On the precipice

Obama is right, we are on the precipice: of a disaster; of an achievement of premeditated destruction.

“…it’s clear we are on the precipice of achievement that’s eluded Congresses, presidents for generations — an achievement that will touch the lives of nearly every American,” Obama said. ~foxnews.com

The fact that it will touch the lives of every American is undisputed. The manner of that touch is what every American has the right to question.

Like Lennie's loving yet lethal embrace in Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men, the government tends to strangle and smother what it means to protect and cherish. The Federal government is a blunt and wholesale tool.

The uninsured: soon to be felons

The Democrats National Healthcare plan, aka Obamacare, demands that you be covered by health insurance. If you are not covered you are required to buy it or face fines and penalties. The IRS may be the agency enforcing this mandate. How soon after American citizens are considered felons for not purchasing health insurance will Obama be impeached?

Why would Democrats do this to Americans? What happened to the nurturing parent?

More important, an individual mandate crosses an important line: accepting the principle that it is the government's responsibility to ensure that every American has health insurance. In doing so, it opens the door to widespread regulation of the health care industry and political interference in personal health care decisions. The result will be a slow but steady spiral downward toward a government-run national health care system. ~cato.org

'DMV efficiency with IRS compassion'

Until the Federal government, including the IRS, swears to the hippocratic oath perhaps they should stay out of the Health Care business. Using the iron fist of the IRS (for our own good, of course) is monstrous.

The Senate bill imposes a new requirement that all persons who provide health care coverage to others must file a return with the IRS listing the names, addresses, social security numbers, and the coverage period for each person, and "such other information as the Secretary [of Health and Human Services] may prescribe." (Section 161(b) starting at page 107). The bill does not limit what information the Secretary may request, so it is conceivable and likely that information as to the nature of the coverage, the family members included, and other details will be reported to the IRS.

....This information is to be provided to the IRS for good reason. The House bill provides for a tax on people who do not have acceptable coverage at "any time" during the tax year. House bill section 401 provides for a new section 59B (at pp. 167-168) of the Internal Revenue Code:

(a) TAX IMPOSED.—In the case of any individual who does not meet the requirements of subsection (d) at any time during the taxable year, there is hereby imposed a tax equal to 2.5 percent of the excess of—
(1) the taxpayer’s modified adjusted gross income for the taxable year, over
(2) the amount of gross income specified in section 6012(a)(1) with respect to the taxpayer. ~legalinsurrection.blogspot.com


Cost of congressional caring

They do care, don't they? Yes, they care. In the trillions! All this spending will, of course, reduce costs. Really?

The proposals now before Congress would require just about everyone to buy health insurance or to get it through their employers — which would generally result in lower wages. In other words, millions of people would be compelled to spend lots of money on something they previously did not want, at least not at prevailing prices.

Estimates of this burden vary, but for a family of four it could range up to $14,000 a year over the next decade, according to the Congressional Budget Office. Right now, many Americans take the gamble of going without insurance, just as many of us take our chances with how much we drive or how little we exercise.

The paradox is this: Reform advocates start with anecdotes about the underprivileged who are uninsured, then turn around and propose something that would hurt at least some members of that group. ~nytimes.com


Health Insurance Mandate Includes 'Tax' Despite Obama Denial

Dem’s Nationalized Health Care Plan Still Requires a Monthly Abortion Fee

Video: Baucus Admits Obamacare Costs $2.5 Trillion

How much ObamaCare costs the average family

ObamaCare’s Cost Could Top $6 Trillion

The point is that the cost of everything the government mandates is always, yes always, much more than originally estimated. The cost to individuals and families will be far more than anyone now thinks or believes it could be. (With the possible exception of myself who thinks that it will utterly bankrupt the country.)

Slow but Steady Spiral Downward

As the government asserts control over healthcare choices its entanglement will engender more entanglement. The real danger here is the politicization of health. When Health care decisions become acts of congress we are all in real trouble. Why would we want to make individual health decisions collectively? Why would we want to take a decision that should be based on science and your individual health and turn it into a decision that must be made in a political arena based on political criteria and all the vageries of ideology, bad logic, campaign contributions and payoffs?

I predict that this bill will destroy the Democrat party and repealing this abomination will be the central platform of the next majority party.



Posted by Eric Simonson at December 20, 2009 12:25 AM
Comments
Comment #292869

Oh Nooooooooooes!

We’re all going to diiiiiiiiiiiiiiiie!

The reality is, those who can afford insurance won’t need to dodge it, and those who can’t will get subsidies.

Until Republicans offer a reasonable alternative that most people in this country can agree with, they’ve got no legs to stand on. When they had their chance to cut costs and bend the curve of things down, the only suggestions they offered were tax breaks and restraint of those filing suits for those who didn’t properly provide healthcare.

Republican healthcare reform is simply more corporate welfare. It seems nothing can be done for the people unless it’s done through the top ten percent. Do you folks even realize what an elitist sensibility this is?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 20, 2009 11:39 AM
Comment #292871

Stephen

Nothing is better than this terrible bill the Democrats are pushing on the American people. Howard Dean points out that it is a gift to the big insurance companies. This bill is the biggest example of corporate welfare ever. This corporate welfare will encompass more than 1/6 of the American economy. Nothing this big has ever happened before outside the mass mobilization of World War II.

Everybody knows that it will increase total health costs and it is more than a little dishonest for Democrats to claim they are saving money by just getting others to pay.

You are being generous with other people’s money or in this case with money we just don’t have.

I wish that Democrats would just stop the dishonesty of using “we” when they talk about paying for health care or other programs. 61% of the American public opposes this bill (as far as they can understand it with all the secrecy). The real language Democrats should use would be “We are going to give something to them and some of you with your money and we are going to be seen as generous.’

Posted by: Christine at December 20, 2009 11:50 AM
Comment #292872

No Mr. Daugherty…we won’t die, just be enslaved by this outrageous health care bill. With one fell swoop this congress intends to violate our individual rights, put government bureaucrats in charge of our health care decisions, impoverish the nation, create huge shortages of health care delivery, deprive seniors of the promised benefits of an already existing government program (Medicare) and much more to come in future legislation.

Mr. Daugherty apparently has not taken the time to read the proposals put forth by Reps and conservatives. Denial of something doesn’t make it true…except apparently for Mr. Daugherty.

I read today that to get Ben Nelson’s vote the bill exempts Nebraska from any cost of increasing Medicaid recipients. Isn’t that just sweet. Mary Landreau got her multi-million dollar payoff for Louisiana. And only God knows what other sweetheart deals are contained in previsions of this bill which so far, are only known by a few “special” senators.

Isn’t it wonderful to see how congress operates under liberal leadership. Bribes, threats, false promises, and late-night hidden legislation brokering.

If this health care bill is so popular, why must they use such tactics to get it passed? Why are they not considering the wishes of the vast majority of American’s who believe this bill is defective? Why would they expect Obama to sign such a bill, if it survives the reconciliation process, when he promised something else entirely on the campaign trail.

There are many liberals in the house who have publicly stated they won’t support the changes necessary to reconcile with the senate version. It seems that the various liberal cliques in the house are at odds with each other. They all want to satisfy their special interests rather than the nation’s interests.

Frankly, if I were a liberal democrat hoping to get reelected I wouldn’t vote for this monstrosity either.

Posted by: Royal Flush at December 20, 2009 12:15 PM
Comment #292875

This isn’t a liberal or a Democrat bill; it’s a GOP/conservative bill. ObamaCare died when the public option was removed without any sort of adequate replacement such as a MediCare buy-in.

This bill isn’t ObamaCare, this is RomneyCare, and Bay Staters know that RomneyCare was seriously flawed in its conception due to the charades Romney pulled when he had the GOP nomination on his mind. Both RomenyCare and the current bill push an individual mandate on people like me who cannot afford to be pushed onto a private insurance plan.

I am a very healthy twenty year old who currently is covered by my parents’ insurance. When I become to old to be eligible, I was hoping to just buy something for catastrophic coverage, and pay for maintenance care out of pocket. When a public option was in the works, I supported the mandate because I knew that if I did not want to buy an insurance plan from the private industry I would have the choice to buy a plan from the government through the exchange. Also, the exchange would have allowed plans to be offered across state lines for the first time, creating yet another source of competition in addition to the public plan.

Up until the last few days, I was quite timid about the prospect of voting for Martha Coakley (D)in the upcoming US Senate election in Massachusetts. I supported Alan Khazei in the primary and I didn’t like how Coakley flip-flopped in her reaction to the Stupak amendment in the House Bill. Now that I have witnessed these shenanigans from the GOP, now I know for certain that I will not vote for Scott Brown (R) for US Senate. I know there is a libertarian running, but he shares the same flaws as Brown.

I hope the left is able to effectively communicate that this is not a liberal bill, but a conservative one; that way the when the public votes next November, they will be fully informed.

Posted by: Warped Reality at December 20, 2009 1:55 PM
Comment #292876

Christine-
1/6th of the economy? The costs are spread over time. I doubt 80-90 billion dollars a year constitutes that large a proportion.

This is the problem we get into when people construct arguments for rhetorical effect rather than factual consistency.

Everybody knows that it will increase total health costs and it is more than a little dishonest for Democrats to claim they are saving money by just getting others to pay.

I think the folks working at the CBO to actually price this thing out would be surprised to hear that you think they agree with you.

If I were you, I would pick a different post to defend. Given your previous position, Eric would almost certainly accuse you, with your expressed desire for a single payer system, of the same things he’s accusing the Democrats of with their much attenuated version of reform. He would accuse you of being generous with other people’s money.

At least if he was being logically consistent. He might just disagree with me and find some rationalization for it, just to disagree with the liberal.

Royal Flush-
It’s also going to impale babies on spears, open a gateway to the demonic planes of existence, and summon the old ones from their graves. We will love them in their hideous beauty, and despair.

These are the creative additions I have added to your list, and they have just as much truth to them. The money is coming from subsidies under the Medicare part C program, money that never goes to seniors in the first place.

And what is Medicare part C? Basically the government paying private enterprise to run supplemental insurance, rather than simply steering the funds into simply making medicare coverage itself complete.

That is Republican Healthcare Reform, what they did when they had the chance.

We’d have far fewer subsidies, far fewer gimmees to insurance companies if we could pass the bill on a slimmer majority. Unfortunately, no healthcare bill with any hope of passing can avoid the need to get 60 votes for cloture, and so a few schmucks have basically held up the rest of the Senate for their sponsor’s interests.

This bill has been made less ideal for the sake of your folk’s obstruction. That simple. We would pass a better bill if we could, but your people aren’t interested in negotiation, you’re interested in repeating 1994.

You’re forcing things to be this dysfunctional, just so you can win back the power you lost through your screw-ups. Or put another way, you’re making things worse so you folks can regain the majority you folks lost for making things bad in the first place.

What damn use are the Republicans in the Senate to the people of this country? What do they do besides stubbornly insist on getting their way with legislation, even though they no longer have the numbers or the official mandate from the people to get it on legitimate grounds?

You stomp our heads in the dirt, then critcize us for our dirty faces.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 20, 2009 2:36 PM
Comment #292877

When are you’all going to learn this bill has nothing to do with health care reform. It is all about government power reform. The government must stay out of these types of things. They have no constitutional authority to do what they propose to do under their mis-labeled program of “health care reform”. The playing games with taxpayers is corrupt. The illegal activity they are doing (bribery, blackmail, etc.) would send us to prison for the rest of our natural lives. Why in heavens name do the taxpayers of this country allow this to continue. Proceedings should have started months ago to remove these crimiinals from performing their illegal acts on we the people. They (meaning both D’s and R’s) are liars, cheaters, stealers, prostitutes, and corruptors just for starters. The only thing the Congress wants healthy is the larger number in dollars, votes and power. Watch them on TV they cannot look at anybody straight in the eye. That should be a huge red flag, but too many people want to give them a pass. If they were fish they would be swimming upside down.
Merry Christmas if we make it that far.

Posted by: Tom Humes at December 20, 2009 3:01 PM
Comment #292878

I hope the left is able to effectively communicate that this is not a liberal bill, but a conservative one; that way the when the public votes next November, they will be fully informed.
Posted by: Warped Reality at December 20, 2009 01:55 PM

I wonder how the liberal left is going to accomplish that considering that almost all of them have their fingerprints all over the house and senate bill.

It’s quite obvious that WR knows nothing about conservatives by calling these atrocities conservative.

Mr. Daugherty…read your post and it’s impossible for me to respond to such erroneous and mistaken beliefs. So, why bother.

I can feel the libs trembling with the likely prospect of conservatives replacing the libs come November 2010. They own the congress and the WH and still can’t conjure up something the American public will buy. Their fleeting possession of power was wasted and the public can’t wait to throw the bums out. They fooled a lot of folks in the last election with their talk of moderation and have proven once again that they are merely liars and socialist to the core.

Posted by: Royal Flush at December 20, 2009 4:09 PM
Comment #292879

Royal Flush,
Everytime you call someone a ‘socialist’ an angel gets their wings.

Warped Reality,
There is a difference between criticizing the merits of the process for passing bills in general, and the particulars of this bill.

In general terms, the process is like watching sausage being made- it’s horrifying. Having said that, this bill is no worse than others. It’s noticeably different in the amount of time devoted to negotiations.

In the beginning, a strategic decision was made by the Obama administration. The Health Care Industry and Big Pharma were too powerful to face at the same time. It would have been impossible to defeat the combination, so the Obama administration and Big Pharma cut a deal.

Some Senators are playing hard ball. They are negotiating in order to take care of the voters in their state, their constituency. That’s politics. Their votes can be assured in exchange for assurances.

Personally, I want to see universal health care. It is absurd that the United States of America spends twice as much as other wealthy industrialized ‘socialized’ countries on its privatized health care, yet cannot insure tens of millions; the US ranks at the bottom among wealthy industrrialized countries for most measurements of well being. Really, that is obscene.

One good thing about this debate over health care is that is distracts us from the repurcussions of capitalism’s collapse last year. Commercial real estate is plunging. Credit remains tight. SEVEN more banks failed Friday. It’s only massive government intervention that’s keeping the economy afloat, at great cost.

Posted by: phx8 at December 20, 2009 5:20 PM
Comment #292880

GO TO PERSON
Every family should have a “go to” person who can give answers to political and issue concerns, as suggested by Rush Limbaugh. Learning how means starting at the roots, the beginnings and differences between two sides of the same coin, which is all there is. One side is long established, where the few rule the many, irrespective of their labels. The other side is the newest, that of individual freedom and limited government. Why do many follow each side, and why the conflict between them? What side do current issues come from, such as health care, cap and trade as well as amnesty for illegal immigrants? What side of the coin most impacts the lives of your family, to whom you provide the answers? Call up claysamerica.com for the roots of both sides and improve your understanding of the issues so you have the answers. Claysamerica.com

Posted by: Clay Barham at December 20, 2009 5:56 PM
Comment #292881

Thanks for the ad, Clay, (sarcasm)

Lessee, Anyone want to take bets on the coming slavery and tyranny predicted by the right? Think it’ll happen before 2010 or 2012? I will take all bettors.

My stance: put up or shut up! Enough with the over the top rhetoric, please.

Posted by: gergle at December 20, 2009 6:07 PM
Comment #292882

Warped

It is interesting that you say that a bill supported by ALL the Democrats and NONE of the Republicans is a Republican bill. If the Democrats who control Congress and the Democrat in the White House agree, I suggest they kill it.

Stephen

I have seen how the CBO costs it out. The Democrats raise taxes and fees. They claim they will but costs. The actual health care STILL costs more. It is just that they raise taxes and fees to cover it (they say). It doesn’t really solve the problem.

These are the major CBO conclusions. It raises cost by 200 billion. They indeed pay for it by raising taxes and fees by 518 billion, but they still leave 24 million uninsured.

If a fat man wants to lose weight, it really doesn’t help him if he just manages to get his neighbors to buy the cake and doughnuts.

As we mentioned before, on our team Christine likes the Scandinavian style health care. John doesn’t trust government to do it right.This bill gives us the worst of everything. It just is really bad.

Phx8

Usually we disagree and we probably disagree about the details, but I think we have come to the similar conclusions from different directions.

IMO this is always what happens with big government. The big government eventually gets captured by those who control the status quo. It can be even worse than big business, BTW. The Nazis and Communists managed to subordinate business.

But the only way we can avoid this problem is to NOT create the tools they can use and/or set up sufficient alternative power to keep all the crooks in line.

Posted by: Christine at December 20, 2009 6:27 PM
Comment #292883

Royal Flush-
I will tell you why to bother: because it puts my beliefs and your beliefs to the test to go out there and find the actual information. It lets you and I get away from just quoting talking points at each other.

It also helps us to convince people who are not as charmed by our party’s favorite little digs at one another.

If it’s impossible for you to respond, that’s not my problem. But then, don’t expect to get back anybody I convinced with such arguments. If you don’t want to compete, if you just want to throw up a bunch of chaff and flares into the air about what an irrational person I am, expect a good number of people to think your argument is the weaker one.

Clay Barham-
You must be joking.

We don’t need people finding a go-to person. We need people seeing all kinds of different points of view, so they’re not vulnerable to anybody’s agenda or failures in thought.

We need people to think for themselves, not seek out one authority and one alone.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 20, 2009 7:13 PM
Comment #292884

Christine-
I’m the sort of person who really hates it when the first thought isn’t making something work, but rather fitting it in some ideology.

Republicans nowadays are useless on fiscal matters because they’ll honestly and openly consider raising taxes, even in a limited way, even in a temporary way.

Instead, they make big tax cuts that send our deficit numbers higher, and resist any calls to match the spending that isn’t going down anytime soon with actual revenue.

I’m not dressing up in a cheerleader’s outfit and dancing all around for taxes. I hope mine aren’t too high. But I also hope that our fiscal policy is sound and balanced, and not merely politically correct according to some dogma or another.

I’m neutral on the size of government. Again, I care first whether it works.

We did raise costs, but raised them in a way that they end up paid for, unlike what happened with Medicare and the Republicans. Tell me: who has acted more responsibly, fiscally speaking: the Democrats who are paying for their healthcare plan, or the Republicans who aren’t?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 20, 2009 7:19 PM
Comment #292885

“It is interesting that you say that a bill supported by ALL the Democrats and NONE of the Republicans is a Republican bill. If the Democrats who control Congress and the Democrat in the White House agree, I suggest they kill it.”

Well said Christine…I fail to understand the logic behind Warped’s statement. But then…I seldom see the logic behind the comments of liberals.

Love this joke…If brains were gunpowder, most liberals wouldn’t have enough to blow their nose.

Posted by: Royal Flush at December 20, 2009 7:58 PM
Comment #292886

Warped Reality is correct. The Senate bill is essentially a national version of the Romney Mass. plan with a few additional bells and whistles.

The Democrats may succeed in passing a national health reform bill modeled after a plan implemented by a fiscal conservative Republican. Yet, this bill is vehemently opposed by fiscal conservative Republicans. Go figure!

Posted by: Rich at December 20, 2009 7:58 PM
Comment #292887

Mr. Daugherty wrote; “Tell me: who has acted more responsibly, fiscally speaking: the Democrats who are paying for their healthcare plan, or the Republicans who aren’t?”

Please…make me laugh some more. The plan Mr. Daugherty calls responsible calls for ten years of taxes and 6 years of benefits. Sure wish I could have ten years of income with just six years of bills to pay. It is so ludicrous it is hardly worth commenting upon.

Perhaps in Mr. Daugherty’s world we can get ten years worth of Chinese money and pay back just six years worth of debt. Now…that would be a deal.

Mr. Daugherty seems fond of calling congressional bill-making akin to making sausage. Hell…this is pure baloney they are cooking up.

$400+ billion of the money to pay for this new health care scam is coming from Medicare which is already trillions in debt with unfunded liability.

Only a liberal or brain dead person could believe that taking money from a failing government program to fund a new government program is fiscally responsible.

Merry CHRISTmas everyone.

Posted by: Royal Flush at December 20, 2009 8:08 PM
Comment #292888

phx8,
The problem is that now the bill is just one huge social program without most of the needed reforms. I cannot accept things like an individual mandate and government subsidies for the uninsured unless I can be sure the costs will not skyrocket a few decades from now. Last month, I had the assurance that the public option would allow people to leave the private marketplace if the insurance companies were unwilling to lower costs, now I don’t. Given that the conservatives have at least 44 votes in the Senate, it seems that it won’t be possible to reform health-care until after the 2010 election. Why don’t we just pass a bill about removing pre-existing conditions and recisions and the other things without the mandate and massive social spending?

RF,
Mitt Romney is a conservative and what is currently pending in the Senate is nearly identical to what Romney pushed through in Massachusetts. As I was growing up, I saw conservatives show me what conservatism is all about. Conservatism is about taking away liberty. Conservatives pushed the PATRIOT ACT through Congress in violation with the fourth amendment to the Consideration. Conservatives spent the 2000s enacting amendments in states across the union prohibiting two people who love each other from marrying. Conservatives have spent the last three decades trying to control what goes on in a woman’s body. Conservatives borrowed MY MONEY to fund their ridiculous military programs and to also fund the drug company subsidy known as Medicare Part D. Conservatives sent my peers to Iraq with less than certain intelligence regarding the threat the Iraqi regime posed the USA. And now conservatives have transformed healthcare reform into yet another social entitlement program that I’ll have to pay for throughout the next seventy years. I am sick and tired of all of these conservatives who don’t think for themselves and just let dogma guide them along their way.

The house bill certainly has liberal’s fingerprints all over it. However, what emerges from the conference will likely resemble the Senate bill, which is a conservative one lacking any mechanism to contain costs. It’s the conservative GOP and the four conservative Democratic Senators that are responsible for this monstrosity, and it is them who will suffer the consequences when we plunge further into debt.

Christine,
The bill coming out of the Senate is the result of GOP actions; therefore I call it a GOP bill. Liberals such as Howard Dean have denounced it and some leftist senators have threatened to oppose it such as Bernie Sanders. The only problem is that our convoluted partisan system says they can’t oppose the bill after spending so much time investing in it. I can see the headlines now if the left shut down the current Senate bill. “Democrats fail to pass health care reform”, people will conclude Reid is a weak leader, and vote GOP based on that reason. The DEM leadership believes that passing a GOP bill is better than no bill at all because they promised one on the campaign trail and fear the wrath of voters who wanted one.

If only a few GOP senators had been willing to work with the public option idea, then we’d been able to ignore the crap spouted by Landrieu, Nelson, Lincoln and friends. Instead, we have been left with Romney’s plan and more and more debt.

Posted by: Warped Reality at December 20, 2009 8:37 PM
Comment #292889

Stephen

You claim to be neutral on the size of government, but the policies you advocate make it inexorably bigger. I am not neutral about the size of government. I am not sure exactly how large government should be, but I see government as a trade off. We give government power by giving it up ourselves.We need and want to do that to some extent, but not w/o limits. There is an optimal level. After that, it becomes less free and less workable.

I also care less about taxes than the size of spending. If government spends 25% of GDP, that is how big it is. If it taxes more or less it becomes a problem, but the fundamental factor is the size of spending. Democrats promise to raise spending and raise taxes. They will probably keep the both promises, but gradually spending will rise faster. On the other hand, they promised to cut waste. One of the things they promised is to cut doctor’s wages. They call that the doctor fix. This won’t work.

I don’t think government can work if it gets too big. It is a problem for every organization. As it grows, the need for communication and coordination grows and the productive people are increasingly out of the loop. Government cannot repeal this law of organizational behavior.The more details you ask government to handle, the harder it is to get it to do the real things only government can or should do.

That indeed is my ideology based on experience.

Rich

Last I heard, Massachusetts was one of the most Democratic states in the Union. It happened to have a Republican governor. But that doesn’t make any difference at all.It doesn’t matter what the health care bill looks like. It is 100% supported by Democrats and they own it. IF they don’t want to own it, they shouldn’t buy it. It is really ridiculous to call it anything but a Democratic bill. Never in the history of American politics has any major program belonged to only one party.

A majority of Republicans voted for Social Security. A majority of Republicans voted for the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In fact it would not have passed w/o them, since a majority of Democrats voted against it. Democrats voted for President Reagan’s and President Bush’s tax cuts. About half the Senate Democrats voted for the Iraq War resolution. Republicans and Democrats passed welfare reform. This is the ONLY time when one party pushed through major legislation w/o any bipartisan support. Its all theirs.

Posted by: Christine at December 20, 2009 8:58 PM
Comment #292890

Royal Flush-
Don’t make me laugh. The Republicans had no problem with Chinese debt when it was paying for their tax cuts, their wars, and their additions to Medicare.

But of course, asking Americans to pay for their own programs, now that was just out of the question. Despite the fact, that if you take the long view of such taxes, it’s really the cheaper option. If you deficit spend to get the money, instead of using taxes, you end up forcing the taxpayers at a later date, to pay back that money with interest.

The Bush administration lied to people when they said they were giving people back their money, and so does every Republican and Democrat who claims to be doing the same. What they are doing instead, when they tax cut out of a deficit, is they are filling out an IOU in our name, one we must pay back with interest. The taxpayers pay a premium when they don’t pay for additional spending in additional taxes.

I’ve always thought that it’s much easier to suggest to somebody that they support reductions in government spending when it’s their money being spent, not China’s.

As for the forty billion dollars a year from Medicare, I thought I’ve been clear on the subject: it comes from corporate welfare that the Bush Adminstration handed to the insurance companies as part of their reward for administering a program that would have more efficiently been done in-house by the government. It’s waste. It’s not going to benefits, it’s not going to doctors. It’s pure corporate profit, unearned.

Should corporate welfare be supported by true fiscal conservatives? Defended?

This is the twist you guys get into because you’re looking for the next convenient argument to throw at us, not arguing from consistent principles that wouldn’t send you out on a limb.

Christine-

You claim to be neutral on the size of government, but the policies you advocate make it inexorably bigger.

They might make it bigger. Inexorably? That remains to be demonstrated, though Republicans love to claim a slippery slope in that area, regardless of the presence or non-presence of proof.

But if it has to make it bigger to work, it’s like I said: I don’t care. If somebody can optimize it, though, and make it work smaller, I’m all for it. But it’s got to really work, if I am to find it acceptable. I won’t accept an IOU on function for the sake of getting a desired size.

We give government power by giving it up ourselves.

Like a mechanic, I might look at this gear in your argument’s engine and say “Well, there’s your problem, right there!”

We don’t give the government power by losing it ourselves, we give the government power by our own power, which we never lose. If they take this country in a direction we really don’t like, then as residents of a state and congressiona district, we have the right to exercise our power to alter the course of that government. Nothing is ceded, only delegated, and we can pull our support at our own discretion.

If you believe this, then you do not fear your government, and you are in a better position to make them fear you.

They are not set in authority over me such that I have no recourse of action.

You’re right about the laws of organizational behavior to a degree. Problem is, if we went strictly by the defaults left to us by the laws of organizational behavior, the emergent results might not be that pleasant.

We have to make the distinction between behavior being attributable to natural causes, and such behavior being desirable or acceptable.

Sometimes we should go with the flow, sometimes we are better off finding some way to think and work beyond the mere defaults of behavior.

Here’s the thing to keep in mind about the rest: Some Republicans once could be counted upon to be bipartisan in the other direction. Now the only bipartisanship they accept on most issues is unconditional surrender from the Democrats.

At what point are Republicans simply acting as an anchor chain upon the wishes of the majority of Americans, and at what point do they pay a price for that unwillingness to cooperate with everybody else?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 20, 2009 9:41 PM
Comment #292891

Stephen,

I’d rather see a UK style national healthcare rather than this wicked corruption.

What is the justification for the federal government to require its citizens to buy anything?

Posted by: Eric Simonson at December 20, 2009 10:01 PM
Comment #292892
A majority of Republicans voted for Social Security. A majority of Republicans voted for the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In fact it would not have passed w/o them, since a majority of Democrats voted against it. Democrats voted for President Reagan’s and President Bush’s tax cuts. About half the Senate Democrats voted for the Iraq War resolution. Republicans and Democrats passed welfare reform.

Where are the GOP Senators supporting health-care reform? Chuck Grassley and Mike Enzi spent all summer talking with Max Baucus and they never made a single effort to help the Democrats pass a healthcare reform package. A year ago, I thought there would’ve been a few GOP senators willing to help fix our healthcare system, but people like Murkowski, Gregg, Grassley, Voinovich and Martinez did not even show an inkling of a desire to work with the Democrats. Now, healthcare reform has been sunk by Landrieu, Nelson, Lincoln and friends. The Republicans know the Democrats are desperate to pass any healthcare plan they can get their hands on, even if it’s a conservative Republican one; the GOP knows the voters won’t like their plan, only the insurance companies & their friends will. Thus, the only way for the GOP to pass their massive spending program is to trick the Democrats into doing it for them.

Posted by: Warped Reality at December 20, 2009 10:04 PM
Comment #292893

Stephen
I don’t know how much experience you have running organizations, but I am sure you have experience working with them. When you go down to the DMV to get your license renewed, does it really do everything you think it should? If you hire a guy to do some work around your house, does he always do exactly what you want? Do you have to spend significant time telling him what you need? Does he always understand right away?

Instructions just do not transmit freely and perfectly through human organizations. Even if you assume everybody is honest, competent and motivated, they will have to make interpretations and judgment which will not reflect your desires.

Now consider politics itself. At least half of the time, the government is going to be run by people you don’t really like. When George W. Bush ran government, were you sure government was acting in your benefit?

The more you delegate to others, the less control you have over what happens. We work with others and have others work with us because we make the trade of control to get larger results.

One more thing that contradicts your own statements. You complain that Republicans are standing in the way of Democratic plans. THEY obviously are not getting what they want out of government and they are as much citizens as you are. You are also not getting what you want out of government because democracy is blocking your will.

Simple question. Has there been any time in your lifetime when government has given you and all your friends exactly what they wanted? Has there been anytime in your life when you got exactly what you wanted in general?

Re bipartisan – can you tell me one instance this year when Democrats have reached out to Republicans on substantive issues? I saw John McCain on TV today. He couldn’t think of any. I can’t either. Can you? The Democrats have behaved in ways you have written. They told Republicans that they could get on the Democratic train or hit the highway. That is not bipartisan.

BTW - a majority of Americans, according to all the polls, oppose this health care bill. The Republicans are the anchor holding the Democrats to the will of the American people, but the Democrats are cutting loose.

Posted by: Christine at December 20, 2009 10:07 PM
Comment #292894

Warped

The Democratic deal was not good enough to attract GOP support. The Democratic deal couldn’t even attract many Democrats.

FDR attracted lots of Republicans. Johnson could not have passed Civil Rights w/o the GOP. Reagan attracted Democrats for tax reform.

No deal is better than a bad deal. The Democratic plan is a bad deal.

Posted by: Christine at December 20, 2009 10:11 PM
Comment #292896

Eric Simonson-
In return for saying you can’t go without Health Insurance, if you can afford it, they say, you can’t be denied coverage for a pre-existing condition, nor can it be rescinded because some guy in the insurance company found something in your medical history you didn’t tell them about.

Look, I would have preferred that a public option be there, so any move to price insurance out of people’s range would only feed more people to the government option.

But you know, your people just weren’t on board with that, were they?

You folks are responsible for most of what you’re complaining about with this bill. Kind of funny how that works out.


Christine-
I am the last person to think that things always go naturally as they should. I am very much aware of the non-linear, emergent, complex way in which people work.

But I think it can go both ways. You can exploit such tendencies to create checks and balances, pitting the interests of one group against another, separating interests in other cases to firewall industries from one another.

The thing is to understand human nature and the complexities of organizations and making things happen as you’re trying to get them to happen, not simply blundering full speed at things with best intentions.

I don’t much like what the bill has been reduced to, but several reliable sources indicate that the provisions of the bill will significantly improve healthcare costs, among other things, and I’m not going to give up on such an improvement.

Now consider politics itself. At least half of the time, the government is going to be run by people you don’t really like. When George W. Bush ran government, were you sure government was acting in your benefit?

That’s the price of being able to see your interests better taken care of when your side wins. Unfortunately, the Republicans seem to be setting bad precedent for what happens when they take over. What’s to stop the Democrats from doing the same thing in return?

What does that mean for Democracy? Where a minority can nullify the verdict of an election? There’s fighting for your rights, and then there’s assuming that no matter what the election results are, your rights outrank theirs.

What gives the Republicans such super secred super-duper rights to dump on the rest of us like this? The Republicans of today are not the Republicans of LBJ’s time, nor even the Republicans of FDR’s time, when he founded Social Security. These are Republic leaders so obsessed with defeating Democrats that they just wage all out political war on them on a non-stop basis. There’s no compromise, even with those who once had a reputation for moderation, and your new, energetic leaders in the Tea Party seem all too eager to snuff out any folks who might be remotely willing to negotiate with the Democrats.

Are you folks going to decide at some point, that you’re just going to have to take over power from the rest of us by some coup or act of Congress, to save us from ourselves?

I don’t believe government is automatically good, to answer your questions. I believe it has to be developed towards better quality. But that is never going to happen with people who have decided that government can’t do things well, can’t be allowed to interfere with this or that, and so on and so forth.

When people run government who are utterly pessimistic about the federal goverment’s worth, it’s hard to avoid corruption and other wastes, because simply put, the folks running things will have little ambition to make things work.

And now that we’re in the majority, in the White House, it doesn’t matter if you scuttle every effort to do some good for the American people, or politicize delicate matters of state and domestic policy. Americans, it seems, can wait for your ideal policy prescriptions.

You talk about the will of the American people, but even now, your people gloried in killing the Public Option, which enjoys majority support in just about every poll.

Yeah. Polls are just your excuse. Hell, polls have been what you’ve really been working on. Casting doubt, spreading lies and rumors, accusing Democrats of vile things, and then saying “oh, look how unpopular your efforts are!”

Screw that. I’m tired of playing those mind games. This nation needs problem-solvers in charge, not people who cynically work in ways that make the problems worse, and that’s who you’ve delegated power to, folks.

The Republicans spent the last Congress before this setting a literal record for the number of filibuster threats, almost doubling the pre-existing record. Now tell me, how does that predispose people to want to negotiate with the Republicans?

Your average Democrat thinks your average Republican cares for little, with their efforts, other than stalling and stillbirthing the legislative efforts of the Democratic Majority.

Why should we negotiate with those people who literally conspire to talk our bills to death? What do we have to gain? Even when we give your people everything they want in a bill, they still say no.

Somebody’s going to learn the lesson, or somebody’s going to replace them with somebody who has a better handle on things.

When is your party going to stop straining people’s patience?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 20, 2009 11:33 PM
Comment #292897

Stephen
You understand the need to place power against power, ambition against ambition. We have checks and balances within the government and in the realm of freedom outside the government. Government is not somehow an exempt group. It represents one part, a very important part of the American nation, but not exempt from the problems and temptations of humans.

I don’t want to speak for you, but you seem to set up a dichotomy of government and business. They are separate and competing, but they are not mutually exclusive. The big difference between government and every other part of the American nation is that government has a monopoly on the legitimate use of violence and coercion. This is a great and dangerous power. If you defy Exxon, they can do nothing to you except not sell you their product. If you defy government, they can throw you in jail or even execute you.

Re the minority and majorities – I have read enough of your writings to know that you didn’t see it like that when Republicans were the majority and I doubt you will see it the same way when Republicans are in the majority again, which will happen sooner or later. Remember that the power you give Democrats today will be used by Republicans tomorrow, or maybe even by Democrats who disagree with you.

Re straining the people’s patience – read some of the more recent polls.

Democrats have offered Republicans little. Republicans are acting according to the rules of our Democracy. They have the right to vote in accordance with their beliefs. If indeed the people don’t like it, presumably fewer will be elected next time. But the reason Democrats were so interested in getting Republican votes is that they want to share out the blame.

We disagree about these things. To me, the Republicans holding up the Democratic bill are heroes, outnumbered and fighting a battle they probably cannot win, a political version of the Spartans at Thermopylae or the Texans at the Alamo. The Democrats will run them over. The Democrats will get what they want. And the people will judge whether that is good.

You have given me words to use before and i can take them again and say with equal intensity

Somebody’s going to learn the lesson, or somebody’s going to replace them with somebody who has a better handle on things.

When is your party going to stop straining people’s patience?

Let’s see who this applies to in November.

Posted by: Christine at December 21, 2009 12:02 AM
Comment #292899

Eric,

Do you buy car insurance? The State government requires you to buy that. What’s the diff?

Posted by: gergle at December 21, 2009 1:02 AM
Comment #292902

Christine said: “It doesn’t matter what the health care bill looks like [Romney Plan]. It is 100% supported by Democrats and they own it.”

This is the essence of the Republican strategy: oppose any plan. Make Democrats take responsibility for any effort to reform health care. This a simple but cynical strategy. Health care reform is a huge minefield.
Anybody who steps into it is not likely to come out unscathed. There is no magic bullet solution to the health care mess. So, why try? Better to let the other guy hang himself trying. Perhaps this is good power politics, but it is not good for the country.


Posted by: Rich at December 21, 2009 6:56 AM
Comment #292904

Rich

This whole thread is very interesting. All the liberals are trying to say that this is not the Democrat’s fault. This is their usual shift the blame victim ploy, but this one is different. They have not done it yet.

To all our Democratic friends

If you really think this bill is so bad, call your Senators and tell them not to vote for it. You really cannot claim not to be the blame BEFORE you have done the crime and then go through with it.

BTW - When President Bush attempted to fix Social Security, in many ways a more urgent problem, the Democrats just refused to cooperate. Presumably they also did this on principle. Sometimes no deal is the preferred deal.

Gergle

You can buy car insurance over state lines. Interest groups don’t demand car insurance cover their own pet things. You can choose not to own a car at all.

Posted by: Christine at December 21, 2009 8:57 AM
Comment #292907

Christine-
I keep up well enough with my party’s deliberations to know that we would have put together a much better deal, were it not for the fact that a few holdouts filibustered fairer deals. We had the Public Option, so that any attempt by the insurance companies to exploit their unlimited market would result in their competition growing.

But even without the public option, a number of the provisions are well overdue. Our legislation immediately outlaws denying people coverage for pre-existing conditions, or rescinding their coverage for spurious reasons

Something is better than nothing, which is what the Republican’s efforts have been aiming out.

No, I didn’t like the Republican majority. But I respected the fact that the people had put them in charge. I did not call on my party to become a brick wall of obstruction, merely to stand up for their rights, and not be so quick to capitulate on matters.

If they had done anything like this, I would have likely abandoned them, because respect for our governing institutions, I feel, is part of what signifies our respect for the checks and balances. I don’t see that kind of respect out of the Republicans. They haven’t merely objected to a few items, they’ve objected to practically the whole agenda, even items they themselves once supported. The so-called “Death Panels” are a great example. Part of the idea came from a Republican. But now that Republican has to repudiate that idea. The partisanship is overwhelming both common sense and common agreement.

That’s what grieves me most. I was hoping we could put this silly culture war BS behind us, that after a time of rehabilitation, the Republican Party could come back a more responsible counterpart.

Yet even now, we see them holding up defense spending bills, holding up the pay and provisioning of our soldiers in the service of holding up healthcare. What heroism is that? It’s parliamentary cowardice. The Republicans don’t want to face the shame of repeated votes going against them, of Democrats pushing their agenda over their objections again and again. They don’t want to give Americans the chance to see the Democrats in action.

Instead, they just want to see them mired in a swamp of inaction.

The Republicans have never allowed the Current Democratic Majority the chance to be bipartisan. The ink wasn’t dry on the certifications of the elections when the Republicans started their “Party of No” campaign, back in 2007. Their primary intention was to paralyze the government that did not operate according to their politics.

What’s the heroism in that? It’s like a child breaking a toy so they don’t have to share it. Only instead of it being a toy, it’s the ability to legislate for a nation that is in greivous need of reforms. The Spartans you mention at least had the virtue of putting their own lives and safety on the line. The Republicans sit in cushy jobs as others remain unemployed, enjoy government healthcare that they declare an abomination for anybody else. There is nothing brave about this magnitude of selfish behavior, this level of contempt for the intention of the founding fathers in their creation of the legislature. This level of obstruction is not a feature in our government’s system, it’s bug, and it’s crashing it.

You have given me words to use before and i can take them again and say with equal intensity

I get that so much around here. I don’t tend to use such tactics, and not merely because I view them as cheap.

I argue with dealing with reality, not politics alone as my object. I compose my arguments to intensely push a substantive point with facts on my side that I believe give that point the solidity to make its impact. It’s not merely the rhetoric alone. I feel like I’m on shaky ground when I just use my skill with words to argue something.

That’s why I keep coming back to the numbers. There’s nothing normal about those numbers. Nothing conventional or precedented about that approach. You might claim that Democrat did filibustering just like you did, but the very nature of those numbers means NOBODY has ever done it to the degree or totality that your people have done it.

It follows that it does not encourage a spirit of negotiation. If Democrats are negotiating among themselves, then the question is why. The fact that they get nothing but obstruction and refusal from the Republicans on most important matters, then it naturally follows that a Democrat has little to gain from making deals with the Republicans.

If you resent that, you resent it having thrown the first punch, having staked out a position that is unacceptable for Democrats looking for timely action on important, developing events.

The Republicans seem not to want to admit that they lost the mandate, or that they even deserved to lose it, despite screw-ups on their watch of historic proportions.

This is where the constant, internal rationalization of such failures does such damage to the party’s standing. Maybe your folks believe that your problems are entirely the Democrat’s fault, or that your failures weren’t really that bad, but that is mainly an isolated view.

And though I admit that you might be able to convince others to join in on the rationalization, I dread the possibility, because it means folks joining your party in failing to admit what went wrong and how.

And that means more people getting in the way of our solving our problems as a nation.

The irony is, the filibuster strategy is designed to strain people’s support for the Democrats by making it look as if they cannot perform their promised tasks. But that wouldn’t be so bad, if people didn’t want the Democrats to do what they promised.

If they didn’t want the Democrats to shift the policies to the liberal end of the spectrum. What you people are effectively hoping for is the despair of those who had high hopes for the Democrats.

Despair. Man. I would be ashamed to build my political dynasty on despair. Despair that would lead us to decadent denial of our problems, of which the last few years have been a taste. Despair that would lead us to reject solutions out of hand, simply because it involves a government seen as feckless.

Despair that would lead us to accept terrible status quos.

I think America needs more hope and less despair. If the Republicans want to come back, I would tell them that doing it this way is practically criminal. They should come back not because people don’t think they’re better alternatives, but because they have reformed themselves enough that people feel they are responsible again.

The Republicans are protecting a status quo that we cannot allow to continue, if we want this nation to remain anywhere near great.

Kirk-
I see you’re once again stating ten year numbers as if they were one year. I believe I addressed those numbers, and they were comparabley small. Nice trick.

I answered those numbers by dividing them as ten. 425 billion becomes 42.5 billion a year.

Hospitals end up losing 25 billion dollars a year, but then, Hospitals make 575 Billion a year in revenues. Oh, noes, now they only make 550 billion. How will they ever survive?

Divide the other numbers by five: Skilled nursing facilities loses 3.66 billion dollars a year. These facilities have been judged in the past to be greatly overpaid by medicare, which last year Paid rate increases totalling 1.5 billion to this industry.

The first component of the windfall to the nursing home industry is an inaccurate calibration of the Medicare rates used to pay skilled nursing facilities. “CMS admits it has over-paid skilled nursing facilities since January 2006 and that the overpayment for FY2009 will be $780 million, but it has backed down on its proposal, made just last May, to recalibrate Medicare rates prospectively,” said Ms. Edelman.

The second part of the windfall is the “market basket” increase, which is an annual adjustment based on changes in the cost of living and inflation. The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC), an independent agency established by federal law to advise Congress on Medicare policy, reviewed the profit margins and operations of skilled nursing facilities and recommended to Congress in March 2008 that skilled nursing facilities receive no update at all for FY2009. Yet, in May, CMS proposed a market basket increase of 3.1%, increasing skilled nursing facility rates by an estimated $710 million.

Home health agencies regularly post double-digit profit margines, and would stand to lose maybe 2.2 billion dollars a year under the reforms. How much do you think they make?

I could go on, but really: these are not draconian cuts, and the reality is, we will need to cut and restrain costs in order to avoid having a white-elephant system that doesn’t improve health for all it’s cost.

You cite a forty billion dollare increase, but fail again to figure the costs per year. Try four billion dollars a year, among almost every state in the union.

I cite and interpret these numbers to make my point, you bluff and bluster without context because that’s how the facts are given to you.

The whole point of talking about ten year and five year projections of cost is to show people a higher cost.

Tell me, though, what scares people more: an 89 billion dollar a year program, or an 890 billion dollar program*?

(*with costs spread over ten years)

Big numbers, with more powers of ten in them are scarier.

It gets even scarier if you rave about budget deficits and forget to mention that the bill is paid for, and even a deficit shrinker according to the CBO. But I guess when the Democrats are favored by a result, it’s all smoke and mirrors, right?

Yeah, we will collect more taxes, in order to pay for these things. That’s what people used to do before Republicans got enamored of Deficits spending to pay for all there added expenses.

All too often lately, the Republicans have badly thrown government agencies and processes out of whack, and then proceeded to act as if these changes are just par for the course. Your side mercilessly cut us out of negotiations, held votes at midnight with no justification, and passed thousand page monsters themselves with nary a peep out of folks like you.

Did we filibuster like you have? Did we hold up the big ticket items? No. We let the majority rule for the most part, perhaps even too much. We accepted a compromise of our ability to filibuster, for crying out loud.

You keep on accusing us of things you are doing, as if the Democrats have been just as bad. But we haven’t, and that is why I insist on quoting you the numbers.

It seems to be a game here of trying to make us look as bad as you folks did, lowering the building to raise the elevator, instead of showing a willingness to improve your conduct instead, and win back power on the merits of your own.

Your party’s jealous possessiveness of power is making things more difficult for Americans. The sad truth is that the Republicans haven’t stopped being the Party of Bush, and they are prepared to prolong his harmful legacy, in a vain effort to avoid the blame for its bitter results.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 21, 2009 11:55 AM
Comment #292908

Christine,

There are also no subsidies for the poor buying car insurance, if you don’t have a record of previous insurance you are placed in a high risk pool, regardless of your actual risk, and yes you can choose not to have a car and not have a job. Great 21st ideal. Let’s insure people’s health with 19th century medicine, and offer it cheap. Then they can die after a bleeding and ride their horse to their burial plot.

The reason we enforce buying auto insurance is the same reason we should enforce health insurance. it spreads out risk, without allowing some to simply skirt the law and raise the risk for everyone else. No diff.

Posted by: gergle at December 21, 2009 1:10 PM
Comment #292913

Stephen

You just cannot see it.

Your constant refrain is something like, “we could put all this disagreement behind us if YOU would just agree.”

Try that with your wife and see how much harmony that gets you.


Republicans sincerely believe in what they believe as much as you believe in your values.

Re the status quo - we all want some change but WHAT change is the important variable. MOST change is not good because there are many more ways to be wrong than right. The changes in the bill the Democrats are proposing are not good. They are changes that don’t solve the problem.

Posted by: Christine at December 21, 2009 3:42 PM
Comment #292915
yes you can choose not to have a car and not have a job.

Mass Transit?

Bicycle?

Posted by: Warped Reality at December 21, 2009 4:20 PM
Comment #292917

Christine-
I’m not married.

Disagreements aren’t what I have the problem with. It’s the unprecedented obstruction. See, you guys get to have your debates, get to have your say out there. And if we really start screwing up, you can do what we did, and make political hay about it.

But instead of simply voting against things, and encouraging centrists and Conservative Democrats to crossover in support, which would be a fair means of defeating legislation, and a much better way of constructively influencing or defeating legislation, The Republicans instead never let the vote occur. They can’t be defeated most of the time because they never allow the game to be played.

I think that’s chicken**** of them. After all this time shoving their agenda down our throats, and especially after having threatened to end the filibuster, they decide to use it as a never-ending barrier against Democrats getting their way. If they’re in the majority, you’re cut out. If they’re in the minority, they become an endless impediment to all legislation that has less than sixty votes. When exactly is it that Republicans don’t have the mandate to set what can and cannot pass?

I know you think you have grand reasons for being able to sit on your butts and have a temper tantrum, but the fact of the matter is, Congress was meant to operate by majority rules, generally speaking. The filibuster was an accident, a product of the design flaws in the Senate rules. And before the current Republican Minority showed up, nobody else had ever used it in such a wholesale manner. Even the famous filibusters against civil rights legislation were selective. The rest of the agenda was untouched by that obstruction.

The Republicans haven’t allowed anybody else the chance to run the government their way, not the way the Democrats allowed them to. They’ve simply decided that their way goes no matter what people think.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 21, 2009 5:08 PM
Comment #292921

Stephen

You certainly have some close relationships. The whole idea that we demand that others agree with us makes relationships hard.

Republicans supported President Obama’s policies in Afghanistan. That is the only time that he actually gave them anything to agree about

Democrats have not allowed cooperation. They have done the “my way or highway” cooperation. As you have, BTW. I have read nothing you have written that is anything like the spirit of cooperation. This is the problem.

Republicans asked for things like tort reform. They asked to allow individuals, small businesses, and trade associations to pool together and acquire health insurance at lower prices, the same way large corporations and labor unions do. They asked to sell insurance over state lines. Democrats wouldn’t hear of any of this. What is left?

After all their suggestions were ignored or ridiculed by Democrats, what should Republicans do?

What would you do if you were them?

Posted by: Christine at December 21, 2009 5:54 PM
Comment #292924

Christine-
Look, Republicans want everything to be done just the way it’s been done. That’s not negotiable. Democrats are not interested in vindicating Bush’s mistakes by doing everything the same.

The Republicans expect Democrats to essentially lend credibility to all their failed policies, to do things their way, and not to indulge in any Liberalism.

I mean, really. How self-loathing do you expect us to be? Now that we’ve won the majority, we have to accede to your demands, or be accuse of railroading you? Sort of a “heads I win, tails you lose” proposition.

I don’t think Americans would have hired us if the status quo was fine with them. And that is essentially what Republicans want us to stick with.

You are not entitled to get your way regardless of who gets elected. You will have to compromise, and given what your people have done to your more moderate candidates, I don’t see the Republican are adapting to current circumstances, and availing themselves of more legitimate lines of attack, such as gathering resistance from Centrists and conservative Democrats against objectionable policies.

I don’t see how you can complain about being cut out of negotiations when your primary stance is “our way or the highway” and you don’t have the votes to get your way in a legitimate fashion.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 21, 2009 7:22 PM
Comment #292927

Christine said: “They [Republicans] asked to sell insurance over state lines. Democrats wouldn’t hear of any of this.”

Baloney! The Democrats’ House bill provides for a national insurance exchange for individuals and small businesses to purchase policies across state lines. It was an integral part of the Democrats’ original proposals. This issue is one more example of the gross misrepresentations directed at the Democrats’ health reform proposals.

Posted by: Rich at December 21, 2009 8:00 PM
Comment #292929

Stephen

I don’t disagree with your sentiment, necessarily. But you cannot be mad at Republicans after you admit that you won’t give them anything. All you are doing is demanding they come along. They don’t have to. This is democracy. Republicans can defy Democrats and I am glad they are.

Compromise means both sides give and take.

Rich

The Democrats insurance exchange is not the same as allowing freedom to sell over state lines. It is a government controlled system.

Selling over state lines allows people to make their own choices w/o the help of big government. The exchange is a big government solution.

Instead of a single market open to any willing private health plans, the exchange would allow only firms that met federal standards, not allowing other options for consumer choice and competition.

Anyway, no matter what Republicans did or didn’t do, this bill belongs to the Democrats. You guys are evidently saying that w/o Republican help, Democrats are forced to do stupid things and then they get to blame Republicans.

Posted by: Christine at December 21, 2009 8:12 PM
Comment #292931

Christine,

“Selling over state lines allows people to make their own choices w/o the help of big government. The exchange is a big government solution.”

The big government “help” would be the creation of a transparent marketplace for competitive private plans. A marketplace that provides a common format for consumers to compare coverages and costs.

Truth be told, the insurance industry doesn’t want a national exchange since it would have to adhere to certain standards in the policies offered on the exchange. Currently, the states regulate the health insurance industry. Simply allowing “across state line” sales without national standards would allow the industry to adopt their domiciles in the state(s) with the least or minimal regulations. This would undoubtably price out the sick and older individuals requiring the states to operate and subsidize high risk pools.

In any case, it is dishonest to argue that the Democrats refused to consider “across state line” sales when they cleary have done so. It may be argued that the terms of the “across state” line sales proposal are not optimum for creating cost cutting competition. But, that is a different argument.

Posted by: Rich at December 21, 2009 9:18 PM
Comment #292932

Stephen,

But you know, your people just weren’t on board with that, were they?

No. Absolutely not. But I’m not sure why you would think that it must be so. You demand conservatives follow liberal principles. Why shouldn’t liberals follow conservative principles?

Posted by: Eric Simonson at December 21, 2009 9:23 PM
Comment #292933

Stephen,

The Republicans haven’t allowed anybody else the chance to run the government their way, not the way the Democrats allowed them to. They’ve simply decided that their way goes no matter what people think.

Show me where Democrats did what you want Republicans to do now and I’ll agree with you.

I have to call you on this Stephen. You have a huge double standard. You are have a very selective memory if you believe now that Democrats never opposed any thing while republicans were in power.

Posted by: Eric Simonson at December 21, 2009 9:34 PM
Comment #292936

Christine+John,

Instead of a single market open to any willing private health plans, the exchange would allow only firms that met federal standards, not allowing other options for consumer choice and competition.

If it wasn’t like that it would have violated the tenth amendment. The states have the right to set their own rules and regulations regarding insurance sold within their boundaries. You are proposing implementing a federal law that undermines existing state laws and regulations within these states. The exchange would not have any “federal standards”, it would only insure that any insurance sold over state lines met the standards of both the state of the seller and the state of the buyer. If the exchange that is a part of the House bill is still unacceptable, then it’s not the prohibition of interstate insurance that you think is a problem; you must think the problem lies in all the rules, regulations and mandates that the fifty states have laid out for the insurance companies to comply with.


C+J and others on the Right,
The GOP senators have worked to destroy key provisions in the Senate bill that would have guaranteed freedoms. Things such as the exchange to facilitate purchase of insurance across the jurisdictions of multiple states. Things such as a government option to let people choose not to use private insurance if they did not like the idea of handing control of their health over to some bureaucrat. The only parts that remain are the individual mandate, the new welfare program of subsidies for low-income people and the prohibitions on pre-existing conditions and recisions. Only the last part is any good, but the two other parts are simply disasters.

With 40 votes, the Republicans have a robust enough minority that they could directly shape and/or influence the legislation at hand. The Democrats have made it clear that they would pass a bill no matter what, good or bad; it was up to the Republicans to make sure it was good. When Nelson announced he supported the currently pending bill, the GOP knew that it could not successfully filibuster the legislation, yet they still trudged on. If only one senator objected, and called Reid up and said, “Hey, I’ll won’t filibuster a bill that puts the public option and exchanges back in. I know there are other things I’d rather have done as well (tort reform), but I’ll gladly accept the House Bill over the crap that Nelson has caused”. The absence of this exchange is telling; it’s tacit approval for Nelson’s RomneyCare bill. In private, all forty GOP senators support Nelson’s RomneyCare bill, but they know the public won’t stomach it and the Democrats will pass any health care reform. So they mount a nominal filibuster attempt in order to absolve themselves of any responsibility and wipe their hands clean. The conservative Senators know the filibuster attempt will only be for show so they can continue to delude people like you. If Nelson’s RomneyCare law becomes law remember this, there were 56-58 Democratic Senators who were willing to pass a much better law, but none of the GOP senators rose to the occasion to help craft a better bill.

I hear Eric say he’d rather have a British style system than Nelson’s RomneyCare and I hear Christine say she’d rather have a Scandinavian style system. My question is why have you folks spent the entire summer impeding things such as a robust public option and the national exchanges to facilitate interstate insurance sales? Why have the conservative senators spent months impeding these things? I must draw the conclusion that the Nelson bill is what you folks prefer; the status quo was never an option; Obama and the Democratic leadership have made that clear for over a year. With sixty votes in the senate, there was no hope of the Status Quo ever persisting; it was the Republican’s job to reflect their constituent’s desires and make sure the new system was a better one and they failed at that task. Either they must have been delusional that Nelson and others would have ultimately joined them or they must actually prefer what is currently being proposed. Considering that the current Senate bill is identical to Romney’s reform plan in Massachusetts and it echos the Medicare Part D plan from six years ago, I can only draw the conclusion that the GOP senators support the Nelson bill.

Eric Simonson said

Why shouldn’t liberals follow conservative principles?

That’s exactly what’s happening with Nelson’s RomneyCare Healthcare plan. It is conservatism at its finest. Spend, spend, spend and have future generations pay for it. It’s what Ronald Reagan did with his ambitious defense programs, it’s what George W. Bush did with his tax cuts and superfluous war in Iraq. I really have had enough of borrow and spend conservatives.

Stephen,

The Republicans haven’t allowed anybody else the chance to run the government their way, not the way the Democrats allowed them to. They’ve simply decided that their way goes no matter what people think.

Show me where Democrats did what you want Republicans to do now and I’ll agree with you.

How about:
2001 Bush Tax Cuts
The USAPATRIOT ACT
2003 Bush Tax Cuts (supported by Senators Miller & Nelson)
Authorization to invade Iraq
Funding the 2007 troop surge

Some Democrats voted in favor of some of these proposals, all of which passed. Some of these could not have passed without the support of Democrats. The GOP has not acted in a similar manner now that they are in the minority.

Posted by: Warped Reality at December 21, 2009 10:38 PM
Comment #292938

Warped

Federal regulations don’t allow selling insurance over state lines.

Democrats still cannot shake the blame that they will get from this bad bill. It is all theirs. All the Democrats went ahead with it.

Republicans, BTW, supported President Obama’s surge in Afghanistan.

Besides that, Democrats haven’t done anything worth supporting and they have not reached out to Republicans.

The problem with (for) Democrats is that they elected Pelosi and Reid when they figured they would be in a minority for a long time. These two are really bad news. They are the kinds of people you want when you are in the minority BECAUSE they are annoying and partisan. But when you are really in charge and have to be responsible, they are the wrong people.

Pretty much everybody dislikes Pelosi and Reid. We all hope they will be out of their positions by next year.

Posted by: Christine at December 21, 2009 10:57 PM
Comment #292940

Pelosi is very partisan, I’ll give you that one. But the House of Representatives was designed to be a partisan body; there’s no need to replace her.

On the other hand Reid is an extremely weak partisan, he caved into conservative pressure to gut the public option and the interstate exchanges. He tolerated Baucus’ months long escapade of negotiations with Senators Enzi and Grassley. Reid caved into Lieberman’s request to excise the medicare buy-in compromise. You to cannot claim that GOP senators had no opportunity shape the bill emerging from the Senate. Democrats spent months talking to Republicans last spring and summer; what more could the Democrats done to appease the GOP? Interstate insurance sales would have been permitted with the exchanges set up in the House bill. Even though it would have saved only a tiny bit of money, Obama even talked about including tort reform in the bill, but the GOP would not cooperate.

Federal regulations don’t allow selling insurance over state lines.
That’s true today, but it needn’t be so tomorrow. As has been said repeatedly, the exchange that would have been set up by the House bill would allow insurance policies to be sold across state lines if it complied with state laws in both the state that the company was based in and the state laws where the consumer resided. Any system that permitted unfettered interstate transactions would severely override the system of federalism prescribed by our founders in the Constitution. It would also look hypocritical in light of many liberals’ support of California in its fight with the Bush administration’s EPA over automobile emissions. CA wanted to impose tougher standards on vehicles sold in its jurisdiction and Bush’s EPA wanted to impose a uniform federal standard. Posted by: Warped Reality at December 22, 2009 12:14 AM
Comment #292941
But even without the public option, a number of the provisions are well overdue. Our legislation immediately outlaws denying people coverage for pre-existing conditions, or rescinding their coverage for spurious reasons

Now Stephen, why don’t you tell the whole truth? Only children are immediately covered. Adults have to wait 4 years to be covered.

They don’t want to give Americans the chance to see the Democrats in action.

No, what they want is to give Americans the chance to avoid the Democrats in action.

The Republicans have never allowed the Current Democratic Majority the chance to be bipartisan.

Pure Poppycock. The Republicans tried multiple avenues of negotiation. Republicans put forward several of their own proposals, and you seem to have forgotten the negotiations that took place in Baucus’ committee that you mentioned before. Funny thing is that after all the negotiations in the committee, the committee passed a bill void of any Republican input.

I argue with dealing with reality, not politics alone as my object. I compose my arguments to intensely push a substantive point with facts on my side that I believe give that point the solidity to make its impact. It’s not merely the rhetoric alone. I feel like I’m on shaky ground when I just use my skill with words to argue something. That’s why I keep coming back to the numbers.

Stephen, you avoid facts and numbers at nearly every turn since the vast majority of the time they disprove your bluster and rhetoric. In multiple posts I have provided you with concrete numbers and facts that directly contradict your “substantive points”. Only to have you attempt to twist, parse and steer the debate away from the harsh light of truth.

It follows that it does not encourage a spirit of negotiation. If Democrats are negotiating among themselves, then the question is why.
Why? Because some of them are more concerned with doing what is right not just doing anything to meet an imaginary deadline. That is of course until Reid starts passing out Millions like Halloween Candy.
I see you’re once again stating ten year numbers as if they were one year. I believe I addressed those numbers, and they were comparabley small. Nice trick. I answered those numbers by dividing them as ten. 425 billion becomes 42.5 billion a year. Hospitals end up losing 25 billion dollars a year, but then, Hospitals make 575 Billion a year in revenues. Oh, noes, now they only make 550 billion. How will they ever survive? Divide the other numbers by five: Skilled nursing facilities loses 3.66 billion dollars a year. These facilities have been judged in the past to be greatly overpaid by medicare, which last year Paid rate increases totalling 1.5 billion to this industry.

There you go again. Trying to bend, fold, and mutilate the truth into something that nobody will recognize.

I expressly pointed out that the numbers I was using were for a 5 year period. Let me spell it out for you here again so that everyone can see through your smoke screen and know what the truth is.

1) The $575 Billion per year for hospitals is their Revenue. Not profits as you try to portray it.
2) Out of those Revenues they must pay for salaries, facilities, maintenance, equipment, legal, and regulatory expenses among others.
3) Under the Senate bill they will lose $25 Billion per year by your admission which equals 4.8 percent of their Revenue. “So what” you say, “a measly 4.8 percent”. Surely they can afford that.”
4) Health and Human Services estimates that over the next 5 years the number of Medicare beneficiaries will increase 14%.

There is the rub Stephen and what the Liberals want to steer clear of at all costs. Revenues decline by 4.8% while expenses due to patient care increases 14%. Nearly a 19% swing, and Reid claims to be saving Medicare.

That is just the hospitals, skilled nursing facilities lose 14.9% of revenues over the five years, home health loses 13.8% and hospice 0.9% all while expenses increase 14%.

I could go on, but really: these are not draconian cuts, and the reality is, we will need to cut and restrain costs in order to avoid having a white-elephant system that doesn’t improve health for all it’s cost.

If that statement were not so ludicrious, misleading and dangerous it would be funny. We need to cut and restrain costs by $425 Billion, just don’t pay any attention to the fact that we had to spend over $350 Billion to buy 2 of our own so we can restrain those costs.

You cite a forty billion dollare increase, but fail again to figure the costs per year. Try four billion dollars a year, among almost every state in the union. I cite and interpret these numbers to make my point, you bluff and bluster without context because that’s how the facts are given to you.

You have got to be kidding me. You sir are the one who tried to negate the true impact of Reid sweeping costs under the state budget rug to hide the true costs of his bill. You attempted to say $40 Billion divided by 50 is only $80 Million per state per year. No big deal, they can afford it.

I on the other hand posted actual numbers of 5 states whose budgets are already at the brink. Reid is the one behind them shoving them over the edge.

Again, I will provide the actual numbers here so that your obfuscation can have the light of truth shown on it.

Wow, would you be surprised to find out that Medicaid impact to state budgets are not the same for all 50 states? You can’t simply divide by 50 and say it’s only $80 Mill, no big deal. The states of CA, MI, FL, NJ, and IL already in peril, the impact of the health care proposal on their budgets may be the final nail in the coffin.

By state percentage of total state outlays for Medicaid and the projected impact to their yearly budgets at $4 Bill per year.
CA = 12.16% = $486.4 Mill
MI = 3.57% = $142.8 Mill
FL = 3.98% = $159.2 Mill
NJ = 3.70% = $148 Mill
IL = 4.51% = $180.4 Mill

These 5 states are already cutting program, services, and laying off employees. What is an additional mandate of $140 Mill to $480 Mill per year going to do to their budgets?

It gets even scarier if you rave about budget deficits and forget to mention that the bill is paid for, and even a deficit shrinker according to the CBO. But I guess when the Democrats are favored by a result, it’s all smoke and mirrors, right?

Yeah, we will collect more taxes, in order to pay for these things.

Someone needs to be raving about budget deficits. The Democrats according to the CBO have already tripled the deficit with no end to the spending in site. You are correct that the CBO scoring has shown the bill will reduce the deficit by $120 Billion over 10 years. That is where the smoke and mirrors comes in. The devil is in the details Stephen, the details that Reid and the leftists want to keep hidden away out of site.

Details like starting the tax collection immediately so that we pay the taxes for 10 years, but spending on the vast majority of benefits for only 6 years, like gutting Medicare when beneficiaries increase by 14% over 5 years, like hiding true costs by making already fragile state budgets foot part of the bill.

At least you are starting to acknowledge the fact that the plan will increase taxes, despite Obama’s pledge that there would be no tax increases on anyone making less than $200 Thousand a year.

All too often lately, the Republicans have badly thrown government agencies and processes out of whack, and then proceeded to act as if these changes are just par for the course. Your side mercilessly cut us out of negotiations, held votes at midnight with no justification, and passed thousand page monsters themselves with nary a peep out of folks like you.

Resorting to the old tactic of projecting your own shortcomings onto your opponent is no longer working Stephen. Have you paid any attention to the polls lately? Either you are intentionally tying to deflect the truth of the lefts actions or you are delusional. Obama promised transparency to the point of having CSPAN cameras present. Reid and his inner circle avoided the camera lights like a bunch of scurrying cockroaches. His “negotiations” were carried out so deep in the bowls of Washington that many of his leadership team claimed to have no idea what was in the bill.

Not to worry though, surely everyone will be able to review the thousands of pages before the 1:00 AM vote. Reid is a disgrace to the office of Majority Leader and a pox on the Senate. For his sake I hope he has a comfy rocker on his front porch because that is exactly where he is headed after the 2010 elections.

Posted by: Kirk at December 22, 2009 12:48 AM
Comment #292946

Warped

It is often best to remove obstacles before you try to push something through. Remove the Federal prohibition and you don’t have to do anything else to fix this part of the problem

Posted by: Christine at December 22, 2009 7:41 AM
Comment #292947

Christine,

“Remove the Federal prohibition [across state lines] and you don’t have to do anything else to fix this part of the problem”

Not so simple. There is no specific Federal prohibition against across state lines sales for individual policies, per se. Under the McCarron-Ferguson act, states are granted the right to regulate health insurance in the absence of Federal regulations. In order to abrogate the rights of each state to regulate policies sold to their citizens, the Federal government must pass affirmative legislation preempting those rights. That is accomplished by the various Republican sponsored legislation (Choice Act) which designate the domicile state of the isurer as the controlling regulations for policies sold to citizens of another state.

Certainly, one can see that insurers will gravitate to the state(s) with the least regulations (minimial coverage requirements, absence of community ratings, etc.). Even the sponsors of the bills (Shadegg) admit that “across state line sales” would result in many being priced out of the individual market and necessitate the need for states to operate and subsidize high risk pools.

This occured in the credit card industry when banks were allowed to engage in interstate transactions. They all moved to states with the least restrictive regulations and usury protections, essentially gutting state comsumer protections. Only recently has there been any Federal regulations to correct the abuses resulting from that backdoor de-regulation of the credit card industry.

It is ironic that Republicans would advocate restrictions on states’ rights in order to achieve across state line sales.

If state health insurance regulations were supplanted by Federal regulation requiring adequate coverage, acceptable community rating standards, provisions for high risk individuals, etc., then national sales would make sense. Something like the standards for federal employee insurance. But, that was the Democratic proposal with the insurance exchange.


Posted by: Rich at December 22, 2009 9:43 AM
Comment #292950

Christine-
If you say compromise, and I offer you all kinds of different compromises, and you say no, then you’re not really bargaining in good faith.

We’ve done tons of negotiation with you folks, inserted hundreds of your amendments in our bill. The facts flatly contradict your assertion that we don’t compromise.

Trouble is, you don’t want compromise. You want things done your way. We can’t do anything liberal without you folks filibustering it. There doesn’t seem to be much we can do besides stop being Liberals, despite the fact that the American people approved of us enough to vote us in as a majority. Why, when we win elections, are we supposed to throw the legislative fight? We saw no such reservations from your people about wielding the power of the majority. It’s pure hypocrisy to demand the kind of capitulation your folks do, or face filibustering.

The minority can and should have rights in our government, but one of those rights should not be to decide what does and does not pass. Otherwise, what’s the [freaking] point of majority rule?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 22, 2009 10:12 AM
Comment #292955

Kirk-
Apparently, you never heard what Chuck Grassley said:

When NBC’s Chuck Todd, in a follow-up question on the show, asked the Iowa Republican if he’d vote against what Grassley might consider to be a “good deal” — i.e., gets everything he asks for from Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D) — Grassley replied, “It isn’t a good deal if I can’t sell my product to more Republicans.”

So, we give a guy everything he wants, and still he says no, if his party Doesn’t come along. Which it doesn’t.

You can claim that you were negotiating in good faith, but we never got anything out of you folks, even when we included about 200 amendments from you fellows.

We were willing to compromise. You were willing to go through the motions and drag things out.

And then he later picks up the Death Panels thing and runs with it.

If that is bipartisanship, no thanks. If we can give people everything they want, and still they say no, then it doesn’t seem like they’re interested in compromise.

Republicans were interested in this being Obama’s Waterloo. In breaking him. This isn’t about healthcare or deficits, not after several CBO estimates that have it deficit neutral or better.

This is about a party that can’t bear to let power go, which has chosen brute force politics rather than merit-based policy success as its means back into power.

On your numbers?

You, sir, fling about the big numbers, even as I repeatedly break them down to their yearly counts.

Oh, by the way: on the subject of hospital revenues, the average hospital profit margin in the second quarter of this year was about 8 percent, which figures to about 44 billion dollars. And this, as you may well be aware, was an off year. Ironically, Hospital system have had more problems because of their reliance on investments for some of their profits, than on any steep decline from.

>On the subject of Medicaid cost rises?

The Senate bill would have the federal government cover all newly eligible people until 2016, at which point its share would begin to decline, to 92.8 percent by 2019 in the case of Nebraska. These terms would cover the first 10 years of the bill, then be revisited.

To be sure, any added cost to state governments is nothing to sneeze at in a time of strapped budgets, notes Chris Whatley, director of the Council of State Governments. “It’s not going to break states, but it’s going to be a significant cost factor,” he argues.

I am pretty sure that those cash strapped state budgets will be recovering from the hair-raising declines at that point.

But more to the point, states will benefit from having people more fully covered, rather than flooding state and local government run healthcare systems. The expansion will be mainly taken up by taxpayers on a national scale.

As for gutting Medicare? Look, are you saying there is no waste in Medicare? I provided you with blunt evidence of overpayment, but that just doesn’t matter to you.

There’s good evidence out there that in places where healthcare costs have been kept down, the care is actually better, the systems more efficient. The fact of the matter is, your essential premise is “The more we pay for healthcare, the better the quality of the healthcare we get.”

But if paying more for something always meant getting something better, then what would be the point of competition? Competition forces people to lower prices, forces people to cut costs. Why isn’t that a bad thing?

Because people start figuring out more efficient ways to get better results. They do less with more.

Republicans have said for years that Medicare is wasteful. But the moment we start moving to cut anything, they’re up in arms. And for Medicare. They don’t even like Medicare!

Of course, they’re willing to pretend for a short time to love it, so they can turn seniors against the bill by scaring them about the cuts.

Gutting Medicare? I hardly call cuts of 42.5 billion every year to a program whose costs will be 440 billion and more every year going into the future a gutting of the program.

You’re substituting melodrama for factual positions, waving around red-flag numbers that are considerably smaller and better justified when considered in context and per year.

Resorting to the old tactic of projecting your own shortcomings onto your opponent is no longer working Stephen.

Really? Did your people, or did they not use Reconciliation to pass the Bush tax cuts? Did they or did they not push through the Patriot Act at Midnight, the bill unread?

Don’t push me on this point unless you want considerable blowback. We liberals have paid attention, and when we call you on things like this, on your hypocrisy in accusing us of being overbearing with our legislative prerogatives, we have actual facts to back up our charges.

The one a.m. vote, as most Democrats know at this point, was carried out at that time because the Republican Filibusters forces arcane requirements on the Democrats in order to get those votes passed on a timely basis. A certain amount of time must be allowed for debate. Unlike the Republicans, Democrats have no interest in keeping healthcare the only thing going on in the Senate for the next several years. We want to get on to other things.

Republicans pride themselves in slowing things down, in getting nothing done in Washington for the average person. Democrats have other priorities.

As for Reid’s electoral fortunes? The trick to that, is that people in his party have lost their faith in him over the failures to move legislation forward. They want somebody stronger. Reid, though, if he keeps up getting things passed and moving legislation past the Republicans, might stand a chance of getting re-elected. You never know.

Republicans are providing him a perfect opportunity for that. Ultimately, if Democrats realize that they will not have much to show for things if they bother with negotiating with the Republicans, then more of them will vote the party line, and fewer of them will concern themselves with getting the GOP’s okay on things.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 22, 2009 12:15 PM
Comment #292956

Stephen, you’ve done tons of negotiations and inserted hundreds of amendments in “your” bill for yourselves. This is as bad as the union boss on Bill Press’ show the other day saying that they agreed to the taxes on “Cadillac” benefit plans in an effort to attract Republicans.

There are only two reasons to support this cluster: you either take the Eugene Robinson approach and believe that this is the beginning of single payer or you support it based on party allegiance. The high road of honesty and doing what’s right for the American people left the station long ago if it was ever even there. And neither one of these remaining reasons are very palatable for a Republican to take back to his/her district or State come campaign time.

The only point that has been negotiated here is how fast we actually get to single payer and the complete takeover of the health care industry.

Posted by: George at December 22, 2009 12:19 PM
Comment #292958

Now we can finally see the details of this monstrosity and the depths Reid had to go to get his 60 Democrats to leave their principles by the roadside and vote for this thing. No wonder the Republicans were overwhelmingly opposed. If it had been negotiated transparently with the C-SPAN cameras as Obama promised, rather than by a small group of cockroaches scurrying under the door to avoid the light we might have actually had a bill the American people could support.

Since it was not transparent we get the following so that as Stephen says “the reality is, we will need to cut and restrain costs.” Amazing how much of our tax money it takes the left to restrain costs. Oh and buy the needed votes. Too bad the following Senators could not take a principled stand and instead put their votes up for sale.

- a provision aimed a Chris Dodd (CN), that grants $100 million to a single unnamed “health care facility,” located in an unidentified state. The only clues to the beneficiary: The facility must be affiliated with an academic health center that houses the only public dental and medical school in the state.

- provisions aimed at Sanders (VT) and Kirk (MA) that would provide extra federal Medicaid payments totaling $1.2 billion over the next decade to those two states.

- Provision aimed at Nelson (FL) that provides $5 billion that will protect FL seniors’ Medicare Advantage benefits, even as the program sees massive cuts elsewhere.

- a provision aimed at Sanders (VT) that would provide $14 billion for community health centers.

- a provision aimed at Landrieu (LA) that grants $300 million to offset additional Medicaid payments due to the drastic increase in the number of Medicaid beneficiaries caused by this bill.

- a provision aimed at Nelson (NE) providing for permanent federal aid for his state’s expanded Medicaid population, at a cost of $100 million over 10 years.

- another provision aimed at Nelson (NE) providing an exemption for Mutual of Omaha and nonprofit insurance companies from a health insurance company tax.

- a provision aimed at Baucus MT providing expanded Medicare coverage for victims of asbestos exposure in a mine in Libby, Montana.

- a provision aimed at Dorgan (ND) and Conrad (ND) that provides more than $650 million to the state’s providers over 10 years

And these are just the beginning. As more light is shed on this bill even more of these backroom payoffs will rise to the surface. But then according to Reid in his defense of these dealings, “That’s what legislations all about”. Funny, I always thought the purpose of legislation was all about doing what is best for the country as a whole.

Posted by: Kirk at December 22, 2009 12:53 PM
Comment #292960

You, sir, fling about the big numbers, even as I repeatedly break them down to their yearly counts.

Stephen, this statement proves one of two things. Either you are a habitual liar in these discussions or you can’t read and comprehend. I have repeatedly pointed out that the numbers I am using are yearly numbers, dividing the totals by 10. Hell, I even used quotes from you with the numbers in the calculations and you still try to confuse the facts with your claims. Your obfuscation is unprecedented.

Oh, by the way: on the subject of hospital revenues, the average hospital profit margin in the second quarter of this year was about 8 percent

OK, Hospitals make an 8 percent profit. This bill will reduce their revenues 4.8% per year while at the same time demand for Medicare beneficiaries will increase 14% over the next 5 years. What is that going to do to that 8 percent profit margin?

The Senate bill would have the federal government cover all newly eligible people until 2016, at which point its share would begin to decline, to 92.8 percent by 2019 in the case of Nebraska. These terms would cover the first 10 years of the bill, then be revisited.

What exactly are you trying to point out with this other than the fact that Reid bought Nelson’s vote by exempting Nebraska from the increased Medicaid costs? Too bad for all the other states especially those facing critical budget shortfalls.

As for gutting Medicare? Look, are you saying there is no waste in Medicare? I provided you with blunt evidence of overpayment, but that just doesn’t matter to you.

Veer away from those numbers. Steer the debate in a new direction since you can’t dispute the facts. However, I will play along. Sure there is waste in Medicare. Never said there wasn’t. Unfortunately for your argument here, Reid is not targeting loopholes in the legislation to eliminate waste, he is simply making major reductions in payments to the providers of health services to our seniors at a time when the number of seniors requiring these services is increasing dramatically.

Gutting Medicare? I hardly call cuts of 42.5 billion every year to a program whose costs will be 440 billion and more every year going into the future a gutting of the program.

OK, using your numbers that is a 9.7% cut. As I have pointed out Obama’s own Health and Human Services secretary has estimated the number of beneficiaries will increase 14% over the next 5 years. How about we reduce your income by 9.7% while at the same time we increase your monthly expenses for groceries, utilities, car payments etc by 14%. You would be screaming like a stuck pig.

You’re substituting melodrama for factual positions, waving around red-flag numbers that are considerably smaller and better justified when considered in context and per year.

Stephen, a lie often regurgitated does not make it true.

Really? Did your people, or did they not use Reconciliation to pass the Bush tax cuts? Did they or did they not push through the Patriot Act at Midnight, the bill unread?

Stephen, reconciliation’s purpose is specifically designed to address fiscal budget issues. Reid’s bill has some aspects that would definitely fit that category, but so much more that does not. Put forward two bills, one covering the budget issues and use reconciliation the other to cover all the other junk and run it under the standard rules of the Senate.

As for the tax cuts in 2001 there were 5 Democrat Senators who supported and voted for the tax cuts. In 2003 there were 2 Democrat Senators who supported and voted for the tax cuts. So there was bipartisan support for the tax cuts.

As for the Patriot Act the vote was 98 Yea, 1 Nay and 1 not voting. There were 48 Democrats who voted in favor of the bill. So the bill was pushed through late at night to avoid scrutiny it was done to expedite the protections for our citizens. Nice try though.

Posted by: Kirk at December 22, 2009 2:28 PM
Comment #292965

George-
I take the approach that this is not merely a game, and enjoying my own moral victories is inferior to getting actual work done on reform.

Kirk-
You’re sort of like that guy in Casablanca who goes “I’m shocked, shocked to see gambling going on here!” and then promptly places a bet somewhere.

It’s Washington. Why are you shocked about horse trading, the highway robbery, especially when your filibuster makes every vote necessary?

Believe me, there are a lot of Democrats who would have rather had a Medicare buy-in than Joe Lieberman’s support, a stronger public option rather than the need to suck up to Kent Conrad or Max Baucus.

If losing even one bill destroys the chances of a bill passing, the last voter’s importance is exaggerated.

I can’t, for the life of me, understand why you consider Democrats so enambored of the concessions in this bill.

OK, Hospitals make an 8 percent profit. This bill will reduce their revenues 4.8% per year while at the same time demand for Medicare beneficiaries will increase 14% over the next 5 years. What is that going to do to that 8 percent profit margin?

Probably not as much as you fear. Consider that everybody in the country will have coverage, or coverage subsidized. Fewer people will be getting emergency room care they never pay for.

And who said they’d sit still in the face of greater costs or lower profits? They’d probably find ways to become more effecient, perhaps make up more on volume what they might lose on individual costs.

I think you also miss another point here: these people are overcharging us, really, for what’s possible to get at lower costs.

You talk of me veering away from the numbers, but I don’t. I confront them, and interpret them. it wasn’t you who rolled out those numbers in their proper annual context, it was me. I showed people just how exagerrated the impression of costliness you were giving people was.

When you mentioned how many billions of dollars would be cut from those programs, I had the temerity to actually post up what the revenues for hospitals in this country were. The nerve, providing context!

And should I mention at this point that healthcare is a 12 figure industry in this country, and that by most measures, we’re overcharged?

I’m of the opinion here that you folks don’t really look at things in a systematic fashion, apart from their rhetorical value. You want the big numbers, to scare people with. You talk about a trillion dollar program.

But you don’t tell people that it’s over ten years, and that the real cost per year, the cost of the program as part of the budget would be a hundred billion, for which we’ve budgeted the payment.

This is not merely a matter of competing arguments. The Republicans tried their changes in Medicare, and added burdens they didn’t pay for. That was a real failure on their part. We didn’t repeat that failure. It’s funny that right now you complain about cuts you might, under normal circumstances, have made 100%.

The Republicans have twisted their position almost 180 degrees, just so they can oppose the Democrats by appealing to senior’s fears.

That’s how you get such inanity as the folks who tell government to get its hands off of Medicare.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 22, 2009 6:23 PM
Comment #292966

Stephen

“Consider that everybody in the country will have coverage, or coverage subsidized. Fewer people will be getting emergency room care they never pay for.”

Do you really believe this? If so, it explains a lot.

You know that Democrats are ashamed of this bill. That is why you and the others want to implicate Republicans.

If you are not ashamed just say this - loudly - this is an entirely Democratic bill. Democrats are proud that they did it w/o Republicans and we look forward to boasting about it in November.”

Posted by: Christine at December 22, 2009 7:30 PM
Comment #292970
this is an entirely Democratic bill. Democrats are proud that they did it w/o Republicans and we look forward to boasting about it in November.

How can it be a Democratic Bill when the Democratic sponsored portions have been stripped out and replaced with conservative Republican ideas that originated with Mitt Romney?

Christine (not John) has said she supports a Scandinavian-style system. Now are the Senate Democrats or the Senate Republicans willing to support that idea? I don’t think a single GOP senator would agree with Christine regarding Healthcare Reform, except for the tort reform part. However, there are many Democratic Senators that would have been more than willing to do what your propose. Keep in mind that the House Bill is much closer to what you prefer than what is going to come out of the Senate, and the reason the Senate had to modify its plans was because of pressure from the right not from the left.

You have to remember that in a body such as the Senate, one’s ideology cannot rule over that of the others. When the Democrats offered the opportunity for Senators Enzi and Grassley to write substantial portions of the bill, the GOP said, “No Thanks”, and decided to pressure moderate Senators like Nelson and Landrieu to make sure a conservative health care plan was passed instead of a liberal one. I don’t know what the GOP was expecting when Enzi and Grassley went through the motions of reaching a compromise; they had lost the election, so the lion’s share of the bill would obviously respect the interests of the majority, but they had an opportunity to put their own mark on the bill as well. I am sure sensible tort reform would have been included if it attracted a fair number of GOP votes, and the Democrats had already offered to allow interstate insurance sales in the new national exchange, which would have been the only way to do it without violating the tenth amendment like I mentioned. What else did the GOP want? The only answer I can think is that the one of the GOP’s goals was to ensure the continuation of large profits for the health insurance companies. If the public option came to be, one possible outcome would be that the consumers would ultimately flock to it because it would have provided superior coverage at a lower price than anything offered in the private sector, thus destroying private insurance. The GOP could not let that happen and have thus invested the last year making sure that the public option fell through, and they have succeeded in creating a conservative Republican health care reform plan to be passed by Democrats.

Just so you know, the Democrats are not innocent either. I am really angry at Nelson, Lieberman, Landrieu and Lincoln for insisting on a conservative health care plan, and I am angry with Reid for caving in to them. In hindsight, this entire process should have been aborted a long time ago; it was poor planning to try to reform health care while the country is in one of the worse recessions of the past century. Maybe if they weren’t so rushed to start planning the healthcare reform, they could have spent more time making sure the stimulus was more properly directed. Then they could have used the improved economy to move Congress’ composition to the left in the 2010 election and done healthcare reform in 2011. Oh well, I will e-mail Kerry and Kirk to tell them to not vote for a bill that does not have a public option or some other method of cutting costs. I’ll e-mail Rep Tsongas to, because the House will have to vote on a combined bill after it comes after conference. However, I know that Kerry, Kirk and Tsongas have invested way to much time and effort to give up right now without being casted as failures or weaklings by the GOP. Unfortunately, it seems they will rubber stamp anything that has been endorsed by the party leadership. Also unfortunate, is that the Republican Senators have taken the same route; they will not vote to invoke cloture on any measure not endorsed by Mitch McConnell and John Boehner. It’s too bad the GOP did not accept the olive branch offered by the Democrats last summer, maybe Enzi and Grassely could have come up with something with Baucus.

Posted by: Warped Reality at December 22, 2009 10:02 PM
Comment #292971

Warped

I am just saying to Stephen that if he really thinks this bill is worth bragging about, he should brag.

Almost every Democrat is running away from this bill. If they don’t like it, why should they do it?

The Democrats control the whole shooting match. If they don’t like it, they can stop it. Republicans can do nothing to stop it or nothing to pass it.

And what about our president? He said he would have transparency. But instead of having deliberation, he held an auction.

Posted by: Christine at December 22, 2009 10:08 PM
Comment #292972

Stephen,

I think you have lied about the numbers I have presented that you now actually believe your own BS.

However, anyone with a 6th grade reading comprehension will know what the truth is. You know it is really pathetic when someone goes to such extremes to deny the obvious.

You are like the little fat kid who claims he didn’t eat the candy when the chocolate is smeared all over his face.

Posted by: Kirk at December 22, 2009 10:11 PM
Comment #292975

Christine,

Passing laws is Congress’ job, not the President’s job. That’s why Obama took the hands off approach.

You shouldn’t underestimate the power the GOP has in the Senate. Nelson, Landrieu, Lincoln and Lieberman could easily have been under-minded by a few moderate Republicans. Murkowski, Gregg, Grassley, Voinovich, Martinez* and the two senators from Maine could easily have prevented the concessions that were given to those four conservative Democrats by offering to support cloture. I am sure that if six or seven of them got together and rebelled against McConnell they would have been given an opportunity to add a few amendments of their own liking such as one tackling tort reform. But I guess this was supposed to be Obama’s Waterloo and any compromise was out of the question. Either the bill had to garner the support of far right Republicans or it wouldn’t gain a single one at all. This is in stark contrast to when Democrats were in the minority; there were always a few moderate Democrats who were willing to support GOP bills that came by.
Each of these bills gained the support of multiple Democratic Senators even though substantial numbers of Democrats opposed each one:
2001 Bush Tax Cuts
The USAPATRIOT ACT
2003 Bush Tax Cuts (supported by Senators Miller & Nelson)
Authorization to invade Iraq
Funding the 2007 troop surge

But it seems the GOP will not reciprocate when they are in the minority. Instead they bring partisanship to new heights with unprecedented obstruction.

Stephen,
Why in the world do you support this conservative health care plan now that most of the cost controls have been excised and all that remains is a social program that will simply float on top of programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and CHIP? What protections will consumers have against health insurance companies if they do not have the option to opt-out of the insurance game? How many of the newly covered people will have truly comprehensive coverage and not an insurance policy in name only?

Posted by: Warped Reality at December 22, 2009 11:02 PM
Comment #292982

Warped, Stephen et al

I admit it. It is not really a good thing, but I am just enjoying watching Democrats hoisted on their own petards. They got what they wanted and what they fought for. Now they want to blame Republicans.

Republicans lost. Democrats won. Democrats imposed their health care plan. Why don’t you guys try to defend the details. Otherwise join us in opposition. We don’t want it.

Posted by: Christine at December 23, 2009 7:26 AM
Comment #292989

So this is a “conservative health care plan” now? Wow, that’s amazing.

When the conservative President Obama stated that if you like your current plan you can keep it, this entire “health care reform” effort became a lost cause. You can not not have health care reform and exclude 90% of the country (employer provided persons plus those already in other government programs).

The liberal approach would have been to increase the number of persons included in government programs, but your own party has walked away from this time and time and again. This includes Obama when he said that that moving people from employer based insurance to government insurance would be too “disruptive.”

The conservative approach would have been to fix the problems associated with employer based insurance and empower the consumers of health care. That would include who you buy your insurance from and how you can get the money currently spent by your employer on your behalf in to your pocket, items included in H.R. 3400 (if it existed).

What we have here is not the liberal approach, not the conservative approach, but the Washington approach. This is a bill created in the beltway bubble by beltway bandits, full of payoffs and special interest. And who let this happen? Why the leader of the party that holds all three branches of the federal government of course. The same guy who took single payer off the table before the game even began and relented all control of the process over to established Washington insiders like Reid and Pelosi.

Nice try blaming Republicans though.

Posted by: George at December 23, 2009 10:33 AM
Comment #293005

Christine-
What I will say is that I’m proud that we fought this far, and got this much done. The results are not all that I hoped for, but as I am a long term thinker, I consider the game started. If this passes, that changes the political landscape for further reform. It can become something Democrats campaign upon: If elected, I will fight for an expansion of medicare! If elected, I will fight for a Public Option!

And they’ll have demand for that particular supply.

You’re thinking in these rigid, poll driven terms. Well let me tell you something: as people have sensed that something might be passed, the ratings for Obama and others have gone up. For all the compromises and industry gimmees, what people see is a Democratic Congress finally moving forward on something.

And they like that.

Democrats will fight to push this through the last mile, and revisions will be made to please the House members, which will make the final bill more liberal.

So it is very likely that Democrats will have a bill signed within the winter.

What will Democrats sell it as? The best we could get, on account of the Republican’s unceasing obstructionism. If somebody doesn’t ring out just how many times the Republicans have threatened a filibuster, I will be surprised.

The Republicans cannot blame their obstruction on anybody else. All the conspirators are carrying knives, so nobody can say, as a Republican in the Senate that they weren’t part of the filibuster.

The Democrats, though, since they actually got something out, something to show for everything, can say they were forced into their compromises, but they pushed through to get something done for the people.

The filibuster, in other words, can be played to make the Democrats the heroes, fighting back against a zealously uncompromising minority that held things up in every way they could.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 23, 2009 6:14 PM
Comment #293006

Kirk-
If somebody lies to me, I pin the lies to the table and dissect them. I don’t just bluff and bluster. Plus, I make points that force people like you to acknowledge what the real costs are in real perspective.

You’re just using those numbers to induce sticker shock.

Call me what you will. It won’t help you, in the end.

As for the question of the filibuster? Maybe that is their sincere belief. But the fact that they’re all doing it together, forty at one shot for every vote, with no alternatives presented to the Congress to vote for, kind of leaves them, when the Democrats finally get their sixty together, with no bargaining power as to the final bill.

If the Democrats sense they’re going to get filibustered no matter what they do, and that there’s no sense to bipartisan outreach, then the Republican become furniture in the Senate. Totally obviates them of responsibility, but then they swore an oath to take that responsibility on, and Democrats will be able to say that the Republicans are just a bunch of Nihilist stone-wallers.

Republicans will not be able to say they really did their jobs, that they got anything for their stonewalling. Republicans will sooner or later succeed at making themselves irrelevant, where the Democrats of the old guard were perfectly willing to let them have a say so nobody could say they were partisan. A lot of Democrats got burned by their Republican counterparts, and they’re not going to forget that in the Senate.

George-
If it weren’t for one or two folks in the Democratic Party Caucus, we would have gotten a Medicare Buy-in. The fewer of the Conservative Democrats we had to please, the closer we would have been to getting such nice goodies like Public Options, Medicare Buy-ins, and reduced gimmees to the insurance companies.

This is a much more Conservative bill than it would have been otherwise, and ironically, more expensive in the long term for it, because conservatives nowadays glory in keeping their industry friends from having to take pay-cuts.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 23, 2009 6:32 PM
Comment #293013

Stephen

I am glad the Republicans fought this bill. I am only sorry we lost. It seems the Democrat joy at winning is tempered by their understanding that they won the wrong battle.

Posted by: Christine at December 23, 2009 8:27 PM
Comment #293017

Christine,
Democrats didn’t win. They removed some of their most powerful tools without gaining anything from the Republicans. Things such as the public option were crucial to the bill, and now they are gone.

The winners are conservatives. Conservatives successfully eliminated the public option. Conservatives successfully limited access to abortion in private plans. Conservatives such as Mitt Romney championed this sort of plan. Conservatives love to waste government money enriching private industries, it’s what they did with the Medicare Drug plan, and it’s what’s going to happen with this bill.

I am angry that the Democrats are going to support a conservative health care plan. I guess that means I’ve joined you in opposition.

I am also angry that the screwed up nature of beltway politics discourages the Democratic Senators from opposing the bill in the Senate. If they do, it will be 1994 all over again; the senators will be labeled “weak” and “incompetent” just because they couldn’t deliver on the campaign promise to reform health care. In the lingo of Washington, something is always better than nothing, even when it’s not.

George,
Did Obama not say on the campaign trail that he would have preferred a single payer system? It was pressure from the right not pressure from the left that removed single payer from discussion.

You also state a belief that “The liberal approach would have been to increase the number of persons included in government programs”. This is a fundamental misunderstanding of liberalism. Liberalism is rooted in the liberty this country was founded upon; hence the common etymologies of these two words. It would not have been very conductive to liberty to force people into government programs against their will. The key to it all is the notion of CHOICE. The public OPTION, would have provided people with the OPTION to CHOOSE whether they wanted to continue with their preexisting health plan or adopt a new one. The health-care exchanges would have provided more CHOICES to consumers by opening up interstate insurance sales, while still respecting local laws & regulations. The only reason these measures failed is because they were opposed by at least 41 senators, the 40 conservative Republicans and the four rightist Democrats. The only measures that remain are those supported by the conservative Democrats. These measures were championed by conservative Republicans such as Mitt Romney; thus, I must conclude that the forty GOP senators are only going though the motions of filibustering the bill instead of truly opposing it. Senator Inhofe didn’t even show up place a vote against cloture.

Kirk,
The GOP has rejected all ideas proposed by the Democrats regarding health care for almost a year now. Baucus spent months talking with Enzi and Grassley, but neither of those GOP senators (including Grassley, a moderate) was willing to budge. According to Grassley, he wasn’t going to support a bill unless it garnered support from the majority of the Republican Caucus; that meant there was no chance of a half-dozen Republicans rebelling like I mentioned earlier. After the August recess, the GOP had made it clear it was going to filibuster anything the Democrats proposed, so Reid’s attention turned to securing the votes of conservative Democratic Senators Lincoln, Lieberman, Landrieu and Nelson.

The bill that passed the House of Representatives was no lemon (except maybe Stupak). I don’t understand why a few GOP senators didn’t offer to support the House Bill in exchange for an amendment for tort reform. All the criticism fabricated by the right against things like the public option sunk what was a very good idea. It was a very good attempt to manage costs, cover everyone while still maintaining patient choice. Democrats gave Republicans every opportunity to modify the language of the bill, but they didn’t want to take any part; they must’ve been OK with the giveaways to the insurance industry. According to them this is supposed to be Obama’s Waterloo.

Reid and his buddies were hiding in the dark closets to “negotiate” this monstrosity. Since no Republicans were included in the process it was rather difficult for them to have any input.

This is false and you know it. All summer long, the Democrats spent time negotiating with Republicans, especially Enzi, Grassley and Snowe. Unfortunately, the Republicans demanded that the Democrats agree to the GOP proposal wholesale with any liberal choices such as the public option and a national health-care exchange to ensure states’ rights. Also, none of the GOP plans would substantially decrease the number of uninsured Americans, this would have been unacceptable to the Democrats, reducing the number of uninsured is a crucial component of healthcare reform.


I have one question for everyone on the Right. Do you applaud Nelson, Lieberman, Lincoln and Landrieu for gutting the public option and national exchanges to guide interstate insurance purchases? Are they heroes for you because they blocked the liberal plan?

Posted by: Warped Reality at December 24, 2009 2:47 AM
Comment #293023

So I guess that means you view the Senate bill as a lesser evil when compared to the House bill?

Posted by: Warped Reality at December 24, 2009 3:27 PM
Comment #293025

Kirk-

I don’t need to call someone names and trow up smoke screens to deflect the debate because I have the truth and the concrete evidence on my side.

You say that having said:

I think you have lied about the numbers I have presented that you now actually believe your own BS.

However, anyone with a 6th grade reading comprehension will know what the truth is. You know it is really pathetic when someone goes to such extremes to deny the obvious.

You are like the little fat kid who claims he didn’t eat the candy when the chocolate is smeared all over his face.

Such a conveniently ironic turn of phrase.

You can claim I’m wrong, but can you show me at least a bill that died in committee? Republicans are every bit as capable of organizing among themselves to create their own version of healthcare reform as anybody else was.

Only trouble is, whatever it was that passed, Obama would be the one to sign it, and if he and his party got together on it, you would find Obama being able to take at least some credit.

And we can’t have that, now can we. After all, government isn’t about doing things to benefit the country and keep America run like a tight ship. Oh no, that government is just there for the elite to have their little power plays.

Democrats will easily be able to explain the imperfections of the bill, and later gather support for its revision and correction. They can claim that they took the initiative, but the Republicans had to have their legislative parliamentary hissy fit.

You folks had your chance, your better than a decade chance to reform healthcare. All you did was add more expensive programs, with way too much cost going to corporations for no decent purpose.

We’re at least getting more people covered, getting them access to preventative care, and things like that. We’re working the problem, not causing more and offering no alternatives, even if only to see them go up in defeat.

Remember Kerry’s infamous “voted for before I voted against” line regarding the troop funding bill? Two things to talk about there. First, the Republicans actually attempted to filibuster a funding bill for our armed forces, with no other reason than to stall the legislative calendar for healthcare votes. That’s right, you folks tried to hold the troop’s funding hostage just to give Democrats a political black eye.

But regarding that incident, Kerry was more or less saying that he voted for an alternative bill, and then voted for one that didn’t have what he wanted. He didn’t try to filibuster the troop funding bill, holding his own political imperatives more important than the function of the system, he offered his alternative, and then voted against the bill he did not like. His only problem was his clumsy explanation of it.

The Republicans are not looking to provide legislative alternatives, nor are they acting in order to make real changes to the bill. They’re simply getting in the way, leaving a vacuum of leadership so nobody can be held responsible for an Obama approved policy, and everybody can claim that what did pass was just a Democratic bill.

It is essentially impractical, and essentially cowardly. Instead of voting against things, or pushing with their influence to change things, they just simply want to pin blame for anything everything that goes wrong on the Democrats.

What they fail to realize is that his is a continuation of the irresponsibility that cost them the last two elections, the Congress, and the Presidency. Instead of taking care of practical matters, and helping this country get back on their feet, they’ve decided to become an ultranegative, meddling peanut gallery of do-nothings, who believe their only duty is to subvert the law-making ability of the majority that was put in place to replace them due to their earlier irresponsibility.

I say your party is adding insult in its obstruction to the injury it inflicted as majority.

Oh, and that last part: ten year projections are usually not relied upon because very few people can get a real prediction out of that worth spit. I mean, think of what a ten year projection from 1999 would have missed. And at twenty year projection? Don’t even bother with that. It’s worthless. Do you think somebody in 1989 could have predicted the last twenty years with any decent accuracy?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 24, 2009 4:15 PM
Comment #293026

Kirk,

Like it or not, you and others on the right are partially responsible for the Senate Bill. If it wasn’t for rightist pressure, there would have been no Nebraska deals and no removal of popular reform efforts like the national exchange or the public option. It also seems your opposition to the public option was based on ideological dogma rather than a desire to find the a method to provide health care to all who need it and reduce health care costs at the same time.

It looks like the Senate Bill is going to become law. I doubt the House will blow apart the bill after it comes out of conference, so we will have to live with it. I hope everyone understands that this is not a health care REFORM bill because it does nothing to cut health care costs or radically change how insurance is handled in this country. What we have is a WELFARE bill; it is a program to subsidize private plans with taxpayer money in order to make them affordable to low-income individuals. I don’t like the idea of adding all this social spending when public debt is reaching record levels. I know the bill pays for all the new spending with new taxes, but frankly I’d rather see that new revenue go towards paying off our debt rather than subsidizing health care for the poor and enriching insurance companies. But I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that this is what the conservatives have done. Conservatism has always been about borrowing and spending, borrowing and spending ad infinitum; that’s how conservatives crafted Medicare Part D, that’s how conservatives fund our military and its how conservative Republican Mitt Romney funds his health care plan. I guess it will be how conservative Senator Ben Nelson does his health care bill.

Posted by: Warped Reality at December 24, 2009 5:37 PM
Post a comment