Puppet Joe Lieberman that is.
December 18, 2009 4:58 PM   Subscribe

Joe Lieberman has a pony request.
posted by tylerfulltilt (66 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
We should give him one.

Or maybe just the HEAD OF ONE.

IN HIS BED.

So he knows he's screwing with the wrong people.
posted by mephron at 5:05 PM on December 18, 2009 [13 favorites]


The voice actor slowly transitioned from droopy dog to surfer/stoner over the course of the ad. Very odd.
posted by synaesthetichaze at 5:07 PM on December 18, 2009


The trouble is, he's screwing with the RIGHT people...
posted by oneswellfoop at 5:08 PM on December 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yeah his Lieberman impression was good at the beginning and then got weird.

This ad could have been twice as funny if it was half as long.
posted by mek at 5:09 PM on December 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


Puppet Joe Lieberman that is.

I liked.
posted by peppito at 5:10 PM on December 18, 2009


This ad could have been twice as funny if it was half as long funny.
posted by rusty at 5:29 PM on December 18, 2009 [3 favorites]


This ad could have been twice as funny if it was half as long.

Repurposed SNL sketch?
posted by Artw at 5:29 PM on December 18, 2009


This ad could have been twice as funny if it was half as long funny.

ditto.

posted by Artw at 5:30 PM on December 18, 2009


>
HURF DURF CHICAGO POLITICS
posted by mccarty.tim at 5:34 PM on December 18, 2009


Hmmm. Thanks Move On. Another gross simplification of what's actually happening.

Even as a assured, lofty liberal I've just become more and more incensed by methods like this. Especially cause they're not even that funny.
posted by Lacking Subtlety at 5:57 PM on December 18, 2009


...Filabuster...
posted by Windopaene at 6:06 PM on December 18, 2009


Bar Kokhba, what an asshole.
posted by felix betachat at 6:08 PM on December 18, 2009


Hmmm. Thanks Move On. Another gross simplification of what's actually happening.

Yes, what we need to motivate action and raise funds is more nuanced and subtle political analyses.

Plus, this seemed pretty on track to me. Lieberman is increasingly irrational. How can he seriously justify threatening to filibuster a bill over a measure that he himself supported three months ago? Not just not vote for it, but filibuster the whole thing over something he liked 90 days back? Joe is power-hungry and out to piss off the Democratic establishment.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 6:11 PM on December 18, 2009 [8 favorites]


Er, Ben Nelson is the new hotness asshole.
Hmmm. Thanks Move On. Another gross simplification of what's actually happening.

Even as a assured, lofty liberal I've just become more and more incensed by methods like this. Especially cause they're not even that funny.
What is it you think is actually happening? Seems pretty accurate to me, at least before Ben Nelson came on the scene. But both Nelson and Lieberman need to be cajoled -- or alternatively Olympia Snowe.

What do you think were the inaccuracies in the video? Simply saying "This is false" without explaining why is a pretty childish and "incensing" method. (Well, I'm not so much incensed as slightly annoyed and curious about what you think the problem is)

I have often found find MoveOn annoying.
posted by delmoi at 6:14 PM on December 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


Better ways to tell Lieberman to STFU.
posted by twoleftfeet at 6:19 PM on December 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


Just a reminder for anyone tuning in late that healthcare bill "debate" thread from Tuesday is still, at 561 comments, going strong. But it could also maybe use some new voices if anyone's up for it.
posted by HP LaserJet P10006 at 6:22 PM on December 18, 2009


By the way, Matt Yglesias, who is a "HCR supporting liberal" as opposed to "HCR opposing liberals" who have emerged since Joe Liberman forced the public option to be dropped had this to say recently:
I don’t think this is quite as far off-base as Sargent does. But to whatever extent you think Jane Hamsher is on an anti-pragmatic ideological crusade, any sensible look at things would indicate that Joe Lieberman is about a thousand times more at fault.

The key point here is that insofar as we’re really having an “ideological” dispute about the propriety of private health insurance, then what the left has shown throughout this debate is a willingness to bend extremely far in the direction of accommodation with the status quo.
...
The habit of insisting that only the right and the left have “ideologies” and that people in the center don’t is one of the absolute most frustrating elements of conventional political discussion in the United States. The fact of the matter is that “centrist” ideological taboos have been the big story of the Obama administration. That starts with the imposition of an arbitrary cap on the size of the stimulus bill, it continues to the utterly merciless and fanatical centrist opposition to the existence of any public option, to the Fed’s refusal to undertake further monetary easing, to the unwillingness to contemplate really stern measures against bailed-out banks and their executives, and on and on and on.
That's a really important point. And remember Yglesias is someone who thinks we need to pass this, he had a post the other day about the "murder suicide" of the democratic party over HCR. But it clarifies that 1) Liberals have been willing to give up alot. The idea they are pitching a fit because they aren't getting "exactly" what they want is way over the top.

And more importantly he's pointing out how much the centrists are being driven by ideology. Maybe it's by the "Third way"/corporatism ideology that Glenn Greenwald talks about here (this is a really interesting and non-ranty post from greenwald, btw). Or maybe it's just a banal affiliation for their donors, for "comity" and for themselves. But either way, they are not being responsible, they are not promoting policies with rational bases (as far as I know) they are simply trying to split the difference and benefit the upper classes by keeping taxes low in the future even as the economy and health care system spins out of control.

While HCR spins out of control, the intellectual discussions going on have been interesting.

But I do think that this whole Third Way/Corporatist ideology is very unamerican in some ways. You can see that the tea-baggers hate it, but it's also loathed among the progressive base. I think the average "true centrist voter" (i.e. someone who just doesn't pay a lot of attention to politics) will hate it, and not only is bad for America, but it's destroying the democratic dominance left in bush's wake. It's a horrible political mistake. Americans have lost faith in the corporate/banker institutions, and they see their government go out of their way to help those same institutions, at their expenses. It's toxic to progressive government going forward.
posted by delmoi at 6:26 PM on December 18, 2009 [9 favorites]


But it clarifies that 1) Liberals have been willing to give up alot. The idea they are pitching a fit because they aren't getting "exactly" what they want is way over the top.

Right. This "compromise" process has been the progressive side giving up more and more, and the conservative side demanding more and more. Ben Nelson's (FU-Nebraska) demands to strip abortion coverage, to me, crosses the line. Women's reproductive rights are *core* progressive values. You cannot surrender them. What next? I guess that would be allow insurance to be indexed to race, then, of course, not allowing women to purchase insurance without the father or husband cosinging the policy.

Never mind that it no longer has anything to do with reforming health care anymore -- it's now "Insurance reform", and it's rapidly becoming "Don't like our health insurance system? Fuck you, it's a crime not to buy it."

There is no compromise here. The bill, in the stage that it currently is in, needs to be opposed at all costs. If the conservatives are willing to compromise, maybe something can be salvage.

We gave too much, and it's still not enough. No deal. And if Obama doesn't like it, fuck him. I'm not going to eat every principal I have so he can pretend to have reformed health care, when he's not doing a goddamn thing to really attack the problems we face.
posted by eriko at 6:36 PM on December 18, 2009 [11 favorites]


I am unaware of the existence of a non-puppet Joe Lieberman.
posted by Artw at 6:37 PM on December 18, 2009 [16 favorites]


I think it would be more helpful to demand that mandates be stripped, rather then trying to walk away from negotiations. If Lieberman/Nelson can hold up the debate, then so can the liberals. This thing has a lot of momentum, but but it may be able to be held up by liberal senators. I think "improvement by subtraction" is a better strategy then "walking away from the table." But that said, of course killing the entire bill still counts as improvement by subtraction, in my view.
posted by delmoi at 6:40 PM on December 18, 2009


While HCR spins out of control, the intellectual discussions going on have been interesting.

I agree. Whatever the outcome, the debate currently raging about this bill is a good thing, since it re-focuses people's attention on what's at stake. That's one reason I dislike the way some people, such as John Kerry, are jumping all over Howard Dean for calling to "kill" the bill. I mean it's one thing to argue (as Paul Krugman, Bill Clinton, and many others have) that the bill, while weak, should be passed; it's another thing to act as if Dean is being irresponsible for voicing his honest opinion about a subject he has been following closely for a long time.
posted by HP LaserJet P10006 at 6:44 PM on December 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


I don't want a pony. I want Lieberman called out by a Democratic party for his treachery.

I have about an equal chance of getting either one.
posted by emjaybee at 6:48 PM on December 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


"Joe Lieberman can only hold health care reform hostage if we let him."
I'm not really sure what this is supposed to mean. Joe Lieberman can essentially do whatever he wants.

His next election is a long time away, and I'm not entirely convinced that he cares about it anyway. What he cares about is his petty grudge.
posted by Flunkie at 7:26 PM on December 18, 2009


The major problem right now seems to be Ben Nelson, a Democrat not Lieberman, an Independent . And some firing on the troops from their own left flank.
posted by bearwife at 7:30 PM on December 18, 2009


Considering Lierberman already has transmogrified into a Krofft puppet, this seems rather pedestrian. Also, to those saying it's not funny enough or SNL-esque, it's a bleedin' advertisement to generate contributions, not the latest YouTube wunderkind. Proper channels, etc.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:40 PM on December 18, 2009


Thirding the notion that the internecine argument over this bill has been a refreshingly intelligent and productive public discussion. A lot of people I respect have lined up on both sides, and it's nice to hear debate as opposed to political theater. Fwiw, I think the one position I haven't seen articulated anywhere is the one Lieberman and Nelson have staked out... It seems pretty much incoherent.
posted by condour75 at 8:47 PM on December 18, 2009


Wheeling In The Cots: A Winter Snow Emergency--And An Absentee Lieberman--Is Complicating Democrats' Health Care Push
posted by HP LaserJet P10006 at 9:09 PM on December 18, 2009


All y'all need a General. Fucking. Strike. The citizens need to make the government pay attention to them.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:06 PM on December 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


The citizens need to make the government pay attention to them.

Ostensibly, that's what VOTING is supposed to be for. But we have a piss-poor voter turnout.


...Speaking of Lieberman -- and mildy-ineffective means of protesting him -- I heard that Michael Moore wants to protest by boycotting Connecticut. Speaking as someone who actually grew up IN the state, I have to admit that I have no earthly idea exacty what a boycott of Connecticut would entail.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:23 PM on December 18, 2009


A few weeks ago I stopped reading, listening to, or otherwise intentionally exposing myself to any and all news, no matter how dull and ill-informed it might make me.

While there were a few reasons, the one that sticks out is that I really don't want to think about Joe Lieberman until the day (hopefully very soon) he dies. This piece of walking refuse does not deserve a place in my brain, and the people around me don't deserve the abuse that I supply when I hear about his latest outrage.
posted by Epenthesis at 11:31 PM on December 18, 2009 [3 favorites]


I have to admit that I have no earthly idea exacty what a boycott of Connecticut would entail.

Traffic jams? Umm...submarines? WASPS with mansions in Greenwich?

Yeah, Connecticut is just one big asshole of a state, separating New York and Massachusetts. And Lieberman-cockface is it's big asshole senior Senator.

Sorry, I've just been reduced by this whole sad farce into a name calling 12 year old. About the only pleasure left in it. I just want them to pass whatever the heck is in in it and get it going ASAP. And begin working on expanding it and getting the PO and/or Medicare buy in going too.
posted by Skygazer at 1:49 AM on December 19, 2009


Lieberman is increasingly irrational. How can he seriously justify threatening to filibuster a bill over a measure that he himself supported three months ago? Not just not vote for it, but filibuster the whole thing over something he liked 90 days back?

He's not irrational: he's already demonstrated that he could openly publicly and vocally campaign for the other party's candidate for President over the candidate of the party he caucuses with, and get away without without even a slap on the wrist. Without losing his seniority or his chairmanships.

Because he's the magical "60th vote" for cloture.

Despite demonstrating he won't vote for cloture -- even when given the concessions he pretends to be asking for.

In fact, he won't even keep his disagreements private -- instead he plays bait-and-switch publicly, further undermining "his" party.

Joe's quite rationally out to do as much damage as he can on his way out. He's the obnoxious party guest who has ""jokingly" insulted your mom, "accidentally" poured his beer down your girlfriend's blouse, has -- whoops -- "tripped" over your dog, but who won't leave until he provokes you to kick him out, so he can blame you for being the aggressor.

Joe knows the Democrats don't have the balls to kick him out. Joe knows that the one policy position he genuinely cares about is sacrosanct and so can't be used to threaten him. And Joe knows he's the 60th vote.

Indeed, if the Democrats were to pass health care reform, they might actually pick up the Senate seat that makes Joe irrelevant; so undermining the Democrats, making them emblematic of failure, just helps to keep Joe in the catbird seat. And if he hurts the Dems enough that they lose the Senate, Joe can caucus with the Republicans, and keep his chars. And if horribilisdictu it's a 50-48-1-1 Senate, Joe will play king-maker, crowning the Republicans and winning all sorts of favors before his defeat at the hands of Connecticut's voters.

Joe's entirely rational: he has nothing to lose, and so much of a chance to arrogate himself, humilate his enemies, and get yet another chance to tell us all how holy Holy Joe is. The longer Joe holds the balance of power, the more he'll humble and humilate the Democratic Party.


It's time to cut our losses. It's time for Harry Reid and Barack Obama to demonstrate that they won't negotiate with blackmailers.
posted by orthogonality at 2:16 AM on December 19, 2009 [18 favorites]


orthogonality I hold out some, little, hope that they're waiting until a few other things (repealing DOMA, ending Don't Ask Don't Tell) where Lieberman (theoretically) supports them before kicking his ass to the curb.

I realize that's probably just denial on my part, and that a) Lieberman is quite likely to screw us on those just because he can, and b) even if he doesn't the Democrats still won't kick him to the curb.

But I do hold out some hope.

Quick question: is there any chance of a viable primary challenge against Nelson?
posted by sotonohito at 9:33 AM on December 19, 2009


...Speaking of Lieberman -- and mildy-ineffective means of protesting him -- I heard that Michael Moore wants to protest by boycotting Connecticut. Speaking as someone who actually grew up IN the state, I have to admit that I have no earthly idea exacty what a boycott of Connecticut would entail.

Not buying insurance. But that will be a crime.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 11:31 AM on December 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


Dear Santa:

All I want for Christmas is for Joe Liebermann to fall down the stairs. I know that sounds mean, but it's nicer than he's been to me.

Thanks,

Benny
posted by Benny Andajetz at 11:32 AM on December 19, 2009


Looks like the Senate has their 60 votes. The "appeasement and capitulation phase" has been hammered out, Joe Liebermann and Ben Nelson are happy, and the American public is on its way to getting hosed.

( I haven't been this disillusioned in a long time - if you would have told me a year ago that a democratically-controlled congress would devise a health care reform package that was actually worse for consumers and better for insurance companies than what we have now, I would have laughed in your face. Stupid me, I guess.)
posted by Benny Andajetz at 11:41 AM on December 19, 2009


From Benny's link:
Nelson, D-Neb., said Saturday he made his decision after winning fresh concessions to limit the availability of abortions in insurance sold in newly created exchanges, as well as tens of million in federal Medicaid funds for his home state.
No doubt this had something to do with it:
After months in which the Senate health care bill was held up over efforts to find some form in which she would agree to sign on to it, Sen. Snowe (R-ME) now says she will oppose it because it is being "rushed."
I thought a vote with Snowe was more likely then one with Nelson, but I wasn't sure she would betray her fellow republicans. Looks like she decided not too.

Most liberals were saying that the senate would take out Stupak. Looks like that didn't happen. It will be interesting to see what happens in reconciliation. Obviously with Abortion restrictions in both versions they'll be in whatever comes out of the conference committee. We'll have to see if House republicans balk at no public option + abortion restrictions. My guess is no.
posted by delmoi at 11:48 AM on December 19, 2009


I haven't been this disillusioned in a long time - if you would have told me a year ago that a democratically-controlled congress would devise a health care reform package that was actually worse for consumers and better for insurance companies than what we have now, I would have laughed in your face.
I've been hearing things like this a lot. Not just "it sucks that the public option is gone", not just "they should've fought harder for it", but "this bill is worse than the status quo."

Could someone who holds this opinion please explain it to me? I'm not saying you're wrong, but I haven't actually heard an explanation of it; I've only heard vague unbacked blanket assertions.

Meanwhile, on the other side of opinion (not counting Republicans an their ilk as a side with an opinion), I have read things like this, from Kevin Drum:
I usually don't say much about legislative tactics because I figure you need some serious ground level knowledge before you mouth off about what's possible and what's not on Capitol Hill. But the fate of failed major initiatives is so obvious that I can't believe anyone is taking this seriously. When big legislative efforts go down in flames, they almost never spring back onto the calendar anytime soon — and that's especially true when big healthcare bills fail. It didn't happen in 1936, it didn't happen in 1949, it didn't happen in 1974, and it didn't happen in 1995. What makes anyone think it will happen in 2010?

If healthcare reform dies this year, it dies for a good long time. Say what you will about the Democratic leadership, but Harry Reid, Barack Obama, Rahm Emanuel, Nancy Pelosi, and Steny Hoyer all know this perfectly well. So do John Boehner and Mitch McConnell. (Boy do they know it.) But if it passes, here's what we get:
  • Insurers have to take all comers. They can't turn you down for a preexisting condition or cut you off after you get sick.
  • Community rating. Within a few broad classes, everyone gets charged the same amount for insurance.
  • Individual mandate. I know a lot of liberals hate this, but how is it different from a tax? And its purpose is sound: it keeps the insurance pool broad and insurance rates down.
  • A significant expansion of Medicaid.
  • Subsidies for low and middle income workers that keeps premium costs under 10% of income.
  • Limits on ER charges to low-income uninsured emergency patients.
  • Caps on out-of-pocket expenses.
  • A broad range of cost-containment measures.
  • A dedicated revenue stream to support all this.
What's more, for the first time we get a national commitment to providing healthcare coverage for everyone. It won't be universal to start, unfortunately, but it's going to be a lot easier to get there once the marker is laid down. That's how every other country has done it, and that's how we did it with Social Security and Medicare, both of which had big gaps in coverage when they were first passed.

But if we don't pass it, we don't get any of this. Not now, and not for a long time. Instead of being actual liberals, we'll just be playing ones on TV.
That actually makes sense to me. Can anyone tell me what's wrong with what he says?

Maybe answering "how is it different from a tax" by "it's not, but it's regressive", but that depends upon the subsidies that various people get. And various people are to be getting various subsidies. And in any case, something like that is a very small comeback to his large overall point.

Again, I'm not saying you're wrong. But the opinions I've read so far of people who say things like this have not been convincing, and in fact have seemed like overreaction due to being pissed off (and I am pissed off too, by the way).
posted by Flunkie at 12:28 PM on December 19, 2009 [3 favorites]


In hindsight I can see that it was inevitable that anything done would, of course, involve making abortion essentially unavailable for poor women. Rich women, who can pay out of pocket, won't be effected by this, and honestly I can't help but think that's what the so-called "pro-life" movement really wants.

I'm also betting the final bill will have Nelson's, much worse as far as I can tell, anti-poor women having abortions amendment. I didn't think there'd be much that could make me think Stupak looked like a better deal, now I know how wrong I was.

I say it looks like Nelson is worse than Stupak, because (and please correct me if I'm wrong) it looks as if Nelson would empower the states to ban **ALL** insurance from covering abortion, not merely insurance which is paid for in part by subsidy.

What really bugs me is that this really underscores how insanely anti-democratic the Senate is. It is time to end the filibuster once and for all. The very notion that with a theoretical 60 vote supermajority the Democrats are basically completely controlled by the whim of a single Senator is so wrong I am staggered that anyone ever let this situation develop.

If the threshold for change was 51 votes, we'd have a bill that would be worth passing.

Flunkie
Insurers have to take all comers. They can't turn you down for a preexisting condition or cut you off after you get sick.
It is my understanding that the part I bolded is not true. Recission is still possible, and the Senate version allows annual caps, which might actually be worse than lifetime caps.
Individual mandate. I know a lot of liberals hate this, but how is it different from a tax? And its purpose is sound: it keeps the insurance pool broad and insurance rates down.
Because taxes don't go to buy rich evil people yachts, and the money we will be forced to give to the insurance industry will. It doesn't matter what the profit margin of the insurance industry is, any government guarantee of profit to private interests is utterly wrong. Worse, it represents a continuation of the steady and gradual erosion of the distinction between business and government. It used to be a bitter joke that corporations and the government were one and the same, it is steadily turning into reality and that is very bad indeed.
# Caps on out-of-pocket expenses.
# A broad range of cost-containment measures.
Neither of those appear to have any teeth, or much existence.
Subsidies for low and middle income workers that keeps premium costs under 10% of income.
10% of income for many low income people is crippling. I can afford to lose 10% of my income, it'd be unpleasant but I could manage. For a lot of Americans it will ruin them financially.

And, of course, there's the minor detail that this proposal includes plenty of anti-abortion crap. Yet again we feminists have to eat shit "for the greater good". Can't the anti-abortion crowd eat a little shit once and a while? Why is it always our turn? At this rate, even with Roe, abortion will be effectively illegal in another 20 years.

If there were a public option, or **ANYTHING** that gave the hope that maybe, one day, the morally intolerable mixture of government and private enterprise might end, I could tolerate this bill. But right now it looks like it will give a lot of people a crippling economic blow, provide really lousy coverage that will be all but worthless thanks to deductables and copays, and the industry can still cut you off if you didn't mention you had athlete's foot back in fifth grade, and on top of all that it is a giant shit sandwich for feminists and all pro-choice people, and drags us further into the immoral and wrong waters of the mixture of government and corporations.

At least that's why I don't like it. Others may have other reasons.

It has been argued that we have to eat whatever shit they want us to, because at least with this bill the 47,000 people who will die from lack of insurance won't die, so how dare anyone oppose the bill? I don't think its true, quite frankly that this bill will save those 47,000 lives, or even many of those 47,000 lives. What good does "insurance" do to a person who can't pay the $100 copay the industry will demand?
posted by sotonohito at 1:00 PM on December 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


Forcing people to buy shitty, high-deductible health insurance that won't cover them in any meaningful way just to say you're insuring everyone is like forcing people to buy shitty, rusted out cars just to say you solved the public transportation problem.
posted by dirigibleman at 1:09 PM on December 19, 2009 [5 favorites]


But the opinions I've read so far of people who say things like this have not been convincing, and in fact have seemed like overreaction due to being pissed off

I don't think most of the people (Howard Dean, labor leader Andy Stern, and bloggers like Taibbi, Huffington, Moulitsas, Hamsher, etc) who are arguing against the bill are arguing merely out of anger over losing the public option. I don't even think it's ideological so much as operational. Many analysts see a deep structural flaw in the mandate, in that insurance companies are guaranteed new customers without any mechanisms to control costs or ensure that the coverage is good coverage. It's entirely unclear to me what precisely the insurance companies are being forced to give up in this bill, and that is part of the argument on the economics of how the bill will effect working people: that the current plan may actually make the situation worse than it already is. Btw, if that is the case (and obviously it will be several years until we know for sure), there will likely be a serious, serious political backlash.
posted by HP LaserJet P10006 at 1:31 PM on December 19, 2009 [3 favorites]


I say it looks like Nelson is worse than Stupak

According to the upthread-linked HuffPo article, Stupak apparently thinks so, because it still allows public money to subsidize abortion if a state doesn't opt out, and "the National Right to Life Committee criticized them as a step backward."

honestly I can't help but think that's what the so-called "pro-life" movement really wants.

Yes. What's more, it's entirely possible it's not only the pro-life movement that might indeed genuinely want fewer abortions as well as avoiding having them publicly subsidized. Some people who are pro-choice are uneasily so. I think that's one reason you're seeing a lot of the compromises.
posted by weston at 3:29 PM on December 19, 2009


I've been hearing things like this a lot. Not just "it sucks that the public option is gone", not just "they should've fought harder for it", but "this bill is worse than the status quo."

This bill is clearly worse for healthy people. Obviously, everyone needs to sacrifice to provide healthcare for people who are sick, but the structure is basically: It all falls to middle class people who are not sick. Hardly any sacrifices are made by rich people, by insurance companies, by doctors or hospitals, it all falls to healthy, middle-class Americans to pay for everyone's healthcare, even though the richest 1% have a huge amount of the wealth in the country, and even though we pay doctors, hospitals, and insurance providers more then we do in any other country.

The question isn't "how much do you want healthcare", the question is "how much are you willing to give up to help other people, and possibly yourself, if you get sick." And there is obviously some limit. Presumbly healthy people, even if they are liberals, are not interested in being turned into wage slaves, barely able to put any money into savings or buy nice things, having their disposable income slashed in order to pay thousands of dollars a year to private companies who pay their top employees millions of dollars -- none of which they ever see again. This amounts to a HUGE new tax, privately collected, and regressive: middle class people pay far more per year (up to 10%) while rich people pay far less percentage wise.

If there is going to be sacrifice, it should be shared, not forced onto one group of people.

Oh, and apparently Stupak is trying to work with republicans to kill the bill
posted by delmoi at 4:25 PM on December 19, 2009


Many analysts see a deep structural flaw in the mandate, in that insurance companies are guaranteed new customers without any mechanisms to control costs or ensure that the coverage is good coverage.

I have some concerns about the policy as well, but I don't know how much credence I'd lend to an analyst who'd say we're without any such mechanisms.

There's a whole title dedicated to "quality and efficiency."

And the "must take all comers" thing means that you an switch insurers even after you get sick. That right there might (in the absence of collusion and weaselry) actually introduce some market discipline into the industry -- right now, you can't decide you're sick of your insurer and you're going to take your business elsewhere once you actually need insurance. Once you can do that, there's potentially incentives for insurers to compete on quality and cost of service.

Of course, you might also choose to play a different game: curry the favor and premiums of well-people, who are assets, and harass and otherwise drive away sick people, who are liabilities, and can always go to some other sucker of an insurer who's actually trying to run a business by providing a legitimate service when they could run a nice profitable con.

This is where I'm wary. Most of my personal experiences suggest that a significant portion of the insurance industry is fundamentally untrustworthy, and I think this is the bottom line for a lot of people who are upset about the loss public option: they don't trust the industry. They want an out if it continues to behave the way it does now. I want that too. Partly as an open door. Partly because I don't see many other ways to truly give the industry an incentive to behave.

There's only two I can think of. One is truly strong industry regulators. Ombudsmen that have the power to punish insurers who abuse their position and their investors with penalties that go beyond substantial. I can't tell right now if the exchange administrators or someone else will have that.

The other is a political reality, that this would be the last chance for private industry to prove that it can provide insurance to everyone. If it can't do it with state subsidies, with a mandate for everyone to buy in, it can't do it, and there's no case for their existence. But the problem with that? There's a significant portion of the population that just doesn't trust the state, to the point where in 10 years, if the industry isn't operating effectively, they'll take the subsidies and the mandate as evidence that government interference never helps. Might be enough of them to scuttle any further reform. Hard to say.
posted by weston at 4:30 PM on December 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


weston wrote it's entirely possible it's not only the pro-life movement that might indeed genuinely want fewer abortions as well as avoiding having them publicly subsidized.

Yeah, well, I was pretty damn morally upset about subsidizing bombs to kill babies in Iraq and Afghanistan, but no one gave a rat's ass about my moral qualms. But when it the God squad shrieks about **their** moral qualms, obviously vastly superior and much more important than mine, I'm supposed to surrender everything to them?

No.

See, we haven't seen any "give and take" in this bill. We give everything, and in return we get bupkis. What the hell kind of deal is that?

Some people who are pro-choice are uneasily so.

Tell you what. Any one of those pro-choice people who are pro-choice "uneasily" and voted for the wars, or any of their appropriation bills, can just STFU about their precious "moral qualms". They lost the right to be morally worried about abortion the instant they voted to kill real, born, people in other countries.

You show me a Senator or Representative who voted against Bush's wars, and all their associated blank checks, and I'll agree that person has a right to be morally concerned about tax dollars funding abortion.

The rest of them can blow it out their ass.
posted by sotonohito at 6:31 PM on December 19, 2009 [3 favorites]


See, we haven't seen any "give and take" in this bill. We give everything, and in return we get bupkis. What the hell kind of deal is that?

It's a good question. But it's a work in progress. There may not be a Public Option or a Medicare buy in, but there is a non-profit plan that people can elect to be a part of run by the same people who run the Fed. Workers Health Plan (which also covers Congress), that I think will be the crucial blueprint for an eventual expansion and a P.O. and the insurance co.s, may make a fortune, but they're also going to be beholden to the American voter, and if the quality is not up to snuff or the mandate is intolerable (the mandate is subsidized for low and middle class folks), people will vote on those issues.

Also, I think this is another nail in the coffin of the GOP. Oh they will howl and howl and scream and spit (which will be enjoyable, for me anyway), but when people are getting taken care of finally and their medical needs attended too, you watch how many bible thumpin' tea-bagger decides that they like feeling better and having their lives made healthier and knowing they're NOT GOING TO GO BANKRUPT IF THEY BECOME SERIOUSLY ILL. I imagine most of those folks (overweight, smokin', fast food chompin, High Fructose Corn Syrup swiggin', factory farm fed, SALT fiends, every single last one...) will most likely give the people behind that bogus movement, a wave bye bye and adios.


As for all that was given up (and fuckin' hell it was almost the store), what goes around comes around...this is only round one and the dems have a solid beach head on the Normandy beach of Health Care Reform (various football and baseball scenarios would work well in making the point here also).


As for Senatore Aetna, Joe the fuckface lieberman, he should enjoy his last term in office, before he gets that GOP reward of some sort, or a lucrative job with Aetna, as well as being known now and forever in the future as: Joe the fuckface Lieberman.

Also I look forward to Al Franken and he having more interesting exchanges on the senate floor. I'm sure Al's already made a list of pranks he can play on Joe the fuckface Lieberman.
posted by Skygazer at 7:56 PM on December 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


Skygazer wrote knowing they're NOT GOING TO GO BANKRUPT IF THEY BECOME SERIOUSLY ILL.

Except, they will, and they'll be under economic hardship due to the mandates to boot.

The Senate plan allows recission, so your insurance company can still cut you off for "fraud" (like failing to inform them that you had athlete's foot once in fourth grade). Worse, they can impose an annual cap on your coverage. Still worse, there are no measures in place to prevent them from instituting ruinous copays and deductibles for the insurance people are forced to purchase from the for profit companies.

Your government mandated insurance will come with a minimum copay of $100, and deductibles starting at $10,000 or more. It will have an annual cap of the absolute least they can get away with, and that won't be much. If the annual cap is more than $300,000 I'll be stunned. And, of course, if you get something expensive to treat they'll discover that you "defrauded" them when buying your mandated insurance, and cut you off entirely.

All that is perfectly legal under the current proposals. So, no, I really don't see a good thing here, or any benefit for the poor, uninsured, etc.

The government has further erased the line between private enterprise and government, the people are forced to buy very bad insurance that covers next to nothing, the insurance industry gets a government guaranteed profit, and women are given the finger.

but they're also going to be beholden to the American voter, and if the quality is not up to snuff or the mandate is intolerable (the mandate is subsidized for low and middle class folks), people will vote on those issues.

I think that's an overly optimistic view. The insurance industry exists to make a profit, that is its single goal [1]. Unless a law is specifically passed to change their behavior, and that law is vigorously enforced, they will continue to act as they always have.

So, no, I don't see the insurance industry feeling beholden to the American voter.

I also don't see much chance of successfully changing things via laws or voting. Right now we're looking at a Congress that is about as good as we can ever realistically expect to see, a nominal Democratic majority of 60 votes isn't likely to happen again for quite some time. And at that the "centrist" Democrats have still scuttled any and all genuine reform. You really think it's going to get any better in 2012 when the Democratic majority erodes? When they'll have to get at least one, and more likely two or three, Republicans to vote with them to break a filibuster?

Worse, thanks to the mandates the insurance industry will have even more money with which to bribe politicians and run FUD ads to convince the low information voter that somehow this is all the fault of the evil government, and not the righteous and good insurance industry. Bloated by the profits of 40 million new and unwilling "customers", the insurance industry will be in an even better position to fight off any real or meaningful reform.

Republican ads will start like this:
Thanks to the economic burden of insurance mandates, Americans are feeling worse off than ever before, and they still can't get good healthcare. Vote for Joe Republican, he's for gun rights, he loves God and hates faggots, and he'll vote to repeal mandates and roll back the false socialist "reform" the Democrats rammed down your throat. This is America, you deserve the choice of whether or not to be insured.."
[1] Note that this is a legal requirement. If they act in a manner that fails to maximize profits they can be subject to minority shareholder lawsuits. The sole, only, purpose any corporation has is to make a profit, any action that deviates from that purpose is grounds for a lawsuit by its stockholders.
posted by sotonohito at 8:44 PM on December 19, 2009 [3 favorites]


They lost the right to be morally worried about abortion the instant they voted to kill real, born, people in other countries.

If you're genuinely suggesting that any pro-life position is untenable unless paired with pacifism, congratulations, you have indeed thoroughly settled yourself on a footing beyond debate.
posted by weston at 9:18 PM on December 19, 2009


knowing they're NOT GOING TO GO BANKRUPT IF THEY BECOME SERIOUSLY ILL.

They'll still go bankrupt if they get seriously ill. Because they'll still have shitty insurance that the government forced them to buy.

Anyway, the progressives got some tiny, temporary sliver of a compromise: Reid's original bill had allowed for a cap, in some cases, in annual coverage by insurers. The new bill removes that allowance, meaning that insurers can not place limits on the amount of coverage they provide, either over the course of one year or over a person's lifetime.

Expect that to go when Dung Scrotum decides that liberals haven't suffered enough, or that he hasn't been in the spotlight recently. Otherwise, it will die in conference.
posted by dirigibleman at 9:24 PM on December 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


The Senate plan allows rescission, so your insurance company can still cut you off for "fraud" (like failing to inform them that you had athlete's foot once in fourth grade).

It should be noted that rescission enforcement is left to the states. As the article I linked to noted, California can't enforce their own anti-rescission laws. If they can't, no state can, and many states don't even want to.
posted by dirigibleman at 10:02 PM on December 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


Sotonohito: Your government mandated insurance will come with a minimum copay of $100, and deductibles starting at $10,000 or more. It will have an annual cap of the absolute least they can get away with, and that won't be much. If the annual cap is more than $300,000 I'll be stunned. And, of course, if you get something expensive to treat they'll discover that you "defrauded" them when buying your mandated insurance, and cut you off entirely.

As Dirigible man just pointed out the cap, both annual and lifetime has been removed, so hooray for us. And sorry Dirigibleman, but that's not going anywhere in conference, as the Senate is where that would've died already.

As for the rest of these numbers, Sotonohito, they make no sense at all to me. A co-pay of $100? Deductibles starting at $10,000 are preposterous and I'm afraid I need to see how your coming up with these figures ore your doing a great job of FUD- ing this whole thing on pure speculation that the insurance co.'s being absolutely evil bastards are going to rape the nation in the most blantant of manners. There are controls and regulations they need to abide by, people will still be able to pick there insurance co, from a centralized place that shows the cost side by side for comparison, and you yourself said a corporation's number one duty is to make money. period, and it's going to be a big pie, but there will still be competition, and word of mouth and these companies will try to get as much of that pie as possible and that needs to impact the cost by bringing it down and the quality, by bringing it up.

Once people have insurance they're going to get involved, trust me, there's going to be an adjustment period, no doubt, but far as I know corps still want to make as money as possible and are not very happy to get bad publicity. Bad publicity is government attention is someone better do something the heck about it, whether they're Republican or Democrat, in the same way medicare and Social Security are now beyond party, more or less...
posted by Skygazer at 10:03 PM on December 19, 2009


A co-pay of $100? Deductibles starting at $10,000 are preposterous

No they're not. What would stop them from doing so for the lowest tier (subsidized) plans? Competition?

There are controls and regulations they need to abide by, people will still be able to pick there insurance co, from a centralized place that shows the cost side by side for comparison, and you yourself said a corporation's number one duty is to make money.

Insurance companies get to keep their anti-trust exemption. There is literally nothing to stop them from colluding to fix prices and squeeze out any competition that might want to actually serve their customers.

And sorry Dirigibleman, but that's not going anywhere in conference

Uh huh. I remember people like you telling me that the Senate would pass some form of public option, no problem. If I weren't facing unemployment soon, I would bet you $100 that the annual caps would be thrown out in conference.
posted by dirigibleman at 10:22 PM on December 19, 2009


One final point, the Dems may be a frustrating and spineless bunch, but they're not complete fucking idiots who would create something that was going to explode in their faces and infuriate the country, and if they are (complete fucking idiots) and don't make this reform work (and work well), they will be voted out,and deserve to be voted out and Obama will deserve to be a one term president, and frankly I don't see that happening at all...

What needs to happen after this passes is to weed out the scum like Lieberman and other Dems speak out both sides of their faces while being on the insurance money trough...they need to be aggressively exposed and voted out.
posted by Skygazer at 10:25 PM on December 19, 2009


No they're not. What would stop them from doing so for the lowest tier (subsidized) plans? Competition?

Well, what's stopping them from doing that now?? To people on employee work plans even or on Cobra?

They'll be making ven more money and have an even greater pool of customers to soften costs and they're going to say they need to make health insurance even worse than it is now??
posted by Skygazer at 10:31 PM on December 19, 2009


Well, what's stopping them from doing that now??

They don't have the guaranteed revenue stream that they will when we are forced by law to buy their insurance.
posted by dirigibleman at 10:35 PM on December 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


Uh huh. I remember people like you telling me that the Senate would pass some form of public option, no problem. If I weren't facing unemployment soon, I would bet you $100 that the annual caps would be thrown out in conference.

So you're saying that's in there as leverage of some sort for some other goal?
posted by Skygazer at 10:36 PM on December 19, 2009


They don't have the guaranteed revenue stream that they will when we are forced by law to buy their insurance

Yeah, and see how quickly that turns into a clamor and roar for a public option, but I would the think the non-profit insurance plan offered by the Office of Personal Management (which runs the Fed employee plan), and by all accounts know what they're doing and do it extremely well, would probably put an end to that behavior right away, because they have bargaining power. They can pick who the lucrative Fed. Employee Plans get serviced by. Aetna acts like bitches, OPM, is going to be like, You know what Aetna, we think we can negotiate a better deal with insurance agency XYZ, if you can't cut out the shenanigans?" I imagine class action suits can also be instigated by that office or other Fed agencies.
posted by Skygazer at 10:42 PM on December 19, 2009


So you're saying that's in there as leverage of some sort for some other goal?

No, I honestly have no idea how that got back in. Frankly it doesn't matter. The longer this goes on, the more power the anti-healthcare people have. Nelson, Lincoln, and the other blue dogs have every incentive to make sure this plan fails, whereas the "progressives" and "centrists" have every reason to ensure that something, anything, gets passed.

but I would the think the non-profit insurance plan offered by the Office of Personal Management (which runs the Fed employee plan), and by all accounts know what they're doing and do it extremely well, would probably put an end to that behavior right away, because they have bargaining power. They can pick who the lucrative Fed. Employee Plans get serviced by.

Can they? For literally anyone in the country? Where did you hear this? It seems to me that they would need permission from, I don't know, Congress to do such a thing. I don't see that happening.

BTW, in less than 10 years, I've seen my deductible go from <$1,000 to $3,000 to $5,000. $10,000 is not far off, regardless of how captive the audience is. I would not be surprised if a few individual plans already have it.
posted by dirigibleman at 11:00 PM on December 19, 2009


One final point, the Dems may be a frustrating and spineless bunch, but they're not complete fucking idiots who would create something that was going to explode in their faces and infuriate the country, and if they are (complete fucking idiots) and don't make this reform work (and work well), they will be voted out,and deserve to be voted out and Obama will deserve to be a one term president, and frankly I don't see that happening at all...

I can already hear the "other lizard" crowd chiming in.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 1:45 AM on December 20, 2009


Stargazer My copay works out to around $100. My deductible was $3,000 and was increased to $3,500 this year.

I have no choice of insurance plans, as mine is provided by my employer, I damn sure can't afford to abandon my employer granted plan and buy one on my own. To the best of my knowledge that won't be changing with anything the government is proposing.

One final point, the Dems may be a frustrating and spineless bunch, but they're not complete fucking idiots who would create something that was going to explode in their faces and infuriate the country

You have a lot more faith in the intelligence and self-preservation thinking of the Democrats than I do. I do think this will explode, and I do think it will cost them the elections, not just in 2012 but for decades to come. I wouldn't have thought it possible, but I think they've managed to save the Republican party.

weston Well, actually, now that you bring it up, I do fail, utterly and completely, to comprehend how someone can ramble about the "sanctity of life" when it comes to eliminating bodily autonomy for women but completely abandon that position when it comes to killing foreigners. The one thing I can say in favor of the Catholic position is that at least it's internally consistent, officially the Pope is opposed both to war and to abortion. Of course, you don't see a lot of Catholics protesting the Pentagon, so you can see which one they really care about, but officially the Church is opposed to both.

But that isn't what I'm actually arguing right now.

The current line of insane nonsense coming from the woman hating faction is that somehow it offends their delicate sensibilities for federal tax dollars to go to fund abortions, because they're so "pro-life" and just hate the evil "baby killers". But those same people had no objection whatsoever to using federal tax dollars to fund bombs to drop on actual, real, babies in Iraq and Afghanistan.

You can't say that there's something horribly morally offensive about spending federal tax dollars to pay for a perfectly legal medical procedure, while voting enthusiastically for, and completely dismissing, **MY** moral qualms about federal tax dollars to pay for dropping bombs on post-born babies. Either moral qualms are a legitimate reason to hold up legislation, or they aren't. And in the war debates boy oh boy were moral qualms about using tax dollars to kill people dismissed with extreme prejudice.

But, since this is America those evil "pro-life" slime are somehow, magically, granted more important "moral concerns" than I and the other anti-war people were. Their super-special moral qualms are, of course, infinitely more important than mine were. 53% of America opposed invading Iraq, often on moral grounds, but that didn't matter in the slightest to anyone, and my money was used to drop bombs on babies. around 60% of Americans support legalized abortion, but nope, it'd be horribly wrong to use tax dollars to fund that, moral qualms of the minority you know....

If any liberal Senator or Congressman had dared to hold up the wars, or their funding, out of moral concerns they'd be called terrorist loving anti-American traitors. But those "pro-life" jackasses get to derail health care bills, and force us feminists to eat shit because of their hypocritical "moral concerns"? And you don't think I've got the right to be just a little upset about this?

You can't have it both ways. If it's not a moral concern, or at least those moral concerns aren't worthy of any consideration, to spend tax dollars killing post-born babies, then you've got absolutely no grounds to complain about spending tax dollars to "kill pre-born babies".
posted by sotonohito at 5:43 AM on December 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


It's time to cut our losses. It's time for Harry Reid and Barack Obama to demonstrate that they won't negotiate with blackmailers.

Joe Lieberman is a terrorist.

That is all there is to it. He is holding our fear over our heads in a way that would make Al-fucking-Qaeda proud, and here's why: Al Qaeda can't blow up every city and monument in this country, but every single one of us is going to end up needing a doctor, or hospital, or other healthcare provider at some point in our lives. And by holding his vote over our heads, Lieberman (not to mention every single other senator who sides with his turncoat ass) is acting just like a terrorist. We're afraid he won't play ball, so we settle for something that goes against many deeply-held liberal beliefs. We compromise, we change what we do and how we respond to him to placate THE ALMIGHTY JOE LIEBERMAN.

Screw that. If we don't negotiate with foreign terrorists, we shouldn't negotiate with domestic ones either.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 9:18 AM on December 20, 2009 [4 favorites]


Health Insurance Stocks Reached 52-YEAR High On Friday

**

How health lobbyists influenced reform bill
[...]An analysis of public documents by Northwestern University's Medill News Service in partnership with the Tribune Newspapers Washington Bureau and the Center for Responsive Politics found a revolving door between Capitol Hill staffers and lobbying jobs for companies with a stake in health care legislation.

At least 166 former aides from the nine congressional leadership offices and five committees involved in shaping health overhaul legislation -- along with at least 13 former lawmakers -- registered to represent at least 338 health care clients since the beginning of last year, according to the analysis.

Their health care clients spent $635 million on lobbying over the past two years, the study shows.

The total of insider lobbyists jumps to 278 when non-health-care firms that reported lobbying on health issues are added in, the analysis found.

[...]

The lineup of insiders working for clients with health care interests includes at least 14 former aides to House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and at least 13 former aides to Montana Democratic Sen. Max Baucus, the chairman of the Finance Committee and a key overseer of the health care overhaul.

posted by HP LaserJet P10006 at 11:14 AM on December 20, 2009


California regulators admitted Thursday that for more than a year they didn't even try to enforce a million-dollar fine against health insurer Anthem Blue Cross because it feared they would be outgunned in court.
posted by dirigibleman at 3:02 PM on December 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


now that you bring it up, I do fail, utterly and completely, to comprehend how someone can ramble about the "sanctity of life" when it comes to eliminating bodily autonomy for women but completely abandon that position when it comes to killing foreigners.

If your conception of the justifications for both of these things consists of an atomic value judgment on the sanctity of life, that's indeed what would happen.

Here's an exercise: is war ever justified? When and why?
posted by weston at 5:32 PM on December 23, 2009


If your conception of the justifications for both of these things consists of an atomic value judgment on the sanctity of life, that's indeed what would happen.

That's what I'm told by the anti-choice people. Over and over they tell me that it's all about a "culture of life", that it's all about the "sanctity of life". That they support the "right to life from conception until natural death".

So, yes, I do think it's an atomic value judgment on the sanctity of life because that's what they tell me it is.

They say that a woman's bodily autonomy is irrelevant, because the sanctity of life trumps other considerations.

Here's an exercise: is war ever justified? When and why?

I think there is such a thing as just war. I think most wars don't fall into that category, but I don't think it's an empty set either. I definitely don't think Iraq falls into that category.

But, while I hold that life is darned important and shouldn't be casually tossed aside, I don't claim that life is the ultimate argument, which is why I'm not a pacifist.

For a person to tell me, on the one hand, that the preservation of life is so important that we must cast aside all considerations of bodily autonomy and force all pregnant women to bear to term, then on the other hand, tell me that it's not only good to go bomb babies in Iraq but that I'm a morally inferior person because I'm not really gung ho about the idea, is hypocrisy of the highest order. Self evidently they either don't believe what they say about the preservation of life trumping all other concerns, or they don't believe that the war in Iraq is justified. There is no possible way for a person to honestly hold both positions.

More important is the issue of taxes.

Taxes pay for a lot of stuff. Some things I like, some I don't like, and some I think are not only morally questionable but outright immoral. I don't really object to people raising moral arguments when it comes to spending tax dollars.

I DO object to people dismissing my own moral concerns about spending tax dollars with extreme prejudice while insisting that I must honor theirs, or that their moral concerns are somehow more important or deserve more consideration than mine.

I also reject, entirely, the idea that the existence of moral concerns about how tax dollars are spent must be respected by anyone except the person holding the concerns.

I also find it contemptible that people will attempt to hide their nasty minded and cruel desire to control women, and punish sex for pleasure, behind self evidently false "moral concerns". I do think that it is literally impossible for a person to support a war in Iraq, or the death penalty, while simultaneously opposing abortion on the grounds of sanctity of life. If the anti-choice people would be more honest I'd be a lot more willing to put up with them. But they lie to me and therefore I have nothing but contempt for them.
posted by sotonohito at 8:19 AM on December 24, 2009


But, while I hold that life is darned important and shouldn't be casually tossed aside

Truly? Because the contents of your post would seem to indicate you believe that the bar for being justified in sacrificing life is as low as personal sexual liberty.
posted by weston at 10:23 PM on January 7, 2010


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