Democrats & Liberals Archives

Deem and Pass: Majority Rules Upheld

The Republicans prepare now in advance to blast the proposed use of a tactic called “Deem and Pass” by the Democrats to pass Healthcare through Congress. They call it unconstitutional, say that a majority rule vote on the Senate Bill would be the proper way to handle it. But contrary to what they’re going to say, it’s not an unconstitutional method, though it’s irregular to use it on a bill of this magnitude. However, these are irregular times, and for Congress to function, sometimes an obscure parliamentary tactic must be used to face the same.

The Republicans don't like that Democrats are not going to vote on that Senate Bill, with the Cornhusker Kickback and all that other garbage. Instead, they are going to vote on the Reconciliation bill that alters it, and then consider that the vote for the Senate Bill.

This isn't some odd, off the wall tactic. It's been used before. It still requires a majority vote. The subject is a bill that the House already passed, which went to the Senate and was changed, and which, under normal circumstances, would go back to to a conference, and be changed between the Senate and the House.

These are not normal circumstances. The Deem and Pass tactic is essentially the House's way of quickly passing what is effectively a compromise bill (Reconciliation Fixes+The Senate Bill), that has any chance of getting an up-or-down majority vote in the Senate.

Normally, Democrats would make this law the easy way, and they'd have the numbers to do it. The Cornhusker Kickback was part of having to get all Sixty Democrats on board for the Senate Bill, in order to break the filibuster. The ironic thing here is that some legal scholars, as one does in this NY-Times Op-Ed:

He provides three reasons, and we will start with the first:

First, the Constitution explicitly requires supermajorities only in a few special cases: ratifying treaties and constitutional amendments, overriding presidential vetoes, expelling members and for impeachments.

Second:

Second, Article I, Section 3, expressly says that the vice president as the presiding officer of the Senate should cast the deciding vote when senators are “equally divided.” The procedural filibuster does an end run around this constitutional requirement, which presumed that on the truly contested bills there would be ties. With supermajority voting, the Senate is never “equally divided” on the big, contested issues of our day, so that it is a rogue senator, and not the vice president, who casts the deciding vote.

The procedural filibuster effectively disenfranchises the vice president, eliminating as it does one of the office’s only two constitutional functions. Yet the founders very consciously intended for the vice president, as part of the checks and balances system, to play this tie-breaking role — that is why Federalist No. 68 so specifically argued against a sitting member of the Senate being the presiding officer in place of the vice president.

Third:

Third, Article I pointedly mandates at least one rule of proceeding, namely, that a majority of senators (and House members, for that matter) will constitute a quorum. Article I, Section 5 states in part that “a majority of each shall constitute a majority to do business.”

He goes on to explain the third point further:

...the bigger reason for the rule was to keep a minority from walking out and thereby blocking a majority vote. In Federalist No. 75, Hamilton dismissed a supermajority rule for a quorum thus: “All provisions which require more than a majority of any body to its resolutions have a direct tendency to embarrass the operations of the government and an indirect one to subject the sense of the majority to that of the minority.”

He concludes with more of Alexander Hamilton's words:

In Federalist No. 75, Hamilton denounced the use of supermajority rule in these prophetic words: “The history of every political establishment in which this principle has prevailed is a history of impotence, perplexity and disorder.” That is a suitable epitaph for what has happened to the Senate.

The only reason Democrats are considering Deem and Pass, given their numbers, is to avoid the political hardships of having voted for the measures in the Senate Bill, vilified from the Right and the Left, which would be politically damaging. Under normal conditions, though, the House would essentially just conference with the Senate and such deals would be altered or eliminated the traditional way. But they won't be done that way, because Democrats actually want to pass something. There must be balance between political process, and political accountability.

Republicans might scream about unconstitutional measures, but they impede the majority rule clearly called for by one of the architects of the constitution. Truth is, there is no constitutional basis for the filibuster. In reality, it began life as a procedural mistake, a technicality of the rules exploited towards the purpose of forcing endless debate. It became enshrined in the rules as a means for Senators to resist legislation they didn't like, but it was used very, very rarely. LBJ commented to somebody in a letter that getting fifty-five votes was sufficient for Senate passage of Medicare. Would anybody write such a letter today?

The answer is obvious, if you look at the numbers. The Democratic Party record for filibusters in a term is, as my readers should know by now, 58. The Republicans, last year, threatened filibusters 67 times. That's in a year, half a Congressional term. They also got 20 filibuster in, for the months of January and February. The term before, Republicans used the filibuster a record 112 times. They are on pace to break that record, and rush past it.

The Republican minority does to the Democratic Majority what nobody, regardless of claimed public support was supposed to be able to do to the Senate, or has done in American history: completely deprive it of the ability to pass legislation they did not favor. I know some Republicans feel especially self-righteous and justified about this, but the fact of the matter is, the constitution was not written so that a minority's ardor could undermine the function of government entirely. It was never written so that a minority could stop ordinary legislation. It was written with majority rules in mind.

This principle cannot be emphasized enough. Even in their day, the Framers faced partisan bickering, fractious debate. Hell, one of the reasons the constitution got written was to face this dilemma. I wrote about it in a previous entry.

Truth is, there will always be minorities that believe they are right, that they are more righteous than the majority. There will always be people who think the government's policies are heading us off a cliff. The question is not whether that minority is justified in stopping the majority. The righteousness or villainy of the majority is not material to the question of constitutional intent. The minority must be and is entitled to protest, to make their views known, to slow things down a bit. But stop them altogether? That's not Democracy, that's the triumph of a minority party's rule over that of a majority, and it defeats the purpose of the majority rules democratic republicanism that the Constitution established.

Not all disputes are rationalizeable, resolveable, to the degree that everybody can be pleased with what comes from Congress. There will be some votes that have to pass over the bitter objections, rather than the calm resignation of their opponents. The Constitution prevents such triumphs of majority over minority from getting too out of hand., but it does not prevent them altogether. An outraged public is expected to counter it through elections. If the legislation passed is unpopular, the voters can remove the offending party and/or parties, and send others to Washington to do something better.

Democrats, in fact, were sent to change policy. Unfortunately, with Republican obstruction, they haven't been able to do that, and are suffering politically for that. It's important to emphasize that what voters might punish Democrats for in these coming elections is not getting their promised work done. If that is the case, then what the Republicans are doing now presents a significant conflict of interest for them. They can force inaction through the current filibuster which the Democrats may likely take the fall for.

Democrats in Washington may have been foolish about this, expecting that some compromise, any compromise could sway the Republican minority from this path, but the Healthcare Reform debate, up to this point, has put their situation in an especially harsh light, and they are beginning to realize that if they don't operate as a functioning majority, if they don't move things past the Republican Senate blockade, their days in the majority it might be numbered. Democrats are up against the wall, politically speaking, and it will profit few to start over or give up.

Deem and Pass would not be used, I believe, if it weren't for the necessity of passing changes through reconciliation. Reconciliation would not be used in the absence of a blockade of the Senate, Democrats would simply Conference and pass a bill that way.

The Constitution hands the majority the power to pass legislation in both houses. The procedure Congress would normally use to pass a revised bill has been hobbled by Republican's overuse and abuse of technicality of Senate rules. Democrats have, at this moment, a proposed, legitimate method for passing the revisions of the bill and the bill together in the house, and those revisions in the Senate, as would normally happen between two majorities in Congress.

Democrats, by using this method, are actually operating close to how Congress would actually operate, were it not for the fact that Republican Obstructionism were out of control. Democrats are using parliamentary methods under difficult circumstances to defeat the abuse of parliamentary methods that is creaing that difficulty and restore majority rule to Congress.

The Republicans, of course, are condemning that move. They seem to condemn any move that requires them to submit to the rule of the unworthy, which seems to be everybody who doesn't agree with them. They seek now, then, to save the country from itself. What heroes! But the Constitution wasn't written so self-righteous minorities could take turns hobbling the majorities, preventing them from doing their job. It was written so America could have a government that could function for its people. Deem and Pass essentially allows Democrats under this circumstance to operate Congress as it should operate, rather than operate it according to the designs of a minority that does not want to have to work to re-earn majority status.

Posted by Stephen Daugherty at March 16, 2010 7:38 AM
Comments
Comment #297346

Stephen:

Nice talking points.

And none of this would be necessary if you had a majority of Americans wanting these bills passed.

A majority of both parties wants Health Care Reform. Only a minority of Americans wants these bills passed and thus your problem.

If the bills were popular with the American people this would have been done with a very long time ago.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at March 16, 2010 11:03 AM
Comment #297348

I agree with Craig, none of this would have been necessary if a majority of people wanted the Democrat versions. I don’t have HC and I don’t want what the Democrats are pushing. It’s very arrogant of Pelosi and co. to try and push a unpopular bill.

Posted by: KAP at March 16, 2010 12:21 PM
Comment #297349

If there had not been a year of misinformation, and just plain lies by Republicans about these bills, especially affecting seniors, these bills would be popular. How can you not want a bill that takes your fate out of the hands of insurance companies and puts it strictly into yours and your medical team’s. Much of the opposition comes because many people feel the reform does not go far enough. That is something that will need to be resolved. And thank the Democrats for finding a way to do that.
The point here is that neither party should be allowed to hold government hostage which is what the minority does via various methods of filibustering, that is not in the strictest sense, a filibuster. Republicans are famous for finding ways around problems of passing their legislation whan they are in the majority. This is all legal, constitutional, and approved by Parliamentary Law under which our Republic operates. I think the article expresses the facts very well.

KAP you probably don’t want automobile insurance either; or, maybe you don’t want to pay into Social Security. You would rather go to the emergency room when you are very ill and let the rest of us pay for it. I resent that and don’t want to do it any more. I want you to be responsible for yourself and your health care. Every time you go to the emergency room without health care you cause the insurance premiums, hospital bills, and doctor’s fees to go up. Maybe you will never have to do that, but what if you do. Suppose you are in an auto accident with an uninsured driver. Suppose your medical bills were, say, $50,000. Who would pay for that? That is WHAT INSURANCE IS. You know when you have life insurance, it only pays off once! Welcome to reality.

Posted by: Marge at March 16, 2010 1:01 PM
Comment #297350

Stephen,
Good explanation of the truth. Republicans and the tea party intentionally circumvent the constitution because they insist on getting their way. As un-patriotic as you can get.

Posted by: Schwamp at March 16, 2010 1:10 PM
Comment #297351

No Marge I do not go to the emergency room, I pay cash for my Doctor visits and paid into Social Security for over 40 years and now am collecting my little portion of it Thank You and I do have auto ins. I do not want what your party is pushing as is a majority of this country. Your remarks are just as arrogant as some in your party.

Posted by: KAP at March 16, 2010 1:15 PM
Comment #297352

Craig and KAP,

Craig said: “And none of this would be necessary if you had a majority of Americans wanting these bills passed.”

Right. But AMERICA IS NOT A DIRECT DEMOCRACY, and you, specifically would not want America to BE a direct democracy. So, your comment is at odds with itself. It is necessary, precisely because, the founding fathers contemplated that the public would not necessarily know what is best for them or the nation and hence, the election of representatives whose business it would be, to fathom what is best for the people and nation.

The people spoke in Nov. 2008, and the Democrats are now speaking on their behalf. That is how our system works. If the people don’t like what Democrats are doing, they will have another opportunity in Nov. to reinstate Republicans instead for another 8 years like the last 8 years from 2001 - 2009, when Republicans would not touch comprehensive health care reform which IS ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY to protect our nation’s economic future.

You can resent it all you wish. But, it is indeed, entirely pro-American and Constitutional what is taking place.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 16, 2010 1:17 PM
Comment #297353

KAP, you miss Marge’s point entirely. Tomorrow, you could see your savings wiped out or ripped off in any number of ways, and the following day have an accident requiring you to enter the hospital. These kinds of things happen, and the fact that crap happens is why insurance was invented by the Ancient Greek shippers losing ships to the Aegean storms.

It is a fact, that a host of things could happen to wipe out anybody’s fortunes, and it has happened repeatedly throughout our history. If you want to gamble, that’s fine. But, not buying health insurance is gambling with all other insurance purchaser’s premiums which go up when the uninsured are treated. Your position poses a liability to ALL Americans. It will not stand in its own defense that you do not wish to carry your fair share of the health care reforms needed to rescue our nation’s future from bankruptcy.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 16, 2010 1:23 PM
Comment #297354

David
We have programs in my community that address the problems that you refer to. I am retired but I cannot get medicaid yet and I cannot get medicare and cannot afford the premiums for ins. Like I said I pay for my Doctor visits and meds which are reasonable. Yes this country could go bankrupt tomorrow and with the congress we have now it wouldn’t surprise me. Why is it with you liberals or progressives you can’t get it through your thick heads that a majority of people in this country DO NOT want what is in congress now. We all want reform but NOT the Democrats version. Why is that so hard to grasp? We already have medicaid and medicare that the government can’t run properly yet you want another program to go belly up. Fix what we have and expand it, it would be less expensive, but that would be to easy, you liberals want to complicate things more and add more government to the mix.

Posted by: KAP at March 16, 2010 1:46 PM
Comment #297355

Craig Holmes-
The Constitution lays it out thusly: The Congress votes on bills, the people vote on whether the Congress continues to hold the power the people delegate to them.

There’s no need for this kind of parliamentary vigilante behavior.

The Democrats are faced with the ordinary political task of legislating in a way consistent with what they figure their constituents will not vote them out for.

There was a lot of wheeling and dealing, admittedly, to get Healthcare Reform to passage. That was never going to be avoided, not in the real world of politics. The Republican filibuster, though forced Democrats to either seek compromise with the Republicans, which they did, despite the GOP’s standard talking points about being excluded, or gather every Democrat in the Senate for a unanimous vote.

The Cornhusker Kickback, for example, was part of getting Sen. Nelson on board. Ditching the Public Option and the Medicare Buy-in were necessary to get Lieberman on-board. Since these were popular provisions, one can come to a conclusion that says, contrary to Republican talking points, that some of the majority support lost for the bill came from populists and the left in the party, due to their disappointment.

None of these problems would have been so severe, nor the compromises so harsh or dispiriting, if it were not for the Republican blockade of the Senate. The Republicans did a lot to make the bill the way it is. Many of the provisions came out of concessions that were meant to, and failed to bring them in. The Baucus bill came from a draft bill that had many of the provisions that were meant to draw Republicans support.

The Mandate was actually a feature of the Republican Contract of America-era legislation, for example.

Democrats had less freedom to simply set aside the elements that would lose them support from their constituents.

The Republicans now have 41 votes, and a lockstep attitude that has no problem with preventing Democrats from passing any legislation, good, bad or indifferent. You claim majority support for this, but the constitution doesn’t say anything about changing the balance of power until an election gives people that opportunity. If things are as you say they are, or if there are othere reasons for Democrats to suffer at the polls, that’s the time for it to happen.

In the meantime, majority votes in the House and Senate are what the constitution meant to determine passage or defeat for bills, not a supermajority vote.

If only a majority were necessary to pass bills through the Senate, it would have been a lot easier for Democrats to show Americans their true colors, and the Republicans could make a case on the merits that what Democrats were doing is wrong. If the Republicans were right, the people would help them put a stop to it. If wrong, the people would put a stop to the Republican’s dreams of regaining the majority without acknowledging their errors or the majority’s concerns.

By taking a route of constant, unreasoning, uncompromising obstruction, the Republicans show contempt, rather than respect for the majority, and for the intended constitutional order itself.

Democrats are merely responding as they need to respond, in order to act like the majority they are. Republicans have no room to complain that somehow Democrats are using underhanded methods. By not even letting Democrats get an agenda item edgewise from the start, the Republicans are themselves employing underhanded parliamentary tactics the likes of which this country has never seen, in preventing Americans from judging the Democrats on what they’ve actually legislated.

A constitutional principle cannot merely be laid aside for the convenience of those who think they’re saving the country, because those principles are what save us from the abuses of those who, despite their best intentions, are steering matters in Congress towards gridlock and impotence for any elected majority.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 16, 2010 1:53 PM
Comment #297356

Deem & Pass is such a poor decision on the part of Pelosi & the House Democrat Leaders.

The primary reason the public stopped supporting the bill was because of concerns regarding process, not because they opposed any actual content of the bill. This “trick” while Constitutional will not be handled well by the public and it is a dangerous precedent that I do not want to see in the future.

Why don’t the Dem’s just vote on the Senate Bill explicit? I don’t understand the rationale behind representatives willing to vote for a rule that says the House deems the bill to have passed and but not for actually passing the bill. I cannot fathom why a representative would agree to do the rule, but would not be willing to vote for the bill.

Posted by: Warped Reality at March 16, 2010 2:04 PM
Comment #297357

A general comment to everybody: The Deem and Pass manuever is not the Democrats failing to vote for the Senate Bill.

What the Deem and Pass procedure would be used upon is the reconciliation fix that was the House’s precondition for passing the Senate bill.

Democrats also had to contend with two other facts: one, that reconciliation would require the Senate Bill to be approved first, to give it something to fix, and two, that there was plenty in the Senate bill that House Democrats could rightfully, if narrowly, be said to have voted for, if they simply passed the Senate bill by itself.

Since the point of the reconciliation bill was to provide the compromise points that would lead Democrats in the House to vote yes on the Senate bill, the other vote is arguably redundant. A vote for one, it follows, would be a vote for the revision of the bill would be a vote for the bill itself. You don’t revise legislation you’re not intending to pass.

So, the House says, we agree to the compromise with the Senate that Reconciliation represents, and they can then pass that reconciliation with an existing law to revise with it.

Ordinarily, the Senate and the House would negotiate a common bill and both pass it. Unfortunately, because of the extraordinary intransigence of the Republican Party, Congress cannot function in an ordinary way. When Republicans allow majority rules to be the law of the land in practice, we can quit using the workarounds.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 16, 2010 2:11 PM
Comment #297358

Well, doesn’t this just take the cake.

The Republicans, it seems, have no more aversion to using self-executing rules (Deem and Pass) than the Democrats had when they were in power.

In fact, as it times past, the Republicans not only don’t have a problem, they positively beat it like a dead horse, as with the filibuster:

When Republicans were in the minority, they railed against self-executing rules as being anti-deliberative because they undermined and perverted the work of committees and also prevented the House from having a separate debate and vote on the majority’s preferred changes. From the 95th to 98th Congresses (1977-84), there were only eight self-executing rules making up just 1 percent of the 857 total rules granted. However, in Speaker Tip O’Neill’s (D-Mass.) final term in the 99th Congress, there were 20 self-executing rules (12 percent). In Rep. Jim Wright’s (D-Texas) only full term as Speaker, in the 100th Congress, there were 18 self-executing rules (17 percent). They reached a high point of 30 under Speaker Tom Foley (D-Wash.) during the final Democratic Congress, the 103rd, for 22 percent of all rules.

When Republicans took power in 1995, they soon lost their aversion to self-executing rules and proceeded to set new records under Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.). There were 38 and 52 self-executing rules in the 104th and 105th Congresses (1995-1998), making up 25 percent and 35 percent of all rules, respectively. Under Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) there were 40, 42 and 30 self-executing rules in the 106th, 107th and 108th Congresses (22 percent, 37 percent and 22 percent, respectively). Thus far in the 109th Congress, self-executing rules make up about 16 percent of all rules. [emphasis mine]

So, to review, Republicans, not troubled with an obstructive minority, Deem and Pass somewhere around a fifth to a third of their rules, and now that it it’s used to circumvent yet another procedural method they’ve fallen in love with at their convenience, it’s now unconstitutional?

Come on, folks. The Republicans are obviously arguing that they alone are allowed to engage in parliamentary manuevers, and permitted to use them to excess in the name of the majorities they always claim to represent. It doesn’t matter whether they’re up or down, if it lets them get in the way of Democrats, or allows them to pursue power on their own terms, it’s good.

If it’s power in the hands of Democrats, it’s evil.

The constitution, though, does not take such a bitterly partisan tack. Instead, it says, simply, majority rules. It doesn’t say majority party rules, either. If the Republicans really wanted to uphold Democracy, but also answer the people’s call, they could campaign to defeat Democrat’s legislation along lines of a majority of votes against passage. There sure are Democrats available who would vote agaisnt things.

However, the Republicans aren’t taking any chances. They’re not even allowing the potential for the majority to rule, so long as its a Democratic majority.

However, the constitution is clear: majorities rule. You wouldn’t need a tie-breaking vote from the Vice President, if it weren’t for the fact that a Senate vote could pass on fifty one votes alone.

If the Republicans truly trusted in Democracy, they would not need the constant procedural roadblocks. They would appeal to Americans to appeal to their Representatives and Senators, and the public groundswell would motivate no-votes.

The Republicans don’t trust that would happen. They believe that they would not have the political power to energize a majority against a significant amount of the legislation that might pass. So, every bill must die, lest Democracy actually work, and a bill passes by majority.

If they thought people would actually punish Democrats for all the bad legislation, they’d let us do it, knowing we were cutting our own political throats.

Instead, they don’t dare let anything pass. Why? Because they know their hold on the political paradigm in Washington and the rest of the country is fragile, and any groundswell of support for Democrats, even if it comes from a bill that would do good for the country, is a danger to their power.

That’s what the Republicans in Washington care about. Otherwise, why stall America’s response to so many problems?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 16, 2010 2:32 PM
Comment #297359

KAP said: “We have programs in my community that address the problems that you refer to.”

No, you DON’T! States are going bankrupt face Constitutional crises over impending deficits due in large part to health care costs.

And don’t give me that Eleemosenary system (charity will take care of them) yarn. Charity is a wonderful thing in America, but, when relied upon solely, it has always failed significant portions of our citizenry.

KAP said: “Why is it with you liberals or progressives you can’t get it through your thick heads that a majority of people in this country DO NOT want what is in congress now.”

Why can’t you conservatives stop the OBVIOUS LIE that you speak for the American public? YOU DON’T. The American voters spoke in Nov. 2008 about conservatives being their spokespersons, quite clearly and emphatically. The voters said Republicans may have their say, but, may not decide.

The scientific neutral polling (vs. political agenda polling) demonstrates the opposite of what you claim, that the American people actually favor Obama’s proposal when they are informed of what it is made of. (http://www.kff.org/kaiserpolls/upload/8042-T.pdf)

Your comments are the victim of political polling or shoddy polling which fails to test questions for bias and then neutralize them before presentation. Liberal and conservative polling is guilty of this shoddy political polling. The Kaiser Foundation’s poll however, and others crafted for political neutrality, have the public favoring Obama’s proposal, which is what the Democrats are trying to model now through reconciliation.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 16, 2010 2:33 PM
Comment #297360

KAP, as you will see from the results below, the more people know about what is actually in the proposal, the more they support it. Here are the results from the Kaiser Poll:

Does that (following bill provisions) make you (more) likely to support the bill, (less) likely to support it, or doesn’t it make much difference either way? (numbers following provision in order are: More Likely to support, Less Likely to support, No difference, Don’t Know.)

a. Prohibit insurance companies from denying coverage or charging higher premiums because of a person’s medical history or health condition
63 24 11 2

b. Place a limit on the amount that insurance companies can charge older people compared to younger people 53 25 19 3

c. Provide tax credits to small businesses that want to offercoverage to their employees 73 11 14 2

d. Penalize all but the smallest employers if they don’t offer health insurance to their workers 45 33 16 5

e. Increase income taxes for individuals making more than $500,000 a year and couples making more than $1 million a year as a way to help pay for health reform 59 24 16 1

f. Require drug makers, medical device manufacturers and health insurance companies to pay a tax based on how much business they have, to help pay for health reform 53 26 17 4

g. Prohibit use of federal money for abortions, except as allowed by current law, which is in cases of rape, incest or if the woman’s life is in danger 55 26 16 4

h. Specify the amount of money that insurance companies must spend on paying for health care compared with the amount they spend on administrative costs and their own profits
52 19 21 8

i. Limit future increases in Medicare payments to health care providers as a way to help pay for health reform 43 35 15 6

j. Expand the Medicaid program to cover everyone with incomes under 133 percent of the federal poverty level, which is about $29,000 a year for a family of four 62 22 14 3

k. Create a government-administered public health insurance option to compete with private health insurance plans 53 31 13 3

l. Reduce the federal deficit by at least $132 billion over 10 years 56 20 18 6

m. Not fully take effect until 2013 at the earliest 23 40 34 4

n. Allow children to stay on their parents’ insurance plans through age 25 60 22 15 3

o. Prohibit insurance companies from charging women higher premiums than men 50 31 17 2

p. Prohibit insurance companies from setting a limit on the total amount they will spend on a person’s health care over their lifetime
48 34 16 1

q. Provide financial help to people who have incomes below 400 percent of the federal poverty level – about $88,000 for a family of four – and who don’t get insurance through their jobs to help them purchase coverage 57 24 17 2

r. Require nearly all Americans to have a minimum level of health insurance or else pay a fine 22 62 12 4

s. Help close the Medicare “doughnut hole” or “coverage gap” so seniors would no longer have a period where they are responsible for paying the full cost of their medicines 60 21 15 3

t. Increase the Medicare payroll tax for individuals making more than $200,000 a year as a way to help pay for health reform 49 31 18 2

u. Impose a tax on insurers who offer the most expensive health plans, also called Cadillac plans, to help pay for health reform 35 40 21 4

v. Create a health insurance exchange or marketplace where small businesses and people who don’t get coverage through their employers can shop for insurance and compare prices and benefits
67 16 14 2

w. Require insurance plans to offer a minimum package of health insurance benefits, to be defined by the federal government 38 43 16 3

x. Prevent illegal immigrants from receiving any federal money to purchase health insurance 52 29 17 2

y. Mean that most people who get health insurance through their jobs will keep the plans they have now 66 10 19 4

z. Cost at least $871 billion over 10 years 19 51 24 6

aa. Provide coverage to at least 31 million people who are now uninsured 56 24 16 4

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 16, 2010 2:48 PM
Comment #297361

David
Yes we do, and why can’t you liberals accept the fact that a majority do not want what you are pushing. David if what you are saying is a fact, this bill would have been passed a long time ago and you know it. David I considered you a well educated man but some of your comments make me think I was wrong. I’m not that educated but I do know one thing and that is this HC bill is BS.

Posted by: KAP at March 16, 2010 2:50 PM
Comment #297362

KAP, I have never seen anyone so candidly bury their head in the sand to empirical data and reality.

You have a right to your opinion about the HC reform. But, you DO NOT have any legitimacy to speak for anyone but yourself. The Poll I cited contradicts your beliefs, and it is unbiased and empirical evidence, not opinion. The majority of people in this country DO NOT believe as you do.

That is a demonstrated fact, evidenced by the poll.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 16, 2010 3:02 PM
Comment #297363

David
l reduse the deficit 132 billion over ten years
z cost 871 billion over ten years.
This don’t make sence. Granted there are good parts to it but not all. That is why most people want to start over to keep the good and get rid of the bad. If you liberals would listen instead of being hard headed maybe you would get something done.

Posted by: KAP at March 16, 2010 3:05 PM
Comment #297364

David
I can site polls to and we can argue all day about their validity so what’s the point. You have your beliefs I have mine. You say mine are BS and I think yours are the same.

Posted by: KAP at March 16, 2010 3:11 PM
Comment #297367

KAP, no, not beliefs, KAP. You have beliefs. I have hard empirical data. I understand why you want to reduce empirical data to the level of belief, equal to your own opinion, but, that is precisely why your position is so untenable.

Start from scratch? Are You Kidding? There is NO, I repeat NO, possible health care reform bill proposal that could possibly be fashioned for which all Americans would agree on all its provisions. It is pure FANTASY to believe that some other proposal would achieve greater support on all of its provisions.

Welcome to our democratic republic where it is NOT possible for everyone to agree on everything that our government proposes for our nation and its people.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 16, 2010 3:18 PM
Comment #297368
if what you are saying is a fact, this bill would have been passed a long time ago and you know it.

This statement ignores two things.

1) Democrats completely screwed up the process of designing healthcare reform bills. They negotiated for months with Republicans to gain a bipartisan bill and got no where, and they made the mistake not to conduct all of these negotiations publicly as candidate Obama had promised. This invited criticism from the right of “back room deals” and whatnot, which got even worse when it was decided that it would be better to appease conservative Democratic Senators with special deals than pass the bill with reconciliation.

2) The ability of 40 GOP senators + 1 conservative Democratic senator to filibuster a bill presented in the senate is not affected in any way by any changes in public opinion.

Posted by: Warped Reality at March 16, 2010 3:21 PM
Comment #297369

bill-
What exactly are you opposing? The real bill, or all those scare stories?

If the quote from that article on “Deem and Pass” measures says nothing else, the Republicans are masters of exploiting American’s general ignorance of policy details and policy proposals to drum up opposition.

Read this entry by liberal blogger Steve Benen.

This is a good quote here:

In 1935, Republican opponents of Social Security insisted that Roosevelt’s “socialistic” plan would, among other things, force all Americans to wear dog tags. Not quite a half-century ago, conservative critics of Medicare seriously argued, in public, that the law would empower bureaucrats to dictate where physicians could practice medicine, and open the door to government control over where all Americans were allowed to live. Around the same time, many opponents of the Civil Rights Act believed the fabric of America was being torn apart by the legislation.

There are always going to be folks who try to influence us with emotional appeals, who are themselves not clear thinkers. They’ll say what they think is necessary to scare you, to scare the legislators.

If you’re going to vote, don’t vote emotions, vote strategically. Vote for what provides the shortest path to your interests. Don’t let them wedge issue you into confusion. Look at the rational arguments and truly decide for yourself.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 16, 2010 3:47 PM
Comment #297370

David
I don’t believe what you say no more than you believe what I say. Yes we can start from scratch and remove what most of the people don’t want in the bill and come up with what a majority of people will agree on. Why is that so hard to understand? Or is it you want all the stupid crap that’s in this bill. Like I said, if you wouldn’t be so hard headed and listen maybe we could get somewhere on HC.

Posted by: KAP at March 16, 2010 4:02 PM
Comment #297375

KAP-
Question: was that the Republican approach to passing legislation with the Democrats? Start from scratch when we objected?

Given your party’s consistent resistance to passing much of anything we suggest, why should we trust that you wouldn’t find an excuse to filibuster any final bill?

Why, after 87 filibusters, months of negotiations, and repeated no-votes and threats to the incumbency of those who vote with Democrats, should we put healthcare in the Republican’s hands? This is political extortion. Even the odds with us, don’t take the initiative, don’t do anything we don’t like or we hold your Senate hostage.

Would you have stood for that either?

Look at your own party’s record. Look at how much they’ve done and still are doing that doesn’t seek or even respect majority opinion.

Stop telling the rest of us to respect the rights of a minority that respects nobody else’s, in or out of power. Start making concession if you want concessions, don’t just assume the rest of us have to give up the shop for your “rights” to be seen to.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 16, 2010 5:00 PM
Comment #297376

KAP,

We will get HC reform despite folks such as you, KAP. But, thank you for participating.

Never expected you to believe me, KAP. Which is WHY I produced evidence and data in support of what I say.

Burying one’s head in the sand regarding reality appears to be a national past time amongst conservatives these days.

No one said you had to like America solving its problems, KAP. America still needs to get on with the business of solving them, and that is what is happening here. A democratic process under rule of law. You don’t have to like it. There are other nation’s which may provide a system more to your liking. What amazes me is why conservatives like Michelle Bachman advocate undermining our rule of law and American system when they don’t like something. Why don’t they just leave for a place more to their liking?

The answer, of course, is that they like being here, disagreements and all. Frankly, I hope conservatives take her up on her call for not paying their taxes if this HC reform passes. I would like nothing better than to see those who attempt to subvert our American government, behind bars, regardless of party affiliation or political ideology.

So, I invite you to follow Michelle Bachman’s advice:

“We aren’t gonna play their game, we’re not gonna pay their taxes. They want us to pay for this? Because we don’t have to. We don’t have to. We don’t have to follow a bill that isn’t law. That’s not the American way, and that’s not what we’re going to do.”

How DUMB can a Republican get? She is rejecting Democrats (Americans all), and the majority of voters who elected them, who will vote again in November, and our political process and our rule of law which the HC reform will be a product of, and calling for war against it all by conservatives.

And she expects to win American majority voter support with this kind of subversive speech?

Don’t know if you are a supporter of hers, but, by your comments, I would suspect so. It’s tough being in the minority. I know, I was an independent long before it became fashionable to be one. But, there is a logical and reasonable way to pursue one’s cause, and then there is Conservative’s way, which explains why they have been the minority party for most of our history.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 16, 2010 5:01 PM
Comment #297377

just another citizen-

Politics are politics and everything is fair game and procedural rules are no exception.

No, that would not be my point. Politics serves us, or we serve it, and naturally serving politics leads us down the rabbit hole of partisan stupidity.

Procedural rules should be there as rules of the road, not methods of the roadblock. There should be a point in any process where a simple majority vote decides where a bill goes.

I know the Republican talking points about Medicare, SS, and the VA are that they are ineffecient, but these agencies operate with better control of their overhead costs than their private counterparts; folks at the VA liked their care better than folks in private hospitals.

They aren’t perfect, but then nothing people do ever will be. Some, though, don’t object because things don’t work, but because they don’t think those solutions should be tried. The complaints about inefficiency are just window-dressing.

As for Healthcare being dead? BS. We’re still discussing it, and it’s still in front of the Senate and House. Dead things go away. Call it denial, I call it a majority doing its job.

If you look at most of the individual tenets, you’ll find there is majority support for it, support that hasn’t been beaten down by a years worth of dark nastiness from a right wing that claims open-mindedness as it repeats the same dogmas again and again.

Democrats are going to take their chances pulling off Healthcare Reform, and will take responsibility for their actions. They’ll actually do something to be judged upon, unlike the Republicans, who only want to be judged on what they prevent government from doing.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 16, 2010 5:12 PM
Comment #297378

David and Stephen
All people in this country want HC reform including me. Yes parts of this bill are good but parts are not. Yet you two expect everyone to support it and congress will fix it later BS and that’s what it is BS because it will never get fixed. All the backroom deals and lack of transparency and magnitude of this bill is what makes people nervous. David you want to vote out incumbents, let this bill pass and see how many incumbents get voted out Democrats will become a minority party again.

Posted by: KAP at March 16, 2010 5:25 PM
Comment #297379

This is what Democrats say to Democrats on Kos, for reference:

…as David has explained before, the final vote in the House won’t be a simple vote on the Senate health care bill. Instead, it will be a vote on a resolution which effectively passes and amends the Senate health care bill at the same time.

So why don’t Democrats do it the FNC/RNC way and have the final vote be on the Senate bill?

Simple: because the Senate bill is not the final health care reform measure. And the House is working to structure its final vote to ensure that the Senate bill does not become law without being amended.

In so doing, the House is trying to do the responsible thing, eliminating any chance of the Senate bill passing without reconciliation fixes, thereby making sure that we end up with the best possible policy.

Passing and Amending the Senate Bill at the same time. That makes the Senate Bill law, and lets the Reconciliation bill move forward to the Senate for final approval, satisfying the Senate Parliamentarian’s requirement that the Senate bill be passed before Reconciliation amended it.

And what is the Republican response? You Democrats aren’t going to believe this. And the Republican will likely have a VERY good explanation as to why this makes sense:

They want an up-and-down vote on the Senate Bill.

As TPM head Josh Marshall says:

Okay, this is rich. Rep. Eric Cantor is insisting that Speaker Pelosi hold an up or down vote on the original senate bill alone rather than a single vote on the original bill and the amending bill.

Really?

Have we forgotten why we’re here? The entire reason we’re in this situation is that Cantor’s fellow party members in the Senate won’t allow any votes on health care at all. They wouldn’t allow it last year and they’re still blocking a simple up or down vote on any health care bill in the senate. That’s the whole ball of wax.

The Republicans want an up-or-down vote in the House on the Senate bill that they never allowed for the Senate Bill when it was voted on in the Senate!

Scott Brown ran on being the guy who would deny Democrats that vote! The Republicans proudly touted the fact that they required 60 votes on every vote of importance on the matter. Nothing got through on a simple majority, and that was because of them. If they hadn’t held together on a party line, the Democrats would have been able to pass bills on simple majorities.

The danger here is that Republicans aren’t able to embarrass or humiliate Democrats further by continuing to obstruct, continuing to cause trouble.

Democrats are trying to get this over with and move on to other things, and the Republicans are continuing to delay and block.

So, what else is new? When it all comes down to it, I think Republicans get away with this because everybody expects them to play political hardball, and nobody expects them to operate by consistent principles. Democrats, meanwhile, have the handicap of having voters for whom such political nihilism is not considered an option.

We don’t expect government to fail, we expect it to do right by us. Republicans in Washington have the advantage of not giving a crap whether anything works or makes sense.

Democrats are trying to get an up-or-down votes on the revisions that in a healthier Congress would have been handled in the conference report. It’s time for people to have a reality check on the Republican obstruction. Without it, a lot more would get done, with it, any American’s hopes that their government will attend to their needs is in doubt. The Republicans are going to keep your government hostage until you let them run things again, that simple.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 16, 2010 5:29 PM
Comment #297380

David:

Thank you for the civics lesson. I think most of us here are aware that this is not a direct democracy.

The point is simply if a majority of the American people were behind one of these bills, they would have been passed into law a very long time ago.

Skip the arguments that it’s all about the fillibuster or this or that. Democrats are having trouble because they have lost the majority of the American people on this issue.

Also skip the jargon about we “must do Health care reform”. We know that. It’s just this version that stinks (from my perspective).

Also skip the points that we have to pass this to save America’s future. These bills to almost nothing to change the basic truth that America is on the road to financial ruin.

The day this bill is signed we are still in need of fundamental health care reform. So whether this bill passes or nog we still have the same job to do. We still have to reform health care.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at March 16, 2010 5:42 PM
Comment #297381

Mr. Daugherty and others talk about being politically responsible and majority rule. All true and agreeable to me.

What I object to is for our elected political leaders being spineless weasels. While Obama does not display the “spine of steel” attributed to him by Biden, at least this man is willing to stand up and be counted and risk the political fallout that may accrue from his position. For that he has earned my admiration, if not agreement.

Not so with the dem/lib/socialist cowards in the house. They don’t want to be on record as to how they they would vote on the bill so the glorious leader Pelosi came up with what they believe will be political cover. Using this imagined camoflauge, these weasels can pretend to vote for or against this HCR bill.

Then, come November, these pussies can tell those who will listen that they didn’t vote for the bill if that is popular, or, that they voted for the bill if that is popular.

While voters are easily fooled some of the time, I don’t believe they can pull the whole sheep, much less the wool, over the eyes of the electorate this time. Most American’s have become sensitized to this issue and have very entrenched positions either for or against it. They will not reward the mealy-mouthed, spineless critters who attempt to cover their butts with fence sitting while hoping no one will notice.

Posted by: Royal Flush at March 16, 2010 5:46 PM
Comment #297382
The point is simply if a majority of the American people were behind one of these bills, they would have been passed into law a very long time ago.

The Republicans filibustered Democratic Party Legislation a total of 112 times. By your logic, Democrats must have been unable to pass anything because of the opposition of the American People.

Except, Democrats were elected to additional, greater majorities. Stands to reason, more people were on the Democrat’s side then.

Which would mean that Republicans weren’t filibustering with the people on their side. Far from it, in fact.

Have Republicans changed, altered their pace of filibustering to suit the supposed political reality? Not at all. Last year, recovering from an election that went badly south on them, the Republicans still managed to filibuster the Democrats more in one year than the Democrats ever filibustered them in one term of two years.

Unless Republicans have some super-secret majority sense that allowed them to pierce the smokescreen of all this countervailing evidence, they’ve shown their willingness to filibuster, delay, and block Democrats regardless of whether there’s demonstrated majority support of the legislation in question.

The American people did not decide in 2006 to elect Democrats to the majority just so Republicans could stop them, and the same holds true of things in 2008.

Please, Craig, stop with the pretensions that the majority is the source of the Republican’s obstructionism. They were obstructing bills long before the polls went the way they wanted them to go.

As for the last sentiment? There we can agree. Almost no Democrat wants this bill to be the end. The real question is, if Republicans succeed in turning Healthcare into a pariah issue once again, what’re the odds they’ll ever do anything serious to reform healthcare themselves?

The Republicans had a decade and a half to do something useful, and they wasted it. Hell, worse, they made it more insolvent.

We gave Republicans plenty of opportunity, plenty of cover. Unfortunately, Republicans gain more politically by being in the way, than doing anything useful.

Royal Flush-
There will be no pretend vote. They will vote to pass the revisions to the bill, and will make this a vote on that same bill, effectively doing the same thing a functioning Congress would do with the Conference Report.

I don’t much like some of our politicians. But the truth of the matter is, many of the no-votes are following your party’s lead, and your party is encouraging them to accept their conventional wisdom on the matter.

So let’s ask the question: if the Democratic Party Representatives are so spineless, and this is such a bad thing, why are Republicans so bloody intent on encouraging them to be weak?

Perhaps it’s because a successful, legitimate majority vote that passes a healthcare bill is the last thing the Republicans want, especially when there’s no way their filibuster can stop the reconciliation measures from passing in the Senate.

Republicans are scared that the steel in the spine of the Democrats at home is going to grow into the spines of Democrats in Washington. That’s why they blast Democrats for using the powers they gleefully used in their majority.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 16, 2010 6:09 PM
Comment #297383

But, there is a logical and reasonable way to pursue one’s cause, and then there is Conservative’s way, which explains why they have been the minority party for most of our history.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 16, 2010 05:01 PM

It would seem to me, reading that conservitives have been in the minority for most of our history, that we have the liberals to blame for the horrible financial and employment conditon of our country. We can blame the libs for our huge national debt, out of control borders, failing eductional system, failing health care, and perhaps, even the potholes in my street.

Posted by: Royal Flush at March 16, 2010 6:11 PM
Comment #297385


We can blame the liberals and all those Republican presidents.

Posted by: jlw at March 16, 2010 6:47 PM
Comment #297386

jlw…perhaps someone can help you understand that not all Reps are conservative, just as not all Dems are liberals.

Posted by: Royal Flush at March 16, 2010 6:54 PM
Comment #297391

Stephen,

You said, “Truth is, there is no constitutional basis for the filibuster.”

I do believe that Senator Byrd would and has disagreed with you. I’ll take his word and work on Constituional questions over yours.

Posted by: Rob at March 16, 2010 9:18 PM
Comment #297392


Royal Flush, I am aware that all Democrats are not liberals. It is much harder to distinguish differences between the Republicans. All Republican politicians and constituents may not be conservatives but, they sure are stuck to each other like glue. One Republican crossing over to support one health care plan put together by conservative Democrats?

I have heard many Republicans say that Bush was not a conservative but, since the Republican politicians backed every one of his proposals except Social Security Reform nearly unanimously one has to wonder.

As to what the Democrats are resorting to, I agree that it is about as cowardly as politicians get but they are resorting to it Specifically because the Democrats in the House are so divided that the liberals can’t get the votes any other way.

When it comes down to party unity, the Republicans are a country club and the Democrats are the YMCA. Both are for members but, one is much more inclusive.

I also agree with Craig, as soon as this bill passes, the country will be in desperate need of health care reform. He and I just have different reasons for why we believe this. The people who oppose this health care reform are divided into two primary groups, conservatives and progressives. IMO, these proposals are proof the the middle of the road is not always the best place for the People to walk.

Posted by: jlw at March 16, 2010 9:21 PM
Comment #297395

Stephen:

I am not speaking for every bill about the use of the fillibuster.

However on this bill, the American people are opposed to it’s passage. So fillibusting with the will of the American people behind you is a pretty good thing!!

What this bill really does is expand health care rather than reform much of anything.

We are heading for bankruptsy because of health care costs now and will be on exactly the same road if this ever gets a presidential signiture on the it.

Dems have to pass in for political reasons. They loose their base if they fail!!

So, this is just round one. Real Health Care reform has yet to be started.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at March 16, 2010 10:09 PM
Comment #297397

Rob-
He opposed passing the whole healthcare reform bill under reconciliation, but in a recent letter to the editors of The Charleston Daily mail, he says they’re wrong about using reconciliation to make fixes to the already passed Senate Bill and concludes with a rather blistering attack on an editorial that concludes otherwise:

With all due respect, the Daily Mail’s hyperbole about “imposing government control,” acts of “disrespect to the American people” and “corruption” of Senate procedures resembles more the barkings from the nether regions of Glennbeckistan than the “sober and second thought” of one of West Virginia’s oldest and most respected daily newspapers.[emphasis mine]

As for what Senator Byrd thinks of the Filibuster, I do not have to agree with him on everything, and I do not agree with him on this. I think the filibuster as it’s constructed now only encourages a disrespect for Democracy, encourages people to subvert it by preventing the majority from governing. If nobody ever gets the chance to actually legislate without having a majority of over sixty, then problems in America will persist until the right party gets over sixty and a party-line attitude.

Me? I’d prefer the much more malleable and ageeable situation where whoever can muster more than 50% plus one on votes wins, rather than one where the party in the minority, if it’s more than 39, can guarantee inaction by simply filibustering everything.

One point should be clear: the Filibuster was never intended by the framers, was never wanted by the framers, and used as the Republicans do, comprehensively, makes the majority party accountable not to their voters, but to the minority party, which can either force inaction, or extort legislation done its way.

I do not think when Americans handed Democrats their 59th vote in the 2008 election that they intended the Democrats to behave like Republicans wanted them to. I think the public was pretty well sick of what the Republicans wanted.

However, From the very beginning, Obama’s first piece of major legislation had to leap a sixty vote hurdle, and only by three defections from the Republican Party was anything passed in the Senate. Even then, one of those Republicans was kicked out. If this is how Republicans start, having come from the nadir of the public’s regard, how can we say they were merely doing the will of the public?

Me? I think they don’t give a damn. They haven’t given a damn in a long time. That’s what got them kicked out. To claim that some how, they now represent the majority is to say that the American Public has a fairly short memory, which I don’t think it has. The Republicans remain unpopular, not trusted on matters like Healthcare. They’re still down at 32% on that matter. If they were truly doing the will of the people, would they not be more popular?

The Republicans never take no for an answer when it comes to asking people whether they represent the majority. If they loose two straight elections, they claim it’s because they weren’t conservative enough. If they win, I bet they say the Country’s Center Right.

It’s heads I win, tails you lose logic. Which is to say, not much logic at all, since the truth value for such mobius strip claims is untestable.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 16, 2010 10:39 PM
Comment #297399

David B-
The whole point of healthcare coverage is to spread the risk, and keep healthcare costs from ruining people. That’s the point of insurance in general: keep misfortune from ruining people.

Today’s healthcare system, which helps create two thirds of this country’s bankruptcies, is doing a rather poor job. And the fact is, if you’re only covering those who are well, those who are healthy, what’s the point or the function.

Fact of the matter is, people don’t pay the insurance company gobs of money simply so they can pad their profits. Insurance companies are supposed to perform a service in return for what people pay them. Looking to get out of that obligation as a means to make more money is problematic. They should instead be figuring out ways to keep costs down, but then, when they dominate the state markets they’re in, who cares about keeping costs down?

Republicans and conservative independents these days badly overestimate the efficiency of business, especially big business like the healthcare providers. They don’t realize that something doesn’t have to be government to be bureaucratic, nor big business to be efficient. Medicare pays out 98 cents on the dollar as benefits, for example.

As for people going to the hospital and getting free care? There’s no such thing as a free lunch. You pay for them.

And on the subject of that bill? Format it like the text in a book, and it comes out to 200 something pages. Bills are formatted weirdly, and those big doorstops are mainly printed for the sake of preening politicians who want to scare people with page counts rather than discuss the contents.

Nothing about the page count relates to the actual quality of the law. That’s just somebody playing on an internalized prejudice against complexity in a bill. However, that complexity comes for one reason: Democrats, in the bill, seek to regulate and force competition on the healthcare companies, rather than completely take things over, which would require much less complication.

The Republicans are rejecting their last best chance to halt the march towards actual government control of healthcare in America, by rebuffing those who were willing to compromise. They are making it more likely that people will seek greater, not lesser change, more radical, not less.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 16, 2010 10:56 PM
Comment #297400

Stephen

Remember how you wrote all those things that Republicans shouldn’t do when they were in power? Now you are writing to defend Democrats doing worse. In a couple of years, when Democrats are again in the minority, people will copy and paste what you are writing now. In anticipation of that, it might be a wise idea now to caveat a little better.

You are right that what the Democrats are doing is not illegal, but it is underhanded and cowardly. The Democrats do not want to be on the record of voting for their own bill. How pathetic is that?

As Nancy Pelosi says, they have to pass something before they can know what they are passing. Not a very intellectually honest position.

Someday Democrats will be ashamed of themselves and it will be hard for supporters to defend this kind of behavior.

Nancy knows she cannot win in an open contest. It will be truly ironic if she even manages to lose in this set up one.

This is the bottom line. If the bill passes with the sneak through, we can safely assume that all the Democrats who voted for the original bill voted for the passed bill.

Posted by: Christine at March 16, 2010 11:15 PM
Comment #297401

What I would like to know is how is a bill costing 871 billion over ten years going to trim the deficet by 132 billion over ten years. Something does not add up here or is this a new liberal math.

Posted by: KAP at March 16, 2010 11:57 PM
Comment #297402

The first ‘Deem & Pass’ was in 1933, and it has been used well over a hundred times since then, by both parties. It is almost always used because the House doesn’t want to appear to back something before it is passed, when in fact the unpopular part won’t be in the final bill anyway. All it really does is keep Representatives from having to stand up and explain why they did what they didn’t do…saves a little time, and they don’t end up sounding like they don’t know what’s going on. Call it cowardly…call it sanity…call it anything you want, but it is just another way to get something done. Some of the Senate Bill is too controversial for some House members. This is a way to shave those out while passing it anyway…ho hummm…if the President likes it, he’ll sign it, and if he doesn’t the Senate gets another crack at it…zzzzz

Posted by: Marysdude at March 17, 2010 12:03 AM
Comment #297403

KAP.

Health care costs real money…it ain’t like derivatives. Over the course of a decade it would cost X amount if nothing is done at all (the Republican way), but if the bill passes, over the same period of time health care will cost X minus 132 billions. I’ve been trying to tell both you and Craig that this ain’t rocket science…liberal math…new math…old math…it’s just plain old add/subtract arithematic…you know, one of the three ‘R’s.

Posted by: Marysdude at March 17, 2010 12:09 AM
Comment #297405

Dude
Spending 871 billion to save 132 billion dose not make sence maybe if it were the opposite it would make sence. Spending 132 billion to save 871 billion, that would make sence. Your way is stupid.

Posted by: KAP at March 17, 2010 12:30 AM
Comment #297408

Marysdude (and KAP), I think you both have committed an error regarding the costs of the bill and the deficit.

The bill adds $871 billion in new spending, but it reduces the deficit by increasing revenues by an even greater amount. This new revenue mostly comes from the surtax on the top 5% of incomes and the tax on extremely generous health care plans. If we subtract the $871 billion from the new revenue we are left with a surplus of $132 billion, which is then used to mitigate the deficit.

David B, I appreciate reading your response to the Kaiser Poll questions that David Remer posted. I’m sure most of the other people on the right would answer similar to you and end up agreeing with a bulk of the provisions that are in the bill. I thought I’d like to address a few of your objections though:

a. Prohibit insurance companies from denying coverage or charging higher premiums because of a person’s medical history or health condition
So the insurance companies should not charge more for people who use more services?? Then because I’m healthy I should pay more? That not right.

b. Place a limit on the amount that insurance companies can charge older people compared to younger people
Again I should pay for someone who is using more someone who is using more services.
o. Prohibit insurance companies from charging women higher premiums than men
women statistically use more health care than men do. economically charging women more makes sense. I’m sorry facts get in the way of your utopia.

One of the biggest reasons for the recent explosion in health care costs is our fee-for-service system which provides an incentive for doctors to request that their patients receive more services than may be medically necessary. We need to change the economics of the health care market. Right now, doctors sell services, but people don’t want services; they want health. What these things do is change the equation a bit and make the health industry begin the process of charging people for being healthy because this means that their doctors and other people have successfully completed their jobs and kept you healthy. A person who becomes ill represents a doctor who has not done his job properly, so the doctor should not be financially rewarded about it.

l. Reduce the federal deficit by at least $132 billion over 10 years if you believe this one I have a bridge for sale
See what I wrote above to KAP & Marydude.
n. Allow children to stay on their parents’ insurance plans through age 25 So my son goes and gets married at 21 and I should carry him on my insurance plan until 25? Does this rule make any sense whatsoever. If a child is an adult at aged 18, unless he is enrolled as a full-time student he should be removed from the plant at age 18 when he becomes legally responsible for himself.
I’m a full-time student and I plan on graduating at the age of 22 1/2 years. I think its reasonable to give me a little bit of time after I finish my education to establish roots somewhere and get a job that makes use of my degree (not some unskilled part time job). As more and more students adopt a nontraditional learning trajectory (taking a year off between HS and College is starting to become really common) it would be really hard to implement a system whereby only full-time students would receive their benefits, and allow for a student to take a nontraditional route to a degree. Also, as our economy continues the transformation from a labor-based system to a knowledge-based one, the number of people who transition directly from high school into a career is rapidly shrinking. Very few people aged 18-25 will be in a fully adult role (married, full-time job etc) in the coming years.
r. Require nearly all Americans to have a minimum level of health insurance or else pay a fine the problem with this provision is constitutional, the authority to make such a mandate does not rest with the federal government in any article I can find in the U.S. Constitution. If the states were to enact this provision it would be within their powers under the 10th amendment to the United States Constitution.
Look at: Article I, Section 8, Clause 1 Article I, Section 8, Clause 3 Article I, Section 8, Clause 18 Sixteenth Amendment to the US Constitution. Remember the “fine” will be collected as a tax from the IRS, so it won’t be a fine in the purest definition of the word, but simply a “sin tax”.
u. Impose a tax on insurers who offer the most expensive health plans, also called Cadillac plans, to help pay for health reform So we should tax them more for offering what some people want and are willing to pay for? Is that really the way we want our government to set tax policies. It is my belief the tax policy should not used as a way to force a behavior that, one. I for one do not believe those in the government are smarter than I.
Right now we exempt insurance plans from income taxes, which encourages people to get health benefits rather than income from their employer. One of the biggest problems with our current health care system is that we have tied insurance and employment. We need to untie this knot and this is actually the typical conservative Republican way to do it. McCain proposed the same thing in his campaign. Basically, we derive government revenues from whenever people exchange goods & services. Currently, there is no federal sales tax, so the purchaser of a good or service doesn’t pay for any of the tax, but the producer of the goods or service does pay. One should not be able to get around this by using health insurance as currency rather than the USD.
Create a health insurance exchange or marketplace where small businesses and people who don’t get coverage through their employers can shop for insurance and compare prices and benefits and who’s to administer these exchanges. How about just let insurance companies sell insurance wherever they would like instead of by a hodgepodge of different regulations, restrictions and required coverages? w. Require insurance plans to offer a minimum package of health insurance benefits, to be defined by the federal government having spent 20 years in the United States Navy, I would not trust bureaucrats to set what the required coverages are that I must buy. States are indeed doing this forcing plans in many states radically higher for younger people who do not need many of the services that are mandated.
I live in Massachusetts and the Commonwealth Connector has done a fantastic job of increasing competition amongst the various plans by putting them all together side-by-side for easy comparison. Right now, every state has its own standards that specify minimum things a health insurance plan must cover. I won’t make any value judgments on whether this is a wise decision or not. However, in order to allow health insurance to be sold across state lines, we need one uniform standard, otherwise we would be running into a Constitutional issue because of the Tenth Amendment. We cannot use federal fiat to vacate any local state laws, so any method of purchasing insurance across state lines must respect the laws that the various states have put in place. If you don’t think your state should require coverage of a certain condition, you are empowered to campaign to change that in your state’s government and others can do something similar in their state. That’s what’s amazing about our country, it isn’t the “government” making decisions for us; it’s us making decisions for us because we ARE the government. Your service in the Navy was a voluntary decision to forgo some of your own liberty for the sake of the rest of us and I thank you for that.
y. Mean that most people who get health insurance through their jobs will keep the plans they have now while this is good sentiment, reality says that many of these plans will not exist five years after the passage of this plan. After all why should an employer keep paying for the plan when the current penalty in this bill is probably for most small and medium businesses with less than what they’re currently paying in healthcare benefits for their employees.
Today there is zero penalty for employers that do not offer health insurance, yet most still do offer it. I don’t see how the addition of such a penalty for not covering people would cause employers to drop their plans. The reason employers provide health care plans is because its part of the compensation they offer in exchange for the labor and knowledge of their employees and nothing in the bill changes that. The only way I see an employer reducing the coverage they offer is in reaction to the reduction/elimination in the tax exemption for health care plans. Maybe some employees would rather spend that money on something else rather than health, but they are currently getting health coverage instead in order to reduce their taxes. These employees would conceivably renegotiate their compensation with their employers to reduce or eliminate their health care coverage in exchange for a larger salary, which could be then used to buy a cheaper plan in the national health care exchange. If you prefer to keep your old plan, but many of your co-workers decide to drop it and you employer is unwilling to continue to provide a plan your beef is with your employer and not with the government.
x. Prevent illegal immigrants from receiving any federal money to purchase health insurance why is this language even necessary. Any time an illegal immigrant is found they should be immediately deported. And don’t tell me we can’t deport all of them, YES WE CAN!!
If we give all those who come here unlawfully due process, then the costs of deporting all of them will become exorbitant. This is not an immigration reform bill so it preserves the status quo in that regard. I don’t know about you or the rest of the electorate, but I’m not willing to send our already nearly bankrupt country further in debt just to round up a bunch of people just trying to improve their own lives.


aa. Provide coverage to at least 31 million people who are now uninsured
I hear this number a lot, and I hear numbers of 14 million, 20 million, and 40 million also banter around. I have yet to see any actual reports that truly can pin this number down.

The most common source is the US census. Go to page 28 of the PDF or page 21 of the physical document and you will see a table with the info you want. You will see that 46,340,000 people living in the US were without insurance in 2008. This number is often rounded to 50 million. Of the uninsured 9,511,000 are non-citizens & 9,725,000 have a household income of greater than $75,000. Conservative commentators like to through around erroneous assumptions that lead to them subtracting out half of the or more than half of the uninsured because they are assumed to be illegal residents or uninsured for voluntary reasons. However, these people have made several errors including forgetting that one can be a non-citizen and yet still be a legal immigrant with a green card or some other form of documentation. They also assume that 100% of the $75,000+ income group is voluntarily uninsured; I think 90+% might fit into that category, but you can never say 100%. Lastly, those on the right frequently assume that the non-citizen category and the $75,000+ category are mutually exclusive, but they are not. One can easily be a non-citizen and still have an income of $75,000+.

To all, I still stand what I said earlier. I don’t think its a wise idea for the House Democrats to play this sort of charade when there have been many legitimate criticisms regarding the process that this bill has undergone (esp the failed promise to broadcast 100% of the negotiations on C-span). This will only create additional material for the back-story that the Right peddles saying that the bill is marred with corruption.

Royal Flush & sam,
I suggest you e-mail your complaints to David Remer. I appreciate reading the rightist commentary here, and I don’t recall ever reading anything inflammatory/rule-breaking from your writings. I think David would be able to clear things up.

Posted by: Warped Reality at March 17, 2010 3:17 AM
Comment #297409

SD
Some posters can not get over the historical fact that very similar HC reform bills ALREADY passed both houses on congress. Whats going on now is just the clean up after the parade has gone by.
The more people know about the bill,the more they support it. Truth trumps lies but sometimes takes longer to get out. The Dems are showing some courage. It may cost. It won’t if the house can speed up implimentation and keep telling the truth with no let up. Part of the ugly truth is that the Rep leadership would rather let Americans die or bankrupt than give up power.
KAP
You pay out of pocket? Great. When you get a serious illness, and you will, and run out of money ,after they take your house, don’t worry, the rest of us will pick up the tab.Thank you so much.

Posted by: bills at March 17, 2010 7:08 AM
Comment #297410

Christine-
I show numbers, you show talking points. You can say we’re worse, I can demonstrate the fact that at least your party are bloody hypocrites in Congress, if not the fact that you are worse.

Go back, and count how many times your party used the same so-called “underhanded tactic.”

And that, having made the same claims back in the eighties and early nineties that you make now. Common element? Something’s terrible when you’re in the minority, it’s incredibly important to Democracy when you’re in power.

See, Democrats are going to have an up-or-down vote on the complete healthcare package that they intend to pass from the house. That is a simple statement of the fact of what the “Deem and Pass” tactic is supposed to do. And since everybody already bloody knows it, I don’t see what the point of saying they’re sneaking it through is.

The Democrats are going to have a single up-or-down vote, they will have it out in public, and if they win it, which is looking more likely every day, healthcare will be passed.

They just won’t be pleasing the Republicans by giving them a vote on the Senate Bill, with all those outrageous deals they forced with their filibuster. Nobody will be able to say with any honesty that their opponent voted for the Cornhusker Kickback, when the vote they cast was for the revisions that removed that bipartisanly offensive gimmee.

If there’s any cowardice, it’s minimalized by the fact that they finally vote to give 31 million Americans coverage, and that they’re voting for reform that was seen as necessary back in Truman’s time.

KAP-
It’s not liberal math. Put plainly, the regulations put in place will overhaul medicare as well, and reduce costs. What’s costing the money are the tax breaks and subsidies. As for saving money taking the spending of money?

Well, if a business invests in new machinery, it’s a cost, and some bean-counters would oppose that. But if their old machinery is inefficient, and it’s breaking down all over the place, requiring repairs and constant maintenance, they aren’t saving money, they’re just spending it in different places and acting like they’re saving costs.

America needs new machinery, and that will cost money. But in the long run, the way we organize the system will save money, requiring less last minute fixes, and preventing yet another catastrophic problem, something the right’s shown itself incompetent at, as of late.

The Republicans don’t have any real, workable plan that actually saves the average taxpayer money. What they have is a lot of self-important rhetoric about being the best, with a whole lot of disparagement of their rivals that the facts don’t support.

The fact of the matter is that the 871 billion dollars this will cost are paid for. Republicans, given the chance, did not pay for their Medicare expansion.

Therefore, the Republicans may boast, but they boast in vain. Yours is not the more fiscally prudent side, mine is.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 17, 2010 7:46 AM
Comment #297412

The Senate Minority Leader, in his own words:

“It was absolutely critical that everybody be together because if the proponents of the bill were able to say it was bipartisan, it tended to convey to the public that this is O.K., they must have figured it out,” Mr. McConnell said about the health legislation in an interview, suggesting that even minimal Republican support could sway the public. “It’s either bipartisan or it isn’t.”

Let’s not kid ourselves. The Republicans never intended to be bipartisan with Democrats on Healthcare. They will not pass anything that even partly smacks of liberalism. And if that’s the case, then why have the Democrats around at all?

Mitch McConnell’s game is never-ending partisanship for the benefit of his party, and the detriment of the nation when his party isn’t given the majority. And that’s not just me saying it, that’s him saying it.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 17, 2010 10:00 AM
Comment #297413

bills
Yes right now I pay out of pocket but I am shopping for a cheap plan. In my community hospitals have funds put aside for people who do not have insurance hospitals such as the Cleveland Clinic. BHO only told a half truth about that lady who had cancer and her insurance was ridiculously expensive Cleveland Clinic WILL treat that lady through that fund and it has nothing to do with tax dollars.

Posted by: KAP at March 17, 2010 10:02 AM
Comment #297419

KAP-
CHARITY care. You like having to go on CHARITY care, having paid thousands into an insurance plan, and gotten less than a thousand back?

The poor, and those who have been made poor will get the care they need. But millions of folks who have paid their premiums, or who are willing to pay premiums for their healthcare are getting the shaft.

Even the Cleveland Clinic can’t treat everybody for free, and it shouldn’t be expected to. The way the Republican’s non-plan on healthcare goes, you’ll see more folks depending on indigent emergency room care, getting deeper into debt even when they do have insurance.

As for Natoma? Frankly, I think Republicans should be ashamed of themselves. Do they think she’s lying about the insurance company increases? They’re real, as Anthem’s recent insurance increases show. Do they think she’s lying about the lengths Insurance companies go to dump the people who need the insurance, who paid their dues for it, from the rolls?

Natoma didn’t want to be a charity case. Nobody wants to be. If you’re a charity case, that means that from whereever you were, you’ve falling into some deep ****. Let me tell you from experience: it’s hard to end up like that.

Free care will often end up being some state program, which means you pay taxes for it. Or an emergency situation, which means you pay bigger bills. Or maybe Medicaid or Medicare, which means, you pay for it, once again.

This isn’t about paying or not paying. This is about how we pay, and what value we get for it. This about those who buy their insurance getting their money’s worth, and not being kicked out on the street when they need the help they paid for.

But hey, that’s not as important as vilifying people who gainsay the Right-Wing Talking Points, now isn’t it?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 17, 2010 12:03 PM
Comment #297425

S.D.
Did I say everyone? No. In her case yes. We also base payments on an income basis. Besides if this HC bill passes we’re all going to be paying for it in higher premiums and higher taxes. If you think not, you are in a fantacy world. You’re right nobody wants to be a charity case. But having bigger government and more entitlements is just that a government run charity.

Posted by: KAP at March 17, 2010 12:55 PM
Comment #297426

Thank you for reading my rant.

Posted by: David B at March 16, 2010 10:28 PM

Thank you for your writing David, you made some good points as have others such as Mr. Daugherty.

Perhaps the reason for all the disagreement on this blog is that the country is truly divided on most issues relating to the collection and spending of tax revenue. The political class feeds off of our differing wants and needs.

It seems to me that liberals are generally in favor of more government, and thus more taxes in our lives. And conversely, conservatives want less government and want to keep more of their earnings.

Honestly, I don’t know how this dicotomy of purpose will ever be resolved.

Posted by: Royal Flush at March 17, 2010 1:13 PM
Comment #297428

RF, liberals seek to solve problems for citizens who can’t solve them themselves, and for which, the private sector is ill-equipped or unwilling to provide them assistance. It is a FALSE notion that liberals seek bigger government as a goal or objective of its own. Government is the solution of last resort to problems faced by millions of Americans not being solved any other way.

Conservatives on the other hand, DO seek smaller government as an end in its own right, ideologically. The motive behind such an end? Lower taxes and less regulation of the private sector by government, appear to be the biggest. And because of this, Republicans really, truly, do not care if millions of Americans suffer deficiencies in the private sector and barriers to middle class security and quality of life.

That is a substantial difference. And it does get resolved, every 2 years on election day.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 17, 2010 1:32 PM
Comment #297429

KAP

Here is a piece about insurance companies “recission” policies. Its backed up by court decisions.

http://www.forexyard.com/en/news/SPECIAL-REPORT-Insurer-targeted-HIV-patients-to-drop-coverage-2010-03-17T133338Z

Good luck finding a “cheap” policy that actually covers you. And you say SD is in a fantasy world?Your lack of experience dealing with health insurance carriers explains a good deal of your opposition to the HC proposal. If it passes and you do find an affordable policy your carrier will no longer be able to drop you if you get sick or cap the amount they will pay for your care.As a private purcaser you will be in the sector that is currently the most vulnerable to insurance company abuses. Most Americans are in group plans where carriers are already protected.

As for premiums going up,they will go up at a faster rate without the HC bill than if it passes. Many will be paying more by choice because they will be able to afford better plans.
I really can’t figure it. If you are accepting SS because you worked for it why not medicare. You also worked for that.Believe me,if something catastophic happens to you,the hospital will make damned sure you start medicare and you won’t have much choice in the matter.Shop for policies,sign up for medicare and give the money you would have spent for insurance to charity if it makes you feel better.Perhaps there is a nephew that could use a hand getting through college?People often do not realize just how important medicare is,not just for seniors, but its role in reducing the burden of care from middle class families trying to care for their parents. The HC bill is needed to bring stability to the program.

Posted by: bills at March 17, 2010 1:34 PM
Comment #297431

KAP-
The Republicans say it will be cheaper to do nothing. But is that really true? It’s what they said last time.

The bill does extend Medicaid at the lower end of the earnings spectrum, but that’s an extension of an existing entitlement, not the creation of the new one. Folks on the right talk about a new entitlement, but the system is still based on private insurance coverage, albeit more regulated. That kind of presents a contradiction there.

It’s not government-run charity, it’s government regulated insurance.

Royal Flush-
It’s a false dichotomy. Democrats are in favor of government being more useful to the people. Cutting spending or even government programs is not a problem for us. We’re just not hidebound to not raise taxes under any circumstances. Republicans have absolutely no flexibility on the subject, even when they knowingly increase their spending without finding the revenues, either new or old, to cover the cost.

That’s how Republican ran up huge deficits. They politically disable themselves from running things in a balanced way.

Conservatives are fine with more government when it’s a military venture or contract. They’re fine with it when it’s a Medicare expansion to get votes by looking like centrists. They’re fine with it when it’s the NSA invading their ISPs and tapping their phones. They’re fine with it when it servers their purposes.

As for keeping more of their earnings? The funny thing is, Obama gave most people back some of their earnings last year, and either people on the right were unaware of this, or criticized it. So, giving back people their money is another conservative value that seems dependent on who it is giving the money back.

We’re not seeing a dichotomy here, just a cariacture, and a misleading one at that.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 17, 2010 1:35 PM
Comment #297432

It’s worth going back into Congressional history to see what the Republicans did when they created the Medicare Drug Benefit.

1) Republicans held a 15 minute vote open for 3 hours. Then-Representative Cheney had called a previous record for held-open vote (held up another fifteen minutes) the worse abuse of power he had ever seen. Guess he changed his mind.

2) To quote the piece:

The chief actuary of Medicare, Rick Foster, had scored the legislation as costing more than $500 billion. The Bush administration suppressed his report, in a move the Government Accounting Office later judged “illegal.”

3) Jim DeMint, of “Obama Waterloo” fame was threatened with dropped support if he didn’t vote for the Medicare bill. One representative from the GOP hid among the Democrats to avoid sight of the folks looking to whip votes for the bill.

And so on.

I don’t think the Democrats have done anything near this brutal to get a bill passed.

Me, personally, I think the Republicans should leave alone the subject of abuse of power unless they’ve got something truly abusive to report about, something like the things they did when they had the power.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 17, 2010 2:00 PM
Comment #297433

Mr. Remer writes; “RF, liberals seek to solve problems for citizens who can’t solve them themselves…”

Is that really true…I wonder? Have liberals solved the problem with poverty in this country, or education, or jobs, or any of the other myriad of issues they claim to be solving? I suspect some liberals may answer by saying we just havn’t spent enough. Well, if that is true, and we’re trillions in debt, from where will the extra money come from? Can my liberal friends give us conservatives some idea of a time-line and dollar amount that will fix these problems? If liberals have a solution, please share it with us.

I would ask Mr. Remer and other liberals why these “so-called” problems of citizens always involve taking money from me? Are there no solutions to people’s problems besides spending money? If Joe Citizen has a problem only money can fix it, or so goes the liberal line.

When will it occur to liberals that many citizens have problems of their own making or choosing. Can you spend money to force people make wiser choices in life? If so, why hasn’t it worked over the decades of wild and inexcusable spending on fixing these problems?

Posted by: Royal Flush at March 17, 2010 2:06 PM
Comment #297434

bills
I retired @62. I have to wait 2 1/2 more years.

Posted by: KAP at March 17, 2010 2:32 PM
Comment #297435

Royal Flush-
The government does not do everything itself, nor should it.

But what you should realize is that it’s all really a question of how we set up our society, with elements like Government, Business, and the Citizenry in balance.

You focus on the government taking money from you, but the fact of the matter is, free government is an abstraction, and unrealistic idea.

Also unrealistic is the idea that the rest of the country has to be forced to share your view. Is your disagreement so precious as to be worth ten, or a hundred of the rest of us? This is Democracy, we trade tyranny in for equality, despite the fact that it may sometimes be ourselves who are put at the disadvantage. The price of being a citizen in a Democracy is that you have to be part of the minority at some point.

Otherwise, you have the freedom to run your life as you like. If you were able to get what you wanted all the time, you’d put somebody else in the lurch, they’d resent it, and they’d fight to be in your position. And with them in your position, you would fight back to get what you want.

Does this sound like any way to run a country? Tensions there will always be, but they don’t have to be so lethally strained.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 17, 2010 2:33 PM
Comment #297437

R.F.
That’s the liberal mindset they think they can solve all the worlds problems. They think by spending billions on entitlements and creating more government everything will be just peachy. They never think about who is going to pay for all this. They don’t realize they are doing more damage then good by making people dependent on government. They don’t look back at the welfare system and the monster it created back in the 60’s 70’s and 80’s until Clinton fixed it.

Posted by: KAP at March 17, 2010 2:51 PM
Comment #297438

Mr. Daugherty wrote about me; “Also unrealistic is the idea that the rest of the country has to be forced to share your view. Is your disagreement so precious as to be worth ten, or a hundred of the rest of us?

Whoa…wait a minute pal, what did I write to deserve this response? I know you may be frustrated right now that liberalism is not on the rise, but rather is failing in the country. But please…don’t ascribe to me values and opinions that I don’t hold.

Posted by: Royal Flush at March 17, 2010 3:02 PM
Comment #297444

RF said: “Is that really true…I wonder? Have liberals solved the problem with poverty in this country”

They were, then GW Bush was elected, and Republicans took control of the Congress. Now the poverty rate is back, higher than before. I rest my case.

Poverty can never be eliminated. Poverty however, can be reduced to a minimum. Republicans increase poverty rates, Democrats lower them. The record on this is very clear during periods when each side has clear control of government.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 17, 2010 3:58 PM
Comment #297445

KAP,

Are you saying Clinton did not have a liberal mindset? That’s not what your compatriots were saying in the nineties. But, even more telling is when you say Clinton ‘fixed’ the broken welfare system. Are you saying it is sometimes useful to pass a deficient bill, because it can be ‘fixed’ in the future? Strange, that’s what I’ve been saying about the health care reform bill.

And, when you say ‘liberals’ don’t concern themselves with who will pay for programs…are you saying Reagan, BushI and Cheney/Bush were concerned about future payers? Or, are you saying Reagan, BushI and Cheney/Bush were all ‘liberal’?

Posted by: Marysdude at March 17, 2010 4:05 PM
Comment #297446

KAP, then STOP being a hypocrite by waiting 2.5 years for your benefits from the government. Write the government NOW and tell them you don’t want, and will not accept, any checks from the government.

HAH!@ There are millions of conservatives out there bellyaching about government programs while spending their S.S. and Medicare benefits and damn glad to have that income.

Truly, truly, pathetic that cognitive dissonance which, creates the appearance of folly and Janus faces. Reminds me of the Tea Party woman who railed against Obama’s socialized agenda admonishing him NOT to Mess with Her Medicare!

Oh, the duplicity!!! If the debt and deficits are that important, refuse government assistance. If you won’t, why should others be denied their social contract with their government?

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 17, 2010 4:08 PM
Comment #297447

>R.F.
That’s the liberal mindset they think they can solve all the worlds problems. They think by spending billions on entitlements and creating more government everything will be just peachy. Posted by: KAP at March 17, 2010 02:51 PM

Is this similar to the conservative mindset that they think they can solve the world’s problems by going to war? And, then think those wars won’t have to be paid for by future generations as long as they don’t include them in the budget? Who and what actually costs our progeny more? Social programs or wars and unregulated financial houses?

Posted by: Marysdude at March 17, 2010 4:18 PM
Comment #297448

Royal Flush-
If there is is one thing I would not be distress at, it’s the fall of liberalism in this country.

Which is to say, rather, I have no reason to fear liberalism is on its way down.

We are perhaps days away from the passage of healthcare reform. Stop and think about that for a second. Last time, Democrats didn’t even get a bill passed from either house of Congress.

Imagine a curve, a U-shaped one. From my perspective, The curve was on its way down in the Clinton years, we hit an inflection point During the Bush Administration, and now the curve is on its way up.

Evidence? Well, Democrats, despite near absolute Republican opposition, are close to managing healthcare reform, which they never came close to passing the last time.

The Republicans wouldn’t have to be holding us back and bind us if they weren’t afraid of the power of the party increasing over time.

As for the other comment? Well it seems Republicans are constantly complaining about money being taken out of their pocket, ignoring the fact that people like me are taxpayers, too. Why can’t the rest of us decide what we think is the best use for those tax dollars?

My main problem with what the Republicans are doing right now is that they’re trying to twist and complicate our departure, our majority-backed departure from their politics. They’re trying to say that the elections didn’t matter.

I am willing to take the chances that Republicans will one day enjoy similar power to move past our agenda, so that government can actually work. If Republicans want to defeat things, they can defeat them on up and down votes, which has been done before. But insisting on the absolute right to veto policy that has less than sixty vote support is just wrong.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 17, 2010 4:21 PM
Comment #297449

Reemer
I am not bellaching about having to wait it was my Decesion to retire early so you can take your comments and stick them where the sun don’t shine. The thing I don’t like is the Democrats BS plan. I liked what I had and will find another plan. I don’t need people like you or anyother liberal telling me what I need especially some a—hole in congress or the WH.

Posted by: KAP at March 17, 2010 4:32 PM
Comment #297451

Mr. Remer wrote; “There are millions of conservatives out there bellyaching about government programs while spending their S.S. and Medicare benefits and damn glad to have that income.”

What a tired old agrument this is. Let’s pretend than neither SS or Medicare were ever passed into law. Mr. Remer would have us beleive that we would all be broke and without medical care today. That may be true for him, but not for those who decide to take care of themselves without nanny government.

Take me back to pre-entitlement days and allow me to invest the money I paid into those programs and I would be much better off today. We would likley be debt free as a nation, health care would be cheap by today’s standards, and the income from my, and my employers, invested SS premium would be providing me with much more than I receive from SS today. So…HAH right back!

It is common for liberals to tell the blind and stupid that only government can provide for them. How else can they get elected? Vote for me and I’ll give you all the necessities of life…except for freedom. The lemmings believe the big lie, that they simply aren’t smart enough to take care of themselves.

The work ethic has been eroded by easy living off the government teat. Many folks, and most liberals, can no longer think for themselves. They swallow the pablum and believe its caviar. So sad.

I wonder how the liberal mind explains all the success of the men and women who built this country without government entitlements? How was the land turned into the greatest agricultural accomplishment in the history of the world. Where was government when the Wright Brothers built the first airplane, when Bell invented the telephone, when all the great inventions and miraculous drugs were developed.

Was government there to help my grandparents clear the land and work hard to earn their living? Mr. Remer would have us beleive that we are a great nation because we have a benevolent government. Not true. We are a great nation because we have had a government that allowed us to be free to succeed or fail on our own merits.

Damn…I get sick of this tired old liberal crap.

Posted by: Royal Flush at March 17, 2010 4:35 PM
Comment #297454

Amen R.F.

Posted by: KAP at March 17, 2010 4:48 PM
Comment #297455
Where was government when the Wright Brothers built the first airplane, when Bell invented the telephone, when all the great inventions and miraculous drugs were developed.

Let’s see, the Wright Bros attended government funded public school as children, they used government subsidized transportation to travel from Ohio to North Carolina. After they got their prototype working, government courts prevented others from copying their work. If the Wright Brothers had lived in a society without a government then they would likely not have been able to create the first powered flying machine. The government has been doing these sorts of things for 221 years and it has worked for this long; I don’t see a reason to change.

Sam, Tim Cahil is currently running for Governor of Massachusetts as an independent so I think it’s deceptive to call him a Democrat.

Posted by: Warped Reality at March 17, 2010 5:15 PM
Comment #297456

Baloney to this idea Warped is trying to peddle. No where did I advocate no government. Confusion reigns in the liberal mind.

Posted by: Royal Flush at March 17, 2010 5:28 PM
Comment #297458

Royal,

>It is common for liberals to tell the blind and stupid that only government can provide for them. How else can they get elected? Vote for me and I’ll give you all the necessities of life…except for freedom. The lemmings believe the big lie, that they simply aren’t smart enough to take care of themselves.

And being not smart enough to take care of yourself should be an automatic death penalty in these United States? Damn, I’m glad I’m a liberal.

Posted by: Marysdude at March 17, 2010 6:06 PM
Comment #297459

RF said, and KAP agreed:

What a tired old agrument this is. Let’s pretend than neither SS or Medicare were ever passed into law. Mr. Remer would have us beleive that we would all be broke and without medical care today. That may be true for him, but not for those who decide to take care of themselves without nanny government.

So, you are saying the 10’s of millions of Americans CURRENTLY unemployed by the private sector’s meltdown, are at FAULT for their own unemployment, and never should have received any extensions of unemployment insurance by this Obama and Democrat Congress. That is, in fact, your argument. And it is the same myopic, can’t empathize with other’s misfortunes, conservative view point that keeps the Conservative Parties the minority parties throughout most of America’s modern history.

Thank you for that candor.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 17, 2010 6:08 PM
Comment #297460

KAP-
Who ever said this was just about you? Private industry can worry about individual customers, can narrow its interests to its heart’s content. Government should be looking out for everybody, the nation in general.

Also, can you supply to me the line of reasoning from this fellow you’re sourcing? All kinds of people make all kinds of claims, and as other comments I’ve made, sometimes what people say in these debates is a bit on the questionable side.

Sam-
LawnBoy’s math is right. If you’re working off a computer, use the calculator to check your figures, otherwise others will check them for you.

Royal Flush-
You got to tell me something: How’s the weather in your hypothetical world?

As a guy who writes fantasy in his spare time, one fact constantly confronts me: the human imagination is beggared by the scale and complexity of the real world.

Have you considered that without Social Security and Medicare, these costs would not likely have gone away, that we probably would have people supporting their parents, people forced to pay exorbinate rates for insurance if they got it at all?

Republicans like to make up these worlds of what the country would be like, how much more prosperous, how much more peaceful and wonderful and filled with glowing tulips it would be if only liberals were not in control.

But like all such arguments, these are counterfactuals, and because they are often speculations about worlds that don’t exist, they lack for the detail or the tight modelling that would really tell us the way the world would behave. No matter, these claims are not meant for the sake of rational argument. They’re here to get people to ignore the prosperity and security Americans enjoyed for decades on end under the Democrats.

It’s easy to surround people in alternate histories, alternate course of the country’s destiny, to make the folks who have it good envious at the thought of how much better they would have it if it weren’t for the other side.

And then it’s easy to argue past actual results. No doubt, the Republicans will argue about how much better the country would be without Obama’s interventions. If Healthcare Reform succeeds, the Republicans will make up some myth about that, too.

No need to show actual results, when you can just rewrite history, or argue from counterfactual imagination that your version would be so much better!

As for it being beyond my imagination that people could succeed without government? Damn, that’s the craziest thing I’ve heard all day. Why do you always assume we’re die-hard government lovers? Most of us want government to play a helping, but not a dominating role, helping to further the national interests. We’re not as in love with government as Republicans are in hate with it.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 17, 2010 6:13 PM
Comment #297461


Where was the government?

The government was busy making and breaking treaties with the people that we murdered so we could steal their land.

Our god is more powerful than all the other non existent gods.

It is so nice to know that conservatives know everything worth knowing.

Posted by: jlw at March 17, 2010 6:15 PM
Comment #297462

Mr. Remer asks me; “So, you are saying the 10’s of millions of Americans CURRENTLY unemployed by the private sector’s meltdown, are at FAULT for their own unemployment, and never should have received any extensions of unemployment insurance by this Obama and Democrat Congress.”

If my words were rubber, you couldn’t stretch them far enough to cover your supposition.

Mr. Remer makes the mistake of confusing empathy with dooming Americans to a life of government dependence. Can you truly believe that I am coldhearted and care not for my fellow man? I could offer many proffs that the opposite is true but why bother.

I wonder why you wish liberals to take all the credit for the financial shape we are in today.

Posted by: Royal Flush at March 17, 2010 6:25 PM
Comment #297463

Remer
Nobody is saying any such thing. And Daugherty What are you babiling about.

Posted by: KAP at March 17, 2010 6:41 PM
Comment #297464

Mr. Daugherty wrote; “Have you considered that without Social Security and Medicare, these costs would not likely have gone away, that we probably would have people supporting their parents, people forced to pay exorbinate rates for insurance if they got it at all?”

Only a fantasy writer could dream that health care costs would reach the heights they have if Medicare and Medicad did not exist. Without SS, thinking American’s with just minimal brain power would have invested money for their old age just as had been done since our founding. Before I qualified for Medicare I carried private insurance thru all my working years. I paid the premiums and didn’t whine about it. It was and is the responsible thing to do.

Apparently Mr. Daugherty is not aware of how our parents and grandparents provided for their health care and old age. If your’s are still alive, ask them. If not, do a little reading.

Liberals like to believe that life began with government entitlements. I assure you that is not true. We managed very well and (gasp) even prospered before the nanny state.

Posted by: Royal Flush at March 17, 2010 6:46 PM
Comment #297466

Kap, you would never get Dude or any liberal I know to confess that they can’t make their own decisions. They all believe it is others, not them, that need help with daily decisions.

And, liberals sleep well at night felling good about all the people they have helped with someone else’s money. Ask a liberal how much they voluntarily contribute from their own after tax dollars to fight poverty, cure illness, or support a religious community and the answer will almost always be…..NOTHING, that’s governments job.

Posted by: Royal Flush at March 17, 2010 7:02 PM
Comment #297471

Royal Flush, if you support the existence of our government then don’t deride it by asking “Where was government when the Wright Brothers built the first airplane?” That sentence implies that government had zero role in the development of aircraft a century ago and that you with to return to the time when government had as much of a role as it did a century ago. Of course the notion that government had zero role a century ago is completely wrong. If that wasn’t a statement that reflects your beliefs then I conclude that you were just being inflammatory with that statement, which seems dishonest in this forum. If you don’t want others to get the incorrect impression on you views then you should watch what you write a little better before you hit post.

You also said:
“And, liberals sleep well at night felling good about all the people they have helped with someone else’s money.”

I don’t know about the others here, but I worry greatly about our growing deficits. The debt is unsustainable and will require drastic cuts five or ten years from now. I’ve said this before, I’m giving Obama and the Democrats a pass on balancing the budget in order to provide a Keynesian stimulus to avail us of the current recession. By the time 2012 comes around, I better see some actual substantial cuts or heads will roll in the 2012 election.

Marysdude said,

And being not smart enough to take care of yourself should be an automatic death penalty in these United States? Damn, I’m glad I’m a liberal.

I don’t agree with this sentiment at all. Liberalism is not about making decisions for people; that’s exactly what conservatism is founded upon. Telling people who they can marry, what they do with their internal organs, and whether they can burn the flag or not. Sorry, but I believe in liberty, which is why I’m a liberal. Everyone has the ability to make their own decisions, and everyone should have that right.
What people on the right often miss is that this idea extends to the ballot box & our government. We the people are free to make our own laws, even if they end up hurting us rather than help us. SS is a good example of that. Right now, I pay into SS and Medicare when I work during the summer, but I won’t turn 65 until 2055. Unless reforms are put into place soon, there won’t be enough money to pay me my promised benefits when I retire. SS was poorly thought out because it did not index the retirement age with life expectancy and it used a regressive tax system to derive its revenue. At the current rate of medical advances, I could very well live to be 110 which would mean I’d be eligible for SS and medicare for almost half of my life, that’s clearly not sustainable. Conservatives want to protect us from ourselves by limiting our ability to pass laws that have popular support. It’s the same argument Parliament trotted out 230 years ago and I’m glad my ancestors did not buy that argument.

Posted by: Warped Reality at March 17, 2010 8:14 PM
Comment #297475

“Go back, and count how many times your party used the same so-called “underhanded tactic.””

It depends on what you use it for. If it is just used to take care of details on a bill that would otherwise pass, it is one thing. Passing a bill like this, when they KNOW that most of the American people would object, is just wrong. They fear to vote on it, which is why I think it is important to point out that everybody who votes on the amendments and lets the bill pass, has voted for the bill in reality (then we will find out what it in the bill.)

“And since everybody already bloody knows it, I don’t see what the point of saying they’re sneaking it through is.”

They are sneaking through a bill that NOBODY knows. It is still not done. Nancy will tell us what is in the bill AFTER it passes.

“The Democrats are going to have a single up-or-down vote, they will have it out in public, and if they win it, which is looking more likely every day, healthcare will be passed.”

Good. Do you think this will happen soon? “Deeming” doesn’t count, BTW.

Posted by: Christine at March 17, 2010 9:00 PM
Comment #297476

RF said: “And, liberals sleep well at night felling good about all the people they have helped with someone else’s money.”

This is a complete misrepresentation of reality. That money you speak of, is OUR money, all of America’s money, used to protect and defend our American way of life in this country, and that includes not letting Americans suffer the absence of health care. We are a nation, and we all who can, contribute taxes our representatives levy to insure the functioning of our governments for all our benefit.

I assure you, peace-niks try to make your same argument that they don’t need no world cop military and it is unfair their taxes should pay for it. But, they are just as wrong in their argument as your argument is. We all benefit from our military and we all benefit when our middle class standard of living is enjoyed by the greatest number and the dead and sick are not cluttering our streets and spreading diseases in the public square.

Taxes are money shared by ALL Americans to fund the services and requirements of our government to keep us as a people, a whole nation, and sovereign in the world. Conservatives love to misrepresent the situation by painting taxes as something King George levied without representation. Not so. Never was, since the founding of our nation.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 17, 2010 9:04 PM
Comment #297479

RF said: “Only a fantasy writer could dream that health care costs would reach the heights they have if Medicare and Medicad did not exist.”

RF, actually, as a matter of researched fact, the cost per procedure under Medicare is less than under private insurance plans. Look it up. Medicare is more efficient than the private sector insurance. And, the VA is the most efficient of all in terms of medical care per dollar spent.

That is precisely why the single payer system allows other nations to enjoy a lower cost per procedure than here in the U.S. That is why its close relative, the Public Option, is preferred amongst the majority of Americans. It makes sense and cents.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 17, 2010 9:17 PM
Comment #297485


Knowing that the majority of Americans would prefer the public option does, IMO, make this bill even more wrong.

But, if Dennis has capitulated, the battle is probably lost and I’ll have to hope that, in the future, the people will realize that government/corporate alliances at taxpayer and consumer expense are not in our best interest.

Posted by: jlw at March 17, 2010 9:55 PM
Comment #297487

Royal,

Apparently Mr. Daugherty is not aware of how our parents and grandparents provided for their health care and old age. If your’s are still alive, ask them. If not, do a little reading.

I’m 53 and both my parents and grandparents got their healthcare through medicare. My Grandparents were born around 1900.

Prior to medicare, things like antibiotics didn’t really exist. So most people died. Living beyond your 60’s was very uncommon. Get an infection? You died. In 1930 life expectancy was 58 for men and 62 for women.

I’m just wondering what fantasy land you live in. I hope most of your “research” is a little more fact based.

Posted by: gergle at March 17, 2010 10:12 PM
Comment #297488

KAP-
I don’t know what you’re objecting to unless you quote me.

Royal Flush-
You can boast of how things were, but I am not ignorant of how things were. I don’t have a very romantic view of history, which is not to say that there aren’t elements to former society that were admirable.

As I underestand it, most people’s retirement wasn’t earned on the stock market, it was living out one’s remaining years, when one could not work any longer, among one’s family.

The irony of Social Security, and your allegations of being made dependent, is that Americans pay, one way or another, for their retirement. They work for their support in their later years, rather than being given it just for turning a certain age, no matter what. What you earn in retirement depends on what you earned in your career.

The further irony of all this is that Republicans obsess about government more than Democrats do. The average Democrat typically doesn’t care about government size, and we don’t go after it so we don’t have to work. The most liberal cities in the country are also the most industrious.

What Democrats want is a government that works and keeps our industries and economy stable. We don’t expect it to do everything for us. Republicans have to rationalize their law of the jungle attitudes, so they imagine that Democrats are the complete opposite, coddled, soft, and wimpy.

Trouble is, the Modern Republican is no less a creature of these times, of the liberal system started with the New Deal than anybody else. They draw Social Security and Medicare, and even tell the government to get their hands off Medicare.

As far as I can see, the Republicans don’t have a clear policy outlook, all they have is opposition and confusion. That they would simultaneously defend Medicare and cheer on the defeat of what they say is a new government entitlement shows how twisted in on itself the politics of the Republicans are.

Republicans need to become something else than just the folks who oppose Democrats, and they need to realize than any policy of theres that doesn’t work will be a long term victory for the Democrats.

Christine-
Sometimes I get the impression you don’t read my other comments.

46% to 45%. That’s the most recent poll on the matter. Does 45% count as “most people”, or even a plurality for this poll’s purpose?

One of the problems of making an inappropriate argument from popularity is that the winds of change do blow in popular opinion, especially if you have somebody who is trusted more than Congress, more than the Republicans, making the case for the provisions.

Provisions which were, for the most part, always popular.

The Deeming does count, and has counted many times, despite what some armchair constitutionalists have said. The Republicans themselves have used Self-executing laws like this multiple times.

When are you guys going to stop playing “vilify whatever the Democrats do,” and actually get down to business with policy. Oh, but you can’t do that, can you, because you folks can pass anything without Democrats to help, Democrats who will want concessions in exchange for their votes, changes. Being bipartisan, of course, would be a disaster, because you’d actually be caught being for things the Democrats are also for, legitimizing Democratic Party rule!

You folks have been trying to ignore the elections for years now. But you know something? You can’t ignore them forever, and the Democrats in Washington and at home have lost their patience with trying to reason with Republicans.

If you want to know why Democrats to to such lengths to pass things, it’s because they have to, because that’s the situation your party has deliberately forced. Nobody has ever been asked to legislate in this toxic of an environment. If there is no winning with the Republicans, Democrats will settle for winning against the Republicans. Don’t complain about things escalating when you escalated things to begin with.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 17, 2010 10:19 PM
Comment #297489

Dear Stephen,

As a “Responsible Republican”, I can assure you that those who are “commenting” a negative on Deem and Pass don’t know the law as it is written.

Deem and Pass “was” used by Republicans in the past. The nay-sayers need to read the law again.
Sorry people! Stephen is telling you like it is.
Like it or not, the Dems have the ball in their court, and Deem and Pass is legal!!!

My “Right-wing” Repubican Party, the Party of “NO”
needs to go!!!!!!!

Deem and Pass is here at last!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Let me say this, all of you who believe your Republican Reps in the House and Senate, you are
totally “BRAIN-WASHED” and that is the ugly truth!! Right-wing Republicans are evil, they are racist, fear mongering, hypocrites!!!

I say, get out of Washington and let’s vote for Moderate Republicans who care about Main Street, not Wall Street, Corporate, and Insurance Companies, all in the name of MONEY!

The truth hurts, doesn’t it?!!!!

Posted by: Debra Pilla at March 17, 2010 10:22 PM
Comment #297522

Mr. Remer wrote; “RF said: “Only a fantasy writer could dream that health care costs would reach the heights they have if Medicare and Medicad did not exist.”

RF, actually, as a matter of researched fact, the cost per procedure under Medicare is less than under private insurance plans. Look it up. Medicare is more efficient than the private sector insurance. And, the VA is the most efficient of all in terms of medical care per dollar spent.”

Gee…thanks for the info which has no bearing on what I wrote. Now, are you telling us that medical costs today would be as high as they are if Medicare and Medicaid did not exist… which is what I did write about?

Posted by: Royal Flush at March 18, 2010 4:36 PM
Comment #297531

RF, Higher. Did you not understand the implications of what I wrote? Americans long ago refused to allow the injured and sick to be turned away from health care deliverers for inability to pay. That constitutes a public health risk to all.

Ergo, one way or another, those now on Medicare and Medicaid would be receiving health care at everyone else’s expense. Since, Medicare and Medicaid costs are lower per procedure, they save everyone money over the alternative of not having Medicare/Medicaid in existence.

The logic is very straight forward from the factual premises.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 18, 2010 7:26 PM
Comment #297600

RF,

It might pay to read up on the arguments leading up to Medicare…it might surprise you why it came into being…and it might surprise you just how much cheaper it is for America to have it than if it did not.

Posted by: Marysdude at March 20, 2010 12:24 PM
Comment #297602

PPS:

Just a snippit of which I speak…

Medicare:

Poverty
among the elderly was at 35.2% in 1959, down to 24.6% by 1970, and stood at only 10.2% in 2000.

Atributable to Social Security and MediCare (FDR & LBJ) respecively. There were no poverty measurements from ‘35 to ‘50, but my observations (born in ‘40), would suggest that nearly all the elderly in my town of Eagleville, Missouri (Pop. 365), were at or below, sometimes MUCH below poverty levels, and that includes some of my immediate family. My grandmother’s Social Security averaged roughly $8.00 per month during the years she received it, and that was about all that stood between her and starvation. My family, you see, COULD not help much as we were dirt poor oursleves. We drummed up some small game, home grown veggies and some fruit for her in season, and a dab from our root cellar in cold weather…but, without the eight dollars???

Posted by: Marysdude at March 20, 2010 1:01 PM
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