28AM | 0 recs
Re: No offense, Ravi

this is hilarious. on complicated matters, in the era of the internet - you can't go through the details even if there are websites with graphics, analysis, links to relevant portions of the bill - and discussion that in the course of maybe an hour -

you could just do your homework? how much time do you spend here? lord knows you could track it all down, bro.

by Trey Rentz 2009-12-22 08:34AM | 0 recs
Re: No offense, Ravi

Are you saying that if I trust the google and study real hard it'll make me smarter than the President and all 58 Democratic Senators? And Howard Dean?

Well, why didn't you tell me sooner?

Hold on brainiacs, don't get in my way cuz I'm doing the google right now!

by QTG 2009-12-22 08:44AM | 0 recs
Re: OK, I'm back

According to the Google, there's good news and bad news.

First the good news: I'm right!
Now the bad news: You're right!

And pretty much everybody's right.

by QTG 2009-12-22 08:52AM | 0 recs
Re: OK, I'm back

No I am not saying 'trust google' I am saying if you can't figure out how to find information on the net, then you probably couldn't think your way out of a paper bag if I put it on your head.

You know, for someone who is halfway on the right side of this issue, you're a pretty big flamer.
How much do they pay you to be here, ?

I remember when I was trading stock the people who were paying the fluffers always put someone up who was a champion for the stock-long and then they made sure the person made an arse out of himself + so the people who would go long would think twice about being in the club.

And then they'd short the stock. Always easier to short the stock if you have enough pump and dump action.

Until one day we did a certificate call on them. Ask Joe Trippi what that does to the stock price.
He'll tell you. Tell him the raging bull sent him.

:)

Anyway, no worries Q. Just make sure you call your senator and congressman, today, bra. Tell them to support real reform, and then be done with it all.

by Trey Rentz 2009-12-22 08:59AM | 0 recs
Re: OK, I'm back

 Well, I'm sorry you don't like me, or my pragmatic support of a bill that might pass. I'm on beta-blockers so nothing much riles me. I forget that for most people, adrenaline still has an effect. I'll stop pestering you if you prefer.

by QTG 2009-12-22 09:13AM | 0 recs
Re: OK, I'm back

Ah, the good 'ol raging bull days-- where we learned of what was to come in politics.

by Jerome Armstrong 2009-12-22 09:52AM | 0 recs
Okay

I prefer to assess arguments on their merits rather than on the basis of who is making them.

by JJE 2009-12-22 08:15AM | 0 recs
Re: Okay

if by merits, you mean whether they agree with you or not, then I guess it works out pretty well.

by QTG 2009-12-22 08:21AM | 0 recs
By merits I mean merits

as distinct from counting noses and appeals to authority.

Do you recall how many Democratic Senators voted for the AUMF, by the way?

by JJE 2009-12-22 08:29AM | 0 recs
That is not fair...

"Do you recall how many Democratic Senators voted for the AUMF, by the way?"

somewhat below the belt...

by Ravi Verma 2009-12-22 08:30AM | 0 recs
Perhaps

But I meant it only to illustrate that basing one's decisions on what the majority of Dem Senators support may not be very wise.

by JJE 2009-12-22 08:46AM | 0 recs
Re: what the majority of Dem Senators support

Unless of course, you are talking about a decision on PASSING a particular piece of legislation, because in that very  particular case, what a 100% majority of the Democratic Senators think is crucial, whereas the internets don't get a vote.

My support for passage of this legislation is purely pragmatic. I'm convinced by the arguments that passage is much to be preferred over 'kill bill', and the shortcomings are an issue for debate only up to that point which comes just before the bill dies for a lack of votes.

So, as a purely logical construction, I support the consensus which gets us to a bill which reforms and passes, as opposed to insisting on a bill which reforms better but fails.

by QTG 2009-12-22 09:07AM | 0 recs
The bill doesn't reform

is the argument on the other side.  If you disagree, fine, but having 60 senators on your side sheds no light whatsoever on whether the bill makes things better or worse.

by JJE 2009-12-22 09:27AM | 0 recs
Re: The bill doesn't reform

if you say so

by QTG 2009-12-22 04:10PM | 0 recs
No, this bill kills.

Dude, your argument is fucking infuriating. I'M killing people by opposing a bill?

This bill is killing people by defusing energy toward the REAL change that is needed. People are going to keep dying because of our health care system under this bill and it will be far longer until we can get any real change accomplished.

Go ahead: ask yourself why people die in our health care system. Do it! It's because corporations put profit before people. This bill changes nothing about that assumption. IT may catch a few extra people, but far more will have died before we get real reform.

Why do you hate sick American's so?

by luckymortal 2009-12-22 05:48AM | 0 recs
Re: Just kill it

Markos is a little whiner who wishes he could be the Glenn Beck of the left.   Hint to the little fella .... he can start by buying his suits were Beck does.    I hate Beck but he does buy nice suits.   Marko's mother dresses him funny.

Markos and his type need to run along and prepare the Nader '12 campaign. .... They can dredge of the old "there isn't a dimes worth of difference" nonsense from 2000 and then seeth for 8 years while Republicans knock their teeth in.

by RichardFlatts 2009-12-22 09:04AM | 0 recs
HCR--It's Christmas for Republicans...

If I were a Republican, I'd love this bill. I'd have made my Insurance buddies an intractable part of health care, given them a strong political position to further attack Democrats, "won" on the "worst" of the socialisms stuff (public option) and it's raining soundbites:

--Biggest tax raise on working people in history! (if you count mandate averages. And get real--the mandate IS a tax and Americans know it.)

--(In November) They passed their Insurance Bailout and premiums are still going up! They didn't solve anything! (you better believe people will be confused about this come November.)

--First time in history the Federal government is FORCING you to buy something, in a lot of cases, something you can't even afford to use! Liberty! Apple pie!

--Their idea of "covering" you was to put the government in the way of these poooor businesses so they can't make a profit and then force you to buy a product you don't need and can't use!

It's all going to seem true to the American people, because shit don't happen until 2014! Worst still, it all IS true.

by luckymortal 2009-12-22 05:35AM | 0 recs
Re: Putting it on the line

I think the real problem with this HC bill is larger than the pros and cons of the legislation itself.  It is what this bill represents- that the Democratic party (like the republicans) is the party of wealthy, corporate interests.  The party has turned its back on its working people roots.  The American people recognize that these are perilous times.  And they watched the Democratic party give a huge bailout to the banks.  Many were unhappy, but if they received something (decent health care), they were willing to put up with the bailout. Now, they are being screwed in favor of insurance industry profits.  There is no way the Democrats can recover from this atrocity if it goes through.  I saw the shame on Tom Harkin's face as he tried to push his pathetic starter home metaphor.  He knows he is selling shit to the American people.  Every promise the Democrats make to the people going forward will be viewed with utter skepticism.  The party of FDR will be no more if this goes through.  And I say this as a lifelong Democrat from a long line of Democrats.

by orestes 2009-12-22 06:09AM | 0 recs
Re: Putting it on the line

That was a tad bit gloomy.

by QTG 2009-12-22 06:17AM | 0 recs
Re: Putting it on the line

Yep, its one of a pattern of what's happened.

by Jerome Armstrong 2009-12-22 09:54AM | 0 recs
Article on FLD

There is currently a great article on FDL about the  "improve it over time" meme going around:
____

People in the "pass any bill, regardless how bad" camp often talk about "fixing it later." They point to previous progressive change like social security, Medicare, and the civil rights legislation as proof that progressive reforms start small but grow into something better. This mantra is repeated as an article of faith, but it is not based on a true, dispassionate examination of history.

For every progressive reform that slowly grew into something better, there is a counter example of reform efforts that, due to poor design, withered or died over the years.

Arianna Huffington uses the example of the badly designed "No Child Left Behind" program. It has turned into a disaster, but has remained unfixed for almost a decade. Rupert Russell, John Aravosis, and Atrios point to the example of welfare programs that were part of Johnson's Great Society.

It is hard to argue welfare has become better and more progressive over the decades. The parallels between welfare and this health care reform bill (both only help a rather small group of typically lower income Americans) is something to be seriously concerned about.

There is also the example of the slow rollback of labor union rights, and, most importantly for me, banking regulations. The critical post-Great Depression banking regulations have been under assault for decades, and I think last year's financial meltdown made it clear that deregulation mania has been to the detriment of our society.

With the Republican party hellbent on deregulation, I have little faith in the long-term viability of a health care system that relies solely on regulation to keep the health insurance industry honest.

Many are championing this bill as an imperfect step toward greater reform, and claim it is built on a strong foundation. Say what you will about the benefits of the bill, but I refuse to accept that funneling trillions of dollars, and forcing millions of new customers, into the private health insurance system that got us into this mess is a smart foundation.

A strong fear of mine is that this bill will only intertwine another powerful industry complex into our system of government. Like the military industrial complex, agricultural industrial complex, and now, possibly, the financial industrial complex, I fear the private health insurance industrial complex will begin feeding off the government tit and never let go.

It will become another bloated industry that survives by extorting ever-greater amounts of money from the government in a vicious cycle of legalized corruption. I worry passing this bill will make it effectively impossible to ever rein in or eliminate this extremely wasteful industry. It will become another burden this country can't afford to support.

We should debate the health care bill before us with eyes wide open. We should not delude ourselves with wishful thinking or the mistaken belief that every small, imperfect attempt at progressive reform always grows into something great. Not every attempt at progressive reform in this country has kept moving forward in a linear direction. We must also fully acknowledge the terrible potential ramifications of what this bill could do.

The private health insurance system is ruining our nation and making us uncompetitive in the global market place. This bill will help some Americans, but at the terrible price of greatly increasing the power of those who ruined the health care system to begin with.

This bill may be a small step forward toward better reform. It might end up a new welfare program that is slowly pared down to near uselessness over the years (and health reform is not starting from a robust place to begin with). Or by empowering the enemies of real reform, it could be the political equivalent of a starving farmer feeding his children the seed stock.

It holds off the hunger for now, but, in the long term, it dooms the farmer because he has nothing left to plant. Temporary relief at the price of even greater long term trouble.

http://fdlaction.firedoglake.com/2009/12 22/reforms-dont-always-magically-get-fi xed-over-time

by jeopardy 2009-12-22 06:10AM | 0 recs
Re: Article on FLD

The parallels between welfare and this health care reform bill (both only help a rather small group of typically lower income Americans) is something to be seriously concerned about.

I'm not saying that this reminds me of arguments for a 'flat-tax', but it starts to.

by QTG 2009-12-22 06:22AM | 0 recs
Re: Article on FLD

The argument is not that it is bad to help a "small group of typically lower income Americans," but that programs which do so are very difficult to sustain politically.  Better to have universal programs like Social Security, or so the argument goes.

by Steve M 2009-12-22 07:13AM | 0 recs
Re: Article on FLD

there's always a better. And if something is better than nothing, then you gotta go with it, an that is precisely the point. Especially if something saves lives that nothing sacrifices.

I actually think that passing the Senate Bill is substantially better than the status quo, and substantially less than I would had HOPEd for going in. If we come out of this empty handed, only GOPers and Pumas win. My cards are on the table face up.

by QTG 2009-12-22 07:20AM | 0 recs
Re: Article on FLD

this bill is WORSE than nothing though.

It further entrenches the private insurance companies in our system. It expands the problem instead of reducing it.

by jeopardy 2009-12-22 07:34AM | 0 recs
Re: this bill is WORSE than nothing though.

The European systems (except UK) are based on private insurance companies. The US model remains fixable even if the Senate Bill becomes the final Bill this time.

And whether or not the Senate bill is worse than nothing is a matter of some debate, but no longer a matter of debate in the Senate. Let's see how the House approaches the next step, and then we'll know whether the debate becomes all-or-nothing. I don't think that will happen. We'll see.

by QTG 2009-12-22 07:53AM | 0 recs
Re: this bill is WORSE than nothing though.

I hope you are not trying to suggest that this bill is anything like the European systems.

by jeopardy 2009-12-22 08:24AM | 0 recs
Re: this bill is WORSE than nothing though.

I was just pointing out that having private insurance companies involved doesn't, by itself, damn a health care delivery system. In Europe, the systems are regulated much more like public works only better because they compete, except for in the UK where the National Health is both provider and payer. The private systems, heavily regulated, are better rated.

We aren't anywhere near a really good system yet, but I prefer we move, however slightly, forward.

by QTG 2009-12-22 09:19AM | 0 recs
Re: Article on FLD

then you missed the point.

The argument is that help for a small, poor segment of the population tend not to last because the GOP keeps trying to get rid of it and it doesn't affect enough of the population to keep it sustained by popular outcry.

It was not an argument against helped the poor at all. It was an argument that it will be too easy to get rid of in the future.

by jeopardy 2009-12-22 07:16AM | 0 recs
too easy to get rid of in the future...

So get rid of it now?

Sorry, you lost me.

by QTG 2009-12-22 07:22AM | 0 recs
Re: too easy to get rid of in the future...

they will keep the parts that help the insurance companies. The increased power of the insurance companies won't likely go away.

you seem to be completely ignoring the costs of this bill in terms of both dollars and the further entrenchment and power of private insurers.

by jeopardy 2009-12-22 07:36AM | 0 recs
Re: too easy to get rid of in the future...

I defer to the experts on costs, namely CBO (I know, I know, the real experts are the bloggers and the Republicans. (Private insurers are also entrenched in the European systems, so I don't see that as something that can't be changed over time.)

The cost in lives as argued by the leadership also informs my decision to support passage.

by QTG 2009-12-22 07:45AM | 0 recs
Re: too easy to get rid of in the future...

"The study found that 13 former congressmen and 166 Congressional staffers were actively engaged in lobbying their former colleagues on the bill. The companies they were working for -- some 338 of them -- spent $635 million on lobbying.

It was money extremely well spent -- delivering a bill that, by forcing people to buy a shoddy product in a market with no real competition, enshrines into law the public subsidy of private profit."

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/arianna-hu ffington/the-senate-health-care-bi_b_400 006.html

by jeopardy 2009-12-22 08:14AM | 0 recs
Re: too easy to get rid of in the future...

Money comes in all different shades and some money is greener than others. Trust me on this point.

The lobbyists are selling the theory that their TV advertising money is going to get people elected. They are also furtively trying to sway public ideas by seeding blogs with trolls and spammers..

But. In the long run, its going to be easy to delete the spammers or ignore them altogether + in the end, the blogosphere accomplished landmark election results in 2008 and its now 2010 and the bill better damn well have what it takes or 2010 will see us cleaning house on both sides of the aisle. This is not just an idle threat, its a promise.

by Trey Rentz 2009-12-22 08:37AM | 0 recs
Re: As Always, Krugman is the real "one"

sorry, but that is such BS

Obama ran on a mixture of centrist and progressive policies. Anybody paying attention should know that he was going to have a big part of his policies be centrist, and a big part be progressive.

The problem, though, is that he keeps putting his weight behind the centrist policies while refraining from sticking his neck out on progressive policies.

by jeopardy 2009-12-22 11:21AM | 0 recs
Re: As Always, Krugman is the real "one"

I think this nails it.  I thought Cass Sunstein's piece on his "visionary minimalism" quite compelling.  But so far we have seen too much emphasis on minimalist burkean respect for traditional institutions and not nearly enough on the broad visionary side of his thinking.  This has to change and we, in the grass roots, need to find ways to push him as an effective left flank.

by Strummerson 2009-12-22 11:51AM | 0 recs
Re: as if

It would be insulting if the source was credible.

by Strummerson 2009-12-22 11:52AM | 0 recs
Obama's now lying

[Ed. Note: Dave has more evidence of Candidate/President Obama's presto-change-o on "Change."]

Instead of honestly admitting that the bill working its way through Congress does not fully meet his campaign promises, Obama has decided the proper strategy is to just lie to the American people:

   [Obama] said the Senate legislation accomplishes "95 percent" of what he called for during his 2008 presidential campaign and in his September speech to a joint session of Congress on the need for health-care reform.
    ...
    Obama said the public option "has become a source of ideological contention between the left and right." But, he added, "I didn't campaign on the public option."

This is just a set of bald-faced lies, as I demonstrated in detail earlier this week. The public option was clearly part of his campaign plan.

His campaign plan also promised a national exchange, drug re-importation, an employer mandate, direct Medicare drug price negotiations, to let you keep your current plan if you like it, and to bring down health care costs by $2,500 per year for a family. The Senate bill will do none of these things.

Obama did promise to not do two very important things with health care reform. He promised to not include an individual mandate and not tax employer-provided health insurance benefits. This Senate bill breaks both of those promises.

This health care reform fight already made Obama look like a weak leader and a defender of the corporate lobbyists.

Now, it has also made him a liar-one who is discrediting the widely acknowledge need for much greater reform. For all the people in the "we will fix it later" crowd, please notice Obama is not on your side. He thinks this reform bill is just fine as it is.

http://fdlaction.firedoglake.com/2009/12 22/obama-thinks-lying-to-the-american-p eople-is-the-best-strategy

by jeopardy 2009-12-22 12:42PM | 0 recs
Re: this should be

The problem is that I seriously doubt that Hillary would have been any better (much less that psycho McCain)

by jeopardy 2009-12-22 02:05PM | 0 recs

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