Might as well make a separate post about this. Critics are perfectly right to point out that the Senate bill that I want to see passed is, at best, a shit-and-banana sandwich. That sounds pretty bad except that (1) if Democrats don’t pass it then they might as well stay home in November, and (2) the country is about to die from potassium deficiency. I cannot stress enough how badly we need that
banana individual mandate and complete ban on pre-existing conditions and rescission. Medicare reimbursement problems, the excise tax and affordability questions are all problems that I think, meaning I genuinely believe, are worth the price to get the bill’s key components the bill enacted into law.
As I see it, Congress can repeal the shitty parts of the bill any time but no politician can take away the general right to health insurance and live. This is how it works everywhere else in the world: citizens constantly petition government to iron out problems but nobody ever, ever proposes to take the fundamentals away.
However, with reconciliation the Senate can theoretically wash most of the shit off any time they want. They can’t write a new bill, because the fundamentals in the bill we already passed won’t work in reconciliation, so the House still has to eat a shit and banana sandwich. Nonetheless the Senate can give us an almost complete win if they want it enough. Call your Senators.
Regarding what to say: we need a fix to Medicare reimbursement rates, the excise tax and affordability and (what the hell, why not) the Public Option passed through reconciliation. If the Senate commits then the House will almost certainly reciprocate and Democrats will look like winners who can deliver positive change or the country. If not then Democrats utterly fail and a Republican Congress will spend the next two or six years pawing through Obama’s underwear drawer for another whitewater/travelgate/OMFG he asked for dijon mustard he must be a French muslim terrorist spy.
Dumb question, but is it the same switchboard?
On a related subject I think at some point in advance of the next election it would be good if people started calling Senators to find out their position on doing away with the filibuster. Here in Ohio we have an open seat coming up and 2 Dems running in a primary and I intend to write them about it to nail them down as to their position. I suspect because of the primary they will take the position that it must go.
@ Tim F.: As always, I would suggest calling the Republicans, too. I think that it’s important for them to know that there are a lot of people in their states who haven’t drunk the Kool Aid.
Bob In Pacifica
I wrote to Barbara Boxer a few weeks ago, but I am against passing the current Senate bill.
Consider these statistics from here:
HEALTH CARE BILL OPPONENTS THINK IT “DOESN’T GO FAR ENOUGH”
by 3 to 2 among Obama voters who voted for Brown
by 6 to 1 among Obama voters who stayed home
(18% of Obama supporters who voted supported Brown.)
VOTERS OVERWHELMINGLY SUPPORT THE PUBLIC OPTION
82% of Obama voters who voted for Brown
86% of Obama voters who stayed home
OBAMA VOTERS WANT DEMOCRATS TO BE BOLDER
57% of Brown voters say Obama “not delivering enough” on change he promised
49% to 37% among voters who stayed home
People would rather skip lunch than have to eat a shit sandwich. And if they get a whiff of what’s being prepared in the kitchen they are going to demand the chef be fired. Pushing the current Senate bill is political suicide for the Democratic Party.
“I cannot stress enough how much we need that banana individual mandate and complete ban on pre-existing conditions and rescission”
1 a mandate to pay for something that doesn’t do anything…why spend money when the deductible is so large as to make the policy useless?
2. I call Bullshit on the complete ban nonsense…there is nothing in the bill that stops insurance companies from charging people with pre-existing conditions thousands of more dollars than they can afford to spend…again useless policy. No rescissions would be nice, but since the bill has no enforcement mechanism I am sure the companies will find a way.
so please tell me how these statements are wrong…I would love to be able to see a dr sometime this decade but this bill won’t do anything to help me
Exactly what are you proposing we say to our senators, Tim? Personally I only call when I have some sort of specific action I expect from them – support this upcoming bill, oppose any efforts to add amendments that do XYZ – so I’m not sure I see a point here. Just a general “I support passing a health care bill?”
What’s the payoff of doing that right now rather than waiting for a clear Senate action to emerge as a good option? My reading indicates the only thing really in play at the moment is the House passing the Senate’s bill. Is that inaccurate?
OK, Tim. I called both Senators, but it is not a ‘almost complete win’. In fact, the bill sucks. Single payer would have been a complete win. A public option would have been an almost win. What we;re offered now is close to complete fail. The financing issue is poorly addressed – for every person who benefits, about 1.5 get screwed. There is not a complete ban on pre-existing condition provisions. It does no good to know that you will be offered insurance even with pre-existing conditions if that insurance costs $10,000 per month – fully permitted by the bill. Face it, we failed
e) One of my Senators is Joe Lieberman.
Just called my Rep; I couldn’t get an answer out of his office on passing the senate bill.
Why do you want us to call our senators? I’m not clear how they’re involved now (if they ever were to begin with).
Special K in every banana!
Called both my Dem senators whose staff assured me that they are both “strong proponents” of HCR. I told them that I wanted to see some leadership, I wanted to see their names on the TV and in the paper, because Obama was not leading and somebody better get out there in front of this thing, and that the Dems were the most pathetic embarrassing humiliating pieces of garbage I’d ever seen. Both staff members laughed in that “we know what you mean” kind of way and said they’d pass on the message.
Bob in Pacifica, maybe Obama is right. Maybe there is so much heat from both the left and the right that it is impossible to get this done, so maybe he is actually doing the smart thing by not doing anything. Since unicorns are unavailable, guess we’ll settle for nothing.
@Bob In Pacifica:
Bob, that poll is a great reason to fight on, but all those figures were true and truer six months ago. The Republicans and the Blue Dogs Don’t. Fucking. Care. Most of them know they can swat that away with a few pieties about abortion, the deficit, or Scary Ay-Rabs. If Democrats don’t pass this, they will only get weaker.
@Don: Senators seem inclined to walk away from health care entirely. Frankly I don’t think that there is anything we can do to discourage them. Even if we could get them moving, all that we can ask is to fix affordability, medicare reimbursement and the excise tax through reconciliation. We might as well encourage the Public Option as well, for all the chance that has.
As a resident of Washington, DC, I don’t have Senators or a voting representative. Thanks for including me in the poll.
@Bob In Pacifica: Sorry, but not doing anything will be far, far worse.
The Republic of Stupidity
Except… in the Yewnited States of Amerikkka…
For more information see: Marriage, Gay…
My Senators are Senator Kerry and Senator
NitwitBrown. I called Kerry yesterday, FWIW.
I’m sorry, but I find this whole “OMGZ press the House for passage!” action charade tragically comic, or comically tragic. The logic hasn’t changed- if progressive pressure on Congress was (according to Balloon Juice the past few months) pointless and worthy of mocking, then I submit that this “moderate” pressure on Congress is equally pointless and worthy of mocking.
The problem is not, and never has been, with the progressives and liberals that Balloon Juicers have been insulting for God knows how long. Stupak and his gang (and their clones in the Senate) absolutely do not care if health care reform is passed or not. So you cannot threaten them, either in a progressive or a moderate direction.
President Obama, once again, will not lift a finger to change this situation, and Rahm is still an idiot…which is exactly why those “manic progressives” have been criticizing them for awhile now. (Show me on the doll where Rahm touched you, John and Tim and Doug).
So welcome to the party, guys, even though you’re a little late- health care reform is f–ked because of moderates and President Obama and his team, and liberals are the only hope to make this situation better. So please stop yelling at the liberals, and maybe offer them some support by telling them that you support their efforts to save this clusterfuck.
Just a thought.
Grumpy Code Monkey
My Senators are Kay Bailey Hutchison (who’s currently busy trying to lose the primary race for Governor) and John Cornyn.
But who knows, it might be an amusing way to pass the time. It’d be an interesting exercise in self-restraint; see how long I could go before saying “scum-sucking pig fuckers”.
What Don and Inkadu said.
I started dialing then hung up on the first ring when I realized I didn’t know what I was going to say. Hayulp. Dumb it down for me or break it down for me. I’m confused. I’m embarrassed to be saying this, too, so you know I need it.
I’ll call, just tell me how I put this.
@Bob In Pacifica: so Obama voters told him to be tougher by making it harder for him to get legislation passed?
Yeah that makes a lot of fucking sense.
@Bob In Pacifica: so Obama voters told him to be tougher by making it harder for him to get legislation passed?
Yeah that makes a lot of fucking sense.
OK, so what’s the grand plan to get health care?
@cfaller96: Wow you’re obnoxious.
@Svensker: From what I gather…magic unicorns are going to swoop in and make all the Republican Senators in states with Democratic governors disappear.
@Bob In Pacifica:
Then you are a moron.
It’s amazing. The Overton Window slammed shut on your head and decapitated you, and yet you can keep talking.
I called both Mikulski and Cardin and Mikulski’s position is that she never supported the excise tax and Cardin’s position is that he really wants to see a public option. Both said they wanted to see what comes out of reconciliation. Yet both voted for the Senate bill. The message was much clearer than yesterday. This tells me that they are happy to see the legislation go down since I could not get a firm yes to the required reconciliation measures.
I’m with you, brother or sister. I held my nose again and called my Senators – my bad – but the bill sucks. We on the left want single payer. Why do the centrists go after us just because we support the one and only path to actual reform? I think we need a new party, friend.
OK! I read the update and called. Claire McCaskill’s staffer said he wanted the same thing and said now is not the time to give up and Senator McCaskill knows this. I didn’t think it was worth calling Kit Bond, though.
@DZ: Good luck with that.
Keep educating me here.
So right now I understand the options to be:
1) House passes Senate bill directly and feels bad about itself because its big brother gets to do whatever it wants even though it never cleans the dishes.
2) House passes Senate bill and sends a clean up bill to Senate. The Senate bill gets signed by the president and the clean up bill disappears in the senate basement. The house feels worse about itself because its big brother never listens.
3) Reconciliation. In which I have no idea what happens. Does the senate need 51 votes? If so, why do I need to call my senator for such a bone-headedly obvious approach? They spend the whole fucking year on this bill and just throw up their hands at this point? I just want to be clear.
I completely agree with @Ellaesther above. Call even if they’re Republican. You think the teabaggers don’t call and scream at Democrats and help scare them into doing nothing (their natural position, anyway). We should let the Republicans know there are a few people who aren’t completely nihilists in this country.
Svensker, the only viable plan I see is:
1) pass the Senate bill in the House by explicitly promising…
2) a simultaneous amendment bill that would be passed in the Senate via reconciliation.
So in that sense, calling the Senate right now and telling them…something…is a little silly. In order to accomplish #1 (and this is key), pressure must be brought to bear on Stupak and his crowd.
Again- getting 100% agreement from House liberals will not get you to 218 (and besides as we all know we can ignore their threats anyway, right?). You must get the Blue Dogs on board, and that is the only action that should be taken right now.
This is a very sketchy proposition, IMO, and from what I can tell from the past few days/weeks/months of Balloon Juice posts, Tim and John and Doug do not understand the simple fact that liberals have not, are not, and will not be the problem in passing health care reform. That was my point- they need to wake up and stop punching hippies, because that’s not going to get them a pony.
The Tim Channel
Call until you’re so tired of calling you have to take a moment to catch your breath. Continue doing so until you die of exhaustion. It won’t make a dam bit of difference. Now that the supreme court has opened the door to corporate contributions it’s game over. Get ready for the ride of your life.
I called Senator Begich (D-AK) to see where he stood on passing a bill down the road to make it more palatable to the House and the staffer said she had not spoken about any strategy for getting health care reform done.
I gave him a thumbs-up for supporting the bill and doing it against the wishes of most of the wingnuts up here in AK.
In spite of 40+ years of activism for single payer and on behalf of the Democratic Party, I am aware of reality, however much it sucks.
@inkadu: That pretty much covers it.
Bob In Pacifica, cfaller96: The senate bill is not perfect, but when it’s compared to killing health care reform for decades, it looks pretty good.
This confused me, so I made a google to see what CMcC has been saying on this. Basically, she’s all over the fucking map in her statements. I am just astounded at how bad the talking point management has been on the Dem side.
The only defense you leftists have for your horrible health care reform bill is that it is better than the “doing nothing”. fyi “Doing nothing” includes 85% of the people keeping the coverage they are happy with which will be annihilated if the leftists get their Health Care Reform Bill passed. “Doing nothing” includes government keeping their promises to Seniors by not slashing the Medicare budget that will result in lower quality care for Seniors.(See the recent analysis from the chief actuary for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Mr. Foster states in a recent analysis of the Bill that the planned cuts to Medicare in the House and Senate Bills would damage doctors and hospitals: “Over time, a sustained reduction in payment updates, based on productivity expectations that are difficult to attain, would cause Medicare payment rates to grow more slowly than, and in a way that was unrelated to, the providers’ costs of furnishing services to beneficiaries.” In other words the cuts to Medicare in the Bill will make reimbursement rates to physicians and Hospitals so low they will no longer be able to afford the cost of care for Seniors, which will destroy health care for seniors. ) “Doing nothing” includes the Democrats keeping their promises to the Middle Class by not raising their taxes one dime. “Doing nothing” includes living up to the provisions in the Constitution which does not allow the government to use force as a means of confiscating peoples wealth for the purpose of purchasing something they do not want and cannot afford. “Doing nothing” includes not using under handed dirty back room deals to buy votes in order to pass a bill that the majority of people are against. “Doing nothing” means listening to the will of the American people by not passing a bill the majority of people are against and detest.
“and complete ban on pre-existing conditions and rescission.”
That’d be great, too bad it isn’t in the Senate bill.
You couldn’t be more correct.
I’m not fan of this bill and the flaws in it pointed out on this blog and in the comments and elsewhere are very real. But no reform at all is disastrous. I believe it would seriously preclude any further improvement/reform on a national level. I agree that it will be easier to fix reform than to start from scratch again.
But this is the most important part – THIS IS NOT THE ONLY HEALTHCARE REFORM HAPPENING IN THIS COUNTRY. California has an active Single Payer bill in its legislature (SB 810) and it just passed out of committee. It WILL pass. But the Governator WILL veto it. Not only that, we need a 2/3 majority to vote for the funding portion of the bill because it includes a tax. So there is a HUGE campaign California OneCare aimed at educating about Single Payer and raising millions of dollars to counteract the insurance companies and to get that 2/3 majority elected.
Also, just because it will never happen doesn’t mean we don’t need a Social Democratic Party. We should actually have 10-12 parties. It would be nice to vote for something once in a while even though it results in fail. I have already experienced fail for 40 years so why should I not tilt at some new windmill?
Called Warner and Webb. Webb’s staffer said that the senator is “committed to health care reform” although what that means is unclear. Warner’s staffer said that the senator had voted for the bill but he hasn’t committed on whether or not he’d vote for it coming out of reconciliation. I asked if he’d said what would or would not be a dealbreaker for him and the staffer didn’t know. Told both of them that I’ve been a dem, I turn out for midterms, I’ve donated, etc, and if a Democratic president and solid majorities in the House and a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate aren’t enough to get a central plank of the Democratic platform through, then I just don’t see what the point is in supporting the party any more.
Not sure I agree with you entirely though, Tim. I think it’s a fair argument to say that if we pass the pre-existing conditions and recission bans, the insurance companies will deliver an incredible amount of pressure on the Repubs and Conservadems to make any deal they have to to get the individual mandate passed.
The Grand Panjandrum
You are wrong so you don’t get to call bullshit. This bill does in fact guarantee coverage for everyone. Period. You cannot be turned down because of a pre-existing condition. You they can charged you more, but you can at least get coverage. The insurance companies are only allowed to increase premiums by set percentages for those with pre-existing conditions. That is far from being nothing and you have overstated you case. You can read the entire bill here.
The bill contains significant subsidies and an expansion of Medicaid. As a matter of fact by 2019 it will provide $200 billion annually for the poor. That is not nothing. When was the last time the government did that much for the poor. To give that up now is sheer madness.
@DZ: How are 10-12 parties going to work in our system without causing gridlock?
In order for them to work, they have to create coalitions with other parties, which means your Social Democratic Party can only be relevant if they forma a coalition with the Blue Dogs or Republicans.
So then what’s the fucking point?
@dr. bloor: Good Christ, that was funny!
Inkadu, one thing you should remember is that the House can pass a Senate bill and then Speaker Pelosi can hold (I think the term is “table”?) the bill until the cleanup amendment bill is passed in both Houses (presumably using reconciliation in the Senate to pass that amendment bill).
The Speaker is under no (real) obligation/timeline to send a passed bill up to the President. The Speaker’s only deadline is expiration of this Congress, which is January 2011. So it’s theoretically possible that the Senate bill will not actually “pass” the House and get sent to the President until the hypothetical amendment bill is also passed by the Senate. This was the approach first suggested by Rep. Weiner, IIRC.
This is a longshot, IMO, and it requires a lot of pressure brought to bear on Blue Dogs to pass the freaking Senate bill now (and then relies on us crossing our fingers and hoping Speaker Pelosi holds the bill until the Senate acts on an amendment bill, which is another longshot).
That type of pressure can probably only come from the President, who seems to not want to touch this mess at all. I don’t know how much pressure Speaker Pelosi can bring to bear on the Blue Dogs, but I suppose it’s possible she could pull this off without any help from President Obama. But this all looks super iffy, and again- calling the Senate and/or liberals in the House will not change the situation one bit.
@Tim F.: Dodd’s office says he is still committed to blah blah blah but doesn’t have a single thing to say about prepping the runway for the house bill.
Do I feel empowered.
We already have an example of 10-12 parties forming a coalition to pass legislation. It’s called the Democratic Senate Caucus. It’s beautiful thing to watch, isn’t it?
I’m on the left and want single payer. In fact, I believe we’re moving to Canada to get it. But for those of you who plan to stay here, how do you plan to get it? Details, please.
This thread isn’t about blaming liberal or Blue Dog Democrats or anyone right now. It’s about using your leverage over whoever you have leverage over. I happen to be in a liberal district so my call was to a liberal rep. If I were in a Blue Dog district, I would call them and express my displeasure with them. I will also call my two Dem senators, both of whom are on the progressive side.
And, yes, my anger and disappointment is greater over the prospects of progressive Dems ultimately torpedoeing this chance because I have more faith in them and expect more of them. It’s just like my response to people who argue against criticism of U.S. foreign policy and actions by saying, “Look at what [Bad guy/country X] does.” Yes, but I expect my side to be better than them.
Just Some Fuckhead
I think it’s clever wordplay but eating shit can actually kill someone with a serious potassium deficiency.
I called my Rep and both Senators. Edolfus Towns, my Rep. will sign the Senate bill. Schumer’s office couldn’t tell me anything more than he was talking with the House and other Senators. Gillibrand’s office also couldn’t/wouldn’t get specific. But Gillibrand’s office sounded more interested in my opinion. I noted my horror at what was happening and promised to stay home in the next election should healthcare reform fail.
The Republic of Stupidity
I hate sound like a nihilist, but I don’t think firebaggers or teabaggers have much real effect in this equation.
As long as there’ so much money flowing into our political system and changing hands behind closed doors, we, and they, (the other side) can shout and scream and call all we/they want.
All of that is just the dog-and-pony show for the 6:00 news. The real power lies w/ the corporate moneybags and the SCOTUS has just decided they don’t even have to use a lubricant anymore.
Sorry… but that’s just how I see it.
I’m more than a little stunned at how much our elected leaders simply have no concern for the well-being of the country anymore. Perhaps we should have all loved Joe Lieberman a little bit more…
I called both Murray and Cantwell’s office.
I emphasized that spending a year on the Democrats’ signature issue and coming up empty will state loud and clear that Democrats cannot govern. I said that we the voters have worked hard to elect massive Democratic majorities and if this is what we get for our efforts it’s going to be hard to convince us to keep making those efforts. And I specifically suggested working with the House to pass the current bill and then fix the really bad bits via reconciliation, naming off the items in Tim’s post.
I said they needed to work, work hard and work smart, with one another and with the House and show us they care enough about their jobs to do them well.
Both times, the staffers said the Senator was not done with HCR. Senator Cantwell’s office reiterated her support for the PO, to which I said that was great but it looks like our choices right now are HCR without a PO or no HCR at all, in which case we’ll take HCR without the PO and hope to improve it down the road. Both times I said in so many words that it’s either this bill or another 30 year wait.
I dunno. We’re depending on them to be creative and critical thinkers, long-term planners, to do some serious skull-sweating work, and to do it all in concert with the House. I don’t think they’re up to it, frankly.
The Republic of Stupidity
Just Some Fuckhead
Soooooooo… people die from either potassium deficiency, OR, shit poisoning… seems like they’re dead either way.
@Just Some Fuckhead: What if they drink orange juice with it?
@cfaller96: Is Rep Warner on crack? The Senate passed the best bill it could; if they could have improved it via ammendments, they would have. I think any effective strategy should start with plausibility.
And it reminds me of what made this whole process so frustrating… remember when the health care bill was being written? We all argued about it, but nobody really knew what was in there. It’s even going on today, in this very thread. Now we’re supposed to call our senators and offer up procedural strategies. Bleh.
Have you seen medical bills lately? The deductible is anything but useless. More significantly, if you don’t have insurance, providers will extort from you ruthlessly. Typically my doctor charges three times what my insurance will allow (it’s the insurance charge which is reasonable). If I had a 1 *million* dollar deductible, it would still be worth having insurance, just for cutting my medical charges by 70% or so.
“I’m on the left and want single payer. In fact, I believe we’re moving to Canada to get it. But for those of you who plan to stay here, how do you plan to get it? Details, please.”
The President will get on his Magic Bully Pulpit and wave his Leadership Wand and the Arms Will Twist and the Senators will bow to the Righteous Anger of the People Who Hold Their Breath Until They Turn Blue and if they don’t we will Stomp and Kick Our Feet and then Justice Will Prevail because the Base will be Respected and Rahm will DIE IN PAIN. So there.
@Jim: whcih was my point.
You left off, “Both are Democrats and both are already voting for the bill.”
Belafon (formerly anonevent)
@The Republic of Stupidity: Actually, I do think, for all their craziness, that the teabaggers were very effective, for the simple reason that they were making the phone calls and being crazy, and they were the ones that voted. Our side consisted of those who did not phone and did not vote. This math means the baggers win.
Bart Stupak and the coat-hanger Democrats still are saying they won’t vote for the Senate bill because, you know, it mandates that kindergartners all receive free abortions on demand.
Mo, my point isn’t necessarily to play the blame game (although I do admittedly do that- I’m human), but to understand where the actual obstacles to passage are and do everything we can to overcome them.
Senators are not the problem right now. As far as they’re concerned they passed a perfectly good bill and they are now hamstrung to do anything because they no longer have a filibuster-proof majority. For now, let’s not get into arguing the veracity of this position and just take it at face value- the Senate passed a bill which could theoretically pass in the House and lo, Health Care Reform is Passed.
So, the House is where things have to happen. But…getting to 218 will not happen unless something changes. But NOT because of progressives- ultimately, as Balloon Juice has gleefully pointed out for so long, progressive threats to “kill the bill” are hollow and liberals could be asked and expected to hold their nose and vote yes. We know they’ll come home regardless of how many times they have to bend over, because we know they badly want some sort of health care reform.
But (and this is important) getting all the liberals on board does not get you to 218, because of Blue Dogs like Stupak. Right now they don’t care if reform fails, and right now the Senate bill isn’t good enough for them. That is the only place pressure should be brought to bear, by everyone– the President, the Speaker, the Senate, the Netroots, etc. I have no idea if this pressure will work, but pressure brought anywhere else will be a waste of time and breath. And that’s my point.
If Obama can’t get health care through with 59 Democratic senators (60 back in September), then why the hell do they think he’ll be able to accomplish squat on the other items on his full plate? And hell, wasn’t “he’s trying to do too much at once” a Republican talking point?
I agree with everything you wrote, Tim, and fervently wish the President was taking this as seriously.
The fact that they’re remaining anonymous suggests that Stupak is, if not bluffing, not 100% sure he can beat Pelosi in going after they’re votes. This also assumes none of the Weiner caucus can be moved.
@DZ: The person with the most votes win. Having multiple parties means effectively reducing your power and the power of those who most agree with you.
I’m sorry you can’t vote for the Sugar Plum Fairy Party, even though it would feel good to do so. Maybe on election day, after you vote, you can eat a bulgur-wheat frosted cupcake. This may trick your body into thinking you did something fun and wholesome while at the same time maintaining your ability to be a responsible member of American-style democracy.
You’re forgetting that an amendment bill that goes through reconciliation doesn’t require 60. It only requires 51. So the assumption that the Senate bill is “the best we can have” is false.
This is all theoretical, of course. It’s not clear that Reid and the Senate are willing to do anything via reconciliation. But first things first- the Senate bill must pass the House, or we get nothing. And in order to pass the House, the Blue Dogs (NOT the liberals) must come home. That’s where pressure must go.
@Rick Taylor: If Obama can’t get health care through with 59 Democratic senators (60 back in September), then why the hell do they think he’ll be able to accomplish squat on the other items on his full plate? And hell, wasn’t “he’s trying to do too much at once” a Republican talking point?
Ezra Klein has a link to Very Serious Newsweek Analysis about how it was sheer madness for Obama to grab the “third rail of American politics,” which is HCR (I missed that vote), and points out that this MSM narrative can be changed with one House roll call vote. And to anyone who wants to tell me that MSM narratives don’t matter, President Gore says hi.
@Rick Taylor: I think this is all he can do, since an up-or-down vote right now is doomed to failure.
Putting it to the back burner allows time for either voter pressure on Representatives or behind the scenes arm twisting to change minds.
Not saying that this is a winning strategy, but it’s arguably a better strategy than a full frontal attack.
@James: So you think the failure of the bill would be good news for Dems? I hope you like living under GOP governance.
I highly doubt that anything the Senate can pass going forward will be better than–or even as ‘good’ as–what they have already passed. There is no point in discussing changes to the existing bill that would require another 60 votes to pass.
The longer this situations festers the worse it’s going to get.
Anyone who thinks that Democrats will be in better position to enact good policies tomorrow, or a week from now, or a month, or especially a year from now I believe is, frankly, wrong.
I cannot fathom how putting off what we can do–however little it is at this point–today in some vain (in both senses of the word) hope that tomorrow’s outcome will be better.
We need to get it passed, get it signed and get busy fixing those parts that we can through reconcilliation.
Belafon (formerly anonevent)
@cfaller96: Do you trust the Senate enough to have a bill go through reconciliation, and then have the Senate vote for it, even if it only requires 51 votes, which would include Biden? I’m not even sure that will work.
According to a post at ObsWings, the Senate can pass changes to the funding mechanism by reconciliation before the House passes the Senate bill. If this is the case, someone needs to put together a bill and ship it to the CBO immediately and vote on it after seating Brown.
Ok I’m late to this, but this morning, I finally called Jim McDermott, my US Representative, to urge him to vote for the Senate health care bill and you would think that a guy who regularly takes 70% of the vote, would be willing to say he would vote for it. But no, his assistant said that he thought that there would be other options coming down the pike. I said that was not realistic and of course I get this condescending attitude that I do not know what I am talking about. I told her that I used to be part of the DC establishment when I worked for the Carter administration, so not only do I know what I am talking about, I know how the DC folks lose sight of what the voters back in the districts think. And that’s what is happening here. Oh, she says, “the Senate bill has so many bad things.” Yeah I respond, but it’s our best chance to get HCR. “Oh, no,” she responds, “I’m sure that there will be new bills and of course there’s always reconcilation.” So, of course I got brushed off in the end. From a guy who would lose no political capital whatsoever, if he said he would vote for the Senate bill.
@inkadu: Oh. The “ammendment” bill is the “clean up bill.” ‘s confusing. Again, reconciliation is such an obvious way to pass improved HCR I’m astounded that its even something we are discussing.
a mandate to pay for something that doesn’t do anything…why spend money when the deductible is so large as to make the policy useless
Have you seen medical bills lately? The deductible is anything but useless. More significantly, if you don’t have insurance, providers will extort from you ruthlessly. Typically my doctor charges three times what my insurance will allow (it’s the insurance charge which is reasonable). If I had a 1 million dollar deductible, it would still be worth having insurance, just for cutting my medical charges by 70% or so.
So your suggestion is that I should pay $1000s a month for a policy(that I don’t have), so I can pay an unaffordable deductable (that I don’t have), because I will get a lower rate on things I will be unable to afford thanks to the purchase of the insurance in the first place.
So a sum loss for me, but thank god the execs at wellpoint can keep flying their private jets!
The Republic of Stupidity
@Belafon (formerly anonevent):
Did not call and did not vote? When, and where?
The electorate handed the Dems a solid majority across the board last fall and so far, what do we have to show for it?
Don’t forget just how much of this Teabagger nonsense is manufactured hooey. Didn’t Fox get caught not once but TWICE in one week trying to float a patently false narrative?
If you’re talking about Mass (not calling and voting), don’t blame all of us for Coakley and the mass Dems didn’t bother to do. It’ll be interesting in six months time to see how satisfied mass voters are w/ their their new centerfold queen. And why does ONE VOTE in the Senate DESTROY the Dem majority? It’s not like they – the Dems – were using that so-called ‘fillibuster-proof’ majority for much anyways.
I think the real problem is a lack of testicular, and ovarian, fortitude on the part of Dems, brought on by an influx of too much cash in the system.
I’m surprised at how much we all accept the Republicans complete refusal to participate in governing at this point. Everyone just shrugs and goes, ‘Oh them GOOPers’. They’ve become, be definite design, complete dead weight in the system. We’re all trying to bail the boat out, and they just sit there, arms crossed, refusing to admit we’re taking on water.
The fact that Obama is letting this slide says a great deal to me about him. If ever there was a time for the man to step in and push it is now. He should be bringing folks over to the White House, etc. I’m so disappointed. He could take this and make the narrative, “Obama saves health care reform and shows his resolve in the face of a difficult environment” instead of the “pathetic failure” narrative that is now developing. Clinton survived his health care debacle for a variety of reasons. I think one was that they weren’t inches from the finish line. Obama is.
Stupak and his abortion crusaders can bail, and she could still get a bill.
Stupak supposedly brought along the pro-life Democrats. Okay. They voted for the House bill.
But 39 Democrats voted against the House bill. Some of them, at the time, told The Hill they preferred the Senate bill, because of “bending the cost curve”. They’re on record as wanting the Senate bill.
Abortion wasn’t an issue for the centrist Democrats who voted against the original bill, because they weren’t persuaded by Stupak’s amendment: they still voted against the bill.
She can do it without Stupak and his minions.
Because the IRS is going to come after you as big insurance’s enforcer if you don’t spend the money.
It’s quite telling that no one will address this issue of deductibles and co-pays being so high as to render the insurance essentially useless even if you have the insurance.
The only thing worse and more frustrating than not having health insurance when you are sick is having health insurance you simply do not have the money to utilize. You might just as well piss the government’s subsidy and whatever you have to put with it for the premium down the nearest rathole.
The Republic of Stupidity
I guess the best course of action on my part is:
a) Don’t get sick, period…
b) Die quickly if I do…
Cool… sounds like a plan to me.
The Overton Guillotine.
If somebody is at a loss for what to tell their Senator, tell them about the Elkins Act and the Hepburn Act, circa 1903-1906 (see wiki or google them if you need details). They regulated the godawful railroads in two steps – step 1, establish fairness in pricing; step 2 – regulate and cut costs. The health insurance companies are not wealthier and more powerful than the railroads were in 1903. We can do this.
Yesterday, I had an interesting conversation with a guy from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, who called asking for a donation to re-elect Sen. Wyden (D-OR). I basically said I want to see more from Wyden on health-care reform before I give him any money. The DSCC guy seemed prepared with talking points, and immediately tried to change the subject to “jobs.” He said something like, “jobs are issue number one.” Jobs are certainly an important issue, but it was sort of depressing to hear him say that Wyden is basically backing away from HCR.
firebagger or teabagger? hard to tell, innit?
The Republic of Stupidity
Please call them what they really are: anti-choice.
The whole ‘pro-life’ nonsense was just very clever framing on the part of conservatives. We’re inching closer to a theocracy every day.
The Republic of Stupidity
I like that.
Needs to be a tag here… and mebbe go in the Lexicon.
Quite simply, no. I don’t trust the Senate to cross the street. But we have to try, and at this point it’s our only option.
Even in that worst-case scenario, though, we’d have the Senate bill passed into law. That would be an improvement on the current situation, AND it would be demonstrable proof to liberals like me that everything was done to try and get the best bill possible passed. Failure can be forgiven and built upon. Failure to try cannot.
The very first fucking task at hand, then, is passing the damn Senate bill in the House. And the very first fucking task for that is to get the damn Blue Dogs to support it. Don’t worry about the liberals- as much as I hate to admit it, we will come home without your phone calls. Our bluff will be (has been?) called, and we will fold and vote yes.
Go call some Blue Dogs. Get to 218. It’s that, or nothing.
My money is on Stupik is bluffing.
@Hiram Taine: that’s exactly my qualm about the Senate bill – it’s achieving universal coverage by expanding the ranks of the Underinsured, probably from both sides – and that 45,000 preventable deaths a year include deaths from underinsurance. 80% of the nearly million medical bankruptcies in this country every year are filed by the under, not un-insured. We don’t know yet how big the donut hole is going to be, but we can be certain that the primary function of the excise tax is to expand it. It’s just adding insult to injury if that individual mandate isn’t coupled with an affordable, meaningful public option.
Called my Dem Senator’s office, and got put on hold too long. May try to send a fax.
Not to rain on your parade, but if you think that moving to Canada without a job to get onto their single payer system will be easy, you might want to re-examine that notion. If you plan to get a job up there, better be prepared for a long, drawn out process that does not favor non Canadians — especially Americans.
My husband and I looked into this briefly after the ’04 elections and we live right across the border in WA state. We were very disappointed that unless you could bring in a lot of your own dough, getting citizenship is difficult and buying into the system, not necessarily affordable.
Stick it out with us and lets see what we can do. We are at Valley Forge for sure, lets see if we can still arrive bloody and tired but successful at some point. We need everyone with our values to stay and push forward…
I think Obama’s about to basically suggest the House not pass the Senate bill, and it’s time to limit and restructure — and say it openly. And then, of course, that will fail too. Sorry, I just think that’s the way Obama will work this. Which is why I hope the House manages to pass the bill on their own, but I just don’t know how strongly the Stupak bloc is.
An average family of four, earning $60K, will pay about $400 a month. One of the biggest selling points of reform is that policies for $1000s a month will be entirely a thing of the past.
And, realistically, most people get socked with a substantial medical bill sometime in their lives. Because your medical costs are cut by 70% of so with insurance, even after insurance inefficiencies your lifetime expected cost is more than halved by having insurance. Plus, if you get an expensive treatable illness, right now you’ll probably just die, and under the Senate bill you’ll live. Carrying insurance under the Senate bill is a very good deal for the insuree.
Michael E Sullivan
For us nutmeggers you probably need another option: “called one, the other is joe lieberman”
@The Republic of Stupidity:
Okay. I’m not much on this framing thing.
I had a very funny conversation with a local woman here about the grandstanding on abortion re: health care reform. She was pissed that they were introducing the issue at all. I have no idea what her politics are. She wants this nipped in the bud, or she sees them tacking on anti-abortion provisions to every piece of legislation, taking it out to ludicrous lengths, so all we ever talk about is abortion. She was like “aren’t there rules that they have to stay on topic?”
@The Republic of Stupidity:
“I’m surprised at how much we all accept the Republicans complete refusal to participate in governing at this point. Everyone just shrugs and goes, ‘Oh them GOOPers’. They’ve become, be definite design, complete dead weight in the system. We’re all trying to bail the boat out, and they just sit there, arms crossed, refusing to admit we’re taking on water.”
We had no choice. We were trying to get it done with or without them. What should we have done to move them? What do you mean by we “accepted” — believe me, we weren’t happy about it — just dealing with an immutable reality..
Those are mostly from recission and tight lifetime caps, both of which will be largely gone under the Senate bill. The “underinsurance” of the Senate bill is the high deductible, which is a problem for preventative health care (although still better than now because of the protection from medical extortion), but $1500 bills are not often a bankruptcy-inducing event.
I’m afraid of that too. “Passing it piecemeal” is an absolute death-knell. Imagine. 6 more months losing on health care, inch by inch.
The “pass it piecemeal” dodge is an inability to face consequences. I think one of them has to stand up there and bury it, or pass it.
I’m becoming more convinced every day that Obama thought that if he didn’t get involved in HCR, it wouldn’t be his political capital that got spent getting it done. I know that he had to be dragged into putting together a health care proposal during the primaries, but you’d think he’d at least be able to play 11-dimensional chess well enough to know that when landmark legislation is considered during your presidency, it’s your legislation, whether you do any of the heavy lifting for it or not.
I don’t have any clue, apparently, how to use blockquotes.
This is absolutely right:
“it’s your legislation, whether you do any of the heavy lifting for it or not.”
It’s so stupid politically, because he spent tons of “political capitol” on health care, whether he intended to or not.
Every interview, for the rest of his Presidency, he’s going to have to answer the “failed on health care” charge. He’s freaking delusional if he thinks he can avoid this.
It’s even worse if they pass some regulatory reform, and call it “health care”. Try to palm that off. Then the press will go bonkers, and force him to admit he didn’t get it done. That’s like a direct challenge to their bullshit meter.
He’ll be asked and asked and asked. No one is going to let him “move on”.
The Republic of Stupidity
I personally think abortion is just an excuse to NOT DO SOMETHING. Asshats like Stupak just look at the situation and say, ‘What can I fixate on to get me off the hook here? I know… abortion.’
That way… it’ll look like I have a reasonable, to some, objection to this.
It’s all about the corp moneybags buying legislation, or blocking it, for their own benefit. Anybody check and see how much money Stupak gets from Big med Care for doing this?
@The Republic of Stupidity:
Oh, I agree. Plus, he’s a little whiny, has that horrible long-suffering air of people who think they’re being persecuted for religious faith. I went along with my husband to a Great Lakes water conference and Stupak was there (he’s actually good on water issues, incidentally). There were a small contingent of pro-choice protesters yelling at him, and he was completely in character as “persecuted”.
Sad smile, shaking his head (why can’t they see I have values) the whole annoying act.
He was enjoying it.
Politically, the sooner the House passes the Senate bill, the better for them. The Senate bill is overall a benefit, and once it’s passed people will become horrified at the thought of losing it (recissions, inadequate caps, and $2000/ month policies are all VERY scary) and the approval will go up. Plus, it will be over, and voters will be paying attention to what the Congress works on next. Health care in the US is a disaster right now and as long as this bill is on the table voters will think of nothing else.
If Pelosi won’t or can’t pass the bill, then she should call it up for a vote and let it be defeated. Then, at least, the furor of the disappointed Dems and the abandoned uninsured will be focused on the nay votes and not the Dems in general. I don’t mean right this instant, because people are still in shock, but I do think the vote should happen in the next month or two.
The Republic of Stupidity
I’m not disagreeing w/ your comment. I am struck at just how f-in’ completely they’re getting away w/ it.
The contribute ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to the dialogue and the process, and still get their way far too much of the time. They refuse to acknowledge any responsibility for the mess they’ve helped create. They’ve become complete F-in’ leeches on the body politic.
I don’t understand why the people that put them in office aren’t upset by now. I guess some of them are – hence, the teabaggers.
It’s simply astonishing… especially the way we all just accept it w/ a shrug now.
The Republic of Stupidity
There ya go… the framing really does matter, especially when dealing w/ the mentally lazy, low information voters.
Yes… if he was laughing, he knew it was an act. Ugly. Gotta stay in office at all costs.
One of the things that really galls me about Dems these days is just how easily they let Repubs seize control of the dialogue and what a crappy job they do of fighting back.
Of course, the so-called ‘librul’ MSM does its part, but…
National figures like Senators and such can command coverage… and the Dems w/ an exception or to, are LOUSY at this.
@The Republic of Stupidity:
I hate abortion as a grandstanding issue because it’s so easy, the way they present it. It’s easy to stand up there and talk about defending babies. Who in the hell is going to go against babies? It’s easy to demonize vulnerable women.
I have no idea why anti-abortion advocates always come off as put-upon victims. They have the cloak of absolute deference we afford to religious of all stripes, and they’re (ostensibly) advocating for babies. It’s a freaking cake-walk, as far as soap-box climbing goes.
You notice how they never extend the “pro-life” mantel to people on death row. That’s because it’s hard to advocate for them.
@The Republic of Stupidity:
Yep, Yep, Yep…
I wish we had a clue how to change that very important factor…
Yep. And I am furious about that — furious. Completely a self inflicted wound
“An average family of four, earning $60K, will pay about $400 a month. One of the biggest selling points of reform is that policies for $1000s a month will be entirely a thing of the past.
And, realistically, most people get socked with a substantial medical bill sometime in their lives. Because your medical costs are cut by 70% of so with insurance, even after insurance inefficiencies your lifetime expected cost is more than halved by having insurance. Plus, if you get an expensive treatable illness, right now you’ll probably just die, and under the Senate bill you’ll live. Carrying insurance under the Senate bill is a very good deal for the insuree.”
There is nowhere in this country that a family of 4 gets a $400 a month policy with a $1500 deductible…it doesn’t exist now and it wont after this bill is passed. (show me ANYWHERE in the legislation that something of that nature is locked in..it doesnt exist and you know it…are you fair economist for Wellpoint per chance? Also if my costs go down by a supposed 70% (highly unlikely) what about the fact that 25% of every dollar was going to executive salaries, thus there is maybe a 20% discount total for having insurance.
I already have an expensive curable illness, have for several years and if I want help for it I might as well prepare to live on the street. I’d rather die slowly and have a place to rest my head.
As stated in agreement with Kay…I am hoping that this is just buying him a minute (and just a minute) to think through how to get HCR back on track rather than a complete bail on it and hoping to change the subject. If ever however, he needed to fight and keep it center stage, this is it! He will be crushed, crushed by history and events if he doesnt pull his britches up on this and run back into the cave with the dragon.
The Republic of Stupidity
Yeeeeeeeeeeeep… can’t you just see this never-ending string of giggling Gerber babies, reaching to infinity, being snuffed out by heartless abortion doctors. I live right next door to a very active church and about a year ago, I overheard two middle-aged white males cursing about abortion. they had had enough of this slaughter of innocent babies… fifty five million and counting.
Interesting how that number keeps climbing… it was just 40 million a couple of years ago and now it’s up to 55 million? the abortion rate in this country must be escalating like crazy.
Don’t get me wrong… I think abortion is a sad, ugly, painful thing. I completely agree w/ Bill Clinton when he said he wanted to make abortion safe, legal, and exceedingly rare. I so resent it when the anti-choice crowd tries to portray the pro-choice half as somehow happy about this, even gleefully so.
Nor do they really want to help mothers once they ahve the babies, and they have no compunction about the babies they get killed in places like Iraq… but it’s all good… Jeebus loves them.
someone upthread suggested that people like me were overstating the badness of the senate bill and that we should look at it. so i did.
i would suggest that those of you laboring under the misapprehension that this is bill you want likewise read it. here is one example:
‘‘SEC. 2712. PROHIBITION ON RESCISSIONS.
21 ‘‘A group health plan and a health insurance issuer
22 offering group or individual health insurance coverage
23 shall not rescind such plan or coverage with respect to an
24 enrollee once the enrollee is covered under such plan or
25 coverage involved, except that this section shall not apply
26 to a covered individual who has performed an act or prac-
•AMDT. NO. 2786
1 tice that constitutes fraud or makes an intentional mis-
representation of material fact as prohibited by the terms
3 of the plan or coverage. Such plan or coverage may not
4 be cancelled except with prior notice to the enrollee, and
5 only as permitted under section 2702(c) or 2742(b).
now, then, what does this mean? it means that the terms of the policy shall govern because it is those terms that shall define what constitutes fraud.
this is *exactly* the current situation. in other words, there is no change. sorry.
So sparky, you tell me: easier to scrap the whole thing and start from scratch or try to work this from where we are?
edit function mia–i should have said that the terms of the policy shall govern what constitutes a material misstatement. fraud is not necessary.
my point is simply this: through every one of these provisions i have looked at, there is some fine sounding introductory language. but when you look at it more closely, you find there is a truck-sized exception. so you will be getting the obligation to pay but with no reciprocal obligation on the other side.
there are many things that are worth fighting for. this bill, IMO, is not one of them.
J. A. Baker
@Elie: scrap it. pass the individual items that have popular support (and are easy to implement) and skip the “universal coverage” aspect. i think people who think that somehow the bad parts of this are going to be reversed in conference are, frankly, wishing for ponies *AND* unicorns.
and then get to work on setting a fire under Geithner et al. what people will notice come november is whether they have a job, not whether someone passed legislation for a bogus “exchange” that will come into being in 2014.
Just got off the phone with a staffer for Kay Hagen (D-NC). Same uncommittal stuff.
I called both of my Senators, Michael Bennet and Mark Udall. Bennet has said that he is determined to see healthcare reform pass, even if it means he is not re-elected. The man I spoke to in his office said the Senator is currently working with others on a strategy to get the bill to the President’s desk. There were a lot of options they were considering, including sending it to conference. He could not tell me the other options at this time. He also said that calling Senators helps a lot and he appreciated the phone call.
That same sentiment was echoed when I called Senator Udall’s office. They want and need more supportive calls as well. The woman I spoke to their said that Senator Udall was for healthcare reform, but she cannot comment on anything else. She referred me to his website for the list of his policy positions.
Even though I disagree, the criticism of my argument is welcome. But, the gratuitous insults, whoa. ‘bulgur-wheat frosted cupcake’? WTF? I am an omnivore and a trained chef. Please. AND, full disclosure, I wear Kiton suits and Bontoni sho_es, not Birkenstocks.
er, ahem. There are some of us who can’t call our senators or congressmen because we don’t have a senator or a congressman. Only a delegate. We DC residents are considered a colony, a la Puerto Rico and Guam. So you need another option on the poll.
Coincidentally, a fundraising letter arrived from Senator Webb today. I wrote “You want money? I want Health Reform.” on the card and mailed it back to him :)
For anyone who lived through Bush/Gore, the criticism of third parties are self-evident. Either you weren’t politically conscious at the time or your thinking is protected by troll-grade obliviousness. I thought I’d skip the intermediate steps and get right to the insults. I apologize if I may have been premature.
God it’s frustrating when your two Senators are Jim DeMint (sounds French), and Miss Lindsey Graham, and your Congressman is outgoing Henry Brown who has never voted in any way other than the way he was told to vote, ever.
Aaaaaaargh! Sure, I can call. I call them all the time to complain about issues, especially the two Senate excrescences. What I don’t think I can face is the certain laughter that I will be met with here.
@serge: DeMint and Graham.
Sounds like a delicious cracker.
I’ve been a Democratic Party activist for more than 40 years. I have lost every battle I fought in the party. Every single one. But, I keep on voting for assholes masquerading as Democrats. I did not vote for Nader – worse asshole than most Democrats – plus, even though I am a leftie, I detest the nanny state. Nonetheless, the Democratic Party no longer works. It hasn’t for some time.
So, you keep on with your 1/10 th of a loaf, indefinite detention, warrantless surveillance, two criminal wars, etc and we’ll see where we are in a couple wars.
Premature doesn’t begin to say it.
e. Called one senator, the other is Roland Burris.