August 17, 2009

Health care reform... Now the President sells us out

Before we get to the nasty little betrayal from Sunday, let's recap on a few things...

  • The Mayor posted this about IBD's claim that British citizen Dr. Hawking would be dead if he lived in Britain and had to use the NHS. Apparently, they printed a chickenass retraction that the Columbia Journalism Review kinda pulled apart. And made them look like morons.
  • Speaking of the NHS, it would appear that the health outcomes vs. spending is definitely in favor of the British system. Or, to put it another way, EVERYONE in Britain gets the same coverage that well off Americans get.
  • As it turns out, many of the deaths in the US health care system are avoidable.
  • And here's what's being said about us across the Atlantic. Apparently, they don't like the right misrepresenting the care given by NHS. And they take some time to point out just how desperate some people ARE for health care in the US.
  • And finally, Secretary Sebelius kinda threw the country, on behalf of the President, under the insurance industry's lobbying bus in what will be interpreted by the right as a victory for their little teabagging movement.

    Sebelius told CNN's "State of the Union" that a public option was "not the essential element" of healthcare overhaul, but that lowering insurance costs and preventing insurers from dumping customers for preexisting conditions or for exceeding coverage caps are must-haves.

    Well, to achieve your stated goal, the Public Option was THE only way. But now we'll go down the rabbit hole of 'insurance exchanges' and watch as nothing really gets done and the costs continue to skyrocket. Worse, you and the rest of the chickenshit Democrats, especially the Blue Dogs, have shown that you can be easily intimidated by, I'm sorry but it's true, a bunch of fat, old white men.

    And the Members of Congress, out to sell the public option with town hall meetings did a piss poor job of getting out their supporters. No wonder the news has been interviewing these teabaggers... they're damn near all that's there. When Congressman Doggett had an event here a week ago Saturday, I did receive a few hours notice and went. There I found our side represented 3:1 and a bunch of teabaggers who had to play nice this time because suddenly there were all of us. Because of that little bit of advanced notice.

    It's almost as if the Democrats wanted this to happen so they could claim there wasn't popular support for reform, which we already know is a lie.

    In the end, I doubt any of it will matter as the whole thing goes down in flames. Oh, they'll pass a weak, watered down bill. The President will claim victory and Congressional D's will say it's the best we could do. Meanwhile, activists and volunteers will be hard to come by in 2010. And I'd put even money on Republican's regaining the House by a narrow margin.

    And it all could have been avoided had the fixation on kindler, gentler politics been dismissed after the stimulus fight. But the President chose not to do that and now we're all going to pay the price for his weakness and that of the Congressional Democrats. They have, officially, lost the tremendous momentum that came from the 2008 election, squandered it in an effort to be nice to people who'd rather see them gutted.

    I wrote this in December, 2007. I never anticipated then Senator Obama winning the presidency if he won the primary mostly because I never anticipated Sen. McCain's massive campaign blunders and a tanking economy. However, he did win but this piece actually is very applicable to his leadership as President. It's steadily weakened, as if he's being beaten down... a bad trait for a President.

    Of course, Secretary Clinton, had she been elected President, would have been much worse, right? It would have been constant attacks, right?

    First, those who don’t want to nominate Hillary Clinton because they don’t want to return to the nastiness of the 1990s — a sizable group, at least in the punditocracy — are deluding themselves. Any Democrat who makes it to the White House can expect the same treatment: an unending procession of wild charges and fake scandals, dutifully given credence by major media organizations that somehow can’t bring themselves to declare the accusations unequivocally false (at least not on Page 1).

    The point is that while there are valid reasons one might support Mr. Obama over Mrs. Clinton, the desire to avoid unpleasantness isn’t one of them.

    Second, the policy proposals candidates run on matter.

    I have colleagues who tell me that Mr. Obama’s rejection of health insurance mandates — which are an essential element of any workable plan for universal coverage — doesn’t really matter, because by the time health care reform gets through Congress it will be very different from the president’s initial proposal anyway. But this misses the lesson of the Clinton failure: if the next president doesn’t arrive with a plan that is broadly workable in outline, by the time the thing gets fixed the window of opportunity may well have passed.

    Krugman, again, was spot on 20 months ago. He called it perfectly. And right now I'm out of hope for change.

    Posted by mcblogger at August 17, 2009 12:02 AM

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