Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Democrats and Health Care Reform: A Tale of No Testicles.

Moments ago, Democratic Senators told reporters that the caucus yielded to Sen. Joe Lieberman’s (I-CT) demands and dropped the Medicare buy-in provision from the Senate health care bill, leaving only a network of nonprofits to stand in for the public health insurance option. While Senators stressed that a final decision would be made tomorrow, after the Democratic caucus meets with President Obama, most agreed that the fate of the Medicare buy-in was all but certain.

“The general consensus was that we shouldn’t make the perfect the enemy of the good and if we’re going to get all the insurance reforms accomplished and a number of other things [and] dropping the Medicare expansion was necessary, well then that’s what should be done and it appeared that would be necessary to get the 60 votes,” Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN) told the Hill. “At some point you have to switch from the sentiment, the emotion of the words, to the facts,” said Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV). “And then you’ve got to decide if I didn’t get what I want, in the form that I wanted it, am I willing to cashier 31 million Americans? I want a bill.”

Brilliant!  If we can't get the bill that we need, let's just force 31 million Americans to turn their hard earned cash over to the Health Insurance Industry so that we can say that we've done something.
Even Howard Dean who had already given up on the public option couldn't take this.
“This is essentially the collapse of health care reform in the United States Senate. Honestly the best thing to do right now is kill the Senate bill, go back to the House, start the reconciliation process, where you only need 51 votes and it would be a much simpler bill.”

Kinzel added that Dean essentially said that if Democratic leaders cave into Joe Lieberman right now they’ll be left with a bill that’s not worth supporting.

Remember just about a year ago, when we had just gotten a full of fire new president and total control of Congress?  Oh, the changes we were going to make.  Sure, we knew it wouldn't be easy, that we'd be fighting the Right Wing Propaganda Machine and special intrests all the way, but who'd have thought that it would be Joe Lieberman and a few Corporate Democrats that would make our brave new Democratic government tuck its tail and roll over.
Winston Churchill said it about the Anzio landing and I've been thinking it for months now, "I had hoped that we were hurling a wild cat on to the shore, but all we got was a stranded whale.".
Let's cut our donkey some slack and adopt a bloated, beached whale with his spine and testicles removed until we can come up with a better strategy than "Just cave in".
OK, say the bill passes and Senator Rockefeller gets what he wants.  No one is going to be happy with this bill, other than the Health Insurance Industry.  The Right is going use this less than half measure on health care reform to show that the Democrats can't govern effectively.  Democrats from the President down are opening themselves up to being shown as the party that can be rolled over.  This is just a lose/lose situation for the Democrats and the American people.  If they get their bill they will look incredibly lame in the process.  And they will look incredibly lame in the 2010 elections.
The party of fantasy over facts, money above the people, willful ignorance, Fox News and Sarah Palin has maneuvered the Democrats into engineering their own downfall.
I was really hoping for more than Bush Lite.
There is one effort, more of a "furlorn hope", actually.  It's what should have been done in the first place and should be done every time Congress meets until we get it right.
Sen. Bernie Sanders says he is "not naive" and expects to lose, but the Senate on Wednesday will debate for the first time in American history a proposal to create a single-payer, Medicare-for-all health care system, according to statements from the Vermont independent's office.

His amendment would provide health care and dental coverage for every American, save money, and improve health care results, Sanders says. Sanders his attempt to amend the current comprehensive healthcare legislation before the Senate to adopt the single-payer model.

Democratic Sens. Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Roland Burris of Illinois are co-sponsors of the amendment.

It shouldn't be that difficult to do the right thing.  Let's let Bernie keep our donkey for us until we can earn it back.

So, what if Howard Dean is right and we kill the bill?  Well, for starters, everyday we can get in the media our apologies to those 45,000 people who will die because the Republicans wouldn't let us get them health care.  We can explain how our plan is cheaper and more efficient than the current system.  We can explain that paying more than anyone else in the world for the 38th ranked health care system in the world is just stupid and that the people who oppose us are too.  Every day, beat them over the head with it and then just follow my simple one year plan

It's about time that the Democrats started acting like they have some priniples and some guts.


Update:  Sometimes it's just plain damned embarrassing to be from Oklahoma.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Wednesday withdrew his single-payer healthcare amendment after Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) initiated a procedural maneuver to shipwreck the measure.

Coburn earlier in the day forced the Senate clerk to read aloud Sanders’s 767-page amendment to the Senate healthcare bill in an effort to halt the healthcare debate.

Sanders, a self-described “democratic socialist,” spoke on the Senate floor to announce the withdrawal of the measure.

"The day will come, although I recognize it’s not today, when the U.S. Congress will have to vote to stand up to … all those who profit every single year off of human sickness,” Sanders said. "That day will come."

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Great Right Hope: Ad Hominem, Non Compos Mentis and Just Plain Old Lying.

It's a good day.  When I get a comment like the one you'll see plus a right wing email that shows what I believe to be what passes for conservative humor, hell, I just got a blog post written for me.

Once again, thanks, goes to the right wingers.

If you haven't guessed already, the picture of the cute little girl on the left, is the right wing email.

Cute little girl with her best "I'm really serious" face backing it up with the universal gesture of disagreement.

I won't even go into why one so young would even know how to flip you off.  And it's no wonder that the Right would exploit it to try to make a political point, class act that they are.

But I will go into the text, which so many of your friends and neighbors actually believe to be gospel.

You've spent my lunch money, my allowance,...  Now I'm guessing that most right wingers don't really believe that Obama is spending this little girl's lunch money or allowance, although some of them probably really do.  I have to assume that the lunch money and allowance refer to the same thing, the deficit.  I don't claim to know the innermost workings of the right wing mind, these things may be code words for two different right wing paranoid fantasies.  I do know that the Right's not real big on subtlety and nuance, so let's run with the deficit.

In Right Wing Fantasy Land, there was not a federal deficit until Barack Obama was elected and created it in order to turn the United States into a socialist country.  BTW, in RWFL socialist is a bad word and it's interchangable with communist and fascist.  I blame our education system.  Anyway, from a real world standpoint, these tactics are working.  It's amazing how many people can't even firmly grasp the obvious.

Bush's tax cuts for the rich, Bush's accounting gimmicks, two wars, one to let Osama Bin Laden get away and one for absolutely no reason, Republican and Corporate Democrat deregulation of the financial industry has nothing to do with it, it's all Obama's.

Leonhardt crunches the numbers to track exactly how the Clinton-era predictions of surpluses gave way to prophecies of massive deficits. His analysis places 90 percent of the blame on the business cycle, Bush's policies, and policies from the Bush years that are scheduled to expire but that Obama hasn't tried to snuff out. That leaves Obama responsible for 10 percent of the projected deficits: 7 percent from the stimulus bill -- and only 3 percent Obama's agenda on health care, education, energy and other areas.

Nevertheless, Obama now has 100 percent of the responsibility for fixing this mess, and what is he doing about it? Leonhardt writes that his talk about cutting health care costs is not yet entirely convincing -- and that it's not enough, anyway.

Yeah, it's all Obama's now, but he didn't create the problems.  Here's a handy little deficit chart, but it only goes to 2004.  Please take note of the fiscally conservative Reagan years.

inheritance,...  Well Sweetie, unless your parents gamble everything away or give it to a religious cult or lose it all to pay medical bills, I'm pretty sure that theres nothing Obama can do to keep you from your inheritance.  Are you watching Glenn Beck with your parents?

35 years of future paychecks,...  Stay in school, go to college, don't get pregnant, don't vote Republican or for a Corporate Democrat and your future will be fine.

and my retirement.  Make sure your government keeps a close eye on the crooks who will be overseeing your 401K and, by all means, don't let them privitize Social Security.

My latest comment was from some Rightie who managed to find their way here from Stumpburners, the local discussion board.  I've deleted it from the previous post and have taken out the name of a friend of mine who is currently recuperating in a nursing home.  But if you've ever wondered how a state could elect someone like James Inhofe or Tom Coburn, here's your answer.

MReed918 has left a new comment on your post "Health Care Reform, Give The Republicans Their Yea...":

Jim Hull, you are an IDIOT! Or maybe not. Maybe you are nothing more than another "erudite" socialist that seeks to destroy the United States.

Time will tell whether your ilk succeeds. Going to be an interesting couple of years isn't it?

Give **** ******'s ass a big kiss from me while you're there licking the ignorant excrement that emits from her behind.

Or, is it her licking YOUR behind?

Posted by MReed918 to Redneck Liberal at 6:26 PM, December 12, 2009

Check out the politics section at Stumpburners or even better join in.

Ad Hominem, Non Compos Mentis and Lies.


Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Health Care Reform, Give The Republicans Their Year And Then Do It Right.

Republicans, including those who call themselves Democrats, are wanting to put off health care reform in order to concentrate on whatever it is that we are trying to accomplish in Afghanistan.  Your guess is as good as mine what that is.

Coincidentally, the troop surge and health care reform cost around the same, 80-100 billion dollars.

I'm all for a MediCare for All type health care system and I believe that the troops in Afghanistan and Iraq should already be on their way home.

However, I could get behind this plan.

Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN) echoed similar sentiments during an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union” yesterday. He suggested to host John King that health care legislation should be delayed until next year to focus on Afghanistan, saying, “The war is terribly important. … So this may be an audacious suggestion, but I would suggest we put aside the health care debate until next year, the same way we put cap and trade and climate change away and talk now about the essentials, war and money.”

Let's say we spend the next year handing George W. Bush's ego wars over to the U.N. and have the troops home in a year.  Let's concentrate on creating jobs during the next year and make that our number one priority.  And let's up the taxes on those lucky few who have benefited while the rest of the country fell futher behind.

I know what you're saying, "Why you ignorant redneck, we need health care reform and we need it now!"  Yeah, I know.  As much as I hate it, we've got to be pragmatic.  It looks more and more like the health care reform bill that we're going to get looks less and less like the health care reform bill that we want.

Democrats control 60 seats in the Senate, precisely the number needed to trump a promised Republican filibuster. While Reid spent most of the day jousting with Republicans, his ability to steer the bill to passage will depend on finding ways to finesse controversial provisions within the measure. None is more important than calls for the government to sell insurance in competition with private firms. Liberals favor the plan; moderate and conservative Democrats oppose it. As drafted the bill establishes a so-called government option, although each state can block it.

I don't really like the appellation "moderate and conservative Democrats".  Let's be honest here, what the media refers to as "moderate and conservative Democrats" are people posing as Democrats who whore their votes out to the highest bidder.  Trust me, Dan Boren is my Congressman so I know a little about these things.

OK, so we spend the next year doing a study of universal health care in all the industrilized countries that have it, that would be all of them btw.  We pick and choose all the things that work well and discard the things that don't work so well.  You know, like we should have done in the first place.  We put it all together in a comprehensive health care reform bill, crunch the numbers, present it as MediCare for All, make sure that our recalcitrant "Blue Dogs" know that they will vote with the Democrats or find somebody else's yard to crap in and let the Right and the special interests whine all they want.

45,000 Americans will die during the next year without health care reform.  Probably about the same will die if we get a crap health care reform bill.  One thing's for sure, without a strong public option the only winners will be the "for profit" health care industry.

Our health care system is failing. It is expensive, bureaucratic, and denies care to many in need. Americans die younger, get less care, face greater restrictions, are less satisfied, and spend at least $1,500 more per person on health care than Canadians or Western Europeans - nations that have opted for non-profit national health insurance.

In the U.S., canons of commerce are displacing dictates of healing, trampling medicine's most sacred values. Market medicine treats patients as profit centers. The time doctors and nurses are allowed to spend with the sick shrinks under the pressure to increase throughput, as though we were dealing with industrial commodities rather than afflicted human beings in need of compassion and caring. Listening, learning, and caring give way to deal-making, managing, and marketing. The primacy of the patient yields to a perverse accountability - to investors, to bureaucrats, to insurers and to employers. And patients worry that their doctor's judgement and advice are guided by the corporate bottom line.

Here's what Physicians for a National Health Program has to say.

Single-payer national health insurance is a system in which a single public or quasi-public agency organizes health financing, but delivery of care remains largely private.

Currently, the U.S. health care system is outrageously expensive, yet inadequate. Despite spending more than twice as much as the rest of the industrialized nations ($8,160 per capita), the United States performs poorly in comparison on major health indicators such as life expectancy, infant mortality and immunization rates. Moreover, the other advanced nations provide comprehensive coverage to their entire populations, while the U.S. leaves 46.3 million completely uninsured and millions more inadequately covered.

The reason we spend more and get less than the rest of the world is because we have a patchwork system of for-profit payers. Private insurers necessarily waste health dollars on things that have nothing to do with care: overhead, underwriting, billing, sales and marketing departments as well as huge profits and exorbitant executive pay. Doctors and hospitals must maintain costly administrative staffs to deal with the bureaucracy. Combined, this needless administration consumes one-third (31 percent) of Americans’ health dollars.

Single-payer financing is the only way to recapture this wasted money. The potential savings on paperwork, more than $350 billion per year, are enough to provide comprehensive coverage to everyone without paying any more than we already do.

We've got to face facts, the Democrats never framed the issue of health care reform.  The Right, the insurance industry and the health care industry did.  There's just too much misinformation out there and too many gullible people who believe it.  So if we have to give the Republicans their year, fine.  As long as we use that year doing the things that need to be done and then finally get the real health care that this country deserves.
I sincerely hope that I'm dead wrong on the health care reform bill and that Congress gives us real reform with a strong public option.  I just as sincerely believe that a compromise health reform bill will be worse than no bill at all.